At Mountain West Swords Academy, the air rings with the sounds of battle. The shuffle of feet and the clang of blades meeting blades can only mean one thing: students of all experience levels are busy mastering the sports of foil, épée, and saber fencing. Novices start in the introduction-to-fencing class, where they gain comfort with provided equipment, including electronic scoring systems and the foil—the weapon that was traditionally used in most 18th-century duels over unclaimed parking spaces. After polishing their parries and footwork, students take their newfound skills to the competition floor, where they compete with other fencers of similar experience levels.
A wildly successful alternative to traditional day spas—its more than 300 locations blanket 36 states and half a dozen countries—Planet Beach Contempo Spa is a futuristic relaxation station where state-of-the-art machines administer all of the spa and tanning services. These friendly automatons sometimes replace familiar treatments, as in the Luminous facial, a light-based service that delivers blemish-busting results similar to those of a conventional facial. But other equipment maps out new spa territory entirely: the Hydro-Derma Fusion chamber moisturizes the whole body with nutrient-rich steam to offset the effects of a dry climate or a rear-end collision with a salt truck. Other machines whiten teeth, spray-tan skin, and massage muscles.
Planet Beach operates on a gym-style membership system, meaning that members purchase packages or pay flat monthly rates. As members spend more time at the spa, they get to know the helpful assistants who are always on hand to demonstrate how to use the equipment without activating its ability to cry.
Trainer and fitness guru Justin Bradshaw modeled SGT. H20's CombatSwim after the rigorous training he received as an Army diver. His challenging exercises encourage full-body fitness, using workouts that build stamina, boost metabolism, improve swimming skills, and promote weight loss. Incorporating the best of land-based cross-training systems, CombatSwim includes plenty of high-intensity interval training and pulse-hiking calisthenics. In the pool, water adds extra resistance that amplifies the effects of the exercises, which include swimming sprints, endurance swimming, and treading water with weights. Designed to sharpen the mind as well as the body, CombatSwim leaves exercisers with the same confidence and conditioning as some of the world's elite military warriors.
Navy Special Operators are recognized as some of the world's most feared warriors. Run using the same aquatic training program that tests the mettle of real-life divers and explosives techs, Hellbender's Amphibious Bootcamp sends exercisers plunging in and out of the water as they blast through a blend of calisthenics and aquatic exercises. A diverse collection of former sailors, soldiers, and firefighters lead the classes, shouting encouragement as as students switch from pushups and pull-ups to freestyle, breaststroke, and sprint swims. Movable obstacles including sandbags, weights, and decommissioned bathyspheres also wait beneath the depths, challenging endurance as they bulk up screaming muscles. Classes welcome all fitness levels, but exercisers should be able to tread water, swim at least 25 yards without stopping, and arrive with their own goggles and swimsuit.
123Mountain outfits nature enthusiasts with everything they need to enjoy the great outdoors, from sleeping bags and tents to men's and women's clothing. Hike from classroom to campsite with a light yet durable Kompressors Lowe Alpine bag ($40), or sport a silkweight Patagonia long-sleeve, which is made of moisture-wicking fabric ($45). A serious selection of sunglasses ($20+) keeps woodland creatures looking cool, and men's Skins half tights ($75) improve circulation while minimizing the body's drag coefficient. Shoppers can also pick up functional fashion accessories such as the M-9 Suunto wrist compass ($33.95) to avoid getting lost in the forest or in a particularly poorly groomed backyard.
James Hiromasa is an authority on krav maga, the self-defense technique that's used by the Israeli Defense Forces. He's on the krav maga advisory board, he regularly trains krav maga instructors, and he has received two krav maga certifications from the Wingate Institute in Israel. His wife, Shannon Lukeman-Hiromasa, also punched her way to two krav maga certifications from Wingate, and earned a CrossFit certification to boot. Together, they've pooled their krav maga, martial arts, and fitness expertise to not only open Colorado Krav Maga, but expand it to four locations. For an idea of the size of the operation, the duo and their staff's krav maga, CrossKick, and martial arts programs collectively combine for more than 55 classes each week, or one for every member in an orchestra.