Odyssey Health & Fitness Centre's staff of personal trainers and kinesiologists understands it's hard to keep fitness goals when juggling a full schedule, which is why their facilities are open 24 hours a day and armed with high-tech security systems. Experienced instructors lead classes ranging from Spinning to power yoga, and those who want to sweat to iPod tracks of their own mother's heartbeat can jam out on stair climbers, rowing machines, and treadmills stationed near 50-inch plasma TVs. To complement exercise regimens, the Sports Nutrition Advisor teaches healthy eating habits, imparting students with the ability to weave with ease through the winding world of nutritional-chart hieroglyphics and toppling food pyramids.
As they enter the training circle at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's centre, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby by trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. One minute is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
In the verdant Cowichan Valley, Pacific Northwest Raptors cares for a diverse flock of birds of prey—owls twist their heart-shaped heads curiously, and hawks look on with eyes like copper coins. The staff provides them a safe habitat while educating the public about their habits, hunting methods, and favourite brands of feather cosmetics. Eagles and falcons ride warm zephyrs overhead daily, searching for prey high over the canopy when they aren’t perched back at the centre.
Avian experts demo the birds’ skills during walks, which include the opportunity for patrons to have a hawk or owl land on a gloved hand or already impressive jaw line. Intensive workshops and week-long falconry courses let guests settle in with the animals beneath the towering trees, which hush each other liltingly in the wind. Regular family events at the centre facilitate bonding with the regal raptors, many of which are trained in film work and pest control.
Sophin Sarin’s passion for fitness ignited when he started playing sports in middle school, and his desire to share it with others has not wavered since. He founded Twork It Out Fitness to help his clients fit into healthier lifestyles through hard work and discipline. His 35-minute boot-camp classes require resolve, as students power through interval-training workouts that build muscle and strengthen the cardiovascular system. As with any sustained period of intense exercise, metabolism stays stoked afterward, burning more calories in a 48-hour period without having to train yourself to sleep-jog. Classes meet six days a week, with morning and evening sessions to convenience an array of schedules.
Dr. Lisa Duong of Plum Blossom Acupuncture & Herbology specializes in using traditional Chinese medicine to care for women's health and help faces look their brightest. She performs herbal therapy and practices acupuncture, which is designed to relieve a spectrum of health complaints and results in younger-looking complexions that cause clients to get carded at the movie theatre. When performing cosmetic acupuncture, Dr. Duong inserts the thin, sterile needles into points that encourage chi—or energy—to circulate throughout the face. This also promotes the circulation of blood, which shepherds nutrients and moisture to the skin.
As golfers line up tricky, round-deciding rolls on the green of the signature 17th hole at Olympic View Golf Club, they might have to block out an unusual sound. Just behind the green, water crashes earthward for more than 60 feet over one of the course’s two waterfalls. The dramatic feature generates a roaring din as well as a beautiful backdrop for players as they near the end of their scenic golfing excursions.
Such tranquil scenes are common on the 6,600-yard course framed by the dense forest of south Vancouver Island and the looming profiles of Olympic Mountains peaks. But the calm can be deceptive, as the Bill Robinson–designed layout aims to challenge. Twelve lakes are interspersed throughout the site, and numerous bunkers intimidate golfers with their depth and walls etched with tally marks. This signature mix of beauty and difficulty earned the club a four-star rating from Golf Digest in 2008, as well as a ranking of 10th Best Public Golf Course in British Columbia by Score Golf in 2011.
The GBC Golf Academy at Olympic View Golf Club aims to prepare golfers mentally and physically for playing the most enjoyable golf of their lives. Located on 14 acres, the academy features nine large grass driving areas with target greens as far as 330 yards. In three short-game areas, players practice putts, pitches, and fake surprise at finding the ball in the cup. The amply appointed grounds complement a teaching philosophy that encourages development of a repeatable swing tailored to the individual’s physical capabilities.
Course at a Glance: