With machines set up in rows to encourage competition, many ordinary gyms cater to men's bodies and psychology, right down to the urinals that were "accidentally" installed in the women's locker room. At Curves, you'll move around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage your machine maneuvering and your muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines use your body weight and fitness level to create resistance that matches your 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.
Husband-and-wife duo David and Crystal Wells threw their mutual passion for fitness into the creation of Ring Side Fitness Center. They outfitted the gym with high white ceilings, a soft red floor and a boxing ring, corralling passionate students and leading them through boxing classes. In addition to teaching foundational footwork and techniques, David maintains professional status in MMA, and Crystal ranks as a professional figure competitor in the National Gym Association and National Physique Committee. They apply their professional experience toward building full-body workout plans, but stay in touch with the fitness limitations and aspirations of everyday people. As working parents, they make efficiency paramount—drop-in classes span 75 minutes and work the whole body, including the dorsal fin.
The instructors at Spanish Horizons lead classes through a variety of language-learning activities, helping them to cement the connections between Spanish and English words and phrases. The classes are geared to build conversational skills, focusing not just on grammar but on how to actually speak the language. Nurses, doctors, teachers, and other professionals can learn to communicate with Spanish speakers at work during industry-specific seminars, and native Spanish speakers can improve English skills with bilingual citizenship and computer classes.
The Wichita Wingnuts delight die-hard baseball fans and casual onlookers of all ages with classic minor-league fun. An American Association independent baseball franchise, the Wingnuts finished the 2010 regular season in third place, but are swinging for even higher fences this season. Under the direction of manager Kevin Hooper, a former major leaguer and Wingnut who stole 33 bases and was never indicted, the team is taking aim at 2011 baseball and hot-dog eating championships.
Kathy Kissane, owner and meal-maven of Kissane's Creations, has opened her heart and hearth to apprentice foodies hungering to master the culinary arts. Her hour-long cooking classes can be tailored to the taste buds of each visitor and cover such topics as appetizers, entrees, sides, crock-pot meals, desserts, and meal planning. Aspiring master chefs can call Kissane directly to schedule their foray into wild gastronomic frontiers fraught with treacherous garlic mines, dense gravy bogs, and haunted meatloaf forests. Become proficient in the chemistry of deliciousness by yourself, or buy two Groupons and bring a friend who may become more than a friend once the smell of rosemary scents the air and your hands casually brush while reaching for the paring knife.
The Art Park offers two- to three-day summer classes for potential Picassos from preschool to the preteen years. Sign your child up for a dynamic instructional duo that covers topics including drawing, sculpture, watercolor painting, printmaking, and adorable beret wearing (up to $90 each). Each class pairs technical skill development with high-interest topics, such as the Medieval Times class, in which kids draw kings, queens, knights, and jesters, as well as make a brooch out of recyclable materials (for ages 4–7, scheduled July 25–27 from 1:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.), or the Design and Composition course to learn about historical theories of design such as the golden ratio of ancient Greece (for ages 8–12, scheduled June 13–15 from 1:00 p.m.–3:00 pm.). Each classroom cultivates a safe, noncompetitive environment where kids can take creative risks and produce a final major art project to take home and display above the household tire fire.