It was the back pain that convinced Clint Bigham to give up a promising career in golf—he competed in junior tournaments against greats such as Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia, going pro at age 20—and begin exploring the world of yoga and Pilates for the healing he sought. Now a certified personal trainer and the founder of We Fit Gym, Clint spends his time helping people shrink waistlines and feel energetic enough to perform superhuman feats, such as attending a nudist convention fully clothed. His gym is an oasis that tradition and innovation happily share; conventional equipment and classes work in tandem with ROM (Range of Motion) machines, TurboSonic, and HyperGravity vibration trainers, and an infrared sauna whips bodies into shape with low risk of injury and maximum efficiency. Before clients begin building strength and setting calories afire, Clint consults with them to develop a custom fitness program, covering nutrition basics, recommending workout routines, and exposing the sad, sad truth about motivational posters.
With a career that has spanned three decades⎯including a starring role in more than 60 fitness DVDs, lectures in more 14 countries, and work published in Men’s Fitness, Shape, and the LA Times⎯John Garey, founder of John Garey Fitness & Pilates, has certainly left an indelible mark on the fitness industry. The studio that bears his name upholds the philosophy that fitness should be fun. Its group fitness studio hosts equipment for TRX-suspension and trampoline-fitness classes, as well as rows of heavy bags and dumbbells for boxing and boot camps. The Pilates room features Stott Pilates Reformers, and nearby, 26 Spinner Pro cycles sit waiting to hum under the command of certified Spinning instructors. In addition to group classes, John's team of trainers conducts private training sessions in the personal-training room and provide teacher-training programs to initiate others into their elite group.
Sunlight floods through the floor-to-ceiling windows of The Studio by Bridget, beaming across the sparkling canals of Long Beach to illuminate 1,900 square feet of space. Lined against the walls, Pilates equipment ranges from Reformers to more unusual gear used in private training, such as the ladder barrel and the stability chair, ideal for seated workouts that give students a more rigorous exercise than cranking a recliner footrest up and down. On this equipment—or on simple Pilates mats—the studio’s team hosts classes that lengthen and strengthen muscles, balancing physiques and enhancing flexibility through regimens involving stretching, breathing, resistance training, pulleys, and cables. The staff complements its Pilates offerings with spinning classes and TRX sessions, whose Reformer workouts were designed by a Navy SEAL.
At Live In Fit, Alycia Sumlin-Lyrse and her team of certified trainers take a benevolent approach to fitness classes. The team uses spirituality and integrity as motivating forces to achieve physical health and believe that being good examples of fitness themselves is the best way to get their students motivated to change their lives. Accordingly, their boot camps and circuit-training classes eschew the harsh yelling and humiliating diary reading of typical routines for positive reinforcement and friendly encouragement. The fitness gurus will even travel to places of business and customize workout programs for employees to help banish sick days and boost productivity.
Kava Yoga's certified instructors sprinkle elements of Ayurveda into every class and workshop while helping yoginis of all flexibility levels balance the mind, the body, and the spirit. Selecting from an expansive schedule sorted by skill level, novices can build balance in a Flow 1 class, filled with breathing exercises and basic stretches, or try a Hatha 2 class, which challenges seasoned body benders, teaching them to arrange their chakras in alphabetical order. Gentle restorative yoga's soft music helps beginners to ease into yoga with candles lit along the studio wall, a practice that can be recreated more effectively at home with an aromatherapy candle than by filling the fireplace with air fresheners.