Youth, amateur, and professional boxing. MMA fighting and jujitsu. Fitness bootcamps centered on throwing a good punch, and classes that help you find your fighting stance. Fight Club University's team of professional boxers, MMA fighters, and personal trainers teach all these skills and more, as well as helping develop self-confidence, strength, and common sense in young people through the S.T.R.O.N.G. program. Newly toned and slim patrons strut out of the gym past a forest of equipment that includes heavy bags, medicine balls, and jump ropes. Instructors suggest that the courses can help bolster overall health, a sense of timing, and hand-eye coordination.
At Island Fitness Studio, bodies learn to defy physics, becoming at once firm and bendable. That's because the instructors specialize in tightening cores and enhancing reach. Their group Pilates, yoga, and Beyond Barre sessions coach muscles in the art of balance, extending limbs upward during hot Vinyasa sequences and leveraging focused, dance-inspired stretches against a ballet barre. Other classes, such as TRX suspension training and spinning, complement these flexing routines with resistance and cardio workouts.
Power Pilates–certified teachers also lead private apparatus sessions. They familiarize clients with the Reformer, Tower, Wunda Chair, and other props, all of which develop patrons' posture and strength more safely than fusing steel beams to their skeletons. Regardless of the number of people involved in a lesson, the guides personalize their approach to suit varying goals and fitness levels. The studio can even furnish advanced students with Power Pilates and Beyond Barre certifications.
Shawn Kephart, the founder of K180 Fitness, uses his own experience struggling with body image and weight loss to lead his students towards their fitness goals. His comprehensive regimen approaches fitness from eight core areas, using a 20,000 square foot gym ergonomically designed for motivation. Certified trainers—many of whom have overcome body image issues, disabilities, or chronic illness—lead classes and personal training sessions, and the gym is also equipped with a full-service kitchen and private lockers and showers.
Jeffrey Cohen and Andrea Boyd know that yoga's lessons stretch far beyond the reach of the studio mat. By applying Jivamukti tenets to all aspects of their lives, these advanced certified teachers endorse continual compassion, self-awareness, and Satsang—the practice of gathering with those who inspire you. Beneath their physical teachings lie lessons on character, which promote behaviors such as humility and compassion. They also demonstrate the power of generosity by holding annual "Help Send a Student to Teacher Training" fundraisers. As they strive to extend yoga's core values into their everyday lives, they and their students hope to become "agents of change in the world," an underlying goal highlighted in their 2008 Yoga Journal feature.
This holistic approach to yoga is evident in their classes, in which they blend breath work, meditation, chanting, and philosophy into innovative formats. They fuel posing sessions with soundtracks that range from Led Zeppelin riffs to spoken-word stanzas and use hands-on assists to support guests who suddenly decide to crowd-surf.
At Curves, exercisers of all fitness levels 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 machine-maneuvering and muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks, filling medicine balls with medicine, and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines account for different body weights and fitness levels to create resistance that matches one's abilities, which thereby decreases 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.
Greenville Adventure Boot Camp's exercise-hardened boot-camp trainer, Heather Coley, buffs up bodies with a shifting whirlwind of activities to prevent boredom and steady doses of encouragement to keep her sweat donors motivated. During a precamp evaluation, she'll take a few baseline measurements of your physical stats to compare with your end results, review your medical history, patiently listen to your hand puppet's complaints, and discuss your fitness goals. The 60-minute boot camp’s intensity level is flexible, with newbies and hardbodies alike aiming to max out their own physical threshold rather than someone else's. Each class, Heather dishes out a rotating mix of exercises, which might involve sprints, weight training, core blasts, obstacle courses, rope jumping, livestock hoisting, barrel sledgehammering, and spinning. Boot campers should bring their own mats, water, and towels.