At Richmond Balance, trainers forge bodies to match the beauty of life-changing events. Their new mommy boot-camp classes help ladies achieve post-pregnancy goals, such as a slimmer stomach or arms that can change stroller tires without a jack. Support remains the common element of these specialized programs—the staff gathers students with similar objectives and capitalizes on a sense of camaraderie. The same method guides the Balanced Buddies system, in which partners share the same personal trainer.
Even outside the communal atmosphere of classes, Richmond Balance prioritizes an intimate, custom approach to health. Its certified trainers will travel to homes for private sessions or supervise clients as they sweat aboard the gym's Precor, Tuff Stuff, and Schwinn equipment. During workouts, guests can occupy their eyes by watching the individual flat-screen televisions on select machines or by counting the exposed bricks on the walls around them.
Surreywood Swim & Tennis Club's layout is reminiscent of a summer camp, with outdoor swimming pools and a volleyball court surrounded by towering trees, picnic areas, and shaded playgrounds. The club's three pools include a guarded general-purpose pool with two diving boards; a six-lane, 25-meter competition lap pool; and an unguarded toddler pool with an arbor for shade. Here, swimming lessons help little ones feel more comfortable in the water without Mom and Dad or a personal bodyguard. Five lighted competitive tennis courts offer exercise enthusiasts the chance to practice their sport even when the sun goes down, and a sand volleyball court makes the most of warm weather.
Theatre VCU serves up professional-quality productions of beloved shows, passionately acted and staged by VCU students. Veteran TV and movie actor Casey Biggs helms the production of the Tony-winning The Elephant Man, telling the tale of the titular, deformed John Merrick as he struggles to express his sensitive soul despite his frightening appearance and propensity to enthusiastically show off his collection of handmade knives. Beautiful period costumes plunge audiences headfirst into the appearance-obsessed world of 1880s London while live cello accompaniment lends the show a backdrop of haunting melodies. The stage's centerpiece—a 100-pound cathedral that hangs over the action—contrasts with the irregular angles and warped construction of the set, evoking the tension between Merrick's appearance and personality and the crushing terror of living beneath an inexplicably floating stone building.
Home of the Virginia Derby each summer, Colonial Downs Racetrack upholds the age old Southern tradition of horse racing with a pair of impressive tracks. At 180 feet wide, the Secretariat Turf Course plays host to the derby as well as other summer thoroughbred races. Measuring at 1.25 miles, the outside dirt track is the second largest in the country—dwarfed only by Belmont Park— and plays host the pacers and trotters in the fall harness races. As Virginia's only site for pari-mutuel betting, Colonial Downs attracts droves of racing fans and wandering derby hats throughout the season. Once inside the gates, visitors can enjoy the sights and sounds from the outdoor grandstand or relax in one of Colonial Downs' club and suite seating options, most of which offer dining and betting services, TVs linked to off-track races, and unobstructed birds-eye views of either track outside.
Voted the top local yoga studio by Richmond Magazine, Yoga Source offers around 50 classes a week ranging from prenatal programs to weekend workshops. Certified instructors promote the proper postures and inhalation execution necessary to improve pliancy and increase circulation among waning subscribers. Buy a vowel with tongue-twisting techniques like Iyengar and Vinyasa, designed to help each shape-shifter experience the transformative power of yoga, while drop-in classes allow for increased flexibility.
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.