Awarded the Best Fitness Club in The Capital's Reader's Choice 2011, Big Vanilla's modern facilities aim to make a healthy impression on bodies and minds. Both locations jam-pack weekly schedules with more than 60 fitness classes such as cycling, Pilates, Zumba, Cardio Combat, and yoga. Pasadena's Step-N-Abs intertwines intermediate cardio choreography with abdominal exercises to build lean muscle to the core without having to endure elective washboard implants. Dance-inspiration class also permeates into group groove sessions, which pump hit tunes as exercisers wiggle to urban, club, and Latin-inspired moves. The Arnold gym tones an anatomy's worth of muscles in TMC, which challenges physiques with 60 minutes of resistance training toughened by dumbbells, stability balls, and lead-based chocolate cakes.
Jing Ying literally translates to "best of the best," a term befitting of both the teachers at Jing Ying Institute of Kung Fu & Tai Chi, and the students who learn from them. A team of seasoned black-sash instructors—many of whom have competed in national championships—helm progressive programs that help trainees hone strength and flexibility as they learn self-discipline. The schedule offers more than two-dozen classes each week, and includes training in classical and contemporary forms, sparring, and weapons. Age-appropriate kung fu classes, for instance, introduce the graceful throws and takedowns that enable students to use their opponents' own force against them. Contemporary wushu classes then build on that training by introducing acrobatic strikes and other movements. Therapeutic tai chi, women's shaolin fitness, and private personal training sessions round out the class roster.
Jing Ying also gives its students ample space to train. Housed inside a former boat-building facility, the more-than 6,000 square-foot space features three mirror-walled training areas equipped with padded or wood floors or quicksand, as well as private changing rooms and an array of fitness gear including heavy bags and pull-up bars.
Replete with rolling fairways and picturesque wooded hills, the course at Bay Hills provides a fun challenge for ball-based beginners and putting-pros alike. The 18-hole, par 70 links feature a wide expanse of water challenges, placing a large emphasis on strategy. With a two-month membership, a bundle of benefits emerge, including waived twilight-hours greens fees (twilight hours begin at 1 p.m. until March 1 and at 2 p.m. thereafter), unlimited range balls, and merchandise discounts. Although not included with today's deal, each cart fee (usually about $17) includes two draft beers or fountain drinks for staying hydrated through gritty sand traps. Additionally, each membership comes with one anytime round of golf with both cart fee and drinks included, ensuring at least one spectacular day of wearing heavily starched knickerbockers, which historically keep the feral golf gnomes at bay.