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.
When it comes to the integration of Eastern and Western medicine, Dr. Carlos Chapa might as well be the poster child. He spent nearly a decade learning and practicing Western medicine, first as a medic in the U.S. Marines, then as a civilian paramedic. When he took a sabbatical from his budding medical career to study abroad in China, Dr. Chapa's early interest in natural cures?stemming from visits to his grandmother's small town in Mexico, where she acted as the town healer?took root in the form of Traditional Chinese Medicine. He delved head-first into this new passion, earning his master's degree and then his PhD in Oriental Medicine from Dongguk University in South Korea, which led him to study at one of the world's first hospitals that integrated Eastern and Western principles.
Today, Dr. Chapa brings this integrative approach to clients at Valley Ranch Acupuncture. As a licensed acupuncturist who has treated thousands of patients, he uses this 5,000 year old technique to decrease pain, boost energy, and affect hormone levels in clients, all with the aim of treating the root cause of the issues and not only focusing only on the symptoms. True to his forward-thinking style, Dr. Chapa may even swap out the hair-thin, virtually painless acupuncture needles for a laser. The low-energy beam is used to target the same locations and produce the same results as acupuncture needles, but require no penetration of the skin.
If you ask a professional cheerleader how she got her toned physique, agile limbs, and powerful muscles, she might point you to Jay and Lin Johnson. The husband-and-wife duo are the brains behind Jay Johnson's Boot Camp Fitness?an exercise program designed to slim waistlines and pump up muscles of students of all abilities, from fitness newbies to professionals and prestigious clients such as the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. They have also introduced the program to national audiences through numerous television appearances, including Dr. Phil's Ultimate Weight Loss Challenge.
Drawing from their extensive training in the US Army and years of fitness experience, the pair and a staff of elite trainers?including professional football players and mixed martial artists?lead boot-camp programs in the Dallas area. Within parks, fields, and parking lots, they conduct high-intensity workouts, keeping patrons engaged with constantly varied regimens, along with games, obstacle courses, and scavenger hunts. They focus on functional training throughout the sessions, challenging students to heave barbells, flip tractor tires, and lug fire hoses.
The trainers also offer a specialized cheerleading boot camp ideal for high-school teams training for upcoming seasons or assistant grocery managers seeking ways to motivate their teams of disillusioned bag boys.
Licensed acupuncturist and massage therapist Ariana Geoffrey Stahlka strives to restore the body's balance and harmony with alternative-medicine techniques. Stahlka earned a MS in Oriental medicine and a BS in nutrition at Midwest College of Oriental Medicine, one of the first colleges of acupuncture and Oriental medicine in the United States. She works along the body's energy meridians as outlined in traditional Chinese medicine, using acupuncture to alleviate chronic pain, fatigue, depression, and even aesthetic concerns. She navigates those same meridians during Krashada acupressure-therapy sessions, which uses pressure from hands to help enhance energy flow and release blockages that may cause physical pain, mental discomfort, or poor decision-making during Final Jeopardy!
Along with classic massage techniques, Stahlka utilizes craniosacral and multibody-release therapies to enhance motor function. Her background in nutrition allows her to address physical ailments with the complex art of Chinese herbology.
Austin Fit Magazine named RockBody Boot Camp its Best Boot Camp of 2011 and also lauded its owner, Brian Prinzo, as one of the city’s Top 10 Fittest Trainers in 2010. But for Brian and his staff of experienced trainers, it’s not about the accolades; it’s about helping others lose weight and reach their fitness goals. Classes eschew routine courses of treadmills and bench presses for a variety of challenging workouts that put participants through a mash-up of strength, core, cardio, and interval training designed to push them to their personal limits. Best of all, the workouts provide the motivation and accountability needed to help exercisers push past plateaus, and exercises can be tailored to accommodate many fitness levels and concerns, such as arthritis, body pain, and conjoined sweatbands.
At Sunstone Yoga, students radiate calm and self-awareness as they practice ancient poses designed to stretch, strengthen, and purify the body. Instructors complete 500 hours of training in yogic techniques, teaching, and physiology before leading classes, so they can hand out researched, tested tips on safety and alignment. Most classes come in 30-, 60-, and 90-minute varieties and focus on energy or restorative relaxation. A two-class introductory series welcomes beginners with basic standing poses, and the popular fire series explores up to 34 poses in a 99-degree room that loosens muscles to facilitate deeper stretches as it ousts toxins. Filled with soothing music and 90-degree temperatures, the water series cultivates more serenity than getting a massage from a singing whale.