A longtime personal trainer, Alonzo Garrett realized that, though everyone’s body functions much the same way, there’s no single set of exercises that works for everyone. Sometimes this has to do with anatomy or injury, but more often it stems from the disparity in excitement and enjoyment that different kinds of exercises elicit from different people. So, Alonzo decided to start his own fitness center—ZO Personal Training—where he cooks up individualized workouts based not only on achieving his client’s health goals, but keeping them excited and loving their workouts. His kinesthetic recipes use everything from traditional plyometrics and boxing to free-running training and chasing a cupcake that dangles in front of a treadmill.
Inside his gym, the light green walls fade into the background behind the forest of white metal frames and their foliage of black straps, seats, and weights. The expansive space houses dozens of machines and many times that number of free weights and other unbound exercise equipment, each with its own specific powers.
Capoeira, an African-Brazilian art form, combines dance, martial arts, music, and acrobatics. All of these elements come together in a circle known as a roda, where capoeira's participants perform improvised movements. Omulu Capoeira Los Angeles, a nonprofit organization, welcomes all types of students into its roda, regardless of age or fitness level. By teaching capoeira, instructors help their students lose weight and build strength, in addition to learning to play musical instruments and sing traditional songs in Portuguese.
Caique Jiu Jitsu Academy's dedicated instructors foster a friendly environment while demanding the most out of their students during brazilian jiu jitsu classes. They teach an ancient form of self-defense that relies on balance, leverage, and, perhaps most importantly, discipline. The standardized curriculum and class structure are the same for youth, adult, and women-only classes. The combination of jiu jitsu, the class structure, and the motivational instructors leads to students garnering self-discipline, confidence, and self-respect. To create a sense of community, the academy also fill the calendar with special events and other classes.
Since 2000, Tim and Tom Ryan, twin brothers and the founders of Atomic Boxing, have put their black belts to use and help patrons harness the health benefits of martial arts without the violent aspects of the sport. Fists and feet pop against personal punching bags as personal instructiors motivate students to burn fat and pump up endurance. To set the mood for muscle building and to bolster adrenaline, speakers fill the gym with driving beats or fighter pilots reading their to-do lists. Near the punching bags, free weights clatter at benches and machines target muscle groups. In addition to group sessions, instructors host one-on-one workouts.
At Live In Fit, Alycia Sumlin-Lyrse and her team of certified trainers take a benevolent approach to fitness classes. The team uses spirituality and integrity as motivating forces to achieve physical health and believe that being good examples of fitness themselves is the best way to get their students motivated to change their lives. Accordingly, their boot camps and circuit-training classes eschew the harsh yelling and humiliating diary reading of typical routines for positive reinforcement and friendly encouragement. The fitness gurus will even travel to places of business and customize workout programs for employees to help banish sick days and boost productivity.