Even at 14 years old, Landon Owens was obsessed with fitness. He eventually started Dinami Fitness Camp, using the Greek work for “strength” to set the tone for his indoor and outdoor boot-camp sessions. The family-like atmosphere at the camp lends itself as a healthy support-system for clients, encouraging and motivating participants to meet new challenges. Landon meets one-on-one with students to figure out their goals and concerns before training begins. He builds that information into his sessions, scaling exercises to match the abilities and favorite TV station of each participant. He also mixes up his workouts every day to keep students engaged, bringing in kettle bells, suspension training equipment, and free weights to complement circuit, speed, cross-training, and agility training.
Castle Hills Yoga is just one of Ricky Tran's many endeavors. When he isn't teaching at his studios or at Loyola Marymount University, he leads workshops and retreats. He also lectures on topics ranging from postures and breath to Sanskrit and the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali. Still, Castle Hills Yoga and his other yoga studios are his central concern. It's here that he and his fellow teachers lead classes that break down neatly into two categories: gentle sessions that help students stretch their bodies and calm their minds, and vigorous sessions for people who want more of a workout.
My Gym, which currently has more than 200 international locations, began more than 20 years ago as a structured place for children to safely play, acquire new skills, and romp off a sugar buzz. Coordinators organize each class according to age level (starting as young as 6 weeks) and design them to incorporate the latest physiological, psychological, and meteorological research. My Gym's energetic instructors are experts at using music, dance, and gymnastics to build youngsters' strength and self-esteem and stimulate their giggleplexes. The atmosphere is always friendly and inviting, so it fosters creativity and face-to-face engagement in the face of technological temptations and giant robotic faces.
Honored as the company's Franchise of the Year in 2010, the Frisco location teaches pint-sized classes for all developmental degrees. One-hour Waddlers sessions for babies and parents introduce tots aged 14–22 months to mobility, agility, and social skills as they build block towers and participate in puppet shows. Other classes include Tiny Tykes, a class for parents and babies that focuses on movement, as well as Mighty Mites and Whiz Kids, classes for more independently mobile children aimed at mastering motor skills to build strength, balance, and agility. During free-play sessions throughout the week, whippersnappers can frolic amid the clean and sunny facility's indoor play structures, swim through the ball pit, or practice parallel parking with toy trucks and scooters.
Thomas Volmer credits his wife, Rachel, for inspiring them to start helming boot camps. She wasn’t always a fitness guru, though. "She was a commercial banker and she was 70 pounds overweight," Volmer recalls. Once she started to reclaim her life, "she just fell in love with fitness," he says. She eventually dropped 80 pounds with proper exercise and nutrition, spurring her to earn her AFAA personal training certification and pursue a career as a full-time trainer.
Personal experience lends Rachel and the other trainers—including Sharon Monk, who lost more than 200 pounds by exercising and eating healthily—empathy and a motivating demeanor when working with campers. At each location, they get groups doing pushups, swinging kettlebells, and flipping tires in a positive environment that's focused on teamwork, rather than competition. "You start as a group, you finish as a group," says Thomas. "But the activities that you do in between might be different based on your abilities."
In addition to leading sessions, Rachel creates easy-to-use online meal plans (including a vegetarian plan), which campers can customize to help them stay on track. Options range from the simple, such as cereal with fruits, nuts, and flaxseeds, to the creative, including honey-sweetened oatmeal peanut-butter cookies. She also includes the calorie count for each recipe. Users can pick from simple meals made for one person or larger entrees designed with an entire family or pet elephant in mind.
Executive Chef Tommy Simpson pulls inspiration for his menu from 18 years of traveling the world—he's studied at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, bustled about kitchens in South America, and experimented with recipes in Europe. Today, he crafts innovative American dishes at One2One Restaurant and Bar, which took four bronzes, one silver, and one gold in Plano Profile's 2012 Best Eats Restaurant Survey. Simpson's creations include steaks topped with wasabi mash, blackened chicken sliders smeared with chipotle mayo, and rock shrimp paired with sriracha. He also stacks a wood-fired oven with crispy pizzas and brushetta breads that are speckled with gourmet toppings of lobster, prosciutto, and fig.
The kitchen looks out onto the restaurant’s cavernous dining hall, where light trickles down onto rows of black booths and stone-tiled walls. Blue lanterns surround the granite bar, spotlighting bartenders as they uncork bottles of fine wine and whip up cocktails. An awning stretches out over the outdoor patio, where diners can admire the front lawn’s fountain, which erupts with majestic streams of water and grants three wishes to those who’ve never cheated on a math test.
After shedding the extra pounds that came along with hypothyroidism and three pregnancies, Melody Chandler founded Texas Fit Chicks Boot Camp to share her weight-loss strategies and support with other women. Her all-female staff of certified personal trainers helps exercisers of all fitness levels shape their bodies during group fitness classes. In an effort to challenge muscle memory, the team shakes up workout regimens by using different techniques and equipment—including kettlebells, resistance bands, and lead sweatpants—each day. Melody’s team also helps exercisers retain their results by supplying nutrition support with meal plans and recipes that use healthy ingredients.
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