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.
Arthur Murray has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and The Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, The Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
Spanning across 3,000 square feet, a New York loft-like setting with brick walls gives way to padded black floors, both spaces teeming with energetic exercisers and knowledgeable instructors. Students are led through a variety of group classes for all fitness levels, with high-energy cardio workouts to be found in the Zumba classes or coed kickboxing classes that pummel 20 hanging kickboxing bags. Other classes include kickboxing under blacklights, called glow boxing, cross box, kick boxing, cardio confusion with a mix of cardio and strength training, ab lab to focus tightening cores, yoga, barre 90, and pole technique. A high-tech sound system blasts motivating tunes as guests work out in groups or at their own pace, using the free weights, Bosu balls, and step benches as tools for chiseling their physiques.
Opened in 2007 as a venue for its signature FitBarre workouts, BodyFit beckons clients of all ages and builds to its intimate group classes. FitBarre movements mingle Pilates and ballet with free-weight lifts and stretches to forge flexible, toned physiques. The exclusive men's division and popular TRX suspension training round out the roster, while personal training and nutrition planning aids the pursuit of a streamlined frame.
BodyFit's instructors all commit to personalized guidance, patrolling classes to adjust clients' body alignment and whisper pep talks to individual vertebrae. The teachers can also point the way to an onsite boutique, which outfits patrons in vibrant gym wear from brands such as Lululemon Athletica and offers Beverly International supplements.
At Seung-ni Fit Club, natural light flows in from large windows to illuminate punching bags, free weights, and TRX straps that surround an expansive studio beneath high ceilings. In this setting, students of all ages and ability levels obliterate calories under the watchful eye of instructors, who aim to get to know each participant and contribute to a convivial atmosphere. Five programs, such as the eight-week Body Challenge, join drop-in classes of Zumba and Kangoo Jumps on the packed schedule, whose classes go from early morning to late evening.
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.