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.
While attending Austin College, two important things happened to Kirby and Kristi Carmichael: they fell in love with art, and with each other. When Kirby moved to Italy after graduation to expand his pottery education, Kristi followed. During that time, she discovered she had a knack for majolica painting––a craft that Renaissance-era artists used to decorate vases, jars, and plates, all of which Leonardo da Vinci invented. The couple realized they had a sturdy link between their talents, and eventually returned to the United States jobless, engaged, and ready to share what they'd learned.
In October 2005, the Carmichaels opened Quiggly's Clayhouse, where potters and painters alike have since been crafting masterpieces and sharpening their skills with lessons. The studio's flexible walk-in availability encourages artists to visit whenever inspiration strikes—be it for painting pottery, sculpting clay, fusing glass, or forging mosaics. Frequent themed events also bring groups together in the name of casual creativity, including adult wheel nights, ladies’ nights, and kids’ nights.
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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In 2007, the North Texas Event Center underwent a renovation that transformed a former call center into four fairytale ballrooms and a museum for classic cars. The gleaming Gull Wings, Alpha Romeos, and M6s catalyzed the project, as their owners sought a way to share their collections with the public. This desire dovetailed with the designs of city officials, who wanted to create an enduring cultural institution in Richardson and a way to see the cars without masquerading as stop signs. In order to realize this dream and reverse signs of aging in the 1980 building, contractors installed gleaming parquet floors valued at $2 million, and built out rooms with vaulted ceilings, broad stages, or bars. A crew of event planners oversees the chambers, which range from 1,883 to 14,000 square feet, and contain surprises such as 360 degrees of white drapes and a marble gazebo.
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.