Certified personal fitness trainer Ken Williams’ boot camps were voted Hampton Roads' best in 2011 by the Virginian-Pilot, and he was honored in NV Magazine’s 2011 Movers & Shakers list, a designation for outstanding business people who prove “anything is possible.” Today, he captains a crew of certified trainers in his boot-camp programs while also offering private training and diet coaching. Believing his boot camps can benefit anyone, he trains clients of every stripe, from those looking to shed fat to competitive bodybuilders to local celebrities such as WVEC News 13’s Benita Adams. Each of his workouts aims to challenge fitness seekers both physically and mentally, much like solving math problems with a 130-pound bronze pencil.
In addition to helping clients along the path to healthier selves, Ken commits himself to offering a hand in the local community. He provides motivational speeches at local schools to encourage healthy habits among youth, and conducts food and supply drives for local homeless shelters Haven House and ForKids, Inc.
The team of dedicated instructors at Titus International Surf School follow two passions: surfing and making art. They generate all of the company’s graphics, and also design clothing and decorate surfboards. They spend even more of their time on the water, training students of all ages in the basics of surfing and longboarding. At the Virginia Beach oceanfront, the instructors conduct private and group surf lessons, as well as children’s summer surf camps. They begin each lesson with land instruction, and then lead students out to water to help them hone their balance, practice paddling, and develop basic techniques such as making turns and high-fiving dolphins. Though Titus International Surf School’s staff often travels to international waters to surf, they also keep local communities in mind. They donate 15% of all proceeds to nonprofits, such as outreach organizations in Virginia Beach and Costa Rica and an orphanage in Mexico.
All year long the crashing sounds of waves beckon VB Surf Sessions' staff to the water, where they teach students to paddle and shred across the ocean. The CPR-certified instructors maintain a 1:4 instructor to student ratio during their surf lessons, allowing them to steady the wobbly legs of pupils as they conquer Virginia Beach. For less intense excursions, groups dip their paddles into the wave-free waters of nearby inlets and human-sized fishbowls during stand up paddleboarding lessons and tours.
Jazzercise is 60 minutes of cardio, strength training, and stretching that incorporates moves from hip-hop, yoga, Pilates, jazz dance, kickboxing, and resistance training with handheld weights. Dancing with the Stars multiple-champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of Jazzercise's improvisational workouts, though luckily you won't need her dance moves to get the most out of your class. If you're prone to first-class jitters, though, you can review the basic moves online before you go. Expect to burn off up to 500 calories with each go-round.
With machines set up in rows to encourage competition, many ordinary gyms cater to men's bodies and psychology, right down to the urinals that were "accidentally" installed in the women's locker room. At Curves, you'll move around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage your machine maneuvering and your muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines use your body weight and fitness level to create resistance that matches your abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
While serving oversees in the US military, Tracy Lee Thomas would often dream of opening his own martial-arts training studio. He had been training in martial arts since he was 13 years old, mastering the form and self-defense techniques of a variety of styles and eventually earning his seventh-degree black belt. He was able to realize this dream once he returned to American soil, where he opened up his own studio: Changing Lives Martial Arts.
Today, the official American Taekwondo Association master pulls from his years of expertise to lead karate, tae kwon do, and krav maga classes to students of all ages. Tracy and his team of expert instructors teach self-defense tactics and guide students through dynamic punches and kicks while emphasizing the importance of life skills such as self-discipline and focus. The instructors also take a load off moms and dads by hosting kids’ birthday parties, where martial arts–inspired games provide a fun alternative to messy piñatas and games of pin-the-tale-on-the-grownup. His dedication to his students and martial arts has also gained the attention of the Virginian-Pilot, which has awarded him the Best of Hampton Roads award seven times from 2005 to 2012.