Most camp counselors can teach children how to tie-dye a t-shirt or braid a friendship bracelet. Very few, however, have experienced the exhilaration of vaulting into the end zone for a goal-line touchdown or intercepting a game-winning pass in front of thousands of rabid football fans. Across the country, Sports International Football Camps grant participants the opportunity to learn firsthand from professional athletes, whose gridiron battle scars have been forged by bell-ringing collisions with fearless opponents and reckless mascots on motorcycles.
Since 1983, the organization has partnered with veteran high-school coaches and pros, such as three-time Pro Bowl running back Priest Holmes, All-Pro linebacker Brian Cushing, and Super Bowl champion–cornerback Terrell Thomas. In those years, the camp has schooled some 91,000 alumni, including current NFL quarterback Byron Leftwich. Coaches break campers into groups by age, position, and ability and run practices that are competitive yet fun and supportive. For in-depth focus on the specific techniques of skill-position players, the camp also offers special academies for passing and receiving as well as kicking, punting, long snapping, and cooler lifting for Gatorade victory showers.
Inspired by a love of fitness germinated during a successful tennis career, Innovative Fitness owner Phillip Zavala helms a team of motivated trainers. As gusts of fresh air swirl around them, the crew pushes fitness-seekers to peak performance during intense outdoor boot-camp sessions for all ages and ability levels. Using knowledge acquired while earning a degree in exercise science, Phillip helps clients transform their daily routines by assigning achievable fitness and nutrition goals. Aided by a massive battery of exercises, including 9 types of pushups and 10 different ab workouts, patrons can shed pounds without becoming stranded on a desert island where there is no silverware.
For more than 130 years, the YMCA has worked to facilitate growth for individuals as well as communities by providing social-enrichment programs that promote honesty, respect, and responsibility. YMCA of Greater San Antonio, which features locations throughout the metropolitan area, helps people improve their lives with healthy living programs that offer inclusive training classes as well as lifelong learning classes. Youth development initiatives and childcare services allow children as well as teens to develop positive behaviors while exploring their interests in a safe, supportive environment. The centers also encourage social responsibility by providing opportunities to support local communities through volunteerism and charitable giving.
Jonathan Acosta lifted his first weight in sixth grade. He was scrawny but loved sports, so he started lifting weights to bulk up. Eventually he gained the muscle mass to out-do athletes much bigger than him, and he’s been hooked on fitness ever since. After his own success, he was dismayed to learn that the typical gym experience didn’t seem to be doing much for his female friends. They wanted toned and lean muscles rather than bulk, but weren't seeing results. With their sentiments in mind, he opened Get Sexy San Antonio Bootcamps, striving to help ladies break through their fitness and weight-loss barriers.
In intense 45-minute sessions, Jonathan leads small groups through fat-burning exercises tailored to individual weight-loss goals. He throws himself into every session, motivating guests with boundless energy and enthusiastic moral support, shouting encouraging phrases such as, "You can't not do it!" To complement his intense exercise regimens, Jonathan also equips guests with nutritional plans.
Trained by JuKiDo founder Kyoshi Ivan Ujueta, Haben's Martial Art's head sensei Paul Haben draws from his hard-hitting experience to help students reach their individual goals. Classes cover a range of disciplines including the syncretic style of JuKiDo, which blends the soft defensive styles of judo and jiu-jitsu with the uncompromising strikes of karate and kickboxing. Students can also learn Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which enables the neutralization of larger opponents through the assistance of the floor, or focused, mixed martial arts for students determined to kick through lead. Since in utero instruction has proven impractical, Haben's Martial Arts accepts students starting at 4 years of age, with classes especially designed for different age groups.
Rick Martinez began his career as a registered nurse, working in emergency rooms across the country to help patients overcome intense physical traumas. However, it was during an 18-month tour of service at Walter Reed Army Medical Center that Rick encountered the mother of a wounded soldier who changed his aspirations in life. Her indomitable spirit and the bravery with which she supported her son through his pain and recovery inspired Rick. Fully intent on helping people develop the unflinching resolve needed to better their own lives and well-being, he founded Fitness Porvida—Fitness for Life.
The center’s health gurus lead CrossFit and fitness sessions for students of virtually any fitness level, using functional exercises to create challenging, full-body workouts that build the strength and endurance necessary for students to bench-press their bathtubs. Yet physical exercise isn’t the only tool that the trainers employ—they also use nutritional guidance and camaraderie to empower their clients. Rick summarized this approach to the San Antonio Business Journal in 2010, saying, “when we treat the body as a whole the results are fantastic.”