At the Columbia Association, visitors find not only a place to work out, swim, or enjoy the great outdoors, but a place to connect with the local community and get to know their neighbors. Families take in live music by the lakefront during summer festivals, or glide across the ice at the public rink. Meanwhile, aspiring athletes build muscle, flexibility, and form with practice at indoor and outdoor tennis courts, or regular trips to the high-tech Columbia Gym. Columbia Association also helps its members maintain a healthy lifestyle with a wide variety of facilities, including nearby golf courses, 23 swimming pools, and even an attached horse center, where humans can learn to ride and horses can get in shape for swimsuit season.
CEO Peter Harvey believes that a quality gym staff must demonstrate more than technical expertise. "Service doesn't only mean showing someone how to do an arm curl," he says. Certified personal trainers develop workouts that zero in on each person’s specific goals, giving clients the skills to pole-vault over impassable plateaus. By steadfastly refusing to hand out fish in favor of putting on master classes in fishing, they help clients become self-sufficient, educating them on fundamentals.
During these one-on-one sessions, and in solo workouts, guests set calories ablaze atop rows of continually updated equipment. Treadmills, recumbent bikes, and strength-training tools line the walls.
Members can also drop in for as many group classes as they can muster. Inside a separate studio, stationary cycles whir in time with galvanizing music, kickboxing strikes arc through the air, and barbells rise with each BodyPump rep. For more meditative practices, Pilates sessions and several types of yoga enhance flexibility and focus.
Exercisers head to Snap Fitness's 24/7 fitness haven to work up a sweat on dozens of cardio and weight-training machines. With a 30-day membership, muscle constructors enjoy unlimited access to Snap’s facilities, from a room stocked with free weights and benches to a cardio theater area where 42-inch LCD TVs deck the walls. Newly minted members undergo a pair of one-hour personal-training sessions, during which they develop a custom fitness program under the tutelage of a certified conditioning guru. The global-access card allows members to carve scenic ridges into their physiques at any Snap Fitness center across the nation so that they don’t have to bench-press their cars while on road trips. This package also includes a free water bottle as well as a pair of two-week passes to dole out to family members, friends, or extremely motivated house pets.
It's easy to think of artists as solitary people locked away in their studios—Mark Rothko withdrawing to obsess over the interplay between his blockish swaths of color or Jackson Pollock dangling a dripping brush over a canvas on the floor of an empty room. This is the exact opposite experience Michele Foshee wants people to have at artventureUs! An accomplished designer with clients including National Geographic and the White House, Michele sees painting as an engaging social experience where friends and complete strangers can share an adventure as they paint both original pieces and re-creations of famous works, such as Gustav Klimt's The Kiss.
Some classes include wine, and students don’t need experience, since Michele and her instructors take a step-by-step approach to teaching the basics of working with acrylic paints. They also furnish participants with every supply they'll need from a closet full of aprons, canvases, Greek muses, and paintbrushes. In addition to leading public classes, the team at artventureUs! organizes private painting parties.
Atlantic Edge Dive Center's dive-masters might technically be classified as land mammals, but they spend enough time under water to earn the honorary title of amphibian. They spend days and nights teaching and leading dives, whether they're arming curious beginners with basic skills in one of their on-site swimming pools, or conducting open water certification tests off the coast. They go beyond simply certifying students for adventure: they provide rescue diving, dive master, and instructor training as well.
Their passion for the aquatic pastime draws them to all kinds of watery outposts. They lead excursions to the Florida keys to help rehabilitate the coral reefs surrounding the islands, and dive into the relatively calm waters of the tanks in the Baltimore National Aquarium, where they have a chance to see 53 species of fish feed in the secret underwater cafeteria.
Since its founding in a small Gaithersburg, MD warehouse, Amazing Art Studio has taught others the basics of visual art and empowered them to explore various art forms on their own. The studio hosts open sessions that allow burgeoning artists to freely explore different creative and hands-on mediums. During pottery painting sessions, participant can explore techniques for decorating bisque with glaze, while painting classes transform blank canvases into still-lifes and landscapes. Glass-fusing and mosaic sessions, meanwhile, let students freely combine pieces of colored glass into wild geometric and organic designs. The studio also organizes camps and programs for children, and after-hours adult workshops that encourage pairing art with beverages. Throughout the day, books and pictures are always on-hand to jump-start creative thinking.