The YMCA of Greater Des Moines has been promoting healthy living to families and individuals in the surrounding communities since 1868. One month of family membership (good for two adults and any dependants under the age of 23) entitles tribes to full usage of any of the area locations including the brand new YMCA Healthy Living Center. Membership amenities encompass access to fitness equipment, lap and therapeutic pools, more than 500 fitness classes like kickboxing, yoga, tai chi, and water aerobics, reduced program rates, access to the child care nursery, and many other programs and services, which vary according to location. Each family member will also get three sessions of personalized attention from one of the Y’s Healthy Living Coaches, who can help make the most of your month of muscling by helping the whole family become acclimated to the equipment, establish fitness goals, and transform into an entire tribe of variously sized Rocky Balboas.
When Brian Maro dared his friend Jeremy Yoder to come with him to CrossFit classes for two weeks, Jeremy wasn't worried. After all, he had been a certified fitness instructor for more than 15 years and had earned a black belt in tae kwon do, a national title in full-contact sparring, and an accreditation in advanced scuba diving. He could handle it.
But after his first session, the challenging workout had humbled him, and Jeremy had a new respect for the abilities of seasoned CrossFit athletes. Determined to improve, he threw himself into CrossFit five days a week, eventually earning certification as a CrossFit Level 1 trainer.
Today, Jeremy and Brian join forces to captain their own CrossFit gym—CrossFit Primal. Amid kettlebells, pull-up bars, and oversized tires, the duo of certified trainers and their staff lead students through CrossFit's signature high-intensity functional workouts. The coaches also slingshot students to their fitness goals with nutritional guidance that includes recipes and personal consultations. Committed to creating a supportive community, instructors provide their students with routine encouragement, host regular class parties, and devote every third class to faithfully re-creating scenes from Cheers.
A bodybuilder and former firefighter, a competitive runner, and a martial arts champion lead the workouts for Elite Body Boot Camp at Elite Edge Gym. Having handpicked his team of certified personal trainers, UFC fighter Joe Brammer utilizes their backgrounds to plan brief but intensive routines. He combines kickboxing drills with weightlifting, yoga, and kettlebell maneuvers, staving off boredom with an ever-diverse exercise lineup. He has also structured the program for optimum results—ideally, his campers report to two days of kickboxing and two days of weight training per week, or one day of kickboxing in iron boots.
Joe and his staff don't believe in sitting by and bellowing orders at their students. They prefer to be involved both inside and out of each 45-minute class, dispensing tips for technique, nutrition, and goal setting.
Farrell’s eXtreme Body Shaping helps clients of all ages, lifestyles, gender, and athletic ability achieve their fitness goals through results-orientated training. Long-time taekwondo competitor and teacher Lance Farrell developed the program to combat obesity and assist people develop healthy lifestyle habits by incorporating the fat-burning, strengthening and endurance building aspects of competitive martial arts training into a course for those less interested in traditional sparring or contact drills. During 45-minute sessions hosted six days a week, Farrell uses fitness as a catalyst for improving overall health, wellness, and athletic abilities. A 10-week program can result in visible changes sparked by discipline and nutritional commitment.
Kris Larrison has been teaching fitness classes for more than 20 years, in addition to being an avid runner. "After years of running, and running competitively, your body starts breaking down a little bit," she says. "Yoga was good for me to get into."
And though there were only a few yoga studios in the area, there wasn't a single hot-yoga studio around—so she opened the first. Classes started out in the basement of a building, and often there were only one or two people. Kris didn't mind; she was doing it for fun. But, as she says, "word got out" and the business grew. As classes swelled to 30 people packed into the small space, she decided to open a larger storefront studio.
Today, she has a crew of certified instructors who lead classes in the hot-yoga studio, which runs from 95 to 104 degrees. Why the heat? In addition to increasing flexibility, helping detoxify the body through sweat, and helping home-brought dragon eggs to hatch, heat increases yoga's cardiovascular benefits. "You get that oxygen into the blood a lot better with the heat," Kris says. In addition to hot yoga, Kris has a studio dedicated to hot barre classes. Using a ballet barre to help everyone go higher and lower, classes do motions such as lunges and squats. The heat, she says, "kicks it up a little bit."
For Kris, the most rewarding thing has been seeing her studio foster relationships; because it's more of a boutique studio, rather than a large health club, people get to know one another. "It's very rewarding to see people come in after a year or so of practicing, and see how much they've accomplished, and how much stronger they are," she says.
Anytime Fitness is a busy, popular fitness chain that works to remove common obstacles to working out. At any one of the 21 locations this Groupon is valid for, clients have 24/7 access to the gym’s cardio and strength-training equipment, and some locations offer group fitness classes, such as Zumba and small group training. Certified personal trainers are available to help those looking to take their workouts to the next level, and members can finish their exercise routines with a stop off at the onsite tanning booth to add a summery glow to muscles.