by The Editors | March 22, 2017

Flamingle: Busy Bodies

If some of Florida’s biggest health and fitness fanatics hopped on a bicycle built for five, would their different philosophies crash or make it to the finish line?  

Illustration by Stephen Lomazzo

Illustration by Stephen Lomazzo

Amrit Desai
Bona Fide Yogi

Amrit Desai, 84, came to America from India in 1960 and launched a genre of yoga known as Kripalu, named after his Indian guru. Amrit grew the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge, Mass., into one of the nation’s preeminent yoga centers. In 1994, scandal erupted over his extramarital affairs, despite his vowed celibacy. He was ousted from Kripalu (still a modern yoga mecca). In 2001, like many seeking to reinvent after a crisis, he moved to Florida and erected a retreat in the Ocala National Forest. The Amrit Yoga Institute welcomes thousands of yogis for treatments, classes and healing weekends under his tutelage.

Shannon Allen
Organic Girl

Shannon Allen, wife of retired NBA star Ray Allen and mother of five, launched a health food crusade in Miami this year by opening Grown, a USDA Certified Organic fast food restaurant with a drive-thru. The menu features items like wild-caught grilled salmon, slow-cooked grass-fed brisket and fresh fruit smoothies. Her mission to clean up the quick-serve industry started with her struggle to find healthy meals on the go, especially for her son who has Type 1 Diabetes. Before opening Grown, which is now expanding to Central Florida, the restaurateur hosted a TV show, The Pre-Game Meal, which featured healthy meals for her pro athlete husband.

Chris Evert
Tennis Great

Holding a racquet in one hand and one of the greatest sports records (18 Grand Slam titles) in the other, 62-year-old Chris Evert has decidedly dropped her “Ice Princess” reputation. The ESPN tennis commentator, publisher of Tennis Magazine and head of Evert Tennis Academy in Boca Raton is besties with former on-court rival Martina Navratilova and with ex-husband Andy Mill, the father of her three sons. A charitable heart keeps Evert raising money to benefit many children’s causes in Florida. And an eye for fashion compelled her to serve up, in spring 2015, Chrissie by Tail, chic activewear designed to match her sporty lifestyle.

Ellen Latham
Fitness She-nom

In the ’80s, Ellen Latham jumped around a Ft. Lauderdale gym in a spandex leotard as an aerobics instructor. Since then, she’s pulled off a lot more than looking good in high-cut unitards as a trainer to the stars, a fitness columnist for the Miami Herald and Sun-Sentinel, and the owner of a small gym that became Orangetheory Fitness in 2010. What started off as a custom exercise routine known as “Ellen’s Ultimate Workout” has ballooned into a franchise with more than 1,500 locations. Orangetheory’s interval method combines cardio and dynamic weight lifting to burn fat even after the workouts end.

Tony Little
Buff Builder

Tony Little, a fitness infomercial icon with his signature curly ponytail and bulging biceps, earned the title “America’s Personal Trainer” by amassing an empire spanning multiple books, a line of exercise equipment (the Gazelle glider was his big success), and hit infomercials on QVC and HSN. Before selling more than $4 billion worth of workout videos and products, the ripped Tampa resident trained as a body builder, winning the title of Mr. Florida in 1981. Two separate near-fatal car accidents almost derailed his career and dreams, but each time Little came back to the gym (and the stage) stronger—both physically and mentally.