Julie Johnston founded Boot Camp Las Vegas in 2005, when—after unsuccessfully trying to lose 60 pounds through a battery of exercise techniques—she considered enlisting in the military solely for the physical challenge and camaraderie. Upon reconsideration, she decided to reclaim some turf from the lazy birds in nearby parks and stage her own workouts to build the physical and mental toughness she knew she was capable of developing. Today, a team of instructors—all certified personal trainers who have completed 64 days of boot-camp training—preaches Johnston's program to exercisers of all fitness levels. To help monitor and maximize workouts, they stage weigh-ins, take measurements, perform physical-fitness tests, and dish out a nutrition packet to shed light on healthy eating.
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Excel Defense Studios prepares students of all self-defensive stripes to kick, punch, or headlock their way to safety and better fitness in its state-of-the-art MMA training facility. Muay thai kickboxing, Brazilian jujitsu, and E.D.S. CrossFit highlight a catalog of combat classes that fortify members with the techniques necessary to triumph over hostile fat cells and time-warped samurai. Professional course instructors—many with military or law-enforcement backgrounds—take advantage of a 5,500-square-foot studio's full gym, boxing center, and mat area to train fighters of all abilities and fitness levels. Would-be warriors can strengthen their skills or submit to hands-on headlock training in more than 50 intense MMA classes each week. An unlimited membership also grants customers access to an array of cardio machines and weight-training equipment, including Life Fitness and Hammer strength machines.
Though members should constantly check the forecast for tornado kicks and knuckle-punch lightning storms, Excel Defense Studios fosters a safe and non-intimidating environment for all age groups and skill levels. Parents and their children are encouraged to sign up together, as families often use the 300-square-foot MMA training cage to settle tree-trimming disputes with the neighbors.
Pole Fitness Studio owner and operator Fawnia Dietrich is a pioneer of modern pole-dancing fitness. She cut her teeth as a professional exotic dancer, learning the sultry art as she went along, like all the other dancers. She wondered why there wasn’t a place to learn these difficult moves and was motivated to start teaching. Soon after, she opened her own pole-dancing studio, something not common to the world of 1994, much like time-traveling hovercrafts. Fawnia has continued on as a force in the industry, producing the first instructional pole-dance video in 1998—followed by six more videos—and creating the pole-dance instructor-certification course. Thanks to her chiseled physique, she has also been featured in three spreads in Muscle & Fitness magazine.
She now leads a team of instructors in teaching a variety of flirty fitness styles, including burlesque, pole-, lap-, chair-, floor-, and dance classes. Each 55-minute class takes place in their spacious studio, where 17 poles stand ready to hold ladies aloft as they spin and practice complex inversions. An additional 11 poles can be found downstairs, should more space be necessary. Beyond the steamy dance classes, the instructors also helm more traditional fitness classes such as cardio kickboxing, salsa, yoga, ballet, go-go hip-hop and boot camp classes..
Robert McMullin grew up living and breathing combat sports, honing his endurance, discipline, and strength since he was a teenager. He eventually channeled this passion into a career as a boxing coach, MMA fighter, and trainer on NBC’s The Biggest Loser. Through these experiences, he's shaped the knowledge that drives his revolutionary AMPD FitCamp method, AMPD being an acronym for Advanced Movements for Performance Development. His work has earned him a client list that includes kickboxing champion Rick Cheek, four contestants from The Biggest Loser and MMA's Team Tompkins.
Now, McMullin and fellow trainer Ray Chargualaf guide clients through a lineup of demanding custom workouts that combine the signature FitCamp method—plyometrics and cardio routines typically used by mixed-martial-arts fighters—with cardio kickboxing’s aerobics, boxing drills, and martial-arts moves. Both trainers work with clients to ensure challenging and motivating experiences for all fitness levels. Though the specifics are tailored to each client, primary end goals include improved aerobic capacity, balance and strength, and the ability to defeat at least one Power Ranger in hand-to-hand combat.
Because they believe movement is a precise science, the teaching team at Pilates + Yoga only recruits experts. Each certified instructor must have a background of 10 years or more in their movement-based art, whether they practice Pilates, yoga, dance, or interpretive sitting. They wield their knowledge during the studio's classes, adapting mat-based and apparatus moves to suit beginners and Pilates pros alike. Their wealth of experience also allows them to structure specialized lessons for pre- and post-natal women. From moves aboard the reformer machine to Vinyasa sequences to boot-camp circuits, they compose workouts that hone both strength and mental focus. The Pilates + Yoga studio reflects the same level of commitment toward the environment that the teachers display for their practice. Students stretch on bamboo flooring, their silhouettes dimly illuminated by low-lighting sconces, and solar blankets deter the sun. Reusable cups and cloth towels cut down on waste, and the Return Your Mat policy ensures that no mat purchased at the studio is thrown out or forced to work under wrestling Barbie dolls.
At Bodysport Fitness Center, highly trained instructors motivate pupils of all athletic abilities during high-intensity group boot-camp classes designed by experienced personal trainers. During each coed session, a barrage of full-body workouts replaces lazy fitness routines and helps build lean yet strong physiques. Each trainer adapts his or her program to fit the personalities and abilities of the students, and changes the regimen routinely to confuse muscles, enraging them until they get strong enough to do something about it.
Exercisers feed off each other’s energy during the fun 45-to-60-minute sessions, cultivating a group bond and camaraderie based on mutual success and encouragement. The recently revamped program may incorporate elements of kettlebells, free weights, kickboxing, and even yoga alongside classic boot-camp musts, including calesthenics, plyometrics, core workouts, and primal screaming. During comfortable weather, students work away excess calories in scenic outdoor parks and move into the gym’s 8,400-square-foot facility in cases of extreme heat.