Being raised in the Burmese fighting styles by his grandfather and working as a professional fighter between the ages of 16–26, Phil Dunlap is fluent in the language of foot and fist. A time would come, however, that would physically challenge him more than any of the 114 professional fights he's participated in. Prior to his 26th birthday, he broke his neck in a car accident, forcing him to step out of the ring for what medical professionals thought would be forever. This didn’t sit well with Dunlap, who had been used to pushing himself since he was a child. On a mission to prove his doctors wrong, he worked long and hard enough to eventually fight again at the age of 36 and open his very own studio, Advanced Fighting Systems.
Today, he and his team lead classes, including Burmese boxing and mixed martial arts, which focus on self-defense and total-body fitness. They put students through standup striking drills and demonstrate how to wrap legs and arms around opponents to develop useful grappling skills for winning a match in the ring or convincing your boss to give you a raise. While the instructors help fighters train for competitive matches, they don't pressure anyone to go in that direction, creating an environment where everyone can feel free to achieve their own goals.
When Roald Dahl wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, he imagined a much-coveted golden ticket that granted access to myriad wonders and unveiled the inner workings of an entire industry. Adele Fridman, founder of MetaBody, created a real-life version of that ticket with her MetaBody Yoga & Fitness Pass, though it applies to fitness instead of candy. The pass grants access not to a single gym but to classes at a variety of local studios, specializing in everything from yoga to boot camp. With the freedom to move from location to location, students can sample different regimens, instructors, and styles of exercise to cobble together a program that fits their needs and goals. MetaBody's nutritionists supplement class packages by coaching clients in healthy eating, recipe cooking, and speed-reading nutrition-fact labels.
Rooted in the belief that anyone should be able to achieve peak fitness levels without having to break the bank, the staff at New Jersey Sports Advantage guides clients in elite-level training at affordable costs. Though they emphasize baseball and softball skill building, the licensed instructors also dedicate space in the 5,000-square-foot facility to boot camps, speed training, and sports performance programs for both individuals and teams. After a session on the Pilates reformers or relieving stress with a certified fascial stretch therapist, visitors can stop by the onsite café for a healthy snack or smoothie.
The trainers at Odyssey Athletic Center know that a single approach to physical fitness is as boring as it is limiting. They bear certifications and degrees from a variety of disciplines, earning the recognition of workout guilds ranging from the Aerobic & Fitness Association of America and the World Instructor Training School to the American Council of Exercise. This knowledge of different exercise systems enables them to host 60 classes per week inside their 27,000-square-foot facility. Their scheduled Pilates sessions help students nurture lean muscle without bulk, and Zumba meetings melt away calories with fun dance steps set to a Latin beat. To ensure they stay informed on emerging fitness techniques, staff members attend continuing-education classes and hold weekly question-and-answer sessions with their dumbbells.
The track and field training staff at SCI has coached and trained more than 30,000 athletes?and that statistic is always growing. At his training facility, Sports Conditioning Institute, he and his team encourage athletes with sports-specific training, focusing on games including hockey and volleyball, and lead fit-seekers in two boot-camp styles. The common thread running through every workout is Vaccaro?s focus on avoiding overstressing bodies and preventing injuries. He emphasizes short and frequent workouts, for example, rather than long routines that can lead to sustaining injury, becoming burnt out, or accidentally running into another country without your passport. To complement coached workouts, the gym hosts an array of free weights and cardio machines for solo sessions.
Wyckoff Personal Training features gleaming white weight machines, TVs hovering over cardio equipment, and a host of useful, fun gear—there's even a four-lane, 25-yard indoor track. And, unlike a typical gym, guests won't find themselves waiting in line to take advantage of any equipment. That's because, rather than improvising their own exercise routine, every client works with a trainer. The gym's exclusively personal-training style of operation means that the atmosphere stays private and free of crowds. The high level of engagement through one-on-one training continues when exercisers go home as the staff happily answers questions via text and e-mail.