Hilltop Golf Club’s 9-hole, par 31 course lets clubbers hack their way through 2,268 yards of elevated Virginia countryside. Architect Lindsay Bruce Ervin modeled aspects of the executive course after traditional Scottish links, populating the course with berms, pot bunkers, and thick fescue grass that whisper Gaelic folk songs into the wind. The course climbs from an elevation of 80 feet to 240 feet, with crests giving way to sweeping vistas of the Potomac River and the Maryland shoreline. Five par 3s make each round a worthy investment for clubbers still seeking their first hole-in-one, while four par 4s allow players to unsheathe their drivers. The Club’s practice facilities include two practice greens—one for chipping and one for putting—and a multi-tiered driving range with 68 hitting bays, many of which are covered and heated to protect swingers from inclement weather or pelicans eating sunflowers overhead.
Course at a Glance:
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.
"Our brain is designed to realize what we wish, without any minor errors," says Dahn Yoga founder Ilchi Lee, "If you want success, it will create success. If you want happiness or health, it will create them. Anything is possible, as long as negative thoughts and emotions don't interfere." To make this challenging, yet hopeful philosophy accessible to all, Lee combined the Eastern concept of chi energy with his own brain-management system, developing a distinctive program that unlocks inner peace and sweeps up brain clutter caused by the daily stress of always having to find Waldo. Warm-up yoga maneuvers awaken muscles before 30–40 minutes of breathing, stretching, core practice, and meditation—including a signature brain-wave vibration technique that aims to calibrate mental and physical energies. Cool-down exercises ease the body back into quotidian functionality before a 10-minute teatime invites socialization among participants while bolstering pinkie endurance. Dahn Yoga is also taught at independently owned and operated franchises called Body & Brain Yoga.
The world is a playground, according to the stunt artists and gymnasts who helm Urban Evolution. At this CNN- and Channel 11 WBAL -featured gym, there are no treadmills or stationary bikes. Instead, dance-like movements and acrobatic leaps propel visitors toward apexes of fun and fitness. To ready physiques for such feats, ropes, trapezes, and gymnastics equipment facilitate body-weight exercises that build balance, flexibility, and coordination. Seasoned instructors oversee the training space, teaching students how to jump, climb, crawl, and tumble as safely as possible during movement-focused classes such as Parkour, Free Running, and Aerial Acrobatics. Kettlebells and other functional strength-training tools power UrbanFit conditioning workouts, which give participants the brawn to perform everyday tasks such as pushing lawnmowers, lifting grocery bags, and drawing sleighs filled with lazy reindeer.
The Metropolitan School of the Arts—formerly the Metropolitan Fine Arts Center—was founded more than 14 years ago. This multidisciplinary performing-arts organization takes a holistic approach to teaching and encouraging performance-arts skills, creating performance opportunities in dance, music, and theater for a diverse population of students of all ages and abilities. Its students have gone to perform on Broadway, at The Juilliard School, and in highly esteemed companies, such as the Mark Morris Dance Company, The Washington Ballet, and Ford's Theater and Signature Theater. Youth programs include year-round programs in dance, theater, music, music-theater, and acting, as well as a performing-arts program in the summer, all for children as young as 2. Adult classes range from basic to advanced, including ballet, jazz, and tap lessons, plus yoga and ballet-barre fitness workouts.
LA Boxing’s fight-centric gyms ditch the polished look of wood-floored workout studios for gritty, competitive spaces filled with 150-pound punching bags and intense workouts. Like a baker molding gingerbread men, LA Boxing sculpts six-packs with boxing, kickboxing, and mixed-martial-arts classes. Although instructors and students agree that the gym’s atmosphere may enkindle intimidation in first-time attendees, most experience boosted self-confidence after conquering their first class. Private training sessions further stoke courage with workouts that leave patrons with the exhilaration of having survived 12 rounds in the ring or five minutes in a high-school lunchroom.