Sleek standup paddleboards glide across Lake Grapevine as the sun begins to set over the pristine waters and leafy surrounding trees. But the passengers atop these boards aren't relaxing on leisurely rides or looking for mermaid prom dates—they're engaged in energetic routines of crunches, leg lifts, and stretches. Certified CrossFit Level 1 trainer and seasoned paddleboarder Nate Richard conducts these paddleboard fitness classes throughout the week, leading students through dynamic workouts designed to tone muscles, boost stamina, and slim physiques.
Camp Gladiator founder Ally Davidson’s childhood obsession with the outdoors and sports led her to pursue a degree in exercise physiology. After her 2008 win on the TV show American Gladiators, Ally decided to share her love of fitness with the world at large. Camp Gladiator reflects Ally's passion for fitness in its mission, which espouses their desire "to positively impact the physical fitness and ultimately the lives of as many people as possible." During Camp Gladiator Total Transformation, participants lose weight and gain energy in a friendly, positive environment. Over four-weeks, trainers focus on accountability, competition, motivation, and fun at multiple locations. Results are tracked during fitness assessments, body composition tests, and a fitness calendar, while nutrition counseling helps to maximize those results. Click here to view before and after images.
Davidson also leads boot camps in 13 U.S. cities, with each hosting multiple training locales. The upbeat staff of certified trainers lead patrons of all ages and fitness levels through four-week outdoor boot camps, earning Camp Gladiator a Hot Spot title from Women's Health magazine's Fitness Awards in 2013, Best Boot Camp from Rare magazine in 2010, Best of Big D 2010–2013 from D magazine, and Best Outdoor Boot Camp 2012 from Austin Fit magazine.
Since 2001, Stroller Strides' fitness professionals and buggy-bandying workouts have helped mothers to overcome the struggles of staying in shape while caring for a wee one. Specially trained instructors helm a series of 60-minute classes, which consist of a warm-up, a power walk, and interval stations where limbs stretch resistance tubes in body-toning drills. Energizing jaunts often utilize hills, benches, and other environmental facets to augment maneuvers. Throughout the routine, engaging songs and activities keep children from growing overly fussy or pranking classmates by tossing banana peels in front of their buggies.
Thomas Volmer credits his wife, Rachel, for inspiring them to start helming boot camps. She wasn’t always a fitness guru, though. "She was a commercial banker and she was 70 pounds overweight," Volmer recalls. Once she started to reclaim her life, "she just fell in love with fitness," he says. She eventually dropped 80 pounds with proper exercise and nutrition, spurring her to earn her AFAA personal training certification and pursue a career as a full-time trainer.
Personal experience lends Rachel and the other trainers—including Sharon Monk, who lost more than 200 pounds by exercising and eating healthily—empathy and a motivating demeanor when working with campers. At each location, they get groups doing pushups, swinging kettlebells, and flipping tires in a positive environment that's focused on teamwork, rather than competition. "You start as a group, you finish as a group," says Thomas. "But the activities that you do in between might be different based on your abilities."
In addition to leading sessions, Rachel creates easy-to-use online meal plans (including a vegetarian plan), which campers can customize to help them stay on track. Options range from the simple, such as cereal with fruits, nuts, and flaxseeds, to the creative, including honey-sweetened oatmeal peanut-butter cookies. She also includes the calorie count for each recipe. Users can pick from simple meals made for one person or larger entrees designed with an entire family or pet elephant in mind.
Whenever boredom creeps in to derail a training program, Core Fitness & Pilates’ team of certified instructors swoops in to the rescue with a contagious enthusiasm and 20 uplifting group fitness classes a week. As their name implies, they specialize in Pilates, showcasing the art with a range of classes that may incorporate floor mats, reformer machines, springboards, towers, chairs, and jump boards. With the addition of suspension bands and ballet barres, they now offer TRX suspension training and core booty-barre classes. Classes allow for eight to nine in group lessons, or five in reformer lessons, allowing the focus to remain on form and ensuring that each student receives the attention they need.
Private Workout's efficiency-focused staffers draft half-hour workout regimens specifically designed to meet each client's physical needs and personal-health goals. The trainer explains the workout and introduces all equipment, then evaluates clients' fitness and helps them set goals. Members can then return for their 30-minute sessions, which are held nearly every day between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. The workouts are designed to keep heart rates up for 30 minutes, which helps stave off disease and ramp up metabolisms. Guests who'd like more individualized attention can also sign up for personal-training sessions to work toward milestones, whether they'd like to tone up for fingerless-glove season or lose weight.