Dianna Akar isn't the least bit intimidated by the fact that her clients all start at different fitness levels. On the contrary, she relishes the challenge, tailoring her programs to align with each of their goals. Akar is a certified personal trainer, using her experience to helm outdoor boot-camp sessions for both men and women that draw from yoga, aerobics, plyometrics, strength training, and chimney sweeping.
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, which has indoor and outdoor locations in Missouri and North and South Carolina, a staff of fitness instructors encourage each student to persevere by leading motivational and high-energy classes. 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.
Devan Kline was a pitcher in the minor leagues for the San Francisco Giants, focusing his attention on making it to the majors when another career opportunity blindsided him. In the summers of 2009 and 2010, he began helping Vanessa?the mother of the host family he lived with during home games?train to get back on shape. Devan witnessed firsthand her rapid transformation as she lost 45 pounds, and he saw the positive impact it had on her and her family's lives. The grateful clan told Devan that his time with them had changed their lives, and it?s then that he knew he wanted to dedicate himself to helping others in the same way. That?s when he founded Burn Boot Camp.
Now, Devan?with the help of a coterie of trainers?conducts indoor boot camps in six locations, using exercises that Devan himself used to get into shape during his days as a professional athlete. The team supplements those regimens with loads of body-weight-resistance training and heart-pounding cardio drills that include sprinting short distances.
The coaching staff at D1?which is co-owned by professional athletes such as NFL player Peyton Manning, MLB player Chipper Jones, and NFL player Philip Rivers?refuses to discriminate between professional athletes and everyday exercisers. They scale the strength-and-cardio workouts of their group boot-camp classes and one-on-one intensive courses to individual abilities, bringing out the best in each student regardless of his or her workout history.
The typical D1 gym houses modern indoor turf fields with adjoining weight rooms, giving instructors the space to invent expansive obstacle courses that may require students to lift tires or tug 747s. In the boot-camp program, coaches meet with students one-on-one to discuss progress and find ways to improve. Each facility also houses a sports-therapy clinic, where expert therapists ease muscle injuries through rehabilitation programs and strength-restoring exercises.
In addition to conquering triathlons, Regina Gunn has put her athletic prowess to use transforming college-level football, tennis, and soccer athletes into optimum versions of themselves, earning herself a feature in July 2009?s issue of Shape magazine, according to staff. She eventually founded Gunn?s Fitness with Air Force Staff Sergeant Kevin Ardnt to bring her fitness expertise to the public. The duo draws from military conditioning techniques and athlete-level speed and strength-training programs, boiling these complex sciences down into one-hour sessions. They work in a vast facility lined with free weights, dumbbells, state-of-the-art strength machines, and giant exercise balls pilfered from the toy chests of Brobdingnagian toddlers.
At Hayastan-MMA Mixed Martial Arts, expert fighters teach adults and kids to not only fend off potential attackers, but also to evade a less tangible assailant: workout boredom. Rather than training with repetitive treadmill runs, students tone their physiques in combat classes using techniques such as grappling?a mostly ground-based style that blends jujitsu, judo, and wrestling. Kickboxing-and-MMA-fusion courses mix knee and elbow strikes with classic kicks and punches, and multiple levels of fitness boot camp burn fat, bolster endurance, and strengthen and condition bodies.