Based on empirical research and used by professional athletes, including the Florida Marlins, the CrossFit program propels its practitioners toward extreme fitness. CrossFit 101 is a set of eight classes with a no-nonsense but accommodating attitude—all exercises can be modified to take physical limitations into account.
Shula’s Athletic Club—named for Don Shula, the NFL Hall of Famer who coached the Miami Dolphins to a Super Bowl trophy in 1972—doesn’t find it hard to fill its sprawling 40,000 square feet of space. A cardio room with more than 50 pieces of equipment, a spinning center, weight rooms, fitness-class studios, and basketball courts spread through the facility, luring athletes for independent workouts and personal-training sessions. Dozens of weekly fitness classes range from calorie-burning Zumba workouts and Vinyasa-yoga sessions to spin classes that help students practice for the day they have pedal-powered cars.
The athletic club also accommodates older exercisers with aquatic aerobics and seated Silver Sneakers workouts, and it keeps kids busy with confidence-building youth sports programs. Young legs run over a new 60-yard athletic field or nine lighted tennis courts where kids whack tennis balls and low-flying hot-air balloons with rackets.
Wading through indoor heated pools, the instructors at British Swim School teach independent swimming skills to learners aged 3 months and older, adhering to a curriculum devised by British national swimmer Rita Goldberg. The 30-minute one-on-one sessions and small-group lessons, containing six or fewer swimmers, elucidate essential techniques for water safety and the importance of speaking fluent manatee. Swimboree (ages 3 months–3 years with parents) and Young Minnows sessions (ages 1–3 years without parents) teach wee swimmers basic water-survival skills, such as the back float. Turtle One and Turtle Two classes focus on freestyle, backstroke, and breaststroke maneuvers, honing more structured swimming skills in older kiddos. British Swim School's Shark courses enhance stamina and speed and teach even more demanding strokes, such as the butterfly and little-known mountain-goat flail. Certain British Swim School classes require parents to participate in the water or to supervise from the pool deck, and adults-only lessons allow grown-ups to refine their own abilities without the supervision of a toddler.
A dull thud shakes the padded floor as Ronny Lindsay drops a barbell after demonstrating squat thrusters to his student. All around him trainers bellow motivation, and the air is damp with the sweat of men and women of all ages powering through the workout of the day. This scenario plays out daily for Bruno and his team of trainers, each of whom holds at least a CrossFit Level 1 trainer certification and listens to a soundtrack of workout grunts on a loop before bed.
The trainers introduce exercisers to CrossFit gradually. They start by teaching On Ramp fundamentals classes and then roll out the workout of the day, which typically includes a nonstop sequence of exercises such as sprints, lunges, and pull-ups. Aside from the daily workout, the trainers oversee a specialized CrossFit Football program, which was created with guidance from an actual professional football veteran.
At CrossFit Miami, it's not rare to hear encouragements and instructions shouted English, Spanish, or Portuguese. Founded by Sao Paulo native Marcio Pizanelli, the gym and adjoining capoeira school boast an international staff of certified instructors hailing from Brazil, Venezuela, and the United States. Marcio and his team promote hard work and competition during each energizing workout, which might include weight balls, rowing machines, pull-up bars, or any other piece of the gym's extensive arsenal. Basic classes emphasize proper form for CrossFit's central lifts, and daily workouts keep muscles guessing with a variable blend of conditioning, strength training, core workouts, and getting chased by a terrier with gross, muddy paws.
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.