After nearly a decade spent working in the health and fitness industry, Joel Thomas wasn't content with his two master's degrees and time spent as a varsity strength and conditioning coach at both the University of Idaho and Washington State University. Joel founded his own practice under the name Out of Bounds CrossFit in 2007, which soon became a full-on CrossFit facility where Joel challenges and surprises members with an ever-changing regimen of fast-paced workouts. He uses kettlebells, medicine balls, dumbbells, and barbells that build muscle through functional movement rather than using machines that isolate individual muscle groups and weights that spit out a chocolate after every rep. Performed properly?that is, with energy and purpose?Joel's approach can increase endurance, strength, and flexibility, and improve overall body composition.
Throughout the week, sneakers pound upon triple-bonded foam as students undergo high-intensity routines combining cardio, resistance-training, core-training, and flexibility exercises at Seattle Boot Camp, where trainers work to motivate others in their journeys toward improved fitness and well-being. Their approach focuses on meals made up of lean meats, vegetables, and fruits, eschewing excessive sugar, salt, and bacon-wrapped donuts deep-fried in bacon-wrapped-donut fat.
CKO Kickboxing's Joseph Andreula opened up his first gym in Hoboken, New Jersey, back in 1997. In that humble location, the fitness guru helped his clients shed their spare pounds and ratchet up their self-esteem with intense kickboxing workouts. Once word got out that Joseph's program of punching and kicking heavy bags got you more ripped than stay-at-home programs of punching and kicking ghosts, the gym caught on. CKO Kickboxing locations began to pop up throughout the country, where the newly expanded company's commitment to delivering heart-pumping workouts even earned a mention on NBC's Today.
Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers in cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group sessions, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, bolster flexibility during yoga, and amp up heart rates along to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines.
At the Gold's Gym Northwest locations, instructors lead water-aerobics sessions within 25-yard salt-purified pools before cooling off in spacious hot tubs. The gyms also boast innovative cardio cinema theaters, where popular films and concession-stand advertisements flicker across massive flat screens as guests peddle away on treadmills and elliptical machines. After lively rounds of racquetball, members can unwind in steam rooms and saunas or sip on replenishing smoothies at the juice bar. During the week, the gyms keep round-the-clock hours.
IncludeYoga has a lot on its schedule; luckily, the options are easy to navigate as the classes are divided into different levels. Brand-new students can begin with an eight-week introductory series before pursuing back-bends, arm balancing, and inversions in the advanced levels. There are other programs designed for a diverse range of students, accommodating for varying ages, fitness levels, and stages in life. There are early-morning and late-evening classes for commuters, Family Friday sessions that are kid-friendly, and specialized studies such as karunta rope work and chair yoga. In addition, there are classes specializing on rehabilitation, recovery, grief, and loss. Despite having the schedule of a larger studio, IncludeYoga prides itself on being smaller, which means students get more individual attention.
Aside from teaching yoga, Include Yoga's instructor Cecilia Boehme is certified to teach Zumba, Zumba Gold, Zumba Step, and Tai Chi for Better Balance.
At Xtra Fitness, there's never downtime to wonder what machines are free or which exercise you should be doing. That's because the gym doesn't have memberships—it's entirely dedicated to the X-Circuit training program, led by owners Steve and Vanessa Herrick. The program puts students through a 45-minute circuit that incorporates both cardio drills and resistance work, challenging them to heft kettlebells, ropes, and their own bodyweight in between running or plyometrics. Two degrees of intensity accommodate guests of different fitness levels, and the trainers closely supervise each circuit, ensuring that everyone gets individual attention without having to raise their hand during a pushup. To stave off boredom, Steve and Vanessa also develop new circuits regularly.