Sharon Owens lowers the bulb of an ornament into the sharp blue flame of her workstation’s torch, heating the glass until it glows a vibrant yellow. Applying the skills she learned in her schooling at Purdue University, her three-year apprenticeship, and her studies with a host of artisan glassworkers, she presses her mouth to the piece’s hollow stem. Whatever shape it will take, only she knows.
This scene has been a regular occurrence at Inspired Fire since 2002, when Sharon founded her studio in her hometown of Lafayette. The workshop is equipped for all manners of projects, including 4 kilns, 12 torches, and, most importantly, air conditioning. The shop’s staff oversees classes for beginners and advanced glassworkers, as well as offering the space for crafters unable to find the “glass” setting on their microwaves.
Energetic music pumps bodies into motion on treadmills, stationary bicycles, and elliptical trainers. Meanwhile, patrons heave dumbbells and heft weighted balls. And in the group fitness studio, classes punch and kick their way through high-intensity kickboxing routines or breathe steadily as they bend into yoga poses. Such scenes play out daily at each of Better Bodies' three locations. In addition to group training, the gyms also offer one-on-one training from personal trainers with years of experience in the fitness industry, including former Cleveland Indians and Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Mike McGuire. The trainers also boast masters degrees in fitness-related disciplines, including physical therapy and flaming bowling-pin juggling.
Pilates Wellness Studio's owner, Tobie Hall loves exercise and meeting new friends. So it's no wonder that at her studio she and her team of experienced instructors focus on creating a fun, friendly environment where people can exercise safely and comfortably. Students here are motivated by good health, personal challenges, and developing core strength, whether it's through Pilates or yoga mat classes, or Pilates Reformer sessions. Massage therapy and specially designed Pilates programs for individuals living with multiple sclerosis are also offered at the studio.
After four years spent playing football at the University of Illinois, and three years in the Canadian league, Morris Virgil circled back around to become a fitness coach. “Each client is a direct reflection of me,” he says. “Not in their physique, but in form, effort level, and dedication.”
He springboards off that philosophy during his 45-minute sports-inspired workouts, challenging patrons through functional training methods designed to improve overall health rather than just build washboard vanity abs or butter-churn biceps. Each workout divides time equally between cardiovascular routines, strength-training that leverages body weight, and muscle-sculpting exercises with free weights. The focus of each session alternates by the day of the week, so students can arrive daily for an all-around fit-‘em-up routine or drop in on specified slots to focus on slimming down, toning muscles, or building strength.
Celebrating its 60th anniversary, the NHRA’s top pedal grinders compete for the checkers as Lucas Oil Raceway hosts the high-octane conclusion to this year’s NHRA Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, one of drag racing’s most prestigious events. The ghosts of former Model-T drivers race alongside novice and veteran speed demons such as champion Larry Dixon as they try to secure enough points to propel their teams into the Countdown playoffs and Full Throttle championships. The legendary track lives up to its reputation for smoothness as cars glide towards the finish line like sticks of butter on a bunny slope.