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St. Louis Fitness Boot Camp's creator and head trainer, Johnny King, knows how hard it can be to start working out. Enormous corporate gyms seem designed to intimidate the new exerciser, and the workout genies trapped inside at-home DVDs can only offer motivation after they’ve been put in the player. That’s why he made it his mission to design an exercise program geared toward beginners, providing a low-stakes introduction to training and plenty of positive motivation.

He constructs easy-to-follow circuit training routines that alternate between working the lower body, core, and upper body, relying on the combination of exercises over time to whip bodies into peak shape. His small groups of trainees often encourage one another and help keep one other accountable to exerting their maximum effort during routines. Within the climate-controlled facility, exercisers shed sweat and pounds on spring-loaded floors that ease impact on joints. To supplement the workouts, he and the trainers provide nutritional counseling and even emotional counseling, gently reminding each student why they chose to start working out.

150 Enchanted Pkwy
Ballwin,
MO
US

Even before he founded PowerFit Bootcamp, JR Spear always felt a calling to transform people into fitness machines. A fourth-degree black belt and studied martial artist, Spear spent years training future Marine Corps officers and Iraqi soldiers in self-defense and combat skills. Later, Spear taught his own MMA fitness and cardio-kickboxing classes, along with personal and group training sessions. At PowerFit Bootcamp, he and his staff of fitness instructors encourage each student to persevere by leading motivational and high-energy classes. At 14 indoor and outdoor locations, students undergo full-body workouts designed to jettison fat and tone muscle. Trainers welcome students of all stripes, giving them a period of time to complete each move, rather than a number of repetitions, encouraging each student to do as much as he or she can without feeling uncomfortable, overexerting, or resorting to time travel. Along the way, coaches track progress and motivate students by noting benchmarks during physical fitness tests on the first Monday and Tuesday of each month.

801 Hanna Road
Manchester,
MO
US

Zaggora's founder Dessi was scrambling. She needed to lose a little weight before her wedding, but none of the weight loss products she used seem to move the needle. Eventually, she took matters into her own hands, inventing her own effective method for slimming down. Zaggora's multi-layer capris, tops, shorts, and blazers put the heat naturally emitted by the body during exercise to work burning more calories. A 2012?2013 study conducted by ETScience at University of Southern California showed users wearing Zaggora used less energy to achieve high cardio levels and burned anywhere from 6?18% more calories and than those wearing standard exercise clothing.

Made from a comfortable bioceramic material, the shorts' ThermoFit technology smoothes thighs and other dimple-prone areas by warming body tissues and increasing their metabolic rate. This process boosts energy expenditure before and after exercise, and aids in eliminating cellulite-causing toxins.

14128 Manchester Road
Manchester,
MO
US

Though they are all licensed to lead group workouts, the instructors at ZPower Fitness feel more like party hosts. That's because their Zumba classes evoke the club rather then the gym—they combine modern, energetic music with dance moves that anyone can learn. Guests shimmy along to the beat during regular Zumba classes and incorporate maraca-like hand-weights into the choreography during Zumba Toning classes. For those who aren't in the dancing mood, the teachers offer R.I.P.P.E.D. classes that focus on building muscle. Owner Emily Cook-Willis, a certified personal trainer, can also schedule one-on-one sessions that target specific goals.

233 Lamp and Lantern Village
Town And Country,
MO
US

The Traveling Fitness Center trainers are nationally certified fitness gurus, ready to transform your home space (as long as it's located in the St. Louis County area) into an impromptu shape-up spot. They'll bring all the equipment (Bosu balls, step board, body balls, resistance bands, free weights) necessary to sculpt your physique into the taut, trim profile of a precisely licked ice-cream cone. Each session will last 45 minutes to an hour and will give you the guidance you need to take the first steps in a healthier direction. Two or three people can join in (space permitting), so buy extras and invite some flabby friends over.

298 Vance Road
Valley Park,
MO
US

With machines set up in rows to encourage competition, many ordinary gyms cater to men's bodies and psychology, right down to the urinals that were "accidentally" installed in the women's locker room. At Curves, you'll move around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines use your body weight and fitness level to create resistance that matches your abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.

12 Stonegate Ctr
Valley Park,
MO
US