Caryn Connarton, owner of Beyond Fitness Pilates Studio, has earned certifications in nearly every fitness fad of the last decade. Though spinning strengthened her quads and aerobics bolstered her endurance, only Pilates delivered full-body results. In her opinion, it's the best form of exercise for people who want to increase their flexibility, improve their posture, and build longer, leaner muscles. At her studio, Connarton and fellow instructors lead group classes that often incorporate several props—BOSU balls build core strength, foam rollers stretch muscles, and rubber chickens tone participants' sense of humor. Instructors also offer private and semiprivate equipment sessions and specialized workouts for specific populations.
As a player and coach of the dynamic, fast-paced sport of ice hockey, Derek Arledge knows firsthand about the importance of training and conditioning. Now brandishing certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association and the American Council on Exercise, Derek trains everyone from youngsters to pro athletes, helping them get fit safely, using proper form and technique. Hockey players receive sport-specific conditioning with camps that include on- and off-ice exercises to prepare for crucial game situations such as casting the perfect spell when attempting a hat trick.
When Dean Rafferty first began his personal-training career, he was a jack of all trades who helped clients reach goals ranging from sport-specific achievements to fat loss. But this didn't last long. Immediately, he found that he got the most reward out of seeing the look on a weight-loss client's face after stepping on the scale to see it read 30 pounds lighter. That was when he began working exclusively with people seeking to lose weight and get fit.
Today, he leads indoor boot-camp classes designed to do just that. The sessions challenge students to push themselves through fun, fast-paced exercises while motivating each other and fostering a sense of community. Dean pairs these workouts with simple nutrition plans that help students fuel their weight-loss journeys.
Babe’s Bootcamp's founder, Kristine Barry, use her skills as a certified yoga instructor, personal trainer, and group-exercise instructor to whip her students into tip-top shape during one-hour total-body workouts. Medford High School's indoor gym, weight room, and outdoor field serve as participants' stomping grounds on weeknights. As Kristine makes use of a variety of exercise techniques, students should bring a water bottle, towel or yoga mat, and pocket-sized personal cheerleader to each class.
For years, Life in Synergy founder Helena Collins was frustrated with her body. Despite vigorously working out and dieting, she wasn't seeing results. But she knew there had to be a way to achieve the figure she wanted while still eating the foods she loved and actually enjoying her workouts. So she set out to find a solution. After more than 30 years of research, she now lives by the motto "Work smarter, not harder," and has developed a fitness method that motivates her clients to make long-term changes through custom nutrition plans, exercise, and life-coaching sessions.
Along with her team of certified trainers, Collins first meets with each client to assess their goals, which might include losing pounds or finally being able to bench-press their older brother. The staff then develops a customized nutrition plan that eschews fad diets and starvation, as well as a fitness plan that hones in on specific problem areas such as the thighs, love handles, and belly. During Life in Synergy's signature Synergistics Fitness Method classes, clients work toward those same goals in a group setting, using exercise bands and medicine balls for low-impact moves that don't damage joints. The metabolism-boosting workouts also emphasize stretching and strengthening weak muscles to correct any imbalances in the body. The trainers further hone in on problem areas during classes including Butts and Guts, Lean Legs, and Abs and Arms.
As natural light streams through the windows, members at Fisique Fitness run on treadmills equipped with their own screens, take to Cybex elliptical machines, and make the rounds on strength-training equipment. In group exercise classes, instructors lead cardio-centric spinning workouts or model mindful breathing during Vinyasa yoga's flow of poses. Dedicated personal trainers take things up a notch, pushing their clients past a plateau or preparing them for the arm-wrestling portion of a corporate job interview. After workouts, members can hit the showers equipped with convenient toiletries or plunk down on one of the lobby’s leather armchairs.
In addition to providing chiropractic treatments and physical-therapy sessions, Fisique Fitness partners with Joint Ventures to offer a menu of spa services that includes massage and acupuncture.