Brent Insco had already roundhouse-kicked his way to a black belt in karate, trained with boxers, and learned krav maga when a car crash laid him low. As part of his physical therapy, he soldiered on in his martial endeavors and began the decade-long process of becoming a Brazilian jujitsu master. That was in 2004, and to this day he still makes frequent sojourns to San Diego to study under the BJJ legends, Saulo and Xande Ribeiro, who themselves learned the art at Gracie Humaitá, established by the creator of BJJ, Hélio Gracie. At his own studio, Downriver Jiu Jitsu & Fitness, Insco teaches students of all ages the fighting form—a judo-like discipline founded on the principle that a small fighter can best a larger opponent, as in the tale of David and Goliath or the popular children’s book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, It Will Destroy You. Insco’s trainers also lead fitness classes, such as Latin-inspired Zumba dance, boot camp, yoga, and Bruce Lee’s martial-arts system, jeet kune do, and work with clients one on two in semi-personal-training sessions.
Fitness guru Lisa Nash, whose body-sculpting expertise has benefited clients from U.S. Marines to local doctors, leads fitness classes that privilege cardiovascular training and weight loss over hulking machines and protein powder. Athletes of all ages can shed pounds, shake the police, and increase heart health in more than a dozen motivating classes ranging from 50-minute cardio-kickboxing bouts to 90-minute total-body workouts. High-intensity cardio interval-training sessions incorporate Lisa’s experience breaking in military recruits and aspiring firefighters, and Gams, Butts & Guts tones and tightens the lower body with high-rep aerobics rather than saran-wrap pants. High-steppers, kickboxers, and ab toners wishing to enroll in Lisa’s classes must supply their own weights and mats.
Unlike regular warehouses, with their shelves of boxes and closets full of forklift bones, The Workout Warehouse fills its spaces with a different kind of inventory: lost pounds, new goals, and personal records. And, unlike most gyms, this facility strictly offers classes, creating a communal environment that encourages exercisers to rally around their health-oriented objectives, as well as each other. Through contract-free memberships and drop-in capabilities, guests gain access to multiple classes daily, including spin, boot camp, Zumba, and boxing. Extra inspiration is never too far, as the facility holds frequent contests that add a hint of competition to workout routines.
Before Nick Lopez was a certified personal trainer, he was by his own admission overweight. But instead of seeking a quick fix for his weight-loss woes, he began the painstaking process of researching and experimenting with different exercises until, eventually, the numbers on the scale became smaller and smaller. His findings helped him lose 80 pounds and ultimately turned into the fitness blueprint for his boot-camp classes and personal-training sessions at Weapons 4 Weight Loss. The evolving workouts consist of functional movements such as running, lunges, and maneuvering through an obstacle course without being voted off by viewers at home.
My Tactical Advantage's experienced trainers help their pupils build up a strong sense of self-worth and hone their bodies into shape. A former U.S. Marine Sergeant draws from his experiences bodyguarding presidents and defending embassies to teach his students about fitness and close combat. During aerobic boot camps, he helps them put their doubts and self-judgments in a crippling suplex with kettlebells, stretching, toning exercises, cardio and strength training, cardio kickboxing, and mitt work.
Far more than a mere gym, My Tactical Advantage helps its students build all-important self-esteem. The identity-reconstruction program helps people adopt new personas for themselves by emphasizing positive character traits, such as bravery and the ability to chew through iron bars. In addition to empowering individuals, the fitness and training center aims to improve the community by nipping violence at its root with the pro-responsibility and anti-bullying TRUST youth program.
At Punch Kettlebell Gym, owner and certified fitness trainer Rob Santarossa leads a team of instructors who lead group and private exercise regimens and nutritional coaching to help each client achieve a slim physique and healthier lifestyle. Rob’s dedication to fitness stems from his own early weight-loss struggles, an experience that allows him to coach with empathy and enact appropriate levels of motivation. About 12–15 students partake in the group and boot-camp classes, which stress weight-and-cardio combinations using diverse exercises, each scalable to fit individual needs or allergies to jumping jacks. Kettlebells and other forms of resistance are added along the way to round out the focused 30-minute routines. To help maintain a healthy lifestyle, fitness seekers will also be equipped with online nutritional software, which helps lay out customized meal plans, charts nutritional progress, and shouts warnings of falling anvils.