Saratoga Fit's Kim McGuire knows that the pull of the refrigerator can be strong. The AFAA-certified group fitness instructor spent her childhood battling chubbiness, low self-esteem, and the barbs of mean-spirited classmates. As a teen, she resolved to rebuild her life by reshaping her body and eating habits. Bolstered by support from her family, she lost the extra weight and resolved to help others do the same. Since then, she's spent more than a decade working in the fitness industry, earning personal-training certification and a tae kwon do black belt, leaving fat too scared to think about ever coming back.
These days, Kim specializes in boot camps, which melt calories and fortify muscles with a blend of cardio, strength training, and core-sculpting exercises. Here, exercisers of all levels challenge themselves in an atmosphere filled with motivation, accountability, and the encouragement from up to 14 others who share their desire to succeed and love of culottes. Free weights tone muscles in the arms, shoulders, and back, and BOSU balls facilitate body-weight exercises that chisel the abs. Using tools such as the USDA and ACSM nutrition guidelines, Kim also teaches the group how to eat smart and requires each participant to submit a log of their daily food and exercise choices to ensure they stay on track.:m]]
After fighting her way back to a size four following the birth of her third child, Debi Condon earned her personal-training-and-nutrition certification and founded Evolution Fitness. Debi and her crew lead mostly female groups of all ages and fitness levels through indoor and outdoor boot camps, TRX-suspension classes and personal-training sessions. Interval routines leverage mats, free weights, and nearby playground equipment to build up endurance against fatigue and cooties. With an emphasis on supportive motivation rather than drill-sergeant tactics or endless scrimmages against fast-food mascots, trainers strive to build accountability among their students through friendships and unlimited email support.
At Legion Training Center, a staff of professional judo artists, marines, and black belts help students of all ages boost their self-esteem, strengthen their bodies, and learn to defend themselves with martial-arts training across a variety of disciplines. The clean, sleek space combines the hard-hitting jujitsu, boxing, and muay-thai-kickboxing classes of a martial-arts studio with the rewarding self-improvement of a modern gym. Students tone muscles and burn fat with kettlebell and MMA yoga classes, or learn to fend off attackers or spar with worthy opponents with kickboxing, judo, and wrestling courses.
Travis Gil believes fitness comes not only from training the body, but from gaining control of the mind as well. He knows that a physical and mental transformation can be intimidating, so he created Fitness Artist to cater to clients one-on-one or in small groups of two or three. He and his staff of fitness professionals alter their regimens in every session, tailoring the workouts to the clients' levels of fitness and individual goals.
It’s said that the human mind has problems visualizing large numbers. So it might be hard to conjure an image of the 700,000 athletes Athletic Republic Clifton Park has trained in their 22-year history. Or even the 2,500 of their students who went on to compete professionally. Instead, it's probably easier to think about the proprietary equipment that fills Athletic Republic’s red-walled gym. There's the super treadmill, which reaches speeds of 28 mph in less than three seconds and inclines up to 40 degrees. There’s a hockey treadmill that angles blades up a slope, boosting skaters' power and agility. And there are conditioning cords that add resistance to common moves from many sports, including baseball, golf, and soccer.
This innovative approach to athletic training has its roots in John Frappier’s time with the US National Team during the 1986 Goodwill Games. After losing repeatedly to the Soviet Union athletes, he discovered the need to improve his team’s training methods, including the machines they worked out on. The technology he developed is still used by Athletic Republic’s certified trainers in group camps and classes, one-on-one training sessions, and carefully synchronized treadmill dances.
When it opened in 1978, The Court Club held only racquetball, squash, and handball courts. But as the fitness scene evolved, so did its facilities. Today, the club promises more than just on-court competition. It also offers group fitness classes, cardio and weight-training equipment, personal training, and rock climbing.