After Randy Woody lost his aunt and grandmother to diabetes and obesity, he became increasingly distressed about his own 320-pound frame. He began researching weight loss and strength training and set to work creating a healthier lifestyle for himself—all at the age of 13. Over the years he was able to whittle away 145 pounds, and eventually became a personal trainer, competitive bodybuilder, and member of the American College of Sports Medicine. He teamed up with Brenda Woody, a fitness trainer and motivational speaker, to start Michigan Women Boot Camp, a weight-loss program that has transformed the lives and bodies of more than 10,000 clients.
Six days a week, the indoor boot-camp sessions challenge students with a rotating lineup of light running, resistance training, obstacle courses, and core exercises. Like scaffolding that reads only transcendentalist literature, the environment is supportive, yet serious. The Woodys only expect campers to perform to their individual ability level, but they ask students to show up as often as five times a week to get real results. The approach must be working; the Woodys boast that approximately 85% of their members are repeat visitors.
Primetime Fitness's staff may consist of personal trainers and nutritionists, but they take their philosophical cue from postmen, delivering results 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The cardio theater – with TVs blaring entertainment – and the strength training room remain perpetually ready to sculpt bodies. The on-site nutrition and supplement store stays open during normal business hours. Members can work up a sweat with mechanical assistance or under the watchful eye of a trainer in group fitness classes such as Zumba or TurboKick. The staff also supplement workouts with nutritional coaching for weight loss, which includes meal plans and weekly weigh-ins.
Optimal results in a minimal time frame. That’s the goal of Nina—Sergeant Bootcamp himself. After a stint in the military, Nina returned to his true passion—fitness—and took up the reins at boot camp, where today he motivates clients of all fitness levels through indoor and outdoor workouts. Each 60-minute sweat session forgoes machinery and high-tech equipment for simple exercises, such as running, calisthenics, and weight training. Yet, Nina doesn’t let campers fall into any sort of routine; he changes up classes regularly to keep muscles guessing and clients from getting bored. Aimed at shredding body fat and toning physiques, each camp begins with a body-fat composition test so that clients can see their progress and achievements in numbers, rather than by whether or not they can fully conceal themselves behind a telephone pole.
Amid the kettlebells, sandbags, and medicine balls that pack its indoor fitness studio, Boot Camp Michigan hosts high-intensity workout sessions in the mornings and evenings throughout the week. Its imaginative routines draw from four essential fitness factors—cardio, resistance, core, and flexibility—and change from day to day to thwart fitness plateaus. The program’s exercises aim to reduce fat, build muscle, and diminish stress, and accompanying nutrition plans encourage healthy lifestyles and discourage unhealthy eating habits, such as shelling shrimp while trying to parallel park.
Rejuvenation Fitness's founder Terry Pratt started his gym more than 20 years ago after discovering that the standard membership model offered by most gyms didn't generate the results he wanted. The problem, as he saw it, was that most people simply weren't doing the right kind of training. After research and education, he determined that metabolic resistance training—combing plenty of cardio with pushing, pulling, climbing, tossing, and lifting—not only toned the body, but consumed fat more quickly than any one form of exercise on its own. He continues to evolve his perspective on fitness with modern trends, incorporating everything from perennially popular push-ups to kettlebells and TRX suspension harnesses into his ever-changing regimen.
Anyone who’s followed the fate of the pigskin on a crisp autumn Saturday is familiar with Mike Barwis’s work, whether they realize it or not. As the former Director of Strength and Conditioning at the University of Michigan and West Virginia University, Barwis spent years forging iron-like athletes including playmakers such as Steve Slaton, Pat White, and Brandon Minor. Now, he splits his time, consulting for the New York Mets and overseeing operations at Barwis Methods, where he and his staff promote fitness through boot-camp classes, strength-training programs, and personal-training sessions. When bolstering the fitness of everyday exercisers, Barwis’s personal trainers draw upon their own experience with the nation’s athletic elite; between them, they have trained numerous collegiate all-Americans, Olympians, and professional athletes, including more than 225 NFL players and four Puppy Bowl participants.