Divers' clothing flaps in the wind as they soar toward a patchwork of meadows, with forests spreading out in all directions and mountains looming on the horizon. Sometimes, as the wind rushes past their ears, they can look out and glimpse seven volcanoes in the distance. But before these jumps, Skydive! Toledo's instructors impart the necessary safety measures, touching on how to ensure a parachute has been maintained, how to land, and how to use a guidebook to ask birds for directions. After briefing visitors on the basics, expert jumpers help them learn the physics firsthand on tandem jumps and accelerated free-fall plunges from small Cessna aircraft. They also train first-time skydivers through the static-line program—a former military exercise now used to train sports parachutists toward licenses. From the strut of a single-engine Cessna plane, at an altitude of 3,000 feet, a student leaps into the air and falls for up to three seconds before a static line attached to the plane deploys a parachute and takes the guesswork out of pulling the ripcord.
Pilates at Play takes its name seriously. Yes, that goes for both parts. When Trisha Hatfield Graves opened the studio in 1998, she was required to undergo a grueling three-year program and log more than 1,000 internship hours before she could claim the title of a fully certified Pilates instructor and open one of the first fully equipped studios in the Seattle area.
But just because Trisha and her instructors are so focused on the strengthening and healing techniques of traditional Pilates doesn't mean they don't also know how to have fun. Their expansive 1,800-square-foot studio resembles a playground more than a gym, complete with bright colors and swings hanging from the ceiling. Besides traditional Pilates mat and equipment classes, the group leads aerial Pilates and Swing-a-lates classes that use playground swings for core-strengthening exercises, and spinal decompression. Additionally, the instructors lead pole and chair dancing classes, which draw on the principals of lyrical dance to give women a fun and flirty workout.
5th Avenue Fitness isn't your typical gym. Sure, it has all the equipment you might expect?TRX suspension bands, free weights, and a staff headed by a certified personal trainer and figure competitor?but, unlike most gyms, the facility is about building stronger, healthier bodies through stronger, healthier communities. Its group classes, including Les Mills BodyPump and RPM, help clients of all levels increase their physical fitness.
To boost progress and results, 5th Avenue includes a wealth of amenities. Its Power Blendz juice bar whips up snacks and meal replacements that can help burn fat or build muscle. Locker rooms equipped with showers and saunas let even busy patrons catch a workout and relaxing steam before dashing back to work. And, 10-minute tanning beds quickly set deep, golden hues for a more defined-looking physique.
At The Strong Center, a team of extensively certified personal trainers and fitness experts help clients of all sizes, shapes, and levels of ability get healthy and fit. A wide range of programs and exercise regimens motivate trainees to burn fat, build muscle, and boost endurance and functional strength. StrongCycling, Zumba, Yoga Stretch, and BodyPump classes give heart rates a healthy jump-start, while personal and small-group training sessions instruct everyday people in proper workout techniques and muscle-building nutrition. During the Strongest Loser Bootcamp Challenge, participants transform their bodies through a series of 25 fitness classes every week, detailed metabolic analysis, and by sleeping in a chrysalis for a month.
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.