When Justin McMillian left the operating room after the second ACL surgery on his right knee, he wondered if his dream of becoming an all-American soccer player would become a reality. It took the inventive scheduling and can-do attitude of his childhood friend, Jared “Iggy” Embick, to pull through. The duo managed to launch McMillian not only to the all-American team, but to a professional soccer career. They never forgot that battle to recover from injury, and how smart training healed, conditioned, and inspired Justin. The same deliberate, motivational focus that took him from the sickbed to the soccer field inform the training programs at Elite FT.
All training sessions take place over six weeks, with 10 or more students meeting once a week for one hour. Coaches might call for rigorous plyometric conditioning exercises or teach sport-specific skills to soccer, football, and baseball players. Through teaching skills and conditioning bodies, the coaches aim to create confident, disciplined, and elite athletes whose skills transfer to their work ethic and other important areas of life, such as schoolwork or winning a game of Horse to snatch a promotion at work.
For Fast Fitness Boot Camp’s Chad Skinner, exercise should feel more like play than work, even during intense physical challenges. Filled with obstacle courses, tug-of-war bouts, and games of catch, his 30-minute boot camps summon the fun of grade-school playgrounds even as they push exercisers toward goals and away from lost weekends with the Cookie Monster. Each session pairs cardio activities such as running and hiking with strength-training drills to melt calories and sculpt muscles. In between solo challenges such as pushups, squats, and jumping jacks, participants build friendships during partner activities that foster teamwork and boost energy levels. Personal-training sessions put exercisers up close and personal with Skinner, who coaches them through custom workouts while dispensing exercise tips, nutrition advice, and an abundance of motivation.
At CrossFit MetroEast, certified CrossFit coaches design different workouts each day, which blend exercises from various fitness disciplines such as gymnastics, weightlifting, plyometrics, cardio, and strength training. Athletes may be tasked with lifting weights, running, or rowing, or working out with equipment such as ropes, tires, and kettlebells.
The expert instructors of The Body Mill Fitness and Yoga Studio lead students of all levels through challenging classes that range from intense boot-camp classes to calming gentle yoga. They use suspension training and kettlebells to help students build muscles, and teach them to develop core muscles during Pilates classes.
Club Fitness makes exercise accessible, offering dozens of group classes to participants of all fitness levels at more than 20 locations throughout the St. Louis area. Teams of instructors lead lessons in activities such as cycling, ab-focused exercises, kickboxing, Pilates, yoga, and Zumba aerobics.
At J5 CrossFit, owner Jordan Unfried and a team of dedicated, certified CrossFit coaches motivate students to build strong, healthy bodies through intense exercise regimens based on functional movements. Rather than waste time on a treadmill parked in front of a flat-screen TV, CrossFit athletes tackle a wide range of strength, conditioning, and gymnastic workouts, incorporating moves such as hoisting barbells, leaping onto boxes, and exercising on iron rings.