An all-female team of fitness and nutrition experts creates a spa-like setting at Elements to help women feel comfortable while working out instead of toiling in a weight-filled warehouse. European-designed "smart" machines use advanced technology to personalize workouts by greeting each member by name, remembering their personal settings and performance, and serving as a digital coach throughout the session. For a more human touch, the center's personal lifestyle coaches develop highly tailored diet and exercise plans for each member, following up with them to provide support, encourage progress, and check for untied shoelaces. After workouts, women can relax in the detoxifying warmth of an infrared sauna or atop the warm, soothing jets of a hydromassage bed.
After Randy Woody lost his aunt and grandmother to diabetes and obesity, he became increasingly distressed about his own 320-pound frame. He began researching weight loss and strength training and set to work creating a healthier lifestyle for himself—all at the age of 13. Over the years he was able to whittle away 145 pounds, and eventually became a personal trainer, competitive bodybuilder, and member of the American College of Sports Medicine. He teamed up with Brenda Woody, a fitness trainer and motivational speaker, to start Michigan Women Boot Camp, a weight-loss program that has transformed the lives and bodies of more than 10,000 clients.
Six days a week, the indoor boot-camp sessions challenge students with a rotating lineup of light running, resistance training, obstacle courses, and core exercises. Like scaffolding that reads only transcendentalist literature, the environment is supportive, yet serious. The Woodys only expect campers to perform to their individual ability level, but they ask students to show up as often as five times a week to get real results. The approach must be working; the Woodys boast that approximately 85% of their members are repeat visitors.
USA Athletic Club & Spa’s 61,000-square-foot health center rolls out sundry exercise machines and fitness classes, hosting sweat sessions 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The club boasts such amenities as saunas, steam rooms, a lap pool, a basketball court, and an indoor track, along with more than 100 cardio-centric machines, each equipped with a flat-screen TV, allowing fit seekers to fuel their workouts with heart-pumping reruns of Bob Ross’s Joy Of Painting. Held seven days a week, group classes welcome patrons of all fitness levels with offerings such as Zumba, yoga, and spinning, which works glutes and calves inside the well-equipped spin studio. Workouts are complemented by an array of massage services performed by licensed muscle menders, who burgeon relaxation and alleviate aches with a mélange of modalities including deep-tissue, reflexology, hot-stone, and Swedish massage.
Each boot camp spans four weeks of exercise, with classes held up to five days a week. Classes might meet indoors or out, depending on which of the nine locations a client chooses to attend, but the regimen of exercise remains the same. Trainers cook up new routines daily, which might include fitness kickboxing, jump-roping, obstacle courses, or sport yoga, in which the class plays a scrimmage using the first student who manages to contort themselves into the shape of a football.
Elaine Economou and Robin Krienke founded Move to help others live healthier, happier lifestyles. Together, they boast 20 years of professional exercise and wellness experience, including time spent working as instructors of Pilates and Gyrotonic—two of the many disciplines they now offer within their tranquil studio. Variety is key here—Pilates practitioners, for instance, choose from mat and equipment classes that include Pilates Reformer and Cardio-Tramp, Pilates with props, Pilates for golfers and pre- and post-natal Pilates, among others. Yoga devotees can choose from styles such as vinyasa flow, power vinyasa, and core yoga. Wellness and nutritional coaching helps students maximize the effects of their workouts, while massage therapists knead away muscular tension and the emergency pizza dough most exercisers carry on their backs. In addition to all these wellness services, Move also contains a juice and smoothie bar where fresh libations usher vitamins into daily diets, as well as an on-site boutique that hooks shoppers up with fitness apparel, accessories, and skincare products.
Free weights and cardio machines seem to sprout everywhere at Thrive Martial Arts and Fitness, where working out is about more than just losing weight. The gym focuses on cross-training using small-apparatus equipment such as kettle bells, battle ropes, stability balls, and free weights as well as body-weight exercises for boot camps and personal training. These dynamic activities both strengthen bodies and provide a source of inner motivation. Women's self-defense classes teach a series of techniques for disengaging and incapacitating an attacker or a leering display mannequin, and the wrestling club helps youths get out their aggression and build up a sweat on the mat. For a more targeted workout, individuals, couples, or groups of friends can opt for the individualized instruction of personal training, fighting, or self-defense sessions. In addition to physical activity, personal training programs put an emphasis on diet and nutrition.