Crossfit Winston Salem's owners, Kevin and Renee Boyles, both of whom are Level 1 CrossFit–certified trainers, lead a diverse team of certified instructors who motivate trainees to reshape their fitness regimens and lives through the CrossFit program. Drawing from impressive collective experience—including Olympic weightlifting, soccer, and gymnastics—they develop varied routines that target endurance, strength, balance, flexibility, speed, and coordination. Their anaerobic exercises marry with aerobic workouts—body-sculpting and mind-sharpening Olympic weightlifting and gymnastics alternate with functional movements such as squats, dead lifts, and changing the tires on a monster truck. Helmed by these supportive instructors, each CrossFit training session, personal-training session, and CrossFit Kids class pushes muscles through intense workouts while maximizing the release of hormones to the brain and adrenaline into the circulatory system. The dedicated trainers also help their clients develop successful dieting strategies to overhaul unhealthy lifestyle choices.
In 1997, Richard Smiley began to feel cramped. It wasn’t his muscles—as a competitive triathlete and Ironman participant for more than 25 years, he knew how to stay in peak physical condition. Instead, it was the gyms he frequented. As Smiley saw it, many training facilities prioritized rising membership numbers over the comfort and individual needs of their members.
The 2,200-square-foot gym he founded, Smiley-Fitness by Design, features treadmills, Nautilus Circuit stations, recumbent bikes, and squat racks, but it’s the people there that make it unique. You could also say that it’s the lack of people. Smiley oversees a staff of ACE-certified trainers and strength and conditioning specialists, who guide small-group classes and attend to a deliberately limited membership base. They offer personalized exercise plans, nutrition plans designed by a registered dietician, and training services, all inside an intimate gym setting where members can exercise under the guidance of experts without feeling rushed or being asked to fill in as a barbell.
Wake Forest Archery, the archery club at Wake Forest University, began in 2010 with 10 members and was on its way to becoming the fastest chartered organization in the university's history. Then, the club's storage shed was robbed, forcing its members to take a hiatus. The following semester, after receiving additional funds and generous donations, the club was back on its feet. It has since grown to more than 100 members, each of whom participates on a varsity or recreational archery team. In addition to regular practices and competitions, the club hosts an archery camp, open to those of all experience levels.
It's hard to get out rock climbing regularly. Basketball courts don't fit in the average home. The facilities at The Rush Fitness let everyone get in an exciting workout, though, with climbing walls, pools, athletic courts, and more. At 23 locations in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Dalton, Asheville, Greensboro, Winston Salem, High Point and Greenville, skilled trainers preside over those amenities. They also lead more than 500 group exercise classes, which might touch on everything from yoga to Zumba. Those classes, as well as the requisite array of free weights and cardio equipment, have helped the chain win a range of "best gym" awards.