Since 1972, Spare Time Clubs has evolved into a 10-club, full-service family sports club company that includes programs for both adults and children. Each location varies in size—some boasting multiple complexes—and houses amenities such as lighted tennis courts, pools, kids’ play areas, and fitness centers. At the Diamond Hills and El Dorado Hills locations, members can shine up in the onsite European spas, and the jewel of the Gold River club is a lighted stadium court encircled by a 5,000 square-foot observation deck. In the event of inclement weather or courts being overrun by ball-chasing dogs, players can schedule time at the dedicated indoor-tennis center, where eight fully sectioned-off, championship courts glow under the power of tournament-level lighting. World-class coaches develop kids’ court skills at the junior tennis academy, students of which can practice with an unlimited number of sessions at any of Spare Time’s other clubs.
Yoga Center of Lodi fosters healthy living through gentle yoga classes designed to marry physical fitness to reduced stress. Students new to the mat and yogi practitioners alike find accommodating classes in the various levels of Hatha yoga. Newbies flex through fundamental techniques of linking breath with movement, and gentle yoga opens up the practice for students recovering from injuries or who experience limited mobility. Advanced yogis hone challenging balances, inversions, and high-fiving their own feet in Vinyasa flow, a more rigorous style that bolsters muscles and increases flexibility with continuous posture sequences.
Since 1978, Nighthorse Farm has invited guests to its paradise of pastureland at Brookside Equestrian Park, where they can learn horseback-riding skills amid 20 acres filled with six outdoor arenas, multiple barns, and open fields. As a lifelong rider and US representative to the 1982 Pan American Junior Athletics Championships, Debbie Stone has been the head trainer at Nighthorse since 1998 and oversees a staff of horse whisperers who teach lessons in the riding disciplines of hunter, jumper, and equitation. Whether they are beginners or have their sights set on showing at the local, state, and regional level, students are encouraged to develop teamwork with the horse that comes in handy when avoiding the highway police during high-speed chases.
In the horror films of the 1960s and '70s, zombies were represented as hordes of frightening—albeit sluggish—undead. These days, the typical zombie has a little more spring in his step. During zombie apocalypse–themed tag at Play2Survive, the undead chase after humans who seek shelter at several designated checkpoints. Fortunately, the zombies are only fellow participants, who "infect" the living by tagging them. Meanwhile, racers who retain their humanity must reach a minimum of five checkpoints scattered around the course before crossing the finish line. The first survivors in the team and solo categories to make it back to headquarters receive prizes. The top flesh-eaters among the zombies also get rewards, presumably including a spot as a backup moaner on some pop star's new album.
The touring event is the brainchild of Project TMD, a group of friends who spent their college days scouring California for large-scale role-playing opportunities. Eager to share their passion for fitness and fun with others, the Project TMD crew now stages their own events across the state. The group also does its part to provide local high schools with resources for physical fitness and outdoor play. Project TMD encourages Play2Survive participants to sponsor a local high school of their choice. The school whose sponsors earn the most points receives a portion of the event's proceeds—as does the parks and recreation district hosting the game.
Members at Curves, a fitness center designed exclusively for women, rotate around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with female bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage participants’ machine maneuvering and muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing momentum, the hydraulic machines use your own body weight, fitness level, and aerodynamic water bottle to create resistance that matches abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
For 30 minutes, limbering ladies move around a circuit that positions machines inward so that they'll have a chance to share laughs and secret handshakes with fellow fitness frontierswomen. Because each workout warrior is at a different station, the only competition that exists is with one's own burgeoning muscles. A soundtrack of fun, upbeat music includes cues that tell participants it's time to move on to the next station. The complete aerobic and strength-training workout raises heart rate, burns calories, and allows women to meet new friends and arrange girls' nights out between labored breaths.