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.
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.
It’s hard to imagine a trainer more dedicated to fitness than Josh Kuklak, the owner of Survival Fitness Gym. An ACE-certified personal trainer, Josh holds state records in powerlifting on the bench-press and deadlift platforms, and has also competed in hockey, tennis, karate, and weight training. Along with Diana Fisbeck, also an ACE-certified trainer, he leads boot camp-style workouts that call upon muscle confusion—through constantly varied routines—to promote building strength and melting fat.
Their boot camps fuse cardio, resistance training, and plyometrics into workouts that change every day to prevent workout burnout. Leaving treadmills and weight machines behind, the sessions incorporate a slew of nontraditional fitness equipment. Students might flip oversize tires and hang from gymnastics rings one day, and then heave sledgehammers and box heavy bags until they cry uncle the next. Their basic-training class focuses on core work and endurance, and strength training blends elements of powerlifting, bodybuilding, and functional training to pack on muscle and annihilate fat. The fitness duo also leads personal-training sessions, motivating clients to reach their goals and harmonizing with them during workout songs.