Total Training Boot Camp shares several key attributes with military-style training, the most obvious of which is an amped-up level of intensity. The differences, however, are just as notable. Trainers never attempt to motivate their students with harsh words and yelling, instead opting to inundate them with positive support. Students need every ounce of encouragement they can get as they struggle through workouts designed to achieve a three-pronged objective: burn fat, sculpt muscles, and improve the quality of daily life.
Each punishing boot-camp session engages the legs, abs, arms, shoulders, and internal hard drive to slenderize the body in as short a time as possible. Total Training Boot Camp's workouts challenge athletes of all levels; their scalable nature and wide appeal helped the company place as a finalist for CityVoter's Best Boot Camp in 2011. Aside from the flagship boot camps, trainers offer personal-training sessions that customize workouts to specific body types and goals.
MyGym Children's Fitness Center, which currently has more than 200 international locations, began more than 30 years ago as a structured place for children to safely play, acquire new skills, and romp off a sugar buzz. All classes are organized according to age level?starting as young as 6 months and skewing up to 3 years and 3 months?and designed to incorporate the latest physiological and psychological research. Tiny Tykes gets babies moving with help from their parents, Mighty Mites teaches toddlers self-reliance and beginning sports skills, and Champions?a class for kids aged 6 to 9?emphasizes the importance of using teamwork to master more complex sports skills and achieve group goals such as building a human pyramid to reach the cookie jar. MyGym's energetic instructors are experts at using music, dance, and gymnastics to build youngsters' strength and self-esteem while stimulating their giggle-plexes. The noncompetitive environment fosters creativity and hands-on activities boost children's learning retention and fun quotient.
Joanna Cotta Leadbetter spent more than a decade as a ballerina, wowing audiences with feats of graceful athleticism. Now, as the founder and lead trainer at The Sculpt Barre, Leadbetter blends this passion for dance with fitness—drawing from different disciplines to create intense, low-impact workouts. Leadbetter and her instructors lead small groups through different intervals at the ballet barre, which allows exercisers to use their own body weight for resistance. Combined with stretches, these barre exercises promise numerous benefits, including increased strength, better posture, and enough flexibility to finally fit inside a piece of carry-on luggage.
Like a blacksmith at the anvil, the trainers at Extreme Pilates temper cores against the Reformer. Over the course of one hour, students leverage their own body weight on a system of ropes and pulleys to sculpt bodies with long, lean muscles. The workouts target abs to help students improve posture, straighten alignment, and protect their delicate caramel centers. After sweat sessions, patrons may take advantage of the spa-like facilities, which include showers and a steam room. An onsite nutritionist and massage therapist further foster relaxation and wellness, and the daycare staff preserves parents' sanity.
Named one of the top five best Pilates studios in the OC in 2008 and 2009 by CityVoters, ABC Pilates molds muscles and tones tendons with a variety of classes and techniques. Mat flow classes combine traditional mat work with free weights, bands, and stability balls, improving your ability to walk while holding a chest freezer overhead. Rubber band enthusiasts can try TRX, a suspension system designed to increase strength using your own body weight. Zumba is a cardio carnival that blends Latin rhythms and easy-to-follow moves to create a sweaty dance-off, and boot camp is an indoor/outdoor class that mixes cardio, body weight exercises, and interval and strength training. To build strength, flexibility, and balance while working the mind, take a yoga class.
Inside CrossFit Laguna Niguel, there's cheering, clapping, and yelling. There's also grunting, sweating, and the clamor of weights as they hit the floor. It's all part of an environment that sets exercisers up to succeed—as long as they're willing to charge into every session full-bore. Here, Workouts of the Day challenge muscles with CrossFit's always varied, always intense lineup of movements. Some of those movements are based in gymnastics, some in weightlifting. No matter the day's game plan, the facility's coaches remain nearby to infuse workouts with extra doses of motivation and direction.