Jessica Shellenberger was reticent to go to her first boot camp class at Pure Fitness, even though she’d purchased a dynamite deal on Groupon. “I was really intimidated by it, thinking it would be people yelling at you,” she recalled.
Now, three months later, Shellenberger rarely misses a class and has encouraged others to join in on the intense exercise sessions. “I was scared at first, but they only push you enough without scaring you,” she said. “I had the intention of trying it out and then moving around (to another fitness facility), but I loved it, so I stayed.”
Take the time to talk with numerous boot camp regulars like we did, and you’ll find most of them echo Shellenberger’s sentiments. The group exercise classes have a way of attracting and keeping members who like the results as much as the camaraderie with instructors and their fellow participants.
“I can’t imagine my life without all these people in it,” said Steve Drake, as he wiped a stream of sweat from his forehead after skipping, hopping and lunging through the common area in the center of the Mellwood Art Center beneath a large, painted metal mobile of underwater sea creatures. “We use the facility,” said Drake, who has been attending boot camp with his wife, Susan, regularly at Pure Fitness for the past year. “Actually,” he laughed, as he gestured toward owners Mike Jett and Wendy Wormal, “we use the facility, they just make us run it.”
The Mellwood Avenue facility is mostly inhabited by artists and boutiques that sell all manner of handmade crafts and art. It’s also a unique place to house a fitness facility, and it’s paid off in myriad ways. “We’ve been really lucky,” Wormal said. “We just have so much opportunity outside” in addition to the workout space Pure Fitness leases on the second floor of the center. “Space is not a factor, and the artists do so much stuff that’s so cool.”
Jett and Wormal both worked at other fitness facilities in the area before striking it out on their own. They’re grateful for the learning experiences, which led them to create what Jett calls “the third place” people will feel comfortable in, outside of work and home. “We really wanted to create a community. We knew we wanted to be here (because) it’s perfect for what we do. You can do similar exercises (anywhere), but if you change the scenery, people appreciate that. That’s what keeps me excited about it,” he said.
Scenery often plays a big role in why certain people pick one camp over another.
When we spoke with participants of Bryen’s Boot Camp, which takes place atop Glassworks, many said access to the River City’s skyline was a major bonus.
Drive by Hogan’s Fountain in Cherokee Park on any given weekday around 5:30 a.m. and you’ll see fans of Mohr Results boot camp. There, again, some of the participants told us, the setting sealed the deal when it came to deciding on which camp to attend.
The number of calories burned during a 45- to 60-minute session can vary, though experts estimate a majority of participants can use up 600 to 800 calories. That knowledge, combined with motivated fellow exercisers can make all the difference in the world.
“That’s it. You got it, girl,” Angela Floden said to her workout buddy, April Wilkerson, one recent morning at Tyler Park, where the two women rotated between resting and a number of exercises led by InTENsity Fitness owner Susan Kwasny.
Wilkerson sipped her water bottle and took in deep breaths to slow her breathing. “I’m held accountable. Susan knows if I’m not here. I’m the type of person who needs direction or I won’t push myself.”
“I’m 27 weeks (pregnant) and she tells us how to modify everything,” Adam said.
“I feel really good and I think it’s a lot to do with working out three days a week,” Williams said, “but as Jennifer was saying, Susan modifies everything.”
Still, Williams laughed, “This class kicks my butt.” And that’s what keeps her coming back.
Bill Ballard attended his first boot camp class – at Pure Fitness – this past January. Ten minutes into the class, “I was seeing spots. It was beautiful,” he said, the sarcasm evident. Now, six months later, “my cardio is better. It used to be the warm up was the workout. Now it’s the warm up – and then we work out,” he said.
Ballard, who attends with his wife, Julie, has lost two inches in his waist. “I’m starting to see abs. I’ve added muscle. My hamstrings are bigger, stronger,” he said. Overall, “I feel better.”
