Thomas Volmer credits his wife, Rachel, for inspiring them to start helming boot camps. She wasn’t always a fitness guru, though. "She was a commercial banker and she was 70 pounds overweight," Volmer recalls. Once she started to reclaim her life, "she just fell in love with fitness," he says. She eventually dropped 80 pounds with proper exercise and nutrition, spurring her to earn her AFAA personal training certification and pursue a career as a full-time trainer.
Personal experience lends Rachel and the other trainers—including Sharon Monk, who lost more than 200 pounds by exercising and eating healthily—empathy and a motivating demeanor when working with campers. At each location, they get groups doing pushups, swinging kettlebells, and flipping tires in a positive environment that's focused on teamwork, rather than competition. "You start as a group, you finish as a group," says Thomas. "But the activities that you do in between might be different based on your abilities."
In addition to leading sessions, Rachel creates easy-to-use online meal plans (including a vegetarian plan), which campers can customize to help them stay on track. Options range from the simple, such as cereal with fruits, nuts, and flaxseeds, to the creative, including honey-sweetened oatmeal peanut-butter cookies. She also includes the calorie count for each recipe. Users can pick from simple meals made for one person or larger entrees designed with an entire family or pet elephant in mind.
Arthur Murray has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and The Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, The Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Clients who arrive to lessons partnerless will be paired up with instructors during private lessons and other classmates for group lessons as instructors assess their current skill level and make recommendations on the most appropriate program. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
Camp Gladiator founder Ally Davidson’s childhood obsession with the outdoors and sports led her to pursue a degree in exercise physiology. After her 2008 win on the TV show American Gladiators, Ally decided to share her love of fitness with the world at large. Camp Gladiator reflects Ally's passion for fitness in its mission, which espouses their desire "to positively impact the physical fitness and ultimately the lives of as many people as possible." Her boot camps have since expanded to 13 U.S. cities, with each hosting multiple training locales. The upbeat staff of certified trainers lead patrons of all ages and fitness levels through four-week outdoor boot camps, earning Camp Gladiator a Hot Spot title from Women's Health magazine's Fitness Awards in 2013, Best Boot Camp from Rare magazine in 2010, Best of Big D 2010–2013 from D magazine, and Best Outdoor Boot Camp 2012 from Austin Fit magazine.
Black Megaformer machines line the sunny studio as trained instructors guide students through core-strengthening Pilates classes. Drawing inspiration from the strength and flexibility of bamboo, the instructors format the classes to push all muscle groups to capacity. They strive to achieve muscle failure, a process that stimulates a great number of muscle fibers and steps up the body’s metabolism. In addition, the instructors teach students to perform slow and controlled movements at a consistent level of tension in order to build the most muscle possible. They place emphasis on the rest needed to reap maximum benefit from the session, encouraging new students to stick with two or three classes a week in order to avoid overloading and metamorphosing into a muscle-bound butterfly.
Fitness specialist and certified nutritionist Ron Lyons wasn’t always so svelte. Before he became a health guru, Ron was a police officer, but his 240-pound frame didn’t fit with the position. It wasn’t until a suspect in a DWI case resisted arrest and outran Ron, leaving him unable to call for backup, that he buckled down. Now, 16 years later, he helms Ultimate Body Studios, sharing the fitness and nutrition skills he has learned and mastered along the way. He leads seminars, grocery store tours that teach healthy shopping habits, and a weight loss and exercise program that combines healthy eating with effective exercise techniques. With continued dedication to the program, some of his students have lost more than 150 pounds, or roughly one ACME cartoon anvil.
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Sometimes our dreams are within reach, but more often, those dreams are on the highest of high shelves, beside the BB gun and the cupcakes. Reach that shelf with today's Groupon to stretch your muscles and muscle your stretches into a stretch of intense muscular moves. For $38, you'll get 10 consecutive days of unlimited yoga plus a four-class package to get you even more yoga action at one of two Austin Sunstone Yoga locations, a value of up to $82. This is the perfect opportunity to test out Sunstone Yoga without signing a contract with a quill filled with indelible maple syrup ink.
Nicole Shaw and Brandon Hartsell opened the studio in an effort to create a consistent, reliable stretching space for students of all skill sets as well as a yoga program that combines hot yoga with regular yoga in a delicious yoga stew. Instructors are required to complete more than 500 hours of yoga schooling—including training in anatomy, philosophy, ethics, lifestyle, and technique—before getting the green light to lead lessons wearing a cape and holding a yoga whip.
Beginner-friendly health and vitality is a 90-minute course that will help you perfect 34 postures in a climate-controlled studio. At the beginning of the year, try a class in the Intro Series, meant to remove your yoga fear by helping those who are intimidated understand the practice. Yoga veterans can challenge themselves to the stamina and strength class, which helps hone movement and breath, and move at a more vigorous pace. View a list of all courses here, with specifics regarding temperature, humidity, duration, skill level, and ghost likelihood. Redeem your voucher at either the Triangle or North Hills Center location (see locations by scrolling down to the bottom of this page).
Testimonials praise Sunstone Yoga for aiding in weight loss and pain removal:
- After about 6 months he told me my posture was better, the sway in my back had diminished and that my overall health had improved. – Charles Opheim
- I like to practice yoga at the end of the day because it helps me to integrate, accept and release. Yoga is about strength, balance, focus, self control and clarity. – Ed Rankin
- Not only has yoga shaped my appearance, it has been instrumental in shaping my heart and soul. – Rachel Davidson