Whether on the carpeted and hardwood floors of his gym or on the grass of a local park, Mark Slater emphasizes the fun side of exercise. Drawing from past positions as the former strength and conditioning coach at Lock Haven University and personal training director at LA Fitness, he designs personalized workout regimens for individuals and groups. His fitness programs range from high-intensity interval training and flexibility-enhancing workouts to nutrition coaching and physical therapy. One of his core programs, though, is a weekly boot camp at Fenimore Park. Here, training circuits challenge participants to do crunches on the grass, haul power ropes, and spar with the park's scarecrow.
Michael Barbato knows what it's like to battle his own body. He'd started to put on the pounds when, one day, the sight of himself in a dressing-room mirror made him realize he needed to change his lifestyle. He started heading to the gym and settled into a workout routine, but it wasn't working. When he discovered working out with Russian kettlebells, he slimmed down and his outlook changed. Not only were his workouts never the same, but he was also determined to share the unique form of weight training with others.
Today, he and his fellow Russian Kettlebell Challenge–certified instructors encourage students to push themselves in group fitness classes as they swing and lift the rounded weights by their handles. Their services also include one-on-one and small-group training sessions. In whatever type of training he’s leading, Michael strives to create an atmosphere free of intimidation, where everyone feels encouraged to keep moving toward the spoils of both mental and physical changes.
Though popular for some time at most gyms, the typical boot-camp class rarely has an actual soldier leading the charge. Not so at 7 Fitness, where active and nonactive military personnel put participants through their paces using a results-oriented blend of plyometrics, body-weight resistance, and cardio exercises. Athletes supplement their workouts with kickboxing classes, yoga offerings, sports-specific training classes, and one-on-one personal-training sessions.
Epic Power Yoga enlists the strengthening and centering techniques of Baptiste power Vinyasa yoga to mold students of all levels into seasoned stretchers. The studio’s scheduled sessions cluster up to 35 attendees atop a patchwork mosaic of home-brought and rented yoga mats, bolting open the doors as early as 5:30 a.m. on weekdays. Power-yoga classes test the mettle of attendees with 90 minutes of physically intensive postures linked by dynamic transitions, allowing students and drifting instructors to tailor the difficulty of the regimen to each pupil’s fitness level. In addition to fashioning mind-body connections sturdier and more precious than a rocking chair made of solid gold, the practice also sculpts chiseled abdominals and loosens knotted joints over time. 60-minute basic-yoga sessions slow down the pace to let instructors provide a more introspective class, emphasizing alignment with a combination of prop-assisted postures and advanced geometry proofs.
At MMAXOUT Fitness, certified trainers fuse high-impact circuit workouts with the punishing training techniques of MMA fighters. A sample class might find students transitioning from slicing upper cuts through the air to dropping down and pounding out mountain climbers and muay thai elbow strikes against a pad on the ground. Each week focuses on a different muscle group, helping participants build a balanced, toned body. Instructors challenge their students to dig deep, leading the charge through vocal shouts of encouragement and silent yet stirring kabuki movement pieces.
Founded in the late '60s, Lucille Roberts' studios were some of the very first gyms that focused exclusively on women's health. Now with locations spread across New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, Lucille Roberts have kept up with the times with such classes as Zumba, Flirty Girl fitness, hip-hop aerobics, and Piloxing, a combination of Pilates and boxing. The gyms also sell weight-loss products such as green coffee bean capsules, raspberry ketones supplements, and anti-gravity rays.