Students at The Rock MMA & Fitness Center get the chance to learn from and train with an undefeated professional boxer, a 10-year jujitsu veteran, and a professional mixed-martial-arts fighter. All accolades just happen to belong to one man, Coach Matt. Joined by wrestling veteran Coach Brian and a team of qualified instructors, Matt teaches a full week of martial-arts classes, such as kickboxing, jujitsu, boxing, and mixed martial arts. He rounds out the schedule with conditioning and fitness-focused training, including a boot camp and hours set aside for open use of any of the gym's equipment.
Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates in cardio routines. Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
Benchwarmers Sports Complex helps athletes stay off the bench with a wide range of training facilities. Four pitching tunnels transform string bean arms into powerful cannons, while two automated batting cages and three live arm cages allow hurled baseballs to hone swings, instead of inflated puffer fish, which will just hone your fear of seafood restaurants. Elsewhere, its basketball court boasts adjustable rims and a gigantic electronic scoreboard, and its indoor turf fields feature granular rubber infill to support players as they work up a sweat during games of baseball, football, soccer, and lacrosse.
When the Robinson helicopters at Queen City Helicopter Corp. aren’t acting as airborne classrooms for aspiring pilots, they’re whisking passengers on aerial tours of nearby landmarks. The peaks of Crowders Mountain, the sports arenas of uptown Charlotte, and the horses and buggies of the Charlotte Motor Speedway loom large in the windows of the chopper after it takes off from the company's very own private, FAA-approved heliport. On the ground at the FAA flight school, pilots safely test their abilities inside a flight simulator and study in the onsite classroom.
After owning Duffy electric boats in Newport Beach, California, where the company has its headquarters, the Textor family decided to introduce the fun-filled and stress-free world of electric boating to Lake Norman in 2010. Thanks to the electric motor and patented Power Rudder propulsion device, Duffy boats carry passengers over water with a remarkable speed and maneuverability and cost as little as $1 per day to maintain. Since 1970, Duffy shipwrights have constructed each vessel exactly to the client's specifications, outfitting crafts with Duff-Eze cabin enclosures that allow captains to pilot their ship in any climate and ensure that boats never have to be winterized, covered, or sent to Florida because of cold weather.
Customers can rent out 21-foot Avalon models that carry 10–12 passengers for brief lakefront voyages, dancing to tunes from the onboard mp3 and CD hookups, warming themselves with the heater on chilly nights, and sunbathing on the bow. Specialty cruises entertain guests with floating wine tastings, catered feasts from Lake Norman cottage, and movie nights, and a seasonal schedule of special events dazzles families with upcoming attractions such as electric-boat sleigh rides.
Located about 22 miles north of Charlotte, Davidson College offers 21 Division I intercollegiate sports, including the domesticated southern conference Davidson Wildcats. The team is looking to defend home-court domination after last year’s regular-season series loss to conference rival Appalachian State. Returning senior and round-ball renaissance man Brendan McKillop will try to leap closer to 1,000 career points as he hammers the hardwood in a battle with the North Division–favorite Mountaineers and team high scorer Donald Sims. Coach Bob McKillop, the school and SoCon’s all-time winningest Donkey Kong champion and basketball coach, is closing in on a milestone of his own with his 400th career victory rolling around the rim.