Thomas Volmer credits his wife, Rachel, for inspiring them to start helming boot camps. She wasn’t always a fitness guru, though. "She was a commercial banker and she was 70 pounds overweight," Volmer recalls. Once she started to reclaim her life, "she just fell in love with fitness," he says. She eventually dropped 80 pounds with proper exercise and nutrition, spurring her to earn her AFAA personal training certification and pursue a career as a full-time trainer.
Personal experience lends Rachel and the other trainers—including Sharon Monk, who lost more than 200 pounds by exercising and eating healthily—empathy and a motivating demeanor when working with campers. At each location, they get groups doing pushups, swinging kettlebells, and flipping tires in a positive environment that's focused on teamwork, rather than competition. "You start as a group, you finish as a group," says Thomas. "But the activities that you do in between might be different based on your abilities."
In addition to leading sessions, Rachel creates easy-to-use online meal plans (including a vegetarian plan), which campers can customize to help them stay on track. Options range from the simple, such as cereal with fruits, nuts, and flaxseeds, to the creative, including honey-sweetened oatmeal peanut-butter cookies. She also includes the calorie count for each recipe. Users can pick from simple meals made for one person or larger entrees designed with an entire family or pet elephant in mind.
Owner and educator Rashida Hobbs has always had a passion for music and dance, leading her to open Pole'iticians Fitness Studio, where she and a troupe of certified instructors create a supportive setting for ladies to build strength through sensual dance classes and workshops. Invented by Hobbs, Floormotion classes, also known as Sensual Dance, focus on the art of erotic movements, building on the principles of cardio striptease to transform students' regular dance moves into sexy shimmies. Pole-dance classes impart students of all skill levels with erotic moves to add to their exotic bag of tricks, enhancing the quality of future routines performed for a significant other, in front of the mirror, or during awkward silences in idle conversations. The Pole'iticians team also leads a breadth of Zumba, dance, and yoga classes, and opens the spacious studio for private parties and special events.
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After a car crash at the age of 16, Jamie Davis’s life was a maze of hospital visits, surgeries, cortisone shots, and perpetual discomfort. She slowly began augmenting her treatment with yoga, and today she says she is free of pain and serving as one of many talented instructors at Bikram Yoga Richardson.
The yogis lead 90-minute workouts in a room warmed to 104 degrees, the optimal temperature for flushing toxins, performing deep stretches safely, and getting arctic seals to confess to crimes. Teachers demonstrate two breathing techniques and 26 Hatha yoga postures for pupils of all ability levels, helping them firm and trim physiques. Transformations get underway in a spacious yoga area next to changing rooms with showers, storage cubbies, and a lobby that, much like a grassy highway median, is designed for lounging.
At Sunstone Yoga, students radiate calm and self-awareness as they practice ancient poses designed to stretch, strengthen, and purify the body. Instructors complete 500 hours of training in yogic techniques, teaching, and physiology before leading classes, so they can hand out researched, tested tips on safety and alignment. Most classes come in 30-, 60-, and 90-minute varieties and focus on energy or restorative relaxation. A two-class introductory series welcomes beginners with basic standing poses, and the popular fire series explores up to 34 poses in a 99-degree room that loosens muscles to facilitate deeper stretches as it ousts toxins. Filled with soothing music and 90-degree temperatures, the water series cultivates more serenity than getting a massage from a singing whale.
The instructors at Promethean Studios know that every musician is different, and they tailor their teaching techniques to both beginners and lifelong learners of music. The teachers each boast at least 15 years of experience and hundreds of lessons taught, and typically get students making music or summoning the bird species of their choice in two to six months. Most music students start by learning how to play songs they choose, a tactic that introduces the fundamentals of rhythm, instrument technique, and music theory under the cover of fun.