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.
Over her 15 years as a fitness instructor, Ananda Shala's owner, Aimee Firor McBride developed a special passion for yoga and Pilates. Her love of the practice led her to India, and into the studios of renowned teachers such as Shiva Rea during her more than 500 hours of teacher studies. She draws upon this experience as she helms a coterie of certified instructors who lead groups through classes and workshops. On hardwood floors flooded with natural sunlight, instructors guide students through Prana Flow Vinyasa yoga for all levels, hot yoga in an 80- to 90-degree room, and meditation classes.
In addition to yoga, instructors also teach Pilates, including mat classes, sessions that integrate weights and strength training, and machines that help lengthen and strengthen muscles. During private sessions they help students work on individual needs or master a specific technique such as folding laundry with their feet. Corporate workshops help business people soothe their minds during stressful situation, and special events such as yoga parties and classes for kids and teens explore yoga in a fun environment.
Ron Layman's decorative indoor-painting instruction harks back to thousands of years of artisans' decorative and faux-finishing techniques. Drawing from the colorful traditions of neoclassical plaster finishes and trompe l’oeil techniques, his methods build on the past while incorporating modern styles of glazing and color washing. His commissioned work can be seen in private homes and commercial locales, and when he's not imbuing work and living spaces with his talents, Ron teaches multiple-day workshops in The Faux School studio nestled in Frederick's historical district.
Drawing on 20 years of experience as a master painter with the North American Decorative Artist Association and boasting the ability to spell Michelangelo, Ron guides artists of all levels through basic and advanced home-design techniques, incorporating paint, textured finishes, and lime-based Venetian plasters, which add depth to plain walls and floors. Ron also helps his students to explore new approaches to home decoration, with lessons that help students to take control of their environments or take steps toward forming their own home-decorating businesses, regardless of prior artistic experience.
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.
My Gym, which currently has more than 200 international locations, began more than 30 years ago as a structured place for children to safely play, acquire new skills, and romp off a sugar buzz. All classes are organized according to age level—starting as young as 6 months—and designed to incorporate the latest physiological and psychological research. Tiny Tykes gets babies moving with help from their parents, Mighty Mites teaches toddlers self-reliance and beginning sports skills, and Champions, a class for kids aged 6 to 13, emphasizes the importance of using teamwork to master more complex sports skills and achieve group goals such as building a human pyramid to reach the cookie jar. My Gym's energetic instructors are experts at using music, dance, and gymnastics to build youngsters' strength and self-esteem while stimulating their giggle-plexes. The noncompetitive environment fosters creativity, and hands-on activities boost children's learning retention and fun quotient.
The artists at Wine and Canvas awaken their students’ inner Rembrandts and Van Goghs with classes that pair a featured painting with specialty cocktails and wines. The mobile studio’s monthly calendar includes themed classes in which instructors expound on the nuances of painting Parisian street lamps, Japanese flowers, or Venetian cityscapes. The master painters—many of them local artists—provide step-by-step instructions while students mimic each stroke and periodically dip their brushes into glasses filled with crimson cabernet. Each of the studio’s various drink-friendly venues boasts a specialty libation selected to incite creativity or conversations with fellow painters. When the artistic frenzy concludes, students return home with a finished masterpiece large enough to conceal any wall safe or mirror portal.