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.
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.
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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.
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.
At Hayastan-IMB 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.
Featuring exercises that vary each session, boot-camp classes at Body by Buck prove that there's a difference between a workout and a routine. Founder Buck Buhler isn't fond of routine himself; he spent time as a football player, a wrestler, a personal trainer, and even a firefighter. His boot-camp sessions take advantage of his diverse fitness experience, helping participants of all fitness levels improve their condition through widely varied exercises including agility drills, core strengthening, weight training, and relay.