Viewed from above, Basic Training’s fitness boot camps look like a track meet designed by worker ants. On the ground, participants bound over hurdles, crawl through obstacle courses, and wield heavy objects such as sandbags, sledgehammers, and beer kegs. In actuality, these workouts are designed by a human fitness expert: Rodney Carson, a drill instructor who has trained at military bases such as the Army National Guard Camp San Luis Obispo and the United States Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego.
Based on the Marine Corps physical-training regimen, his boot camps propel participants toward fitness goals while boosting their confidence and breaking their bad habits. Many workouts draw from his experiences preparing for track-and-field events, such as the International Masters Track Circuit, where he won three gold medals for his speedy footwork. Calories melt during his boot camps’ sprints and fartlek runs, and bodyweight exercises make muscles more ripply than an ocean preparing a shaken martini. During field-meet days, dodge ball, kickball, and tug-of-war battles jump-start workouts with an extra dose of fun.
Experienced instructors lead each session, inspiring the group with friendly shouts, hearty claps, and tips on form and technique. In addition to helming camps for civilians of all fitness levels, Rodney and his crew train first responders, such as police officers, firefighters, and soldiers, during special-operations sessions.
Upon entering the 25,000-square-foot Club Fit USA facility, guests are greeted by a sea of cardio equipment whirring beneath the glow of TV screens. Past the ellipticals, treadmills, and StairMasters lie Hammer and Icarian strength-training machines alongside Olympic bars and more than 6,000 additional weight plates to help guests carve out chiseled physiques. Within the combat ring, instructors lead boxing, MMA, and professional-style wrestling classes throughout the week, as well as cardio-intensive Civil War reenactments. The instructors also lead groups in myriad exercise classes, and for more personalized fat-burning routines, they work with clients in one-on-one personal-training sessions to draft custom fitness plans. Beyond the gym’s walls, the trainers strive to keep clients healthy with online nutrition tips and articles.
Twenty-five years in martial arts and sports training will get you a chiseled body and a cool nickname. Just ask Chris "Knuckles" Jones, a one-time professional MMA fighter who now draws on his experience to spread the gospel of muscle at Knuckles Fitness. Chris?or "Knuckles," rather?only trains students in one-on-one sessions or in small groups, as undivided attention is among his several keys to success. Another key is variety, which is why he keeps bodies guessing with classes that range from mitt training to high-intensity speed and agility workouts. One of his most popular options remains the women's kickboxing boot camp, in which ladies tone their muscles by kicking bags, picking them up, and carrying them to the E.R.
Having been a personal trainer for many years, Veronica "Bean" Harrah found herself tired of the same old gym experience. So, she decided to start her very own gym, offering workouts that kept her excited. With her business partner Sara Harrah, Bean founded Urban Flex Fitness. She and her staff teach TRX suspension training and spin sessions. The extremely versatile TRX harnesses help students build strength, core stability, and flexibility by leveraging their own body weight. Spin classes focus more on increasing cardiopulmonary fitness, simultaneously strengthening the heart and lungs to ensure neither becomes so powerful as to usurp the brain. Urban Flex Fitness also offers boot camps and boxing.
Among Heather Farm Park's rolling hills and expansive grassy terrain, patrons push their bodies through dynamic, one-hour workouts designed to sculpt and strengthen physiques from head to toe. Helping to motivate patrons toward their ideal shapes, East Bay Fitness's owner and head trainer Jena McGuffie boasts certifications in personal training and specialized fitness, along with a degree in alternative medicine. After building a private personal-training business in Florida, Jena swapped coasts to share her passion for health and wellness with Californians of all ages and abilities. Her workouts vary from class to class, incorporating cardiovascular work and strength-training moves such as lifting Webster's Dictionary over and over with just your pinkies.
Kaia Fit's foundational workouts?cleverly dubbed "Briks"?are a little different from the typical gym class. First of all, rather than drop-in classes, they're a six-week commitment. The idea behind that? Having the same set of classmates every week helps build a sense of team spirit and community, much like going through all your workouts as part of a human pyramid. But they share the same mission as all of Kaia's fitness classes: to be unpredictable. The women's fitness center was founded on the simple premise that routine is the enemy of muscle growth and weight loss. Hence their emphasis on workouts that change constantly, preventing fitness plateaus. They also offer five-week core sessions, which focus on maintaining strength and endurance, building upon the Brik program. Beyond these sessions, they also offer suspension training and triathlon training.