Brad Pugh has followed a healthy diet and exercise plan his whole life—until a few years ago, that is. Frustrated by the time and energy commitment, he decided to take a break from working out, which led to three years of inactivity and 30 extra pounds. As he huffed and puffed his way back to fitness, he resolved to use this experience as an opportunity to help others get back into shape. In 2000, Brad founded Shaping U Personal Fitness, a gym specializes in small-group exercise programs.
A nationally certified personal trainer, Brad earned local renown when he was named the city’s runner-up personal trainer by Birmingham Magazine. Six days a week, he runs indoor and outdoor boot-camp classes as well as personal-training sessions available on a one-on-one or semiprivate basis. Brad helps his clients modify unhealthy eating habits as well by designing meals based on the 14-day detox plan. Healthy meals centering around lean cuts of meat and high-nutrient vegetables are prepared by a chef and delivered to the home.
Within Geaux Play Sports Training & Fitness’s indoor and outdoor sports facility, trainers help athletes hone their baseball and softball skills with sports-specific training and motivate patrons of all fitness levels to maintain a healthy lifestyle with energetic fitness classes. Sports training takes the form of one-on-one sessions with pro athletes, during which students learn to sharpen their pitching, hitting, or catching skills, and year-round group camps devoted to keeping teams in top shape, even in the off-season. Geaux Play's general fitness classes help whip bodies into shape with a lineup of indoor and outdoor boot-camp classes that features a constantly varied series of exercise and cardio challenges. The sweat-inducing spinning classes are conducted at a self-directed pace, infusing bodies with cardio endurance and the joyous memories of a thousand children's bicycles.
At The Fitness Connection, Shone Jones, Marco Zamora, and Gaye Vance guide clients to a healthy mind-body balance with workouts that address physical and mental goals simultaneously. All three trainers back their exercise know-how with ISSA certifications, which they ally with Dr. Vance's expertise as a clinical psychologist. By leading boot-camp and martial arts classes, the staff hopes to pair physical results with invisible ones, such as reduced stress, higher energy, and an aura that repels mosquitoes. They monitor their students with tailored suggestions during each group session and adjust maneuvers to suit any experience level.
Students should bring: Exercise mat and a pair of 5 lb dumbbells
Average class length: 60 minutes
Number of Staff: 1–5
Class location: Indoor classes
Registration required: Yes
Good for beginners: Yes
Guests allowed: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Any gym can have free weights and treadmills, but Fit 24 thrives on a strong sense of community. The gym’s trainers host nonstop group fitness classes five days a week, including classic aerobics and boot-camp sessions that blend cardio and strength training. Trainers can also set up personal-training sessions, during which they teach clients to make the most of the gym's perpetually available equipment. Trainers can even go mobile to bring their expertise to the front doors of nearby homes and offices to keep the sweat flowing. For competitive customers, the staff organizes flag-football and kickball teams, which compete in six-week seasons against other local teams. After working up sweats, gym members can hit the free tanning beds to maintain their summery glows throughout the depths of winter or in the event that the sun never rises again.
After a love of sports led trainer Shane Rodriquez to the fitness industry, he quickly racked up an impressive collection of certifications from CrossFit, ISSA, and NESTA, as well as a lineup of clients that includes Fabian Sanchez of Dancing with the Stars. He puts his impressive resume to use at Ignite Fitness, where he's enlisted the help of Level 1 CrossFit trainer and triathlete Sonia Steely to helm CrossFit's constantly changing regimen of varied functional movements performed at high intensity. In sessions divided by age group, the duo motivates clients of all abilities to cast aside their preconceived limitations and perform movements such as weight-lifts, lunges, and plyometrics to increase their strength, endurance, and chances of finally impressing their fathers. To ensure each client gets the most out of the workout, they modify exercises to suit each individual’s needs. They also host a nutrition guide online to keep clients from sliding back into unhealthy habits.
To provide their clients with a diverse and engaging fitness experience, Ignite Fitness also hosts yoga classes as well as nutritional workshops, which explain the processed-carbohydrate-free paleo diet.