The air was chilly and the sky was still dark one wintry morning in Hartford, when five women huddled around Racquel, awaiting instruction at the very first Racquels Addiction Fitness boot camp. But as hard as that first workout may have been, it obviously inspired something positive in the women who attended. From that day forward, word spread about the workout that group fitness instructor Racquel had put together—a powerful routine that targeted problem areas such as the hips, thighs, glutes, and abs and quickly transformed them with little to no help from cumbersome workout equipment.
Today, Racquel and fellow fitness instructor Betsy have branched out from just boot camp. At Racquel's Addiction Fitness, they also teach Piloxing (a blend of Pilates and boxing), Zumba, and Hot and Bothered on the Bench classes, which blast calories with help from a step bench and weights. And, in their quest to make fitness fun for everyone, the studio also hosts many exercise-themed special events, including chair dance fitness parties, pole dancing parties, and sultry potato sack races.
Tyler English knows the look of frustration. In his eight years as a fitness professional in Connecticut, he has helped thousands of health-seekers who feel bored or fatigued by solo workouts at big health clubs find a better path. At his gym, he promotes what he calls an ?anti-health-club? environment, enlivening workouts while aiming to quickly whittle fit and healthy bodies through his innovative programs. English, a professional natural bodybuilder and author, leads metabolic-conditioning workouts, which boost the body?s anaerobic and aerobic capacity with interval-based cardio. He also folds in a series of strength sessions that incorporate moves with dumbbells, resistance bands, kettlebells, medicine balls, and medicine balls encased in concrete. Tyler also counts on The Diet Doc's weight-loss program through nutritional guidance.
The Fit Playground's premise is simple: exercise should be fun. The team strives to take adults back to a time when clambering up trees and leaping over imaginary lava pits was the only workout they needed. Inside the indoor playground, participants scale ropes and swing from monkey bars, toning muscles, burning calories, and doing something gym goers rarely get to do: having a good time. The fitness-focused play isn't just for adults, of course—The Fit Playground also has classes designed for kids and teens.
M.E.L.T. Fitness Studio's trainers see each body can be defined and molded with the appropriate exercises. Rather than a standard group workout for all their clients, they provide what they call group personal training, modifying and accentuating various exercises to the ability level of their students. They stick to a theme each day, reserving Tuesdays for fat-burning blasts, Fridays for abdominal work, and Saturdays for m.e.l.t.ed cardio, which burns as much fat as possible while building cardio endurance. Within that theme, they provide personal variations for each client to accommodate fitness level or injuries, very often naturally relieving chronic pain by carefully strengthening muscles around the affected area.
For some, like Mission Fitness owner Matt Mund, fitness comes easily. Matt starred on basketball and softball teams throughout his youth, and won his first weightlifting contest in college. But that doesn’t mean Matt, or his team of certified personal trainers, only welcomes equally gifted athletes to their personal-training sessions and three group fitness classes. To the contrary, personal training caters specifically to your goals, whether they’re to lose a hefty chunk of weight or tighten up already sculpted muscles. Likewise, boot campers each move at their own pace through challenging circuits, and bodies of all shapes burn calories via different styles including boot camp, boxing, and yoga.
Muvement is as much a gym as it is a physical-fitness lab. Certified strength and conditioning specialist Michael Houle and Jill Houle, who holds a BS in nutritional science, team up to invest clients with practical workout regimens and an intimate knowledge of how the body works on a physiological level. Before new clients lift their first weight at the studio, a personal trainer consults with them about their exercise and health history and runs physical assessments and lab tests to identify potential obstacles related to the immune, digestive, hormonal, and detoxification systems. Next, Jill draws on her background as a professional nutritionist to recommend a diet suited to the client’s unique metabolism, and explains how the body breaks down calories and nutrients. Even their fitness regimens take a holistic approach. Whether in group or personal-training sessions, functional movements using resistance bands, TRX suspension, and kettlebells incorporate multiple muscle groups and joints into each exercise, building a physique more balanced than two eggs riding a seesaw during the spring equinox.