Having amassed almost 30 years' worth of fitness expertise, Linda Mitchell doesn't believe in age as a limiting factor. The AFAA-certified personal trainer, Ms. Fitness USA competitor, and regular contributor to Ms. Fitness magazine teaches clients how to woman-handle their exercise goals regardless of their backgrounds. She founded ChickFit as a studio where women could work out among friends and nonintimidating teachers. There, her signature sessions?which range from boot-camp classes to cardio-kickboxing rounds?tone physiques, tap into wellsprings of confidence, and ready bodies for beach season. She weaves a common thread of compassion and skill through heated yoga sessions, jogging seminars, and dance-fueled aerobics classes, encouraging guests to "embrace their age" as they bypass fitness milestones, such as pole-vaulting through a ring aflame with birthday candles.
At the crack of dawn, Ryan Vaught barks orders across a misty high-school track field. During his four years in the United States Marine Corps, Vaught led daily physical training for his fellow soldiers—experience he now lends to his fellow civilians at Tri State Adventure Boot Camp. A certified personal trainer and member of a local jujitsu academy, Vaught blends different fitness styles into challenging combinations, which helps his charges become well-rounded enough to use each other as medicine balls.
Boot-camp sessions cycle through fitness instruction, motivational training, and nutrition counseling, and participants take on everything from weight training and jump ropes to obstacle-course runs—workouts designed to tone the core, abdomen, butt, and legs. Though sessions gradually increase in intensity, each is designed to accommodate all fitness levels.
Though its name may conjure fantasies about sprinting down crowded streets or bench-pressing buses stalled in traffic, Urban Active Fitness grants its members abundant space in which to spread out and follow their workout proclivities. At dozens of locations across the Midwest and South, members can sculpt their bodies in whichever manner they choose—from personal training with resistance machines and free weights to group classes in cycling, Zumba, and Pilates. A number of group classes draw on the gym’s urban theme for inspiration. Urban Iron, for example, focuses on building muscles that resemble the cast-iron beams of skyscrapers, and Urban Yoga closely imitates the poses necessary to squeeze onto a subway train at rush hour.