At OC Fitness Boot Camp, exercise isn’t just about summoning an instant endorphin rush or fitting into a smaller pair of jeans a few weeks down the line. It’s about helping people live longer, healthier lives. Held at scenic parks and beaches, workouts help participants cultivate a love of fitness that endures when life throws them a curveball or a water balloon filled with chocolate pudding. Here, participants of all fitness levels cheer one another toward goals during strength-building exercises such as burpees, squats, push-ups, and sit-up variations. In addition to torching calories, running and jumping drills fill the group with energy, like a pep rally led by anthropomorphic lightning bolts. A seasoned instructor oversees each camper, doling out exercise demos, technique tips, and a hearty dose of motivation.
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.
The couple behind Project FitFam understand the juggling act of life; keeping up with their careers, marriage, and two toddlers can be a handful before you take into account the need to exercise. They share this story with many of their clients, and they also share the strategies they've developed for making a little extra time to take care of yourself. They run an array of fitness boot camps that incorporate kickboxing, kettlebells, and plyometrics and are held outdoors at local parks. They even set aside specific dates for playdate fitness camps, where parents work out as their kids frolic on a nearby playground.
Stepping into Ja Yoga feels almost like stepping into a jungle paradise, with plants spilling from their pots and energizing sunshine streaming in from a floor-to-ceiling window. It is within this relaxing space that Ja Yoga’s seven instructors, led by owner Mic Ja, teach three levels of classes: relaxing beginning classes, strengthening intermediate classes, and rigorous advanced classes. To offer their client's a range of options and class times, they hold classes 27 times per week in the bamboo-floored studios.
Leah Marsh discovered Pilates in college, but she never though it's where her career path would end up. After working at a luxury magazine and then for an eco-fashion designer, however, she found her way back to Pilates and opened a studio in her hometown of Long Beach. Marsh now operates two Pilates X studios, each of which hosts a diverse array of Pilates, yoga, and cardio classes. For all of their differences, these classes share an emphasis on toning muscles with Pilates techniques. Marsh has even put to use her background in eco-conscious fashion, stocking her studios with boutique sportswear and encouraging her students to only deadlift renewable trees.
Gabriel Hall, owner of Yoga World Studios, discovered yoga at the age of 19 while pursuing his degree in philosophy. Dr. Allen Arnette—already the clinical director of the Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Department—began studying yoga as a way of researching the role mental well-being plays in healing physical ailments. Katherine Ostrout studied dance science at Cal State Long Beach and turned to Pilates after a ballet injury laid her low. These three weave their diverse backgrounds into the rich tapestry of talent made up by Yoga World’s team of yogis.
Having studied extensively in particular schools of yoga, instructors bring their individual training into the studio, focusing on disciplines that range from the physically challenging to mentally reflective, and include Iyengar, Ashtanga, Viniyoga, and Anusara. In addition to their regular yoga lessons, the Yoga World team also leads mat-Pilates classes, workshops, and private instruction. They use the art of yoga for healing in one-on-one sessions of Thai yoga therapy, which blends shiatsu massage with acupressure, or they coordinate beachside retreats full of yoga, surfing, and yoga-surfing.