After Randy Woody lost his aunt and grandmother to diabetes and obesity, he became increasingly distressed about his own 320-pound frame. He began researching weight loss and strength training and set to work creating a healthier lifestyle for himself—all at the age of 13. Over the years he was able to whittle away 145 pounds, and eventually became a personal trainer, competitive bodybuilder, and member of the American College of Sports Medicine. He teamed up with Brenda Woody, a fitness trainer and motivational speaker, to start Michigan Women Boot Camp, a weight-loss program that has transformed the lives and bodies of more than 10,000 clients.
Six days a week, the indoor boot-camp sessions challenge students with a rotating lineup of light running, resistance training, obstacle courses, and core exercises. Like scaffolding that reads only transcendentalist literature, the environment is supportive, yet serious. The Woodys only expect campers to perform to their individual ability level, but they ask students to show up as often as five times a week to get real results. The approach must be working; the Woodys boast that approximately 85% of their members are repeat visitors.
What began in 1975 as one inner-city gym in Highland Park, Michigan, has since evolved into a global health-club organization with locations in 17 different countries. Powerhouse Gym equips weightlifters and cardio bunnies alike with all they’ll ever need to keep—or create—a tight and toned physique. The gym offers equipment outfitted with personal TVs as well as a cast of certified and knowledgeable personal trainers. Depending on location, members will also have access to group fitness classes, such as yoga, Zumba, and Les Mills BodyPump, as well as 24-7 turnkey access to the facility.
Each boot camp spans four weeks of exercise, with classes held up to five days a week. Classes might meet indoors or out, depending on which of the nine locations a client chooses to attend, but the regimen of exercise remains the same. Trainers cook up new routines daily, which might include fitness kickboxing, jump-roping, obstacle courses, or sport yoga, in which the class plays a scrimmage using the first student who manages to contort themselves into the shape of a football.
An ACE–certified personal trainer and lifestyle weight-management consultant, Jimi Varner has taken his appearances on the MTV show I Used to Be Fat and experiences as trainer to contestant Mike Morelli on NBC’s The Biggest Loser to create the Extreme Metabolic Bootcamp. Twelve sessions propel human machines through musketeer training on sandbags, land mines, dueling ropes, medicine balls, and dumbbells, with classes accommodating the sweaty needs of beginner and advanced contenders alike. The Sports Club of Novi encases a 130,000-square-foot natural fitness habitat, where go-getters are free to graze, fly solo, or form predatory collectives.
Fate brought together the owners of ONE Training Studio one random day during a fitness class. Years later, a budding friendship evolved even further as Jen and Michelle teamed up to open their own fitness studio in order to help others fulfill healthy and happy lifestyles. Now, from their bright orange and yellow-hued studio located in the Novi Commerce Center, the pair—who are certified in Zumba, PiYo, Turbo Kick, and RIPPED fitness classes—work alongside a team of experienced instructors and sweat mongers that help students tone their bodies.
The studio's flexible schedule offers 17 styles of group fitness classes and 9 30-minute express classes for all levels of exercisers. When not making a meaningful connection with their students in the fitness studio, Jen and Michelle can be found hosting health-conscious workshops, providing nutritional counseling, and offering lifestyle coaching services.
Equipment: Kickboxing, Body Sculpt, Boot Camp, Zumba, Kangoo Jumps, HIIT
Students should bring: Water and towel
Average class length: 30-60 minutes
Number of Staff: 5–10 people
Class location: Indoors only
Registration required: No
Guests allowed: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Pro Tip: Classes close 5 minutes after they start so be sure to be on time or early. Be ready to sweat.