Photo by Brittney Harrison.
Fitness for every woman
Paula Windle and Leigh Karagas lead Boot Camp in various locations in Mountain Brook.
For two Mountain Brook women, fun and convenient exercise has become a lifestyle they want to share.
When Paula Windle, a registered pharmacist, began attending Leigh Karagas’s neighborhood “boot camp,” she developed a passion for personal fitness that led her to become a certified personal trainer. Soon after, these ladies paired their love for fi tness with their desire to break down exercise barriers for women by creating Every Girl Fitness Boot Camps for Women.
Inclusivity is in their name. No woman should feel “unfit” for this exercise program, according to Karagas and Windle. Based on extensive experience, they believe that women experience greater comfort when exercising with one another. Because of this, Every Girl Fitness has grown from a business into a community outreach program with a mission of giving each woman the opportunity to fall in love with fitness.
Every Girl Fitness routines combine a wide variety of workout styles from pilates and aerobics to strength and cross training. Joining a class is as easy as grabbing a water bottle and showing up. Any workout equipment needed is available at each camp session.
Along with trainer Kathleen Davis, Karagas and Windle relish each individual and group victory they see daily. The success of just one girl motivates Karagas and Windle to continue spreading the fitness fever.
Even though one single week may hold more than 25 boot camps, Windle and Karagas attribute their unending enthusiasm to their campers: “Our job is fun and fulfilling, and we look forward to boot camp each day because of them (boot campers). We are blessed and fortunate to call each and every camper a friend.”
Group boot camps spring up around the community on any given weekday Fitness for every woman beginning as early as 5:25 a.m. Across Vestavia and Mountain Brook, Windle and Karagas have established 11 boot camps in 9 locations. Local churches and schools bring consistent groups of 10 or more; the largest group meets at Mountain Brook Presbyterian Church, where around 20 women attend each camp.
“Leigh and Paula come every day with a different workout for us to do,” said Julia Spaht, who attends EGF twice a week at Mountain Brook High School where she teaches English. “While it’s often grueling, I never get bored. Their upbeat, positive attitudes are also so refreshing at the end of a long day.”
With three to four camps per day, Every Girl Fitness trainers avoid over-exerting themselves by co-leading each camp. Windle will lead weights while Karagas does cardio, and then they will swap for the next group. Additionally, some camps break into smaller “stations” and rotate throughout the hour. By differentiating the boot camps, Windle and Karagas prove they understand that each group is different and unique in its own way.
Windle and Karagas wholeheartedly agree on what is most important for their regimen: “Consistency is the key to being a successful EGF boot camper!” They encourage women to maintain their workout routines even if they will miss a group session.
“The more they come, the more exercise becomes a permanent part of who they are,” Windle said.
No matter where women go to exercise, Windle enthusiastically maintains that she is happy as long as each woman is exercising— anywhere.