The smell of exhaust and hot rubber hangs in the air above Canyon Speedway Park, an olfactory cocktail accompanied by the sounds of screeching tires, roaring engines, and the cheers from a gallery that swells up to 2,000 strong. The 3/8-mile, dirt track churns as drivers drop lead feet on the accelerators of stock cars, ASCS wing sprint cars, and nine other classes of machines built for speed rather than maximal numbers of cup holders. Spectators watch from the stands as drivers compete for weekly prize purses of up to $7,250 with a repertoire of expert bump-drafts and jaw-dropping passes. In addition to scheduled races, the speedway also opens its gates during open practice sessions, letting fanatics study their favorite drivers' pinpoint turning technique in preparation for Bring Your Car to Work Day.
In 1998, after 25 years operating health clubs across Phoenix, Kelly Bruce jumped at the opportunity to open his own club, Fitness 1 Gym. Today, Fitness 1 has expanded to locations across Phoenix, each and every one helmed by Kelly and his sons Chad, Richard, and Bobby. “We don’t just own them,” Chad proudly says, “we run them and we’re in the clubs everyday.” The amenities are certainly attractive, but it seems that what has really made Fitness 1 successful is the Bruce's dedication to their family-run enterprise. “I think that our members feel at home,” says Bobby. “I think [they] realize that it’s not a show… they're coming in here to get to work, to get results.”
Members—who are not forced into long-term contracts—can do just that thanks to an array of cardio and strength-training machines, free weights, and one-on-one personal training. The studio also offers members free fitness classes, such as Power Yoga, Chiseled, and Xplode—an interval-training class.
While teaching jazz dance in the 1960s, Judi Sheppard Missett decided to step away from tradition by offering an experimental class that allowed her students to simply dance without the judgment of mirrors or the constraints of rigid technique. In these sessions, she began infusing popular dance moves with specific fitness workouts to forge a distinctive blend of cardio exercise, strength training, and dance instruction. Little did she know that this “just for fun” class was the prototype for what would become the national fitness sensation known as Jazzercise.
Today, Jazzercise takes its aerobic techniques from a variety of sources that include jazz dance, hip-hop, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, and kickboxing. The class formats, which vary according to different toning goals, are just as diverse as the program's move set. Instructors cultivate a noncompetitive atmosphere where all exercisers—with the exception of those marked as cursed by jazz-hand palm readers—are welcome regardless of age, build, or fitness background.
The mobile instructors of Vino & Canvas eschew a traditional studio and instead set up shop in a variety of local venues. There, students of all skill levels follow the instructions of local artists in two-hour painting workshops as they order food and beverages for enjoyment while they craft their masterpieces. Vino & Canvas also books private events for occasions such as birthday parties, bridal showers, or family reunions.
Brimming with cardio equipment, free weights, and professional trainers, Freedom Fitness helps people achieve virtually any fitness goal. Clients can maintain a healthy weight with routine exercise or get stronger in the 1,500-square-foot performance center. Here, trainers focus on sport-specific workouts that employ TRX suspension, battling ropes, and punching bags to help athletes jump higher and run faster.
While both the Cave Creek and Troon locations offer fitness classes, equipment, and personal training services, some of the amenities differ. The Cave Creek location has a childcare center, and the Troon location stays open 24 hours a day.
The rumble of engines rises from the grounds of Phoenix Kart Racing Association as flashy go-karts zip around the asphalt-topped outdoor track. Drivers rent professional karts to start their engines on a multi-configurable 3/4-mile course, careen around up to twelve turns, and blast down 500 feet of straightaway. In karting classes, drivers learn techniques ranging from basic driving to more advanced skills, such as accident avoidance and how to spell “victory” in skid marks. Meanwhile, seasoned kart handlers can study the planned track configuration online, then flaunt their skills on the track during scheduled Saturday races.
In 1976, educator, musician, and kinesiologist Robin Wes longed for a children's gym that prioritized personal growth over competition. Unveiled at a time when physical-education classes pushed students to focus almost exclusively on winning, Robin's program was swiftly adopted and is now used in more than 300 Little Gyms worldwide. Robin still pens original music to accompany lessons, which engage whippersnappers 4 months old–12 years old with gymnastics, dance, karate, and parent and child activities.
Each of The Little Gym's classes introduces simple movements that sharpen motor skills and set brains whirring, allowing kids to progress at their own pace until they can finally build a computer out of macaroni and glitter. Staff members strive to build a base for lifelong social skills and self-assurance with each exercise, including activities rooted purely in fun, such as summer camps or birthday parties, which helped The Little Gym to earn title of #1 Birthday Chain in Parents Magazine.