At Shaolin American Self Defense Academy, certified instructors introduce students to the art of Kenpo Karate. The style, which blends elements of Chinese and Japanese principles, enables students to hone their self-defense skills as well as mental discipline. Teachers unveil the art's philosophy and techniques in three age-divided programs that span beginner through advanced instruction. Though based in group classes, individual programs are customized to each student's needs, and include at least one private lesson each week.
Fitness industry veteran Dulcinea Lee Hellings's goal is to bring a high-quality, effective exercise regimen to people who don't love big gyms or can't afford personal trainers. In 2004, she realized that mornings could be used for more than hitting the snooze button over and over for two hours, and founded Boot Camp "Morning Crunch!" to help fledgling exercisers whip into shape.
She designs her all-levels programs to be scream-free morning motivators⎯the first stop in her patrons' journey of daily accomplishments. The fast-paced, ever-changing circuit of strength and cardio exercises keeps bodies guessing and minds from becoming bored. Each of the boot camp's 12 outdoor locations has a different dedicated trainer who gets to know each student personally, remembering their names and memorizing any interesting freckle patterns. They complement their morning routines with a smattering of evening options for those who prefer to work out after the day's activities.
At Muscle Under, boxers pound heavy bags and Cybex weights clink as Pilates classes strengthen and tone clients. Helmed by Australian head trainer Steve Thornberry, the 3,200 square foot facility boasts a fleet of name brand exercise equipment from Precor, Bodymaster, and Tectrix, as well as a dedicated Pilates area with multiple reformers. All trainers study and learn under Steve, and help craft unique fitness programs suited to the goals of each new client.
At Body by Jenn/LA, trainer Jenn Glysson leads rigorous kickboxing sessions that bend fitness and fun. While women's-only small-group training sessions are her specialty, Jenn also offers private training for both men and women, as well as coaching for kangaroos with performance anxiety.
A master Pilates instructor, a boxer, a bodybuilder, a fitness studio owner, and a personal trainer walk into a bar. It sounds like the beginning of an elaborate joke, but really it encompasses every credential Piloxing’s creator, Viveca Jensen, possesses. After years in the fitness industry, the multi-talented Jensen created a workout as diverse as her resume, which has since been featured in magazines such as Women’s Health and O Magazine. A blend of reformer-based Pilates, boxing, and dance, Piloxing is an interval-based workout, whose three components all foster core strength more effectively than allowing a sea walrus to lay on top of you. At her Los Angeles studio, Piloxing, Jensen teaches not only Piloxing, but barre exercises that will hone students’ Piloxing technique, and reformer-based Piloxing classes that also incorporate Wunda Chairs.
Kempo’s movement patterns may look beautiful—fluid, swooping kicks, graceful evasions, smooth takedowns—but underneath the beauty lies a tradition nearly 2,000 years old. Since 1968, the instructors at United Studios of Self Defense have armed students with these techniques, leading classes where participants of all ages and skill levels soak up fighting skill while galvanizing self-confidence.
But before they can share their tactics and Mortal Kombat cheat codes, the instructors themselves must be trained. Each instructor who cinches the black belt around their waist has graduated with honors from the Studio’s own rigorous training academy. The training doesn’t stop there; every week they meet with the founder himself, 10th-degree black belt Charles Mattera, who refines their strategies and instills them with advanced techniques.