Although he's now a fitness expert and personal trainer to the stars, Todd "The Bodyman" wasn't always in perfect health. Todd struggled with both childhood lung disease and a ballooning waistline before losing more than 40 pounds and reclaiming a healthy lifestyle. Not only did he overcome those obstacles, he went on to become a black-belted martial artist, serve in the US Army, and eventually marshal his expertise as an active-lifestyle consultant for NBC 4 television. Today, Body by Todd's online resum? sparkles with celebrities such as actor Danny Glover, NFL pro and sports anchor Cris Carter, and recording artist Marti Dodson.
It's not just Todd who has emerged victorious from personal health battles. His team of trainers?which includes new moms and former cheerleaders, gymnasts, and soccer players?has each eked out hard-scrabble victories against excess weight, losing 25?75 pounds each. Todd and his crew have helped more than 10,000 clients reach their fitness goals with custom programs, using straightforward nutritional guidelines and exercises that, like dinner parties spent rubbing elbows with famous Muppets, are easy on the joints.
History pulses through Lemko Hall, a turreted brick building in Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood. Over the past century, it has served as a saloon, a ballroom, and a movie set where stars Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken filmed a scene for The Deer Hunter in 1978. Nowadays, one of the space's tenants, Studio 11, channels an even older legacy: the yoga tradition of ancient India.
The studio's seasoned teachers impart moving meditations that have been passed down from generation to generation via careful instruction and epic games of telephone. Classical Hatha poses help yogis of all levels cultivate strength and flexibility as they learn to center their minds and control their breath. Students steep their minds in yoga's meditative qualities during flowing, breath-focused Vinyasa routines or explore the practice’s athletic side during Ashtanga sessions teeming with dynamic poses and vigorous thumb-wrestling bouts. Those seeking a more private yoga experience can engage in a Thai massage, in which a trained practitioner guides the body through assisted poses and stretches.
Yoga-inspired Pilates sessions revolve around centuries-old isometrics that promote balance and help chisel the core. Students seeking a full immersion in yogic history can enroll in studio-sponsored trips to India, which pair yoga classes with sunset meditations and spiritual discourses.
Fran DiBattista initially opened BeneFit Studio, Salon, & Spa as a wellness studio with expert fitness instruction. The next step seemed only logical: after clients have worked on their physique, offer Aveda salon and spa treatments to beautify the rest of their bodies. The studio caters to athletes with boot camps, personal training, assisted stretching, and nutrition counseling, all designed to help clients burn calories and sculpt their bods. In the salon and spa, stylists and beauticians also pamper customers with services that range from hair cuts and styles and Aveda coloring to facials, body waxing, nail treatments, and massage.
The trainers at TNT Bootcamp make failure a near impossibility by demanding discipline and commitment from each of their charges. Though their words are kind and demeanors are friendlier than that of a teddy bear with a hospitality degree, the instructors of the intense four-week boot-camp program ensure campers adhere to a regimen of weekly weigh-ins, participate in a minimum of three weekly workouts, and maintain a food journal. Any lapse in duties or weight gain incurs a penalty, which TNT Bootcamp has found keeps participants on track even after they reach their goal weight. By completely remolding eating and exercising habits through boot camp and nutritional counseling, trainers help their pupils shed as much as 5 pounds a week. For attendees more interested in recreational exercise, the Just 4 the Health of It program waives penalties. Exercisers can also tone up in classes such as Zumba and the weekly Saturday Sweatshop, which keeps already fit frames in shape and ready to run away from bears at all times.
Professional Latin dancer and certified Zumba instructor Tabra Tacuri embraces the link between dance and fitness: her dance career with longtime partner Anthony—an award-winning dancer certified by the National Dance Council of America and Arthur Murray—has helped her maintain an enviable shape. Together, they lead others in slimming down while strutting their stuff on the dance floor with a combination of ballroom dance and dance fitness classes at Fit 4 Life Ohio. The pair leads group and private dance lessons in ballroom, Latin dance, and Argentine tango and works with betrothed couples to perfect their first dance for their big night. Shifting the focus to fitness, Tabra once again calls upon her Latin-dance training to help dancers of all levels shimmy their way to narrower waistlines during her high-energy Zumba and Zumba toning classes.
She further motivates clients to reach their fitness goals with in-home personal training and nutrition coaching. In her e-fitness program, she leads personal training and group fitness classes via webcam and Skype, allowing clients to get in shape at home or on a crowded commuter train. The e-training sessions also include personal assessments and interviews to ensure that clients stay on track.