FITTING IN FITNESS

Get on-demand training from Houston-based app

Houston-based Kanthaka is the Uber or Lyft of personal training, and has recently expanded into the Austin market. Courtesy of Kanthaka

This article originally appeared on InnovationMap.

As a busy lawyer who traveled heavily for work, Sylvia Kampshoff found her workouts were often overlooked as she went from city to city, a casualty of long hours and a busy schedule. And, even though she did have a membership to a national gym with privileges at any of its locations, she hated the feeling of always being sold something and disliked that both the trainers and managers she worked with took very little interest in her personal needs and fitness goals.

She wanted something that allowed her to exercise with someone on her own schedule, and with people who valued customer service. That's how the idea for Kanthaka was born.

The app uses location technology similar to that of ride sharing apps to allow users to book training sessions with certified personal trainers, all of whom are heavily vetted and background checked by Kampshoff and her team.

"Many trainers at gyms or who work privately aren't certified," she says. "And that was important to me, that we have professionals who understand training and the body. And making sure our clients felt safe was a huge priority for me. We interview every trainer personally to ensure they not only meet our standards but also share our goals."

App users can select a trainer who will lead them in a Pilates, yoga, boxing, general training, or a pre- or post-natal workout. They select their location, as well as the date and they want to schedule a session. They can book a single session for $42 for a 45-minute session or $50 for an hour session or purchase a package of six or 12 workouts. There's no long-term commitment — although Kampshoff says that some clients are asking for a monthly subscription option — and the process is designed to be easy and user friendly. Trainers will arrive at a client's home, office, or their preferred gym, providing the gym allows outside trainers to work there.

The app launched in Houston in 2017 and then in Austin this fall. Over the last year, Kampshoff — who left the legal profession to concentrate on Kanthaka's success — says she's learned a lot about the market and her own preconceptions.

"I figured it was going to be business travelers who used it, people who were like me when I was doing all that travel," she says. "But it turns out that we're seeing people use it who want to schedule a session just like any other appointment. Many of our clients are women, who value the rigorous vetting process we have for our trainers."

In addition to vetting the trainers and confirming their certifications...

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Looking for a new gym to kick off your 2019 resolutions? Or maybe just a new addition to your normal workout routine. This past weekend I tried an intense new workout that challenged my body at the new Tough Mudder BootCamp in the Heights. This is not your typical gym, but it still got my heart pumping, body sweating, and feeling great! That's because they offer HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) for 45 minutes of non-stop work! The workout consists of several different stations of plyometrics, body weight exercises, abs, weighted exercises, and more. Even better…workouts through Saturday are FREE!

Every work out is different to help keep you on your toes and challenge your body. I love that the exercises take you through a full body workout, as well as a focus on abs. The workouts focus on strength, agility, power, and endurance. The workout is designed to support all levels of fitness. Even for superb athletes like myself, (kidding), but they always have modifications on each exercise that can suit anyone. For our 45-minute workout we had six different stations, each station had 1-2 exercises. For two minutes you are at that station and rotating exercises. I find it very neat and encouraging that Tough Mudder BootCamp focuses on teamwork, so most exercises you will have a partner to alternate the exercises with, while still working out the full two minutes. They focus on the team-based workouts to encourage everyone to push together to do their best and have fun. Even better…. they have TVs with examples of the exercise to follow! So when you forget 10 seconds after the instructor just walked through all the stations, you're in luck!

In the video above I will take you through a little snippet of the TMB workout. I start out with some kettle bell swings and then move into "spider-mans," or side mountain climbers. Trust me, just :30 of those bad boys feels like two minutes. Then you have some dumb bell deadlifts to curl, while your partner is doing push-ups, then you switch after one minute. For the next two minutes straight, you are doing tri-cep dips, while working those tiny little tri-cep muscles. Then at the next station you have a little bit of agility and cardio. While one person is doing kettle bell deadlifts, the other is running in and out of the cones, not only forward, but backwards as well and then full sprint down. Now let's get in some abs; these are knees to elbow, (key is: don't let your feet drop), this will be for :45 seconds straight. On the other hand your partner would be doing a dead hang from the bar, with the chin above. A little bit harder than I thought, but as always there are always modifications. We went through 6 stations for 3 rounds at 2 minutes each station, not bad and quite challenging. And somewhere in the middle of my video, I challenged myself to cross all monkey bars from one end to another. I'm going to re-challenge myself again soon to cross all the monkey bars forward and backwards, as I saw franchise owner Jason Stanley do ever so swiftly.

And after he got off the bars, I caught up with Jason to get his thoughts on something that was once a thought and now a reality.

"We're excited to officially introduce Houston to our Tough Mudder Bootcamp team this weekend! Our team-based high intensity workouts have already been a big hit with our early members, and everyone agrees that having a team nudging you outside of your comfort zone makes all the difference. We're looking forward to growing the tribe and helping more people achieve their fitness goals while making new friends at TMB." – Jason Stanley, Tough Mudder BootCamp Franchise Owner.

Remember Grand Opening is this Saturday and TMB will have 2 workouts at 11 a.m. and 12:30, and you can sign up on the app or website. But if you can't get in by Saturday don't worry, anyone can try the workout for free on their first time anytime! Grand Opening is from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. with Fit Bit giveaways, tickets to a SaberCats games, membership giveaways, and more!

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