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.
The coaching staff at D1?which is co-owned by professional athletes such as NFL player Peyton Manning, MLB player Chipper Jones, and NFL player Philip Rivers?refuses to discriminate between professional athletes and everyday exercisers. They scale the strength-and-cardio workouts of their group boot-camp classes and one-on-one intensive courses to individual abilities, bringing out the best in each student regardless of his or her workout history.
The typical D1 gym houses modern indoor turf fields with adjoining weight rooms, giving instructors the space to invent expansive obstacle courses that may require students to lift tires or tug 747s. In the boot-camp program, coaches meet with students one-on-one to discuss progress and find ways to improve. Each facility also houses a sports-therapy clinic, where expert therapists ease muscle injuries through rehabilitation programs and strength-restoring exercises.
The fitness professionals at Transformate Fitness foster a supportive, community atmosphere by encouraging clients to motivate one another in group fitness classes. In physical disciplines that run the gamut from aerobics to weightlifting to martial-arts-based regimens, instructors promote peer interaction in an effort to bolster motivation and mutual accountability. The hope is that by recognizing that they are a necessary part not only of their own success but also of their classmates, patrons will build the determination to continue attending classes, resulting in slimmer waists, stronger limbs, and positive relationships with both instructors and other students.
Alongside instructor-led group classes, personal trainers tailor cardio and weight-training workouts to each individual, helping clients of any fitness level achieve optimal health. Additionally, in an effort to prove that there are easier ways to get a tan than replacing your bed with a pile of flashlights or letting the sun bear-hug you, the facility proffers custom airbrush spray-tanning services wielding organic-based Norvell products.
Xtreme Fitness flings open the doors to guests of all skill levels during classes that range from Zumba to Brazilian jujitsu, accommodating diverse tastes. While guests work out in the gym, the certified trainers patrol the free-weight area, cardio equipment, and the 700-square-foot matted space meant for martial arts and one-person trust falls, dispensing workout tips. They also help guests grasp onto the still-beating heart of their fitness goals during private, custom training sessions. When not absorbing self-defense strikes and yoga poses during classes, members can pop into the facility 24 hours a day to rehearse their conditioning routines or hide from hoards of lazy vampires.
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.