In his early teens, Mario Godiva Green was overweight. At school, kids bullied him daily, and he was tired of their incessant mockery. At 16, his mother died, providing the catalyst to the dramatic life change that Mario was about to embark on. Over the next 11 years, his rise to prominence in the fitness circles of New York and Chicago was nothing short of meteoric. From modeling for Calvin Klein to pioneering Kangoo workouts in the United States, Mario has been at the forefront of physical fitness. His work has been featured on the New York Times, The Steve Harvey Show, and ABC Nightline.
Today he jet-sets around the world to promote and teach Kangoo to throngs of eager exercisers and underachieving gravity forces, and his Kangoo classes have become one of the trendiest, most exclusive workouts in the city. A firm believer in having fun while exercising, his hip-hop classes are half dance, half fitness class, and he also leads hoppers throughout Manhattan during outdoor boot camps and jogs. The springy shoes reduce the impact on the joints and spine, harnessing the 33 health benefits associated with rebounding without danger to joint cartilage.
Getting fit isn’t just about raising the heart rate; it’s about raising the bar, according to Alan Courtenay, founder of NYC Boot Camp. Alan draws upon psychology coursework, coaching experience, and an NASM-training certification to propel exercisers of all levels toward their goals during challenging 60-minute workouts. Motivation courses through each participant as they engage in core-toning bodyweight exercises, calorie-torching plyometrics, and partner drills that cultivate camaraderie, like a post-apocalyptic slumber party. Most sessions take place outdoors at spacious parks where campers can bask in fresh air and sunshine as they lift hand weights and dash up hills. In addition to building strength, stamina, and muscle tone, campers score a host of freebies, including tools for measuring their progress, invites to fitness-oriented outings, and a NYC Boot Camp T-shirt.
Working up a sweat on the dance floor is one of the quickest ways to boost your mood—and your metabolism. It's easy to achieve that healthy rush at Dance-Zig, where instructors lead dance-fitness parties. Groups can work up a sweat to a soundtrack of high-energy hits by artists such as Rihanna and M.I.A.
Audrey is a physician assistant, a world music lover, a photographer, a scrapbooker, and a traveler. With a professional background in health, a personal penchant for international beats, and a slew of creative, artistic projects dominating the right side of her brain, it's no wonder Audrey excels at leading Zumba's Latin-inspired fitness parties. She's licensed in 5 of Zumba's subspecialties, and she's extremely meticulous about curating the perfect playlists.
CrossFit Midline's trainers don't try to hide the fact that their gym is small. In fact, they take pride in their intimate workout space, knowing that its physical limitations help them pay closer attention to their students. During CrossFit workouts that vary by the day, the trainers lead up to six students through intense exercises designed with functional movements in mind. They also train clients one-on-one, specializing in areas such weightlifting and competitive sweating.
It's hard to predict what will catch the eye first at CrossFit Westchester: the bright neon green columns or the students performing burpees on the floor. Though the exercisers hail from different backgrounds, their WOD—workout of the day—consists of the same movements, scaled to accommodate their individual fitness levels. At the class's head, a certified CrossFit trainer monitors the group's form and times their reps, injecting a healthy dose of competition into the proceedings without scheduling breaks for games of Connect Four.
CrossFit workouts blend weightlifting, calisthenics, and gymnastics-inspired techniques, all of which translate to real-life actions. Owner and CrossFit competitor Chris Guerrero embraces the model's flexibility—he welcomes newcomers to try the same regimen as a top athlete, so long as the loads are adjusted. He even hosts classes for kids in the 3,100-square-foot space, encouraging them to run, jump, and climb during lessons that bolster athleticism and confidence in all body types.