C.J. Easter understands the value of physical fitness. As a former defensive back who faced some of college football's most fearsome offenses during a four-year stint with the Stanford Cardinal, he could only be as effective as he was lean. With visions of sleek physiques in mind, Easter earned his personal-training certification from the American Council on Exercise, founded Performance Science Training Institute, and set to work devising a fitness system of his own.
The gym's exclusive Metabolic Movement Training (MMT) System is the result of all that hard work. The system is designed to jump-start the metabolism, so it continues working long after the session is complete by helping the body burn fat all day long. After a dynamic warmup to boost flexibility and coordination, trainers lead students through progressive resistance training to strengthen bones and muscles. Next, exciting, short-burst cardio intervals work to condition the heart and lungs and boost endurance, and a final core-training session chisels the midsection. Every exercise includes modifications and progressions to ensure students at every fitness level will glean benefits, and every session ends with a cool-down and stretch to leave bodies feeling better than when they came in.
The institute's team of instructors also augment MMT exercises with counseling on how to make responsible nutritional decisions and set goals that are both challenging and achievable. This all-over approach doesn't simply help people get fitter; it helps them remake their entire lives in a healthier, happier image.
When Cliff Hodges, the founder and CEO of Adventure Out, graduated from MIT with a degree in electrical engineering, he knew a traditional desk job wasn't for him. According to Technology Review, he quickly gave up his engineering career for the wireless world of the great outdoors, where he began to hike, climb, and surf his way around the world, always staying true to his philosophy of environmental respect and protection.
His travels and business accomplishments have gained some measure of notoriety; he's coached on MTV's Made, consulted for ABC News, and was selected as one of four winners of the 2011 Santa Cruz County Civic Service Award: The Nextie. Adventure Out was also identified for meeting survival skills training standards by The New York Times best-selling author Tim Ferriss in The 4-Hour Chef.
Today, he and his program consultant Tom McElroy lead excursions into the California wilderness to teach backpacking and survival skills, including the tracking of animals and wild ice-cream trucks, and they also guide novices through surfing, rock-climbing, and mountain-biking sojourns. Through fundraising, Adventure Out has helped save Castle Rock State Park from closure and a portion of their proceeds is put directly back into the park.
In 2001, Carrie Rezabek Dorr’s only venue for her Pure Barre workouts—a blend of dance, Pilates, and strengthening stretches—was the basement of an office building. Crowds drawn by Carrie's choreographing expertise and the infectious music of her routines necessitated expansion, however, and Pure Barre soon spread its franchises across the country, spurred by mentions in Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Health magazines.
Pure Barre guides students through precise isometric movements that craft lean, not bulky, muscles. By flowing through scalable maneuvers that balance limbs against a ballet barre, participants can lift and tighten traditional problem areas such as the thighs, abs, seat, and arms. The workout is accessible to all fitness levels, and can help new mothers get back in shape. Intimate classes with a limit of 15 attendees ensure personalized adjustments and tips, allowing each guest to get the most from the workout's alternating strength and stretch drills.
Surrounded by craggy peaks, three men in bright-red helmets stand in the midst of wilderness, surveying the mountains around them as their group of hikers break for a snack on the rocky ground. This interface with the majesty of nature is all in a day's work for this trio of adventurers—Paul Mangasarian and Jakob and Daniel Laggner. Still, their passion for open-air exploration grows with each expedition they lead. Paul, Jakob, and Daniel cofounded Treks and Tracks with the dream of orchestrating excursions into nature that combine ancient means of travel—such as sailing, horseback riding, and hitchhiking on a centaur—with modern sports ranging from surfing to rock climbing. Though they focus on introducing novice outdoorsfolk to unspoiled wilderness around the world, Treks and Tracks' cofounders also strive to leave the awe-inspiring surroundings they visit as pristine as they found them by rigorously upholding practices of environmental stewardship on each expedition.
Fueled by the passion and expertise that led to a degree in kinesiology, certified personal trainer Audra Baker established Be Fit Boot Camps to help patrons of all fitness levels to get in shape. Audra has since headed up a 2012 weight-loss challenge?featured on NBC Bay Area?and contributed to 3 Steps to Your Best Body in Record Time, a compilation of fitness advice penned by field experts.
Her determination teams up with nonjudgmental encouragement, inspiring students with enthusiastic, kind words and copious foot-fives. Following Audra and her trio of highly skilled instructors, clients sprint through outdoor boot-camp drills and swing kettlebells in a semiprivate setting, and they also work one-on-one during personal-training sessions pushing toward their desired physiques. Body-composition assessments, measurements, and nutritional tips augment services to round out clients' newly realized lifestyles.
Created by former personal trainer and kinesiology degree-holder Jill Dailey McIntosh, The Dailey Method unites elements of muscle strengthening, core conditioning, yoga, and orthopedic exercise to work major muscle groups and improve alignment. Participants perform active stretches and controlled exercises that may enlist such equipment as ballet bars and saltwater taffy. An emphasis on neutral spine positions helps further home in on proper alignment and tone musculature. The Saratoga and Los Gatos locations' founder, experienced fitness guru Macey Kalin, and her team of instructors trained under The Dailey Method for three to four months, refining their understanding of the hybrid technique. Trainers aim to provide one-on-one attention to all students, helping ensure effectiveness and a personalized workout more easily than fingerprinting a pair of gym shorts.