Most camp counselors can teach children how to tie-dye a t-shirt or braid a friendship bracelet. Very few, however, have experienced the exhilaration of vaulting into the end zone for a goal-line touchdown or intercepting a game-winning pass in front of thousands of rabid football fans. Across the country, Sports International Football Camps grant participants the opportunity to learn firsthand from professional athletes, whose gridiron battle scars have been forged by bell-ringing collisions with fearless opponents and reckless mascots on motorcycles.
Since 1983, the organization has partnered with veteran high-school coaches and pros, such as three-time Pro Bowl running back Priest Holmes, All-Pro linebacker Brian Cushing, and Super Bowl champion–cornerback Terrell Thomas. In those years, the camp has schooled some 91,000 alumni, including current NFL quarterback Byron Leftwich. Coaches break campers into groups by age, position, and ability and run practices that are competitive yet fun and supportive. For in-depth focus on the specific techniques of skill-position players, the camp also offers special academies for passing and receiving as well as kicking, punting, long snapping, and cooler lifting for Gatorade victory showers.
Xfit Studio's trainers prefer to think of themselves as mentors who help attendees of all fitness levels discover confidence and self-esteem as well as greater strength and stamina. Boot camps, TRX suspension training, kickboxing, HIIT, and core classes embrace this two-pronged approach by creating a supportive environment where the trainers ask guests to push themselves physically while still respecting their limits. The massive studio is lined with equipment such as resistance balls, heavy-duty ropes, and punching bags that can be incorporated into routines, and a wide garage door slides open to circulate fresh air on clear days. In addition to receiving guidance during class, students can also pick their instructors' brains afterward and glean some invaluable advice on nutrition, lifestyle choices, and the best type of car to bench-press.
Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates in cardio routines. Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
The trainers at Get Fit Boot Camp of Hartford County mold athletes. They work with clients seeking many different things, whether it's to fearlessly don a bathing suit and head to the beach or fearlessly tackle opponents in a college football game. To get their charges ready, they use a combination of classic calisthenics and bodyweight resistance exercises—pushups are featured heavily—mixed with interval and strength training. Outside of boot camps, they help their athletes train specific abilities, such as running speed, jump height, or the ability to flex triceps in the most attractive manner.
At more than 1,200 Snap Fitness centers around the country, dedicated exercisers can head to the gym any hour of the day, every day of the year. Inside each 24/7/365 space, a fleet of Cybex cardio and strength-training machines steels muscles and boosts heart rates, and free weights enable old-fashioned iron pumping. Televisions contribute news and entertainment to help pass the time during workouts.
Though its amenities may be similar to other gyms, Snap Fitness goes beyond the basics by striving to keep its members motivated to work out and meet goals. Members receive complimentary personal-training sessions to kick-start fitness routines, and afterward, a workout buddy system keeps members inspired. In addition, personalized websites track nutritional and fitness info without the need to scratch tally marks on the surface of your human-sized hamster wheel at home.
The Zone Fitness and Wellness Center divides its fitness space into private rooms for personal training, group aerobics, and sipping on smoothies. The workout area is lined with strength and cardio machines from notable manufacturers such as Hammer Strength and Life Fitness, which whir to life as guests embark on self-guided fitness regimens. Trainers conduct over 15 group classes in the aerobics room and provide individualized attention during private training sessions. As patrons exercise, the daycare-room staff keeps a watchful eye on tykes, and team members at the juice bar hand out post-workout refreshments.