Fitness to the Extreme

Young sports woman

Success with Personal Training
Like many moms, Marissa Herring of Windermere connected with a personal trainer to lose weight after having her second child. Jumping right in, Herring trained hard and quickly competed in a Women’s Trifitness event, where she won first place for her fitness routine. Herring’ s commitment and drive deeply impressed her trainer, who suggested she get certified too.

Dodging the usual gym scene, Herring began training small groups of friends and family in her minimally equipped garage. Word spread, her cliental grew, and soon Garage Mama in Winter Garden was born. “As much as my trainer helped me, I wanted to help others,” she said. “I wanted to make fitness affordable and safe for everyone.”

Now a mom of three, Herring continues to inspire and encourage her clients at her exclusive 6,800-square-foot, state-of-the-art, private training facility, which hosts a unique blend of turf-lined open-spaces, obstacle courses and challenge groups. But what really makes Herring’ s brand of fitness “extreme” is her dedication to your total health.

“Marissa provides an environment where anyone can be successful in exercising, no matter what your needs are,” says Peggy Schafer of Windermere, 71 years young. “She and her coaches will make every effort to make you stronger and healthier. I have learned how to read labels and have a much better understanding of how to eat a healthier diet because of her coaching. It is so much more than a gym. It is a place where people know that their individual needs for exercise and nutrition are met.”

High-Intensity Group Training
Gabriel Haas, co-owner and coach at CrossFit Orlando, admits he tried almost every sport and gym fad before starting CrossFit in 2010. “It truly is the best thing ever,” Haas says of the high-intensity interval training. “What I tell most people is, if you come consistently, you will be in the best shape of your life. Period. When I started I thought I was in decent shape, but my first class was very humbling.”

CrossFit Orlando’ s 6500-square-foot fitness facility features med balls, barbells, bumpers, rings, 15-foot ropes, rowers, and assault bikes along with a deep sense of community and the inspiration to work harder.

“We have group classes, which adds that accountably and makes it more fun,” he says. “It’ s always more fun when someone is doing it with you, and we have that in spades. And within those classes, we always have one person just ahead of you and one person just behind you. It makes you say, ‘I want to be the best me I can be today.’”

And unlike other routines that are based only on one method, the multidisciplinary approach of CrossFit incorporates elements of power lifting, Olympic lifting, gymnastics, and endurance sports, enabling you to become a more balanced athlete. “CrossFit works in a way your body works in the real world,” says Haas. “What you do in your workout will transfer to your everyday life, making you better at life in general.”

Get Fired Up for Yoga
At Bikram Yoga West Orlando, be prepared for extreme temperatures and extreme benefits. The modern yoga studio located on Central Florida Parkway features 26 posture exercises performed at a balmy 105 degrees F and 40 percent humidity. The exercises systematically move fresh, oxygenated blood to 100 percent of your body, warming, stretching and restoring all systems to healthy working order, says Mara Canela, owner and instructor at the facility.

“It’ s a full body work out every time you go,” says Canela. “In 90 minutes you get it all: cardio, stretching, balancing, flexibility and detoxing. And it doesn’t matter what condition you have, your age or what sport you play, everybody needs this. When you go, go with an open mind. You’ re going to feel so good afterwards. You’ll feel on top of the world.”

The extreme heat promotes muscle elasticity, speeds up the breakdown of glucose and fatty acids within the body, improves circulation, and even lowers cholesterol, says Canela.

“It’s like WD40 for your joints,” she says. “Your whole body is connected. Bikram Yoga realigns your body from the bumps of life. Even men with old sports injuries, it’s a haven for them. It’s that powerful.”

A Different Kind of Fitness
Genetic Fitness in Winter Garden offers altitude training, or hypoxic training, in its state-of-the-art Hypoxico Altitude Training System chamber. This unique form of exercise quickly improves athletic performance, prepares you for trips to extreme altitude changes of up to 21,000 feet and creates overall physical wellness, says trainer and nutritionist Wagner Ferreira.

“Literally everyone can get benefits,” says Ferreira. “People can use it for a variety of health benefits. It improves metabolism, lung capacity and heart rate. It increases your red cells and increases the oxygen in your blood. Your body adjusts to it. It’s really amazing.”

When the human body is exposed to oxygen-reduced environments, it is forced to work harder to produce the required amounts of energy, says Ferreira, giving you amazing results in less time. “Twenty minutes in the chamber is equal to an hour of cardio,” he says. “And it does not feel like a big deal. That’ s the beauty of it. The air feels very clear, dry, nice and thin. It feels good. As you become used to it, you will feel really good afterwards – very rested, like a shot of caffeine. The benefits are in the book.”


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Written by Karen Contino

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