As an 11-year-old, Jill Hinson lay in a hospital bed and wondered why her hip wouldn’t work properly. It was the absence of any diagnosis for her chronic pain that sparked a lifelong fascination with the human body, especially its moving parts and bone that can tell jokes. Years later, Jill occupied herself with performing and training dance, and, as she realized her desire to take on rehabilitative work, sought opportunities to teach those with special needs. It wasn't until after she had given birth to her second child that she found her calling in Pilates—an exercise system that combines the grace of dance with the healing potential of motion.
Today, Jill and her team of instructors occupy the second floor of The English Building in downtown Monroe. They have filled the historic studio—whose exposed brick walls, archway, and complete lack of eccentric billionaire subletters project the vibes of a private loft—with a slew of core-building equipment, from yoga mats to reformer apparatuses. As they lead non-competitive classes, the team members follow the principles of Stott Pilates, which mixes the tenets of modern physical therapy with classic Pilates maneuvers.
Most camp counselors can teach children how to tie-dye a T-shirt or braid a friendship bracelet. Very few, however, have experienced the exhilaration of vaulting into the end zone for a goal-line touchdown or intercepting a game-winning pass in front of thousands of rabid football fans. Across the country, Sports International Football Camps grant participants the opportunity to learn firsthand from professional athletes, whose gridiron battle scars have been forged by bell-ringing collisions with fearless opponents and reckless mascots on motorcycles.
Since 1983, the organization has partnered with veteran high-school coaches and pros, such as three-time Pro Bowl running back Priest Holmes, All-Pro linebacker Brian Cushing, and Super Bowl champion?cornerback Terrell Thomas. In those years, the camp has schooled some 96,000 alumni, including current NFL quarterback Byron Leftwich. Coaches break campers into groups by age, position, and ability and run practices that are competitive yet fun and supportive. For in-depth focus on the specific techniques of skill-position players, the camp also offers special academies for passing and receiving as well as kicking, punting, long snapping, and cooler lifting for Gatorade victory showers.
The mind isn?t the only body part that grows bored with repetition. Muscles also need constant variation to grow and function properly, and few workouts provide this variation more than CrossFit, an intense exercise program that engages muscles with a series of functional movements. In fact, ?engagement? is a good word to describe the entire philosophy behind CrossFit. The program?s instructors do everything in their power to keep participants engaged, motivated, and working so hard that boredom is no longer an option.
All of this is evident at CrossFit MNC gym, where participants push and pull weighted sleds, hold themselves high on gymnastics rings, and flip over tractor tires on a daily basis. Instructors stand by to offer instruction and shouts of encouragement as participants raise their chins aloft during pull-ups or head outside to fling cars across the parking lot. The gym?s ever-changing workouts blend gymnastics, running, rowing, and weightlifting?all of which are customized to suit individual levels of fitness.
Happy Hills Alpaca Farm celebrates all aspects of the furry alpaca, from its fleece to its general cuteness. The farm serves as a one-stop shop for people looking to purchase alpacas, pick up hypoallergenic alpaca-fleece socks or scarves, or simply watch and feed the animals. The farm holds regular events to better acquaint the public with these useful creatures, whose warm, soft, and durable coats form the basis of jewelry and clothing including baby products. Tours provide a close-up view of the alpacas and the fleece-spinning process, so visitors can learn more about sustainable farming.
Led by an ACE-certified personal trainer, Carolina Adventure Boot Camp takes men and women of any age or fitness level through regularly scheduled 60-minute outdoor cardio romps. Groups are limited in size for each session, helping students get to know one another and allowing trainers to personalize each exercise to individual abilities. The bare-bones structure of each class builds routines around body-weight resistance, running, yoga, and obstacle courses, requiring each participant to bring only water, a yoga mat, and a pair of dumbbells. When not providing positive reinforcement, instructors counsel students on nutritional matters, helping craft nutritious meal plans and sharing healthful cookie recipes that replace chocolate chips with Flintstones vitamins.
Rolling hills and wooded terrain define Paintball Kingdom's 15 acres?but there's little time to relax and take in the tranquil scenery. Competition is always raging across five theaters of paintball battle. A castle stands at the center of the town field's abandoned vehicles and buildings, while the assault field surrounds players with sand bags, wire reels, and wooden walls that provide ample cover. An indoor field, takes games to an area filled with ammo crates and chemical barrels. Regardless of the chosen field, there's always one person who doesn't get covered in paint: the referee, who ensures fair play and the absence of finger paints for surreptitious hand-to-hand combat.