Frills equal distractions when it comes to working out. That's according to the certified trainers who own CrossFit Hardcore North, a member of the gym family named the sixth-best in America by The Active Times. That's why none of their classes involve fancy treadmills, designer rubber bands, or high heels. Instead, classes feature trainers such as Dr. Adam Locker leads students through group classes and personal-training sessions, and seasoned coaches who oversee each participant, monitoring progress as they deliver safety tips and words of encouragement.
Gymnastics-inspired bodyweight exercises such as handstands and muscle-ups build lean muscle mass, and plyometrics foster agility and stamina. Many sessions also incorporate running or rowing to raise heart rates and melt calories. In addition to sculpting lean muscle, kettlebell training cultivates flexibility with focused squats and swinging motions. Instructors also instill in their clients the CrossFit style with functional movements that aim to boost strength, power, and coordination.
Workouts take place in warehouses and other spartan spaces that embody a cultivated lack of the bells and whistles that often masquerade as fitness essentials. Here, basic tools such as kettlebells, jump ropes, and weighted sleds get the job done for a wide range of exercisers, from absolute beginners to advanced athletes.
Certified trainers Charley and Nat aren't fans of the typical big-box gym experience. They have their reasons: gyms are crowded, people don't wipe down machines after they're done, and the actual results of workouts can vary wildly. Another, more compelling reason is that they've simply found something better. It's called CrossFit, and it works.
Inspired by CrossFit's focus on functional strength, Charley and Nat opened CrossFit Navigate and began turning others on to the workouts. In each punishing session, they combine exercises such as squats, rope climbs, and tractor tosses to work out every major muscle group. They scale these exercises to challenge virtually any fitness level, from beginner to expert.
Brandon Cornelius has been an athlete his entire life, but it wasn't until he had finished playing college football that he decided he wanted to devote himself fully to helping others get in shape. That's when he became certified as a personal trainer and started BranNewBody, the company through which he's developed an intense workout that's helped hundreds of people lose weight and build muscle. There's more to his method than the workout, however; he also doles out nutrition advice and designs workout plans people can do on their own or with him during one-on-one sessions.
Athletic Factor Gym & Fitness Center's 20,000-square foot interior is a fitness-fanatic's paradise. Here, visitors can leisurely pump free weights or climb aboard the expanse of professional cardio machines. Meanwhile, ample studio space hosts martial arts classes, still leaving enough room for guests to exercise with their personal trainer. Between sweat sessions, visitors can replenish electrolytes or power up with protein smoothies at the juice bar, which is stocked with an array of shakes, energy drinks, and healthy snacks.
If you want to keep up during the boot-camp, personal, and sports-specific sessions at Beastmode Training South Florida, it helps to have the right type of fuel. That's why the trainers supplement their intense workouts—which include exercises such as dead lifts and slamming sledgehammers against oversized tires—with nutritional-counseling services. During the sit-downs they draft eating plans using healthful foods such as fruits, vegetables, and fitness-themed birthday cake.
Equipment: MMA, UFC
Students should bring: Bottle of water, gloves, towel
Average class length: 60 minutes
Number of Staff: 1–5
Class location: Indoors only
Registration required: Yes
Good for beginners: Yes
Guests allowed: No
Parking: Parking lot