Based on empirical research and used by professional athletes, including the Florida Marlins, the CrossFit program propels its practitioners toward extreme fitness. CrossFit 101 is a set of eight classes with a no-nonsense but accommodating attitude—all exercises can be modified to take physical limitations into account.
Wading through indoor heated pools, the instructors at British Swim School teach independent swimming skills to learners aged 3 months and older, adhering to a curriculum devised by British national swimmer Rita Goldberg. The 30-minute one-on-one sessions and small-group lessons, containing six or fewer swimmers, elucidate essential techniques for water safety and the importance of speaking fluent manatee. Swimboree (ages 3 months–3 years with parents) and Young Minnows sessions (ages 1–3 years without parents) teach wee swimmers basic water-survival skills, such as the back float. Turtle One and Turtle Two classes focus on freestyle, backstroke, and breaststroke maneuvers, honing more structured swimming skills in older kiddos. British Swim School's Shark courses enhance stamina and speed and teach even more demanding strokes, such as the butterfly and little-known mountain-goat flail. Certain British Swim School classes require parents to participate in the water or to supervise from the pool deck, and adults-only lessons allow grown-ups to refine their own abilities without the supervision of a toddler.
A dull thud shakes the padded floor as Ronny Lindsay drops a barbell after demonstrating squat thrusters to his student. All around him trainers bellow motivation, and the air is damp with the sweat of men and women of all ages powering through the workout of the day. This scenario plays out daily for Bruno and his team of trainers, each of whom holds at least a CrossFit Level 1 trainer certification and listens to a soundtrack of workout grunts on a loop before bed.
The trainers introduce exercisers to CrossFit gradually. They start by teaching On Ramp fundamentals classes and then roll out the workout of the day, which typically includes a nonstop sequence of exercises such as sprints, lunges, and pull-ups. Aside from the daily workout, the trainers oversee a specialized CrossFit Football program, which was created with guidance from an actual professional football veteran.
At CrossFit Miami, it's not rare to hear encouragements and instructions shouted English, Spanish, or Portuguese. Founded by Sao Paulo native Marcio Pizanelli, the gym and adjoining capoeira school boast an international staff of certified instructors hailing from Brazil, Venezuela, and the United States. Marcio and his team promote hard work and competition during each energizing workout, which might include weight balls, rowing machines, pull-up bars, or any other piece of the gym's extensive arsenal. Basic classes emphasize proper form for CrossFit's central lifts, and daily workouts keep muscles guessing with a variable blend of conditioning, strength training, core workouts, and getting chased by a terrier with gross, muddy paws.
Shula’s Athletic Club—named for Don Shula, the NFL Hall of Famer who coached the Miami Dolphins to a Super Bowl trophy in 1972—doesn’t find it hard to fill its sprawling 40,000 square feet of space. A cardio room with more than 50 pieces of equipment, a spinning center, weight rooms, fitness-class studios, and basketball courts spread through the facility, luring athletes for independent workouts and personal-training sessions. Dozens of weekly fitness classes range from calorie-burning Zumba workouts and Vinyasa-yoga sessions to spin classes that help students practice for the day they have pedal-powered cars.
The athletic club also accommodates older exercisers with aquatic aerobics and seated Silver Sneakers workouts, and it keeps kids busy with confidence-building youth sports programs. Young legs run over a new 60-yard athletic field or nine lighted tennis courts where kids whack tennis balls and low-flying hot-air balloons with rackets.
CrossFit 305 traces its lineage back to a modest, 300-square-foot studio that opened in 2008. Shortly after the staff began reading about CrossFit and testing out the workouts themselves, they decided to dedicate their business entirely to the functional fitness program. Even as they restructured their workouts, their studio continued to grow. Today, they hold their group classes in a 3,500-square foot facility equipped with gymnastics rings, kettlebells, and barbells for Olympic lifting.
Co-owner Dominic Sirianni says that many clients are hesitant to begin training at CrossFit 305, due to CrossFit’s reputation as a brutal, challenging workout. He assures them that they shouldn't be worried. "We scale the workout's intensity to their ability," he explains. "We have people as young as 10 years old and old as 77." In fact, it’s this inclusive atmosphere that keeps members coming back for more.
When they aren’t pushing clients to run faster or throw their boulders further, CrossFit 305's certified trainers encourage them to stay mindful of nutrition. They have even partnered with the Florida Heart Research Institute to help them give accurate body-composition readings and determine ideal body-fat percentages.