That should be the main goal of a boot camp class instructor, said Nich Haubeil, owner of Custom Fitness. “I keep (classes) to six people if I can. Then it’s more like a cheaper form of personal training. It’s personal training in a group setting.”
Haubeil also regularly text messages his clients to check in on them, particularly if they miss a workout and need a gentle dose of cajoling. “I try to keep it enjoyable and get everybody a good workout. Having that closeness with each client, holding them accountable, helping them get the results they want so they feel good – that’s the biggest thing,” he said.
Body Sculptors Boot Camp
This one is for the ladies, thanks to owner Jeff Fries, who started Kentucky’s first Women’s Only Boot Camp, which is getting rave reviews from femmes from around the region. Body Sculptors offers classes in the morning and evening at Tom Sawyer Park and Seneca Park. When you sign up, you’ll receive a fitness assessment and body fat analysis and unlimited access to a registered dietitian (“What you eat is nearly 70 percent of your results,” Jeff said). What else sets the sessions apart? Jeff is so confident that his clients can achieve their goals that he offers a free one-week trial and a 100 percent refund guarantee.
Iron Body Fitness
This is boot camp with a twist – or a swing, jerk, snatch. Take this class and you’ll learn a variety of exercises that include the use of kettlebells, cast iron weights that look like mini bowling balls with a handle. Owner Dave Randolph guides newbies through an informative three-hour orientation before allowing them to start the regular class sessions. Expect mega calorie burning, increased muscle endurance and let’s be honest, there’s just something really cool about knowing how to properly exercise with kettlebells.
Bryen’s Boot Camp
Owner Bryen Pinkard has an eye for fashion, hence the reason he’s one of The Voice-Tribune’s Best Dressed of Louisville 2011 nominees, but his main motivation is to help get his clients looking their best dressed or undressed (it is summer, after all). Bryen’s innovative workouts are stellar, but so is the view: He conducts all classes atop Glassworks on Market Street.
Pure Fitness Training
Owners Mike Jett and Wendy Wormal have crafted a unique boot camp experience that allows their clients to get the most out of each session. Through a combination of exercises that vary from cardio to weights to simple exercises with kettlebells, Mike and Wendy keep their students motivated and returning day after day. Additionally, they have the added bonus of being housed in the Mellwood Art Center, which means clients run the hills, the stairs, the common areas, and workout in the studio – always surrounded by art.
Custom Fitness Boot Camp
Sign up for boot camp with Nich Haubeil, and he’ll make sure you remain accountable. “I regularly text message my clients to make sure they’re doing OK,” he said. Haubeil combines a variety of exercises to ensure his campers get a butt-kicking workout, and he tries to cap the class sizes to ensure each person also gets what amounts to a shared personal training session each and every time. The indoor classes are available morning and night, and are perfect for those on the East End, since he’s located in Norton Commons.
A Few More Of Our Faves
Hard Core Fitness
Beach Body Sand Blast Boot Camp
ProFormance Fitness & Training
About the Author (Author Profile)
Angie Fenton is Managing Editor of The Voice-Tribune, a Blue Equity company. She is also an entertainment correspondent for WHAS11′s new morning show, “Great Day Live!”, which debuted August 22 on Louisville’s ABC affiliate. Additionally, Angie is an entertainment correspondent for the Saturday Morning Show with Ron ‘n’ Mel Fisher on 84WHAS (840 AM) and has served in the same capacity for Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks; Breeders’ Cup; and Circuit of the Americas during the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix in November 2012. Angie also serves as an emcee, host, voiceover professional and on-camera commercial talent.
Angie has a bachelor’s and master’s in English from Central Michigan University and began her career as an adjunct professor at her alma mater. She is the youngest of five — four of whom were adopted, including Angie, and none of whom are biologically related. She is also a Michigan native who moved to Kentucky in June 2002. Angie is owned by two dogs — Herbie and Yoda — and feels lucky to have loved and been loved by many more, including Pooch, Jessie, Onyx, Jack and Big Bud, who took his last breath on Christmas Day 2012.