Taking place on rugged, 10K–12K courses across the country, the Green Beret Challenge gives participants the chance to demonstrate the legendary toughness and endurance of the race's namesakes. In teams of two or four, male, female, and coed crews all take a stab at glory. Armed with backpacks, lengths of rope, and sturdy D-rings, each team must prove its mental and physical tenacity by tackling a series of challenges that require participants to scale obstacles and carry heavy loads across mud, sand, and other surfaces. Every race is followed by a celebration, during which winners are awarded prizes and every of-age finisher receives a complimentary beer to quench thirst and complement endorphin highs.
At The Fitness Studio's 1,000-square-foot gym, experienced trainers work one-on-one with clients in 55-minute sessions to buff bodies with sustainable fitness strategies. During an initial round of body-composition testing, a bioimpedance analyzer is used to detect the client's level of body fat by measuring the body's resistance to low-level electrical currents and celery (a $20 value). Client and trainer will then use this information to craft personalized exercise and nutritional plans. Finally, they'll practice muscle-molding moves on the studio's gym equipment, where they'll share space with a maximum of one other trainer-client pair and two fitness-obsessed cockapoos. After each visit, tummy-crunchers can unwind with a long private shower or a sweaty session in the personal infrared sauna, whose low-intensity beams of photon energy can also soften butter in a pinch for on-the-go bakers.
Balance Through Movement's Pilates classes synchronize body and mind to maximize movement efficiency using a series of exercises tailored to stretch joints, tone muscles, and correct posture. Group equipment classes pair students with up to three like-minded workout buddies for 30- to 60-minute routines that utilize modernized exercise equipment to enhance the typical Pilates format. Traditionalists who refuse to be swayed by the good looks and tearful empathy of a mechanical trainer can opt instead for a 10-pack of one-hour mat sessions, open to students of all fitness levels, and held at nearby downtown dance studio Terpsichore. Check out the class schedule to reserve a coveted spot in the equipment class or drop in unannounced for the weekly meet up of mat-er-cizers.
At Hot Asana, more than a dozen instructors, most of whom are certified with Yoga Alliance, help unify minds and bodies with intense practice and disciplined techniques. Spiritual athletes can pick from a schedule of classes, some held within a room heated to more than 100 degrees, some designed for beginners, and some for seasoned backbenders. Start with a beginner foundation course, which focuses on the basics of hot yoga, including breathing techniques, standing and floor-series poses, and a gradual introduction to heat. The sweat-inducing environment allows for easier blood flow, looser muscles, and the ability to use your body as a slip 'n' slide. More advanced sessions, such as the 75-minute Aerial Yoga, which employs a fabric swing, or the 90-minute Fire Flow class, which employs the soothing calm of candlelight, help further yogic practice.
“I’m too scared to do a hot yoga class” is a phrase that’s all too familiar to Sherry Carpenter. The owner of The Funky Buddha Hot Yoga Studio and instructor recognizes that the balmy temperatures and 26 plus poses of hot yoga can intimidate those who have never taken a class before. That’s why she offers a beginners class that teaches students the poses used in hot yoga and prepares them for entry into one of the studio’s hot or warm yoga classes.
Sherry Carpenter trained under Arianna Gallagher of Chesapeake Hot Yoga, who was in turn trained by Bikram Choudhury—the founder of Bikram yoga—as well as B.K.S. Iyengar. In addition to her yoga classes, Sherry also offers Russian medical massage, which she learned while studying at the American & European Massage School. She teaches students inside a pale-green studio with mirrors and smooth hardwood floors. The studio also features curtained changing rooms, where post-yoga students can trade their sweaty asanas for clean ones.
Dustin Ramsden's job is to enforce the law, which means he's never terribly surprised to hear about someone breaking it. As a response, Dustin uses his 18 years of martial-arts training to help citizens defend themselves in classroom environments and on the street. He and colleague Dee Schunk-Chrisman employ the highly practical systems of krav maga⎯a martial art developed by the Israeli Defense Force for use in combat zones⎯to give their students a fighting chance against a real-world aggressor. The pair of instructors design classroom attacks to emulate real-life circumstances, dimming lights or stepping outside to train students to deal with stress, darkness, and unexpected variables. Above the mirrors that line the walls of Ram’s Self Defense school, red paint spells out such phrases as “self-control,” “perseverance,” and “indomitable spirit,” which reminds practitioners not to fight ghosts.
When not training for a triathlon or embarking on an adventure race, certified yoga instructor and Get Twisted owner Dee Chrisman teaches daily yoga classes in her Hope Mills studio. Dee helps each student on their path to honing a stronger body and sounder mind through Vinyasa-style classes. As each session's sequences of flowing postures link together with mindful breathing techniques, students follow at their own pace, making the classes appropriate for practitioners of all levels. A stock of mats and props provides all the necessary materials for yogis, and soft lighting and sepia walls give the studio a cozy, earthy feel, generally preferred over the barren, overly bright lunar feel of many other studios.