In 1999, Matthew Castaneda began developing exercise programs for his friends and family. As his reputation grew, so did his clientele base, which quickly expanded to include business professionals, athletes, and stay-at-home moms. More than a decade later, and with countless hours spent perfecting his craft, Matthew opened the doors to Pasadena Muscle Company in his hometown. There, he does what he's always done: engineer customized workout programs for people interested in building mass, losing weight, or gaining strength. In addition to one-on-one training, Matthew also offers boot-camp-style workouts conducted in small groups.
The fitness coaches at Apollo Boot Camp are dedicated to one thing: helping their clients look and feel great. This means they don’t endorse starvation diets or promote painful and miserable workouts. Instead, instructors devise upbeat boot camps for groups, personalize training programs for individuals, and concoct healthy and fulfilling nutritional plans for everyone. They also cater specific programs to the elderly or to youths who are battling obesity.
Most gyms don't limit their membership enrollment, which is why Meridian's Bodies in Motion does. By managing their member count, the workout areas are less crowded and visitors can step right up to machines without wasting precious calorie-burning minutes waiting in line. The staff can focus on keeping the facility clean and getting acquainted with clients, adding personal touches such as greeting members by name every time they enter and swipe their membership card, which means "hello" in several languages.
At each facility, a team of certified fitness instructors encourages exercise efforts during an array of group classes, including Zumba, spin, yoga, Pilates, kickboxing, and cross-training. The certified personal trainers devise customized workout routines and monitor exercisers' forms as they carve muscles lifting free weights and slim down on cardio and strength-training equipment from Icarian, Hammer Strength, Precor, and FreeMotion. Special features—such as racquetball courts, swimming pools, saunas, indoor basketball courts, boxing rings, childcare, and cuddly kitten pits—vary depending on location.
Lauded by Pasadena Weekly for having the best fitness program in 2011, Stadium Fitness earns its praise with a full schedule of energetic workouts held inside the hallowed walls of Rose Bowl Stadium. Recently featured in LA Yoga magazine, yoga classes also stay on the small side, helping instructors tailor workouts to individual goals and pay more attention to each student's inner growth. During each one-hour session, coed groups of all skill levels shed calories as a knowledgeable, certified fitness coach encourages quadriceps to put forth their best effort. Workouts are customized to each attendee's abilities—whether they want to jog up stadium stairs, sprint full-speed across the field's sun-splashed grass, or develop innovative cheerleading routines on the sidelines. Inside, a 5,000-square-foot locker room volunteers its spacious layout, allowing groups to participate in a variety of circuit-training routines or read plaques engraved with quotes from legendary tackling dummies.
Fitness industry veteran Dulcinea Lee Hellings's goal is to bring a high-quality, effective exercise regimen to people who don't love big gyms or can't afford personal trainers. In 2004, she realized that mornings could be used for more than hitting the snooze button over and over for two hours, and founded Boot Camp "Morning Crunch!" to help fledgling exercisers whip into shape.
She designs her all-levels programs to be scream-free morning motivators⎯the first stop in her patrons' journey of daily accomplishments. The fast-paced, ever-changing circuit of strength and cardio exercises keeps bodies guessing and minds from becoming bored. Each of the boot camp's 12 outdoor locations has a different dedicated trainer who gets to know each student personally, remembering their names and memorizing any interesting freckle patterns. They complement their morning routines with a smattering of evening options for those who prefer to work out after the day's activities.
When you walk into Mirror Image Fitness, you might wonder if you've accidentally wandered into a swanky living room. A far cry from the typical big-box gym atmosphere, the intimate fitness club welcomes guests with soft lamplight and a stone fireplace. The walls are decorated with framed artwork and black-and-white damask wallpaper, which, along with rich wood furniture, lends the space a cozy, home-like vibe. Walking in, you might find a DJ spinning tunes or a throng of members relaxing on the white leather sofas in the lounge area before a class or a personal-training session. Potted trees and plants flank the sun-drenched cardio machines, making the workout feel like a peaceful jog along a nature trail or through David Attenborough’s limousine.
The club is the brainchild of Derek Norman, who learned about discipline and motivation while going through training camp with the San Diego Chargers. Norman's fitness philosophy promotes the unique needs and goals of each member as well as the skills of his trainers, whose specialties range from yoga to boxing.