To call AB Sport Club a gym would be doing the club a great disservice. Sure, they have the industry-leading equipment, personal trainers, and group fitness classes to compete with any fitness center. However, the club also boasts a slew of not-just-anywhere amenities that sets it apart from the pack. For instance, the club houses three full-sized indoor padel courts, which regularly hosts spirited matches of the populat tennis/squash hybrid. Players sore from last-second rallies can relax in the on-site spa, where technicians treat tired muscles to one of eight different types of massage. They can also kick back at the Relax Café, sipping healthy drinks and socializing with their fellow members.
Commando Athletics is more than just an intense name; founder Carlos Arias was actually in the military. But while deployed on a Special-Ops mission in Iraq, his helicopter crashed, leading to years of severe back pain. Luckily, he was able to recover after two years of rigorous core training.
At Commando, he imparts the same discipline and routines that helped improve his health. Class sizes are kept small, resulting in individualized attention to students sweating their way through bootcamp sessions with kettlebells, resistance bands, and basic gymnastics. Pupils can sign up for a variety of programs to suit their respective skill levels, including a marine martial arts class taught by a man-sized G.I. Joe.
At Animus CrossFit/Corporal CrossFit, students of every skill level, age, and body type can take control of their health with the help of encouraging coaches. The team of qualified trainers draw on intense training experiences in their own lives, such as strength coach and author Carlos Arias's service in the USMC special forces, his wife Jenny's background as a gymnast, or coach Dayron Castaneda's career in collegiate football. The team prides itself on providing one-on-one training and keeping classes small: staff lead premium CrossFit with 1:8 teacher/student ratios, avoiding the overcrowded classes, lack of equipment, and gym-clothes sharing seen in traditional programs. And indoor-outdoor bootcamp classes take advantage of sunny Miami days while avoiding wet ones by training indoors on grass turf or rubber flooring. The small, 16-person classes tailor exercise individually according to skill level and keep things interesting with a combination of gymnastics and running using balls and ropes.
Students shed pounds and tone muscles in programs that are built on proper nutrition and individual, scalable workout routines. Whether pupils are burning fat and building endurance with cardio routines and kettlebells, boosting strength with weightlifting, or refining their running techniques with pose running, coaches work closely with students to help them push past obstacles and reach health goals.
At Born Warriors Mixed Martial Arts, the instructors might be training cage-fighters one hour and 2-year-olds the next. They believe in the power of martial-arts training not just as a competitive tool, but as an agent of social change—one that's able to prevent bullying and increase anyone's knowledge of self-defense. Though they teach many disciplines—muay thai, tae kwon do, kickboxing, and jujitsu among them, with the head instructor obtaining a 1st dan tae kwon do black belt and 4th dan kempo black belt—their supportive attitudes remain constant across every class. They also keep their classes small, ensuring that students receive personalized, encouraging feedback.
The coaches at Athletes Edge are dedicated to creating top-performing sportsmen and women. Just ask former UFC light-heavyweight champion "Suga" Rashad Evans, who benefitted from the company's rigorous mixed-martial-arts training program. They also help college prospects prepare for the NFL combine, and specialize in sports ranging from baseball, basketball, and soccer, to volleyball and tennis. The crew focuses on enhancing each adult’s or child's capacity for speed, agility, strength, and overall performance in a fun, sports-oriented environment. The classes are designed for all types of people with varying fitness goals.
Director of training Jeff Sanders, a certified strength-and-conditioning and performance-enhancement specialist, worked with several influential NFL coaches when he trained the Baltimore Ravens beginning in 2001. Sanders also gained clinical-rehabilitation and gait-training experience while working in the inpatient post-op division of Shands hospital. He and his team train athletes in the brand-new, 62,000-square-foot Fernandez Family Center and the two adjacent football and soccer fields on the Saint Thomas University campus in North Miami.
Most gyms strive to tone their customers. The Training Pit goes one step further. Its instructors try to build entire communities of healthy flexers that extend beyond the gym and into the streets. How they do it is easy—even if the exercise regiment isn't. CrossFit-certified coaches motivate all who enter, from athletes seeking bigger biceps to newbies with no-ceps, in an open, bare-bones atmosphere devoid of fancy machines but well-suited for bonding. During scalable CrossFit-training sessions, students endure running, weightlifting, and gymnastic drills typically designated for Olympic athletes and firemen, creating the chummy feeling that The Training Pit is sharing a secret with them. Adding to that community-building ethos, students share exercise goals together, rather than fight over a pile of meat, to help motivate each other toward success.