As they enter the training circle at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby by trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. One minute is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
Elite CrossFit's strength suppliers shepherd students of all ages and body types toward pastures of athletic excellence, providing a comprehensive education within an intensity-racked environment. Developed to create the ideal sportsman, CrossFit workouts feature a mix of complex exercises and primal movements to motivate muscle growth and cardiovascular health. The 60-minute classes highlight teamwork, catalyzing camaraderie between participants as they help each other focus on physical challenges despite distracting mental images of wormy apples. Students should launch their journey to increased fitness with the three mandatory On Ramp sessions, which elucidate the essential CrossFit movements and give pupils an opportunity to voice their goals to trainers.
Experienced photo gurus Doug Box and Randy Kerr impart practical photo skills to curious shutterbugs during engaging seminars that have appeared across the States and in eight countries abroad. Doug Box, author of myriad photography-technique books, is one of 13 Kodak mentors and is the Executive Director of the Texas Professional Photographers Association. His co-teacher, Randy Kerr, heads World Photographic, which uses photography as a vehicle for illuminating humanitarian and environmental topics. Both men have been teaching photography classes for years and help amateurs take photos that capture piercing looks, toothy smiles, and elusive dodo sightings.
Rick Martinez began his career as a registered nurse, working in emergency rooms across the country to help patients overcome intense physical traumas. However, it was during an 18-month tour of service at Walter Reed Army Medical Center that Rick encountered the mother of a wounded soldier who changed his aspirations in life. Her indomitable spirit and the bravery with which she supported her son through his pain and recovery inspired Rick. Fully intent on helping people develop the unflinching resolve needed to better their own lives and well-being, he founded Fitness Porvida—Fitness for Life.
The center’s health gurus lead CrossFit and fitness sessions for students of virtually any fitness level, using functional exercises to create challenging, full-body workouts that build the strength and endurance necessary for students to bench-press their bathtubs. Yet physical exercise isn’t the only tool that the trainers employ—they also use nutritional guidance and camaraderie to empower their clients. Rick summarized this approach to the San Antonio Business Journal in 2010, saying, “when we treat the body as a whole the results are fantastic.”
For more than three decades, locally owned Spectrum Athletic Clubs have aimed to create a resort-like experience for patrons with upscale perks and personalized care. After workouts, gym-goers can avail themselves of unlimited towel service and change in comfortable locker rooms. Other amenities include saunas, steam rooms, healthy cafes, specialized workout areas, and complimentary Internet access.
In addition, racquetball courts let athletes improve their game independently, and patrons can sweat solo on cardiovascular equipment with individual viewing screens. Group classes, more than 1,200 of which are held daily, include Zumba, Pilates, Body Combat, and CXWorx sessions and enable trainees to draw motivation from each other or from each exercise studio's complimentary tank of moxie. The Spectrum Kids Club gives kids a place to play while adults work out and hosts such events as pool parties and pizza parties throughout the year.
Certified live- and raw-food chef Christa Emrick teaches classes of up to 25 people how to craft delicious treats with raw, vegan ingredients and without cumbersome ovens. Guests at the Christmas Cookies class watch and learn as Chef Christa follows recipes taken from her own e-book, Holiday Raw Food Sweets and Treats, to produce cookies free of gluten, wheat, dairy, soy, refined sugar, and coal. Chef Christa also reveals a secret ingredient that can replace eggs, cream, and butter in recipes and out-perform them in food fights. After the class, participants can take home recipes and leftover sample Christmas cookies to enjoy or test them out on the taste buds of a department-store Santa.