Run by a family of fitness gurus, Spa Fit makes charismatic fitness coaching during group exercise classes one of its highest priorities, second only to making sure gym-goers properly match sweatbands to leotards. Improve posture and reduce muscle tension with a series of floor and standing poses during yoga classes, or send puny core muscles through a brawn-building assembly line during Pilates sessions. With the 60-minute Cycle-Lates classes, students spend half the time burning calories on a cardio bike and the other half building lean, toned muscles doing mat Pilates exercises. Meanwhile, Zumba classes provide high-energy sweat sessions, during which fitnessmongers of all ages and experience levels tone their bodies by performing kinetic Latin-dance-inspired moves to the rhythms of motivating music or the tense sounds of a Stephen King audio book.
Former professional driver and expert instructor Randy Baker and his team have been guiding drivers toward greatness for more than 20 years; past pupils include Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Jeff and Ward Burton, and the shadowy pit mechanic known only as Racer X. At SpeedTech Auto Racing School, Randy combines a fleet of super-speedy rides—authentic, metal-bodied vehicles boasting 650-horsepower V-8 engines—with a serious emphasis on safety to prepare drivers for any mishap on the track. Gearheads, speed junkies, and people who still sleep in a racecar bed despite their adult children's protestations soak up Randy's knowledge during one of SpeedTech's many race programs, varying in length from 3 laps to more than 100. With the school's built-in HD video feeds, drivers can commemorate their laps or prove to the family car it's been cheating on them with the hotel's valet.
Blowfish Emporium fosters the talents of budding artists in structured art classes and also houses the work of more than 60 local and regional artisans. Cultivate your canvas-covering skills and discover decorative items other than bronzed fruit in The Grape Easel painting event. On entering the class, each student receives a canvas, a selection of paints, and various brushes, which unite to re-create the evening’s scheduled artwork of choice. Subjects vary by class and include such topics as abstract nature works, vibrantly colored musical instruments, and toothpaste-painted re-creations of 1930s toothpaste ads.
With three locations in the Valley area, Roanoke/Botetourt Athletic Clubs offer extensive facilities, a focus on member convenience, and a variety of group-exercise classes a week. (Class descriptions and schedules here.) Membership to any of the clubs allows you to use all three facilities. The family membership includes the buyer, his or her spouse, and any children younger than 21 who live at home. Both membership options offer unlimited workouts at any of the locations, allowing patrons to keep their muscles nervous and on edge by constantly varying the time, frequency, and location of exercise. Fitness seekers at the Roanoke Athletic Club and Botetourt Athletic Club can make use of cardio theaters, gymnasiums, steam rooms, professional-grade racquetball courts, and the track. Indoor and outdoor pools allow aquaphiles to immerse themselves in the object of their love year-round, and pool-goers at the Botetourt location can combine the joy of swimming with low-friction delight in the form of a 23-foot water slide. Complimentary child-care is also available at the Roanoke and Botetourt locations. Members with little time can participate in lightning workout rounds at the smaller, more centrally located Zoom express fitness center in downtown Roanoke (however, your Groupon cannot be initially redeemed at this location).
Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength and use more than 150 pieces of cardio equipment, attend over 100 different classes, and play on the racketball court, basketball court and in the pool. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates along to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines.
Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated. Members also have access to Kids Care and even tanning booths.