The expansive interiors of Axiom's three fitness centers are packed in endless rows of weight and cardio machines, group workout studios, pools, and basketball and racquet courts to help its diverse client base whip into shape. The knowledgeable trainers lead patrons in pumping their bodies on the fitness floor, and instructors helm more than 100 Zumba, yoga, water aerobics, and Les Mills classes each week. In their performance center, the trainers customize one-on-one or small-group programs, such as Ax-Fit, which helps firefighters, law-enforcement officers, and those in the military increase their power and endurance, and Sport Performance, which helps athletes train for their competitive physical pastime of choice. Kids aged 7 and older can hone their coordination and improve their athletic performance and growing up too fast in Kids Performance sessions that run hourly from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m., and older adults can stay in shape in the Silver Sneakers program. After sweat sessions, patrons can recharge at the Fuel Center juice bar, which serves up crushed-fruit smoothies, and nutrient-infused coffee and chocolate shakes.
The mission of the Idaho Botanical Garden has remained the same since its founding more than 25 years ago: to foster community appreciation and understanding of horticulture and natural conservation. Nestled in the Boise foothills, the facility's 33 acres house more than 14 themed gardens. Some feature carnivorous plants, native flora, or colorful and aromatic herbs, whereas others focus on rose varieties, succulents, peonies, and water-conserving plants. Garden staff use adjacent foothills for nature hikes and environmental education.
A day at the gardens may also include a snack at the Tea House or a trip to admire plantings on the roof of the Gathering Place gazebo. Pathways lined with Table Rock sandstone wander through the four quadrants of the green Celtic labyrinth, each representing one of the four seasons. In a separate Children's Adventure Garden, smaller visitors frolic in a colorful tree house and watch the ripple of fins at a koi pond. For self-guided family tours, the staff provide backpacks containing suggestions for things to see and do, as well as scavenger-hunt items, a magnifying lens, and binoculars so children can check whether that's really a Bubo virginianus slinking through the trees.
The instructors at Bikram Yoga Boise have no problem welcoming beginners to the practice. After all, each of them remembers the experience of their own first lesson. Some took part in a 60-day class challenge and some simply saw it as a new adventure in fitness, but all of them fell in love almost immediately with the benefits inherent in sweating and stretching.
It helps that the style accommodates all skill levels. Because students perform the 26 poses to the best of their ability, they needn't have any experience or a life-sized rubber stand-in to begin taking classes. The postures build off each other to stretch muscles, ligaments, and other tissues throughout the body as the surrounding heat in the studio—up to 105 degrees—makes them more pliable. The warmth also boosts circulation and the release of sweat, which helps to purge the body of built up toxins. As practitioners become accustomed to the poses, they can benefit from increased strength and range of motion.
During the 60-minute Stroller Strides outdoor class, moms and their babies tear up the trail for an hour. Participants mix stroller pushing and power walking with pit stops for resistance-band exercises that, taken together, bestow a total-body workout. Instructors provide everyone with exercise tubing and, in the event of a fussy-baby episode, will show you exercises you can do with your baby, such as the toddler-tickling squat jump or the nursery-rhyme and bicep-curl combo. Fit4Baby prenatal classes blend cardio and weight work for one hour of strength and balance training. The workouts help women at any stage of pregnancy stay fit and active while they adapt to their bodies' demands. All instructors are experienced in pre- and post-natal fitness. Indoor classes make use of sheltered venues, but apply the same principles as the outdoor sessions.
For the past five years, the Ontario Reign have dominated opponents as the ECHL affiliate of the Winnipeg Jets and the 2012 Stanley Cup champions, the Los Angeles Kings. Formerly the Texas Wildcatters, and before that, the Huntington Blizzard, the Reign rose to existence in 2008. And, rather than naming the team the old-fashioned way of letting a raccoon pick random letters from a bag of Scrabble pieces, the newly spawned organization turned to its fans with a name-the-team contest. That contest kicked off what has been a thriving relationship between the Reign and Ontario hockey fans. In fact, the Reign led the ECHL in attendance during their first three seasons. In 2012 and 2013, the team rewarded its loyal fans with back-to-back Pacific Division championships, and in coming seasons, hopes to be a perennial contender for the Kelly Cup.
As a PGA-certified pro, Jeff Thomsen's distinguished golf career began decades ago, when the 16-year-old Thomsen swung his way to the Idaho State Amateur championship, becoming the youngest player ever to earn that rarefied distinction. His early success would pave the cart path to a long career that included 55 PGA Tour events, participation in four major championships, multiple tournament victories, and once saving a course-side community from a feral golf cart. Today, Jeff showers