Do they still encourage hugging to start the workout?
Yes, there is still mandatory hugging before the workout. I usually don't stay for the group picture, so I don't know what other cultish things happen after the workout. Probably drinking squirrel blood or something.
Is there a specific person you are required to hug, or do you get to choose?
Just three random people around you. So I guess you do get to choose, but you're supposed to be un-choose-y. You hug them tight and tell them that you're glad they came. It's one of the good parts of the cult, I think, though your opinions on that may vary depending on your tolerance for hugging sweaty strangers.