As they enter the training circle at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby by trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. One minute is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
Billy's Bar beckons diners with a menu of upscale pub fare and a fountain of locally made beer and wine. Drinking foursomes can imbibe 4-ounce samples of brew from the area discussing which has the best color, which pairs the best with pub fare, and which has more hops than a toddler drinking Mountain Dew. Couple mini malts with any of Billy's starters including smooth roasted garlic hummus, warming beef chili, and creamy baby mac 'n' cheese. Alternately, opt for the second deal to excavate the piping hot core of a steaming meat loaf entree ($9) or fling a pepperoni-topped gladiator pizza ($10) into a breadbasket during an impromptu frisbee-golf game with the next table over.
The Inferno's designers don't consider mud much of a challenge, even if it's in a pit. So instead of wet dirt, they fill their 6- and 13.1-mile courses with obstacles, each designed to push the human body to its limits. Racers on their paths to victory might encounter monkey bars, crawls under barbed wire, or a quarter-mile swim. Perhaps even "hurdles" made of fire. A celebration kicks off as soon as each runner reaches the finish line. Live musicians score The Inferno's after party, where organizers hand out competitive awards and more playful accolades, such as biggest beard and best costume. They also hand each participant a cool beer, provided they're old enough.
The team's races require participants to be in shape and train in advance. Luckily, The Inferno's organizers supply a work-out plan to help participants prep, combining elements of Crossfit, Insanity, P90X, and other workouts.
The artists at Wine and Canvas awaken their students? inner Rembrandts and Van Goghs with classes that pair a featured painting with wines. Wine and Canvas's monthly calendar includes themed classes during which instructors expound on the nuances of painting Parisian street lamps, Japanese flowers, or Venetian cityscapes. The master painters?many of them local artists?provide step-by-step instructions while students mimic each stroke. Each studio boasts a selection of alcohol available for purchase, inciting creativity or conversations with fellow painters. When the artistic frenzy concludes, students return home with a finished masterpiece large enough to conceal any wall safe or mirror portal.
UFC Gym’s instructors thumb their noses at the suggestion that fighting has no place in public. They happily subvert this social convention, leading students through safe and noncontact fitness classes inspired by the pugilistic arts. Each boxing, kickboxing, or group MMA class is lead by a professional fighter, who teaches basic skills during the up-tempo, one-hour workouts. Students warm up with plyometrics before strapping on 6-ounce gloves and hitting a heavy bag with combination of kicks, knees, and elbows. Classes may burn between 800 and 1,000 calories per session, improve coordination and stamina, and increase your tolerance for listening to the theme from Rocky IV on repeat.
As a former collegiate football player, CrossFit Reflexion cofounder and head coach Shawn knows the kind of motivation many people need to help them reach peak fitness. To help his clients reach their goals he's at his clients? sides practically every step of the way to ensure they stay on target in the gym. Steeped in functional fitness exercises, his CrossFit workouts change each day and include work on equipment such as rowing machines, kettlebells, ropes, and gymnastics rings. A large area of the gym is even devoted to Olympic-style weightlifting, helping people squat and snatch their way into bigger muscles and 24-packs.