Revolutionary Velo-Watts’ CompuTrainer is a microprocessor-controlled indoor ergometer and trainer that refines riding styles to boost racing performance. Bikers of all abilities can bring their two-wheelers in to mount on the virtual tutor’s stationary wheels, allowing for immediate familiarity with their equipment while hooked up to the machine. The video software simulates famous courses that relate to trainee’s desired goals—the Lake Placid or Wisconsin Ironman for a triathlete, the Tour de France for a mountain racer, or downtown San Francisco for a motivated paperboy. While pedaling in place, data is generated showing heart rates, speed, wattage, and number of wheelies popped. After the workout, cyclists can take advantage of shower facilities or squeegee their sweat into a mason jar for a delightful memento.
The team of trainers and athletes at CrossFit ?VITAS work closely with groups of exercisers, running them through the ever-changing Workout of the Day. The constant rotation of fitness regimens ensures that muscles never get so good at one particular movement that they stop developing. The intense workouts blend cardio and plyometrics to build healthy hearts and layers of lean muscle.
Former college-football player Michael Reeves draws on his years of training and a degree in physical education as president of and a personal trainer at Top Form, a gym and field house. Whether training teams of young athletes or adults looking to get into shape, he blends his academic and practical experience to leave clients with a mental cache of exercises and routines. During personal-training sessions for individuals or groups, Reeves’ cadre of instructors uses muscle-isolating equipment such as stability balls, free weights, and medicine balls to shape cores or kick off impromptu games of dodge ball. On the artificial turf of an indoor field, athletes perform functional-movement drills while pulling weight sleds.
Reeves' wife and the gym’s vice president, Jen, leads mothers with newborns and toddlers through yoga-inspired workout classes. Little ones lie down or break dance on mats during the stretch and light-weight session as parents and progeny bond.
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.
With machines set up in rows to encourage competition, many ordinary gyms cater to men's bodies and psychology, right down to the urinals that were "accidentally" installed in the women's locker room. At Curves, you'll move around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage your machine maneuvering and your muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines use your body weight and fitness level to create resistance that matches your abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
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.