As they enter the training circle at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby, trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. 30 seconds is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
At Legit Fit Boot Camp, there are no machines. There are no televisions. There aren't even mirrors. The center's certified instructors take a no-nonsense approach to building strength and endurance by using simple weights, balls, and bars atop a stark rubber floor in each of their diverse fitness routines. Though the staff strives to stave off needless distractions, they detest boredom as well. That's why they keep muscles guessing by combining numerous exercises from different workouts and varying those exercises each day. The curriculum of jumping jacks, squats, and hopscotch games on hot coals ensure students never know what to expect, and the staff's enthusiastic demeanor keeps them focused on their calorie-burning mission.
While teaching jazz dance in the 1960s, Judi Sheppard Missett decided to step away from tradition by offering an experimental class that allowed her students to simply dance without the judgment of mirrors or the constraints of rigid technique. In these sessions, she began infusing popular dance moves with specific fitness workouts to forge a distinctive blend of cardio exercise, strength training, and dance instruction. Little did she know that this “just for fun” class was the prototype for what would become the national fitness sensation known as Jazzercise.
Today, Jazzercise takes its aerobic techniques from a variety of sources that include jazz dance, hip-hop, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, and kickboxing. The class formats, which vary according to different toning goals, are just as diverse as the program's move set. Two-time Dancing with the Stars champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of the improvisational routines, although her advanced skills aren't needed to get the most out of classes. Instructors cultivate a noncompetitive atmosphere where all exercisers—with the exception of those marked as cursed by jazz-hand palm readers—are welcome regardless of age, build, or fitness background.
The FastFit Training & Fitness tale begins more than three years ago, when Jeff McDaniel—named Fitness Business Owner of the Month by FitBusiness Insider in March 2012— started holding energetic boot-camp classes at a local park. Today, Jeff conducts classes within his own professional fitness studio, where he continues to lead the high-intensity workouts of metabolic exercises that have been lauded on NBC. Amid towering mirrors, dangling TRX Suspension trainers, and rows of colorful dumbbells, Jeff and his staff of trainers guide students of all squares through a diverse array of functional exercises, from crunches to climbers to handstands. Jeff has also designed an online fitness program with nutritional counsel and exercise videos, providing students workouts they can practice from hotels when traveling or from beneath neighbors’ backyard shrubbery when spying on tiki parties they weren't invited to.
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.
Though a flock of strollers cascading across a park may be an unusual sight, to Meg and Susan it's an average day at work. That's because they lead Stroller Strides classes for moms. During the classes, women build strength and tone muscles with interval training, while instructors infuse the session with activities to entertain the stroller-bound babies. In addition to Stroller Strides, Meg and Susan also lead 8-week Body Back sessions which use high intensity interval training and meal plans to help moms reach their fitness goals. Susan, a mother of two and Fit4Mom franchise owner, holds a MS in health education and specializes in prenatal and postnatal fitness. Through her work, she, along with Meg, help their clients realize that being a mom doesn't mean having to give up your own personal care or closet of barbells.