Personal trainer Stephanie Rickert knows first-hand the difficulty of staying in shape amid a hectic lifestyle. At one time a gymnast, dancer, and competitive bodybuilder, Stephanie became a mother at age 27, gaining more than 50 lbs during her pregnancy—weight that she simply couldn't shed after giving birth. She instituted a new battle plan: a combination of rigid exercise—including spin, kickboxing, and weight training—and a personalized nutrition program. Finally, her efforts paid off, and she competed in an amateur bodybuilding contest once again.
Today, Stephanie—along with her own mother, a bodybuilder in her own right—helps others achieve their fitness goals at Destination Fitness, a fully equipped gym set within an open loft in a remodeled 100-year-old barn. Bootcamp sessions combine a variety of exercises to keep workouts fresh, and personal-training sessions customize exercise regimes to suit clients' unique goals. As in Stephanie's original transformation, trainers also provide nutritional guidance to help clients strengthen their weight-loss efforts without being tempted by delicious dumbbells.
Though now spread over the United States with 83 locations, Crunch gym started in a basement-level aerobics studio in New York City. Despite the humble location, the gym's founders aspired to foster a workout environment that would keep members exercising through entertainment and not shouting from drill-sergeant-like trainers. Their idea was to host fitness classes with offbeat touches, including hip-hop aerobics featuring a live rapper and coed action wrestling.
Twenty five years later, Crunch gyms' fitness classes still stray from the beaten path. Body Web with TRX sessions suspend members from a pillar, where they complete gravity-defying maneuvers with help from strong resistance ropes. In Bosu Bootcamp, every exercise is completed on an apparatus that is part balance ball, part core board, and fully endorsed by circus seals nationwide.
There are no put-downs at Beautiful Bodies Boot Camp. Instead, certified trainers motivate clients with a heavy dose of positive feedback in their indoor boot-camp sessions. Boot-camp participants flip giant tires, swing Kettlebells, toss medicine balls into the air, and tie over-sized ropes into square knots. Classes are typically held indoors where artificial turf covers an open space for exercises and a squad of stationery bikes in a corner awaits riders. Clients can also opt for a personal training session held at the gym or in the comfort of their own home. Workouts focus on individual goals, from losing weight to dropping your mile time for the next marathon.
To help women achieve their fitness goals, the certified personal trainers at Get In Shape For Women focus on four areas: weight training, cardio training, nutrition, and accountability. In small group sessions, trainers modify exercises to suit up to four ladies' fitness levels, beginning by calibrating 30 minutes of strength-training drills—such as free weights, lunges, and squats—to each student's abilities. Then comes 25 minutes of cardio: the trainers might start novice exercisers with a walk on the treadmill or light elliptical training, and challenge more advanced exercisers to high-intensity interval-training sessions for enhanced results.
The trainers supplement the group workouts with nutritional planning centered around the concept of eating six small, balanced meals six days a week. They set aside the seventh day for a bit of indulgence, be it eating a favorite sweet or lusting openly after bacon. To track ladies' progress toward reaching their goals, the trainers measure their weight weekly and body-fat percentage monthly.
At Energy Fitness & Performance Center, members can decide what workout suits them best. That's because the sprawling facility allows them to exercise on their own, in a group, or one-on-one with a personal trainer. They can create a personalized workout with treadmills, ellipticals, and free weights in the sun-soaked gym. Or, they can head to the studio for fitness classes such as spinning, Zumba, and boot camp. They can also get pointers on bench-pressing and building muscles during personal training sessions. These sessions are designed to help members reach individual goals such as completing a marathon or having a town in Greece unveil you as a Zeus statue.
Since its inception in 2000, CrossFit has amassed an army of dedicated participants that include everyone from pro athletes to stay-at-home moms. It's no surprise, then, that one of CrossFit's stated missions is "inclusiveness". Just because it accepts anyone regardless of experience, age, or fitness level doesn't mean it's easy, however. CrossFit Parsippany's array of ropes, truck tires, kettlebells, and cardio equipment await anyone with the willingness to exert themselves and commit to improved health. Inexperienced participants don't have to worry, though; instructors safely scale each Workout of the Day, which draws from sports such as gymnastics and Olympic powerlifting, to suit each individual's physical condition and ability. With continued effort, all participants will see marked improvements in everything from strength and power to balance and stamina, resulting in a better quality of life and the ability to play checkers with barbell plates.