Intent on helping others attain their fitness goals in the shortest and safest possible amount of time, Dave MacDonald employed his experiences as a certified personal trainer and his know-how garnered as a graduate of St. Francis Xavier University’s Human Kinetics program to found Vitality Fitness Group. Dave’s staff of affable instructors shares his vision and strives to foster a nonjudgmental workout space that differs from a generic gym in its conscious eschewal of intimidation, overcrowding, and life-sized Schwarzenegger cut-outs. Opting instead for small classes, Dave seeks to develop a personalized approach to wellness. In order to keep each 45-minute boot camp entertaining and to prevent boredom, instructors cover an ever-changing variety of exercises, combining traditional training methods such as light running and sprinting from the clutches of minotaurs with fun activities including obstacle courses. Aware that getting bodies in motion remains only half of the svelting equation, Dave's team also proffers nutritional and motivational advice to interested participants.
Private Workout's efficiency-focused staffers draft half-hour workout regimens specifically designed to meet each client's physical needs and personal-health goals. The trainer explains the workout and introduces all equipment, then evaluates clients' fitness and helps them set goals. Members can then return for their 30-minute sessions, which are held nearly every day between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. The workouts are designed to keep heart rates up for 30 minutes, which helps stave off disease and ramp up metabolisms. Guests who'd like more individualized attention can also sign up for personal-training sessions to work toward milestones, whether they'd like to tone up for fingerless-glove season or lose weight.
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.
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.
Certified trainer, AJ Tucker, acquired myriad methods of staying fit while playing college football, training for jui jitsu, and during his four-year service with the U.S. Army. Today, he molds all that experience into a three-day-a-week boot camp that incorporates strength straining, a specialty class such as boxing, and a session designed for fun where participants buddy-up and complete a more light-hearted session of exercises. He also offers private boot camps that can be held at the office, school, or front yard.