PickUp USA takes the infamous pitfalls of pickup basketball—uneven teams, sloppy play, and incessant arguing over fouls and whose mama gives the best hugs—and replaces them with officiated and organized game play without the restrictions of a league. Its members hit the courts in a pristine 17,000-square-foot space, which features a lounge, a stretching area, and courts built by the designers who create them for the NCAA and NBA. Here, California Basketball Officials Association–trained referees officiate one-on-one to five-on-five games every day and night of the year. Though they are unscheduled, the matchups unfold in an organized, staff-guided fashion, a scoreboard keeps track of points, and a constantly running clock keeps games rotating.
Fitness industry veteran Dulcinea Lee Hellings's goal is to bring a high-quality, effective exercise regimen to people who don't love big gyms or can't afford personal trainers. In 2004, she realized that mornings could be used for more than hitting the snooze button over and over for two hours, and founded Boot Camp "Morning Crunch!" to help fledgling exercisers whip into shape.
She designs her all-levels programs to be scream-free morning motivators⎯the first stop in her patrons' journey of daily accomplishments. The fast-paced, ever-changing circuit of strength and cardio exercises keeps bodies guessing and minds from becoming bored. Each of the boot camp's 12 outdoor locations has a different dedicated trainer who gets to know each student personally, remembering their names and memorizing any interesting freckle patterns. They complement their morning routines with a smattering of evening options for those who prefer to work out after the day's activities.
Epic voyaging need not be reserved for classical heroes who speak in dactylic hexameter. Just as Odysseus slayed the hurricane from aboard his inflatable raft, you too can conquer vengeful waters with today's Groupon to Gold Rush Whitewater Rafting. For just $50, you'll go on a heart-pumping, rapid-raging tour of the South Fork of the American River (44% off a $90 value).
Throughout Los Angeles, children as young as 2 are honing coordination, social skills, and other life essentials in Super Soccer Stars LA's kid-friendly camps. Each age-specific session is based on curricula designed by both soccer experts and early childhood and behavioral specialists in order to grant little ones with a fun and well-rounded experience in each drill they run and game they play. From dribbling and passing to more general principles such as teamwork, campers will learn skills that will help them succeed beyond the soccer field in the classroom, on the playground, and in the ball-kicking portion of state standardized tests. At the end of each camp day, children show off their new abilities by competing in a mini World Cup.
Cafe 322's welcoming atmosphere and rich menu of comforting Italian eats make diners feel at home while the live jazz adds a cosmopolitan flair. Try a different lasagna each day with the lasagna de la casa ($10.95) or opt for the sophisticated mélange of flavors in the fettuccine di spinaci e salsiccia with fresh spinach, italian sausage, and garlic sautéed in olive oil ($11.95). Cafe 322 also serves up tasty meatier dishes, such as lamb shanks slow-braised so they fall off the bone and directly into that special place in your heart reserved for Mom, America, and lamb shanks ($14.95). Stars of the gourmet pizza menu include the quattro formaggio, layered with fontina, mozzarella, gorgonzola, and parmesan cheeses ($11.95), and the flavorful grilled chicken pesto ($13.95).
At the helm of Equilibrium Fitness' studio is Annabelle Rosemurgy, an equestrian and former Olympic athlete whose performances required enough core strength to pull off a handstand atop her horse during competitions. In her studio, she helms a team of certified instructors that leads a host of amped up Pilates routines and RealRyder indoor cycling classes.
Fifty five-minute SPX Pilates classes initiate novices into the intense practice, designed to keep on incinerating calories hours after the sessions end. The studio’s bread and butter, however, are the SPX and Systeme Dynamique classes—variations on the Pilates method—that use circuit training to target extra weight in the hips and thighs and isolate muscle groups all over the body to sculpt, tone, burn fat, and increase flexibility. Even the studio's indoor cycling sessions target core muscles, strengthen the upper body, and torch calories, getting legs pumping on RealRyder bikes that allow riders to steer and lean, simulating the real cycling experience of avoiding potholes and the maneating Sarlaccs that live inside them.
Blind 9 Golf equips duffers with clubs from elite makers including TaylorMade, Mizuno, and Adams, along with course-ready duds that owe their sporty collars to the stitch masters at Adidas, Puma, and other top brands. Along with a wide selection of putters, wedges, irons, and drivers, the golf emporium sells useful golf accessories, streamlining golf trips with travel bags and informing golfers of their exact distance from flagsticks and territorial forecaddies with GPS units and rangefinders. Clients can also sign up for a loft/lie fitting session with Blind 9’s recently acquired club-fitting equipment, which measures players' current sticks and swing path to determine optimal loft and lie.