Deep within the Appalachian Mountains, the forest's leaves flutter as a blurry figure speeds by. But the creature high above the treetops isn't a bird, a plane, or a sports mascot recently released back into the wild. It's a person strapped into one of Black Mountain Thunder Zipline’s 11 ziplines, which take customers some 400 feet above the ground and at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. Spread over 1.5 miles, the ziplines wind through canopies and down mountain slopes on trips that last roughly two hours. Expert guides tag along on every tour to ensure safety and instruct adventurers on equipment.
At the age of 16—when most teenagers are dreaming about receiving their driver’s license—Michael Heskett was dreaming about attaining his chiropractic license. Following in his big brother’s footsteps, Heskett graduated from Life University in 1995 and has spent the years since spreading awareness of chiropractic health in the Lakeway area. He regularly gives community talks on spinal hygiene and sponsors Chiropractors with Compassion, a movement to fund holistic treatments for children.
In Heskett Family Chiropractic’s more than 16 years of business, Dr. Heskett has kept the office up to date on emerging diagnostic technology. Digital x-rays reveal the inner workings of the spine while protecting patients from the large doses of radiation emitted by traditional x-rays. Para-thermal imaging detects heat fluctuations in the spine by up to 1/100th of a degree Celsius—helping Dr. Heskett pinpoint areas of irritation.
Permanent-cosmetics specialist Kim Seals wants women to look and feel beautiful from the moment they wake up. Having been in the business for over 12 years, the beauty specialist helms The Permanent Cosmetics Center—with locations sprawled across Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia—where she enhances visages with everlasting makeup. After working with clients to design the perfect look, the expert marks skin with natural pigments to create subtle or dramatic eyeliner, fill in sparse brows, or give lips a voluminous pout. Aside from enhancing natural beauty, Kim can also mask imperfections, such as scars and third nostrils, with her expert services.
While teaching jazz dance in the 1960s, Judi Sheppard Missett decided to step away from tradition by offering an experimental class that allowed her students to simply dance without the judgment of mirrors or the constraints of rigid technique. In these sessions, she began infusing popular dance moves with specific fitness workouts to forge a distinctive blend of cardio exercise, strength training, and dance instruction. Little did she know that this “just for fun” class was the prototype for what would become the national fitness sensation known as Jazzercise.
Today, Jazzercise takes its aerobic techniques from a variety of sources that include jazz dance, hip-hop, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, and kickboxing. The class formats, which vary according to different toning goals, are just as diverse as the program's move set. Two-time Dancing with the Stars champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of the improvisational routines, although her advanced skills aren't needed to get the most out of classes. Instructors cultivate a noncompetitive atmosphere where all exercisers—with the exception of those marked as cursed by jazz-hand palm readers—are welcome regardless of age, build, or fitness background.
YMCA of East Tennessee holds fast to its three-fold mission: to encourage healthy living, youth development, and social responsibility. Each of their five locations brims with cardio and weight equipment, as well as digital ActivTrax kiosks, which print out customized workout plans based on each guests' information. Instructors lead group fitness classes for adults and stacks of trench-coat-clad babies disguised as adults, offering sessions that range from kickboxing to water aerobics. In addition to specialized sessions for seniors, they also lead sports programs for kids, such as swimming, basketball, and karate, as well as host a youth-based leader's club.
The folks at YMCA of East Tennessee offer memberships to military families and host programs for kids who have dropped out of school or who have been suspended. Their scholarship program helps families send their kids to the YMCA's fun, safe, character-developing programs no matter their financial circumstances.
The coaching staff at D1—which is co-owned by professional athletes such as NFL player Peyton Manning, MLB player Chipper Jones, and NFL player Philip Rivers—refuses to discriminate between professional athletes and everyday exercisers. They scale the strength-and-cardio workouts of their group boot-camp classes and one-on-one intensive courses to individual abilities, bringing out the best in each student regardless of his or her workout history.
The typical D1 gym houses modern indoor turf fields with adjoining weight rooms, giving instructors the space to invent expansive obstacle courses that may require students to lift tires or tug 747s. In the boot-camp program, coaches meet with students one-on-one to discuss progress and find ways to improve. Each facility also houses a sports-therapy clinic, where expert therapists ease muscle injuries through rehabilitation programs and strength-restoring exercises.