Before he became a certified personal trainer in 2008, Daniel Cone served in the US Army for two years in an infantry division that specializes in parachute operations. Today, he uses his military training to lead boot-camp classes and personal-fitness programs at Xtreme Fitness. The indoor and outdoor boot-camp classes incorporate weight training and a range of exercises such as lunges, jumping jacks, and shoulder dips. Daniel or another certified instructor performs individual body adjustments throughout the class and modifies exercises in order to accommodate all fitness levels. Xtreme Fitness enhances personal-fitness programs with cross training, fitness evaluations, and nutrition and lifestyle coaching. For a more relaxing workout, clients can take a morning yoga class or do pushups during a bubble bath.
With machines set up in rows to encourage competition, many ordinary gyms cater to men's bodies and psychology, right down to the urinals that were "accidentally" installed in the women's locker room. At Curves, you'll move around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies to promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage your machine maneuvering and your muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines use your body weight and fitness level to create resistance that matches your abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
Boasting an 18-hole championship-style golf course and a golf school helmed by experienced professionals, Country Club of Orange Park helps duffers hone swings on and off the course. Cure chronic slices or the putting yips with the help of former PGA Tour pro Charles Raulerson and assistant instructor David Ven Vertloh. During small-group lessons of less than 10 students, Charles focuses on the simplistic but crucial elements of posture, alignment, and technique to help pupils on their path to mastering the subtle art-science of the golf swing. Charles also draws from a professional career that included three PGA Championship berths, several International Tour victories, and earning global renown for matching plaid with argyle.
When fibromyalgia blindsided Kimberli Hargnett in 1995, she was shaken to the core by the chronic pain and depression that resulted. But—determined to regain her former strength and inspired by her faith in God as healer—she persevered, pursuing the study of natural health and exploring the realm of Kripalu yoga. And in 2008, the year the stock market finally apologized for crashing, she founded Life’s Journey Yoga and Wellness as an oasis of healing and spiritual peace for all those who suffer. Today, Kimberli’s studio is the flagpole around which a congregation of talented therapists, acupuncturists, and yoga instructors gathers every day. Their focus is always fixed on wellness, whether the context is yoga, nutrition counseling, life coaching, or hypnosis therapy. Kimberli and company’s life philosophy makes room for the kids, too—holistic consultations are available for children, as are integrative YogaKids classes.
Each 60 minute Jazzercize class incorporates moves from hip-hop, yoga, Pilates, jazz dance, kickboxing, and resistance training (with handheld weights) to a total-body workout complete with cardio, strength training, and stretching techniques. Dancing With the Stars multiple-champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of Jazzercise's improvisational workouts, though luckily you won't need her dance moves to get the most out of your class. If you're prone to first-class jitters, simply review the basic moves online before you go. Expect to burn off up to 500 calories with each go-round.
The trainers at Transformation Fitness aren't just there to set clients loose on one-size-fits-all gym machines—their boot-camp programs and wellness advice lay the foundation for a new, sustainable lifestyle. A blend of strength, cardio, and core-toughening drills populate their camp sessions to slim down physiques of all ages and builds. Versed in exercise science and spotting techniques, the teaching team emphasizes proper form to ward off injuries. Personal training appointments and other classes, such as Zumba and kickboxing, can add variety to the workout regimen.
Sweat, however, is only one part of the fitness equation—instructors also craft realistic nutrition plans and track each client's progress with measurements, body-fat assessments, and paid treadmill informants. This all-around approach leads clients to become totally self-sufficient at setting and meeting their holistic health goals.