The sledgehammer slams the earth with a resounding thud before being discarded for a game of toss-back with a medicine ball. Such training methods are but a small slice of the workout routine possibilities at Black Label CrossFit. CrossFit—an innovative strengthening and conditioning program that veers away from using traditional muscle-training apparatuses—has even gained popularity among the training programs of police academies, military special-operations units, and high-profile federal agents who yearn to get better at hopscotch.
On any given day, the training team provides students with new routines based on a combination of Olympic sports, gymnastics activities, and metabolic conditioning that may include moves such as sprinting with barbells, pull-ups, or inverted rowing. By changing things up all the time, trainers hope to inspire participants to remain engaged and feel challenged to always bring their best effort to improving their health and wellness. Each session is also timed and scored, encouraging students to keep aiming higher.
Before he studied fitness at Purdue, Chris Tedesco learned the subtle art of inspiring others during a trek through the dessert. As a Marine squad leader, he needed to keep up morale while getting his troops to march across 36 miles of arid wilderness with him. This same determination saw him straight through to three Ironman Platoon championships. Today, as owner and founder of BodyQuest Personal Training, he brings those heat-honed lessons with him to each session, just as he did when he helped a snowboarder recover from near total-lower-body paralysis.
He and his team of four dedicated trainers partner up with clients, getting to know them, their eating habits, and their fitness goals to help them lead healthier lives. They constantly vary exercises via a circuit designed to keep bodies burning fat long after the workout and even tailor training-session soundtracks to suit clients' whims, so long as those whims don't include whale songs as covered by an eccentric theremin player. The exposed brick walls of his gym feature wooden sculpture and wall hangings that capture the feeling of motion, perhaps subliminally inspiring patrons to push themselves.
From ancient Greece to modern India, the healing power of heat has been recognized throughout the world by such medically conscious minds as Hippocrates and Bikram Choudhury. A good sweat releases tension, increases flexibility, and purifies the body of toxins. Combine healthy perspiration with stretches that activate certain joints or compress particular organs, and the result can spur the body’s natural healing processes and increase strength. Such is the philosophy behind Bikram yoga and the many other varieties of hot yoga taught at Heat Yoga & Wellness.
The studio’s bendy instructors teach nine varieties of yoga. Their Bikram classes follow the traditional format of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises, all practiced in a studio heated to more than 100 degrees. They mix up the standard routine with classes that incorporate hip-opener exercises, which improve lower-body mobility and make it easier to limbo under a closing garage door. Hot Vinyasa classes begin with a series of sun salutations before moving to more intense cardio and weight-bearing asana postures. The expert yogis also stretch outside the bounds of traditional yoga for exercise ins
ProFormance Fitness emphasizes researched-based protocols to craft a diverse assortment of fat-burning workout programs. Experienced trainers, each armed with a wealth of education and several kettlebell-cobbler recipes, lead group fitness and personal-training programs that incorporate high-energy cardio moves and strength-training exercises. During boot-camp classes, they'll lead students through an intense, metabolic-style training program that helps them burn nine times as much fat as running on a treadmill or galloping through an asteroid belt. The trainers also help kids improve their game during sports-performance training programs designed to help young athletes increase their speed, agility, and power over the course of six weeks. To bolster clients’ workout regimens, ProFormance Fitness also grants members unlimited reign over the gym, which is accessible via keyless entry.
At Betsy's Hot Yoga, owner Betsy Jones-Cooper and her experienced team ply stiff bodies with tropic-like temperatures to sculpt strong, lean muscle. Dotted with 12 class types ranging from 60 to 90 minutes each, the studio's schedule provides flows to match any fitness level. Beginning benders head to sultry Bikram sessions to flex through 26 poses designed to safely stretch tight tissues and detoxify the body through intense perspiration, precise alignment, and lectures from household sponges. Instructors turn down the thermostat for comfortably warm Vinyasa classes, helping students harmonize breath and movement through an intense, continuous sequence of balances and bends that connect seamlessly through each inhale and exhale. Meditative Yin yoga keeps seats tethered to the floor and minds from wandering with passive backbends and hip-opening postures, and heart-pounding hot-fusion classes pace energetic Bikram and Vinyasa moves to pop tunes and the occasional Benny Hill sketch.
Owner Holly Elswick combines her experience as a personal trainer and her extensive knowledge of yoga and Pilates to put together Fierce Fitness By Design's eclectic schedule of fitness classes. Patrons can opt to gracefully increase strength and flexibility in barre and Pilates classes. After each sweat session, patrons may retire to the onsite spa, where massage therapists soothe soreness acquired from the day’s activity. Specialists go even further in one-hour Escape sessions, which aim to pacify the body and spirit with a mix of guided imagery, meditation, and naps on piles of freshly laundered socks.