As a 23-year-old junior, Tom Hatten didn’t spend his evenings at the raucous parties or ice-cream socials associated with college life. Instead, he’d spend the waning hours of his evenings waiting by the dryer for the last batch of towels before collapsing into bed. In the morning, he would lug them to Mountainside Fitness, the gym he opened as a student that he has thrown all his energy into maintaining ever since.
Today, the humble 4,800-square-foot space has bloomed into nine gyms that average a sweeping 41,000 square feet. Tom’s vision of creating a friendly neighborhood gym that greets each guest with a warm towel underscores every decision he makes for the different locations, from the colorful kid-care spaces to the entertaining group fitness classes. Personal trainers plan regimens tailored to each client, helping them lose weight, build muscle, or target the muscles that will help build a better golf game. Clients can create their own routines with the help of cardio and weight machines, or explore the different amenities at each location, such as saunas, rock-climbing walls, and indoor basketball courts.
At JJ Madisons, less than 15 burgers on the menu would be unthinkable. The chefs have created 18 separate sandwiches, some of which have their own variants?the Malibu Beach burger, for example, comes with mushrooms, swiss, and avocado atop beef or chicken. Others are less like classic patties and more like enticing burger hybrids. The Buffalo Fire patty is prepped in zesty chicken-wing sauce, whereas the PB & J bacon burger mixes peanut butter, jelly, and sriracha hot sauce for a truly unique flavor combo.
The rest of the menu celebrates a wide range of American eats. There are award-winning wings flavored with 17 different sauces, deli sandwiches from reubens to turkey melts, and entrees of steak and fried shrimp. Much of the food is categorized under a relevant U.S. city, whether it's tacos honoring Santa Rosa, California or a Pittsburgh patty melt.
The eatery also provides plenty of nighttime entertainment: live music, karaoke events, and poker games are on the calendar every week, much like a greedy person's birthday. Happy hour runs all day and night throughout the summer with food specials until midnight.
Since 2006, the Arizona Desert Dolphins have been showcasing their aquatic tricks as the arid landscape of Mesa, Arizona opens around them. They're not actual dolphins, though?they're a team of synchronized swimmers ranging from age 5 to 55, who have honed their craft in local pools. Some swim recreationally, others competitively, but they all train in the team's programs, leagues, and camps, learning the ins and outs of the sport.
Although it was originally dubbed "water ballet," synchronized swimming is really more sport than dance. It's been an official Olympic sport since 1984 and requires multi-faceted athleticism: swimming skill, gymnastics-level flexibility, and the same stamina it takes to run long distances or ride an untamed rocking chair. It all looks effortless during the Dolphins' meets, but that's only thanks to savvy head coaches Lorette Haynes and Jessica Naranjo. (And nose clips, without which the upside-down moves would be impossible.)
PGA teaching professional Robbie Camacho refines golf skills with corrective advice culled from more than 20 years of experience in the golf industry. After graduating from the San Diego Golf Academy and the PGA of America's Professional Golf Management Program, Robbie has appeared on multiple radio shows to offer a slice of his golf wisdom and weigh in on the tragic extinction of the mashie niblick.
Robbie has taken his talents to Dobson Ranch Golf Course, where a lighted driving range with grass tees, practice putting greens, and a short game area with a practice bunker let him cover any aspect of the game in lessons. Robbie's understanding of proper stance, body alignment, glove bedazzlement, ball position, and balance cultivates more dependable swings for players of all abilities.
"I'm bored!" is probably the most common phrase uttered by children out of school for the summer. Even inundated with an abundance of toys, games, and technology, kids still want more. Instead of getting them yet another magical centaur, parents can keep their offspring occupied with one of Arizona Summer Camps's diversions. The camp teams up with a variety of local businesses to present a diverse array of summer camps to engage the minds and bodies of youths. The quality of instruction is top-notch, and the student-to-teacher ratios are kept low.
Kids can expand their horizons with science-driven experimentation in fields such as robotics or computer gaming, or break a sweat and a few boards in one of several martial-arts camps. Gymnastics camps bolster coordination and strength in wee ones.
Bearing the titles of Master of Photography and Photographic Craftsman from Professional Photographers of America, David and Ally McKay embody the keen vision and aesthetic prowess that separated good photographers from great ones. They share these skills during classes at McKay Photography Academy, where they train eyes, fingers, and imaginations to work in tandem as a snapshooting dream machine. Their classes help aspiring photographers progress from neophytes to seasoned pros. When not busy instructing the next generation of shutterbugs, David and Ally also devise photo safaris, which send small teams of photographers to capture shots of famed landmarks including San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge; the Lincoln Memorial of Washington, DC; or Yosemite's 60-foot statue of Yogi Bear.