St. Louis Fitness Boot Camp's creator and head trainer, Johnny King, knows how hard it can be to start working out. Enormous corporate gyms seem designed to intimidate the new exerciser, and the workout genies trapped inside at-home DVDs can only offer motivation after they’ve been put in the player. That’s why he made it his mission to design an exercise program geared toward beginners, providing a low-stakes introduction to training and plenty of positive motivation.
He constructs easy-to-follow circuit training routines that alternate between working the lower body, core, and upper body, relying on the combination of exercises over time to whip bodies into peak shape. His small groups of trainees often encourage one another and help keep one other accountable to exerting their maximum effort during routines. Within the climate-controlled facility, exercisers shed sweat and pounds on spring-loaded floors that ease impact on joints. To supplement the workouts, he and the trainers provide nutritional counseling and even emotional counseling, gently reminding each student why they chose to start working out.
As they enter the training circuit at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby by trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. Thirty seconds is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
Armed with various facilities, group classes, and state-of-the-art equipment, 24 Hour Fitness molds amorphous adobe muscles into rock-solid flesh houses. Each location boasts cardio equipment, free weights, a steam room, and group exercise classes so social gym junkies can motivate each other. Group cycling sessions burn calories and increase energy levels, and Latin dance-influenced Zumba classes present a fun, dynamic way to slim meat suits. Before breaking a sweat, check the online schedules for upcoming times.
At Fitness Together, getting fit involves getting focused and fired up to achieve. Here, certified personal trainers guide clients of all skill levels through motivating programs designed to meet goals loftier than a giraffe’s basketball hoop. To help their charges torch calories and tone muscles as efficiently as possible, the trainers incorporate evidence-based training methods, such as intervals, tempos, and fartlek, into each fitness regimen. Filled with cardio challenges and resistance training, workouts are tailored to individual needs and paired with nutrition tips that help the body build lean muscle. These sessions take place in a private, spa-like studio, flush with energizing red walls and functional training tools such as medicine balls, kettlebells, and gymnastics rings.
In drawing up the business plan for Bodywise 1-on-1, founder Skip Smith hoped to somehow short-circuit the feelings of intimidation associated with crowded gyms. At the same time, he believed that many people need the motivation and equipment of a formal training environment to snatch results from the candy-coated hands of lethargy. To that end, he created a studio where his team of trainers work one on one with their clients in a private environment, helping them achieve their weight-loss, strength, and overall health goals. Each individual program is designed around the client’s specific areas of concern, such as losing weight, building functional flexibility, or recovering from an injury. Clients may work with free weights and machines or toss medicine balls to build the strength necessary to shot-put their way through a watermelon patch. Trainers track progress throughout the fitness forays, keeping clients motivated with computer-tabulated results.
In addition to personal training, the center leads small-group fitness classes, such as spiced-up Zumba dance sessions and boot-camp cycling. Their staff also works with kids, training them for various sports or simply helping them build self-esteem with lessons on how to win basketball games by crushing the ball with their bare hands.
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. 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.