Since the age of 6, Fernando Rodriguez knew that fitness and athletics would play a big role in his life. While most kids his age were busy at play, Fernando was swimming four hours each day and eagerly counting the hours until his next meet. His hard work paid off, earning him a spot on the Mexican Olympic swim team and instilling him with a passion for fitness that would continue into his adult life.
Today, Fernando draws from his years of athletic and coaching experience to guide others toward their fitness goals in his own private training studio, The Underground Lab. Alongside his staff of fellow certified trainers and fitness aficionados, Fernando leads group workouts that combine traditional exercises with imaginative and innovative techniques. The team also conducts personal-training sessions, employing a variety of cardio and strength-training equipment, and designs a unique 19-day nutrition program to help clients lose weight rapidly in preparation for special events, such as a wedding or an outing in a flimsy rowboat.
At the helm of CrossFit Lawrence is owner Thomas Thatcher. Certified in everything from CrossFit to USA Weightlifting and CPR, he also relies on his experience as a black belt to lead CrossFit classes that are equally eclectic. During those classes, Thatcher and his team of certified instructors guide participants through daily workouts that incorporate varied, functional movements. They get participants flipping giant tractor tires, lifting weights, and throwing medicine balls, all of which use everyday movements and work every muscle group. Their encouraging shouts rattle the walls of the brand-new 6,000-square-foot facility, which brims with a massive bouldering wall and $30,000 worth of CrossFit gear.
HealthRidge Fitness Center is all about options. From more than 80 weekly group exercise classes to sprawling facilities that include a 1/8-mile indoor track, racquetball courts, and cardio machines with personal TVs, both beginning and advanced exercisers can find an activity that moves at their preferred pace. Guests get pumped up in boot-camp sessions taught by instructors who have been certified in a military-instructor training course led by Army National Guard master fitness trainer and staff sergeant Ken Weichert. To calm the mind, a yoga or Pilates class reduces stress while strengthening core muscles. The center also features a workout area and classes designed specifically for kids.
In warm weather, an outdoor pool decorated with a natural-looking rock formation invites swimmers to splash about a tranquil waterfall. Exercisers can unwind after a workout with a pedicure, a massage, or a facial at the Spa at HealthRidge, which has been named one of America?s Top 100 Spas by SpAwards. The caf? and lounge area offers nutritious meals and a cozy fireplace that is ideal for soothing achy muscles or burning cheat-day pages torn from food journals.
The Shop’s dynamic group workouts emphasize mobility and body control, whipping lethargic muscles into shape without the crowded mechanical mishmash of big gyms. Small groups of 4–12 range in age and abilities but unite under a common flag of functional fitness, employing a slew of sandbags, free weights, and other forms of forceful resistance to usurp despotic fat cells. All classes are led by certified CrossFit trainers, whose battle-tested ethos shines through in a swiftly alternating, circuit-style workout format that shuns routine for a diverse range of movements including lifting, sprinting, jumping, dragging, throwing, and scuttling. These high-speed workouts are designed to accommodate military personnel, police officers, and firefighters who often work under stress and fatigue, emboldening participants to bulldoze mental blockades and drink from untapped sources of personal endurance.
When certified fitness instructor Dawn Markley-Stueven mastered the art of teaching Zumba, she still wasn't satisfied. Hungry for more fitness knowledge, she learned all of the workout's offshoots, including Zumba gold—a slower-paced version for seniors—and Zumba toning, which adds maraca-shaped weights to the dance routines. Her Z Circuit classes are probably the biggest departure from the traditional Zumba workout. These 40-minute classes bookend one-minute resistance-training reps with Zumba moves, sculpting muscles with an ever-varied combination of cardio and strength work.
Dawn hosts all of these lessons at Club Z Style Fitness. Though lively Zumba choreography is her specialty, she also spices up the curriculum at her studio with other offerings, from yoga to boot-camp and personal training. She even takes her expertise into the water with Zumba Aqua and swimming classes held at the YWCA or in any home with a burst pipe.
For the trainers at Lionheart Athletic Performance and Fitness, working out is about much more than just getting in shape?it's about creating a healthy lifestyle. That's why they encourage members to combine exercise with a healthy eating plan, offering nutrition sessions that help members learn how to get the most out of their fitness routines. But exercise is just as important, so the trainers cater their workouts to the needs and fitness level of each client, whether they're leading group boot camps or creating a tailored workout plan during personal-training sessions.