For years, Life in Synergy founder Helena Collins was frustrated with her body. Despite vigorously working out and dieting, she wasn't seeing results. But she knew there had to be a way to achieve the figure she wanted while still eating the foods she loved and actually enjoying her workouts. So she set out to find a solution. After more than 30 years of research, she now lives by the motto "Work smarter, not harder," and has developed a fitness method that motivates her clients to make long-term changes through custom nutrition plans, exercise, and life-coaching sessions.
Along with her team of certified trainers, Collins first meets with each client to assess their goals, which might include losing pounds or finally being able to bench-press their older brother. The staff then develops a customized nutrition plan that eschews fad diets and starvation, as well as a fitness plan that hones in on specific problem areas such as the thighs, love handles, and belly. During Life in Synergy's signature Synergistics Fitness Method classes, clients work toward those same goals in a group setting, using exercise bands and medicine balls for low-impact moves that don't damage joints. The metabolism-boosting workouts also emphasize stretching and strengthening weak muscles to correct any imbalances in the body. The trainers further hone in on problem areas during classes including Butts and Guts, Lean Legs, and Abs and Arms.
Fists fly amid a regulation sized boxing ring as the stern commands of an on looking coach keep the fighters in check. Though there may be gravel in his voice, each demand is intended to motivate students of all levels as they hone their boxing skills during small group boxing sessions at Peter Welch's Gym. And leading the pack of coaches who "… will motivate you, but never intimidate you," as told to the Boston Common by Melinda Sarkis—is the owner himself, Peter Welch, a Golden Gloves champion and fighting coach for UFC fighters Kenny Florian and Brock Lesnar. With decades of "old school" boxing experience tucked into his belt, Peter has developed a hands-on boxing program that teaches novice fighters using the same workout as professionals, while instilling confidence through effective conditioning and coaching.
His namesake gym recently moved to a new location that boasts a free weight area, flat screen TVs, and spacious locker rooms. The gym's week-long schedule is open to all including men and women of any age, and has even had visitors such as Anthony Bourdain.
At Peak Fitness, trainers use workouts devised by physical therapists to help groups and individuals get in shape fast, improve their agility for sports, or build functional strength. In one-hour personal-training sessions, trainers lead clients through acceleration drills, core exercises, and functional strengthening exercises that work to reshape bodies. The 3,500 square-foot center features rugged turf, comfortable air conditioning, and full showers, ensuring that busy professionals can return to work fresh and energized.
Drawing from more than 20 years of experience, certified trainer Bobby Spindell doesn’t rely on intensity alone to draw calories from his clients—he also uses rest periods as a fitness tool. Recognizing that fitness is a process that occurs in phases, he motivates clients during boot camps and training classes to complete the full number of reps before giving their muscles strategic rest periods. He advises clients on how to help their bodies recover for the next workouts with low-resistance training, proper sleep, and what to eat after workouts.
Caryn Connarton, owner of Beyond Fitness Pilates Studio, has earned certifications in nearly every fitness fad of the last decade. Though spinning strengthened her quads and aerobics bolstered her endurance, only Pilates delivered full-body results. In her opinion, it's the best form of exercise for people who want to increase their flexibility, improve their posture, and build longer, leaner muscles. At her studio, Connarton and fellow instructors lead group classes that often incorporate several props—BOSU balls build core strength, foam rollers stretch muscles, and rubber chickens tone participants' sense of humor. Instructors also offer private and semiprivate equipment sessions and specialized workouts for specific populations.
In 1990, Christina Rondeau fell in love. With martial arts, that is. After earning her black belt and competing in amateur karate and martial arts tournaments all over the United States and Europe, Rondeau decided to go pro. She travelled the globe as a member and coach on the USA WAKO kickboxing team, and went on to win the women's lightweight title. Rondeau continued to feed her athletic hunger with a switch to pro boxing and appeared in numerous print media and television shows, including The Maury Povich Show.
Having achieved fame and glory, Rondeau took on a new fight: she wanted to help women and children defend themselves while gaining indomitable confidence. She has authored books, created instructional DVDs, and opened Rondeau?s Kickboxing. The 24/7 gym garnered Rhode Island Monthly?s readers? pick for Best Fitness Center in 2010, due in no small part to its empowering blend of fitness and martial-arts-based classes. Rondeau also promotes safety in her community by participating in events geared towards ending violence toward women and girls and teaching local schoolchildren how to defend themselves or pass a math quiz without using weapons. She also coordinated a box-a-thon to help line the shelves of a Rhode Island food bank.