As a gymnastics coach, Kaia F.I.T. founder and owner Nikki Warren always noticed how children in motion tumble and play with ease. They were effortlessly agile and flexible, and yet many of them would grow into adults who would struggle to stay active. Kaia F.I.T. sprang from this realization with the goal of restoring female physiques to the adolescent pliability everyone enjoys before they grow their rock-hard exoskeleton after sixth grade. In a welcoming environment, the expert coaches retrain bodies with dynamic workouts designed to strengthen muscles, boost energy and confidence, and vanquish fat. They root the sessions in functional training, a method that enlists athletes' own body weight and movement to stimulate fitness.
Programs range in intensity and length for exercisers of all ages, fitness levels, and goals, from six-week BRIK boot camps, which debut a fresh workout regime for each season, to Saturday Power Hours, which blend interval, strength, and endurance training. CORE Session boot-camp classes unfold in five-week intervals between BRIK camps and use muscle-confusion techniques to keep bodies in better shape than fad diets or preserving them in amber for swimsuit season would. The various regimens invite women to join a community where they dedicate themselves to maintaining their health and fitness.
Scott Baker doesn't care if you can point to your latissimus dorsi muscle, nor will he ever make you pronounce a word like "gastrocnemius." Years ago, Scott realized that he wanted to be a different kind of trainer?the kind who connects with his clients, rather than merely handing them weights and an anatomy book.
Scott's philosophy is simple, but he's tested it many times over the course of his 15 years as a personal trainer: hard work works. At Gemini Fit Lounge, his boutique gym in Solana Beach, he puts that philosophy into action. Though one-on-one personal training will always be his specialty, Scott has expanded his offerings to include group training, training camps, and sports-specific workouts. His positive attitude is contagious and attracts many types of clients, from weekend warriors to professional athletes. He asks only that these clients believe in themselves, stick to their fitness goals, and stop asking him to arm wrestle all the time.
The air at CrossFit Society fills with wafting plumes of weightlifting chalk and triumphant shouts at completed workouts. Expert trainers emphasize proper form as students learn an ever-changing collection of Olympic lifts, kettlebell movements, and calisthenics such as burpees and box jumps. Legs trace slow circles through the air as patrons hang from gymnastics rings, and kettlebells clang against racks with the sound of Robocop trying to exit a Honda Civic. Workouts can be scaled to meet the fitness level and needs of any participant, and students set and meet their own measurable goals. Trainers keep a constant eye on subtleties in movement, ensuring that workouts are always safe.
Having studied the “gentle art” under the guidance of Carlson Gracie, Brazilian jujitsu champion Joel Tudor takes a wider view of jujitsu. He sees the martial art as more than the physical means to choke, joint-lock, or toss an opponent. Although the discipline can arm its practitioners with these abilities, the art’s more central tenant promotes an overall healthy lifestyle by increasing self-confidence and encouraging clients to break bad habits. In support of this approach, Master Tudor’s instructors imbue children and adults with other health-promoting practices, such as yoga and kettlebell conditioning.
Kaili Hunt has always been dedicated to fitness, and through his experience earning a degree in exercise physiology and snatching up any certifications he came across, he developed his own method of training. His classes take students through a five-stage development program. The program aims to take students of all fitness levels and not only match them up with the right intensity but also put them on a path to improving their fitness level.
Justin Fassio earned his personal-training certification during his time in the military, when his passion for exercise landed him the chance to lead a physical training program for an Air Force–operations group. Once his time in the force was up, he didn't leave his love of fitness back at base—he brought it home with him. Today, he leads outdoor fitness programs for all citizens.
Nutritionist Rachel Bowman has a background in Clinical and Holistic Nutrition, offering a wide acumen of current nutritional research. Her career now emphasizes weight management in all walks of life, ranging from digestive health to healthy eating while traveling. Her sports enthusiasm has also forged professional relationships with athletes and key athletic trainers.
The partnership of the two is ideal at San Diego Core Fitness, where staffers emphasize that fitness and nutrition always work hand-in-hand. The varied boot-camp workouts fuse fun and motivation with functional training techniques designed to help build up neglected core muscles and regain muscular balance. Personal-training sessions are supplemented with nutritional advice and lifestyle counseling, and keeps semiprivate training sessions small so that each participant can receive individual attention. During outdoor boot camps, groups make use of whatever the locations offer as equipment—depending on the scenery, they wade through deep beach sand, run up open-air stairs, and bench-press park benches.