Dave Gerry started the Princeton Club with three simple tenets in mind: great trainers, exceptional equipment, and easy access. To realize that dream, he assembled a team of American College of Sports Medicine–certified personal trainers to helm the cardio and strength-training centers 24 hours a day.
Whether working out solo, in a group class, or with a trainer to remind them that bench-pressing beehives is safer with a spotter, guests can drop their young ones off at the free childcare center. Splashes fill the natatorium as swimmers paddle across the six-lane lap pool, as the resistance-current pool's adjustable waves enable guests to walk in place. A dip in the whirlpool soothes stress, and the steam room's eucalyptus aromatherapy and sauna's rejuvenating heat send bodies back into the world refreshed. Above the club, tennis and soccer players soak in vistas of Madison as they duke it out on the rooftop garden's turf. The competition continues indoors on basketball, racquetball, and volleyball courts.
The techniques that Lauren Birkel imparts to her trainers are the same ones she used on herself while preparing for and completing the rigorous Ironman World Championships in 2005 and 2011, as well as the France-held International Triathlon Union Long Course World Championships in 2007. With this history of achieving difficult goals, Birkel knows how to inspire students without commissioning a band of rabid coyotes to chase them while they run.
She and her many cotrainers use these thoroughly tested methods of motivation to push students toward healthier lives in one-on-one, small-group, and large-group training sessions. She decks out her indoor studios with all the necessary equipment for personal-training sessions and isn't afraid to lead all-outdoor boot-camp academies in the heat or rain.
Trainer Brian Austin has spent the last 10 years of his life working in the fitness industry, though his passion for healthy living started at an early age. In addition to being a high-school athlete and college mountain-bike racer, Brian has also spent time training with a grand master boxer. And he brings all of his fitness experience to his personal-training and fitness classes, during which he caters workouts to athletes of all ability levels. Brian also offers nutritional counseling for clients who want to make more-healthful decisions or for aggressive bananas that keep bruising the other fruit in the bowl.
When 9Round founder and IKF Light Middleweight Kickboxing Champion Shannon "The Cannon" Hudson isn't dominating combat rings across North American and Europe, he is taking care of his two children. It was with his kids in mind that the seasoned black belt crafted his signature workout¬—a challenging professional fighter's training regime compacted into a hectic, schedule-friendly 30 minutes.
Today, certified trainers in 9Round gyms across the nation lead students in Shannon's workout, guiding classes through its nine rounds of aerobic, anaerobic, and resistance-training exercises. Instructors vary the rounds each day, supplementing body-weight exercises with jump ropes, punching bags, and free-weights. Coaches also encourage diets of fruits and lean meats and counsel students against common dieting pitfalls, such as skipping breakfast or storing smoothie surplus in unmarked laundry-detergent bottles.
After graduating from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in kinesiology exercise science, ACE-certified trainer and Fit Fun Bootcamps founder Dustin Maher designed MamaTone Fitness to help moms vanquish weight gain after childbirth. Inspired by his own mother—who cooked his siblings and him healthful meals but rarely had enough time to exercise—Maher strives to imbue his clients with the motivation to do both. Whether training new moms, moms-to-be, dads who had moms, or curiously fast sons whose moms found them in the middle of a Kansas corn field climbing out of a spaceship, his group classes and boot camps immerse participants in a full-body workout with moral support from neighboring exercisers.
The classes at Monkey Bar Gymnasium are never easy, but individual attention from personal trainers ensures that participants never push themselves too hard. During boot camp and BodyPower classes, individuals work at their own pace alongside the rest of the group, powering through strength and cardio training to maximize benefits. Sport-specific training is also available for athletes, who can work with the staff on site to develop the best program for their area of focus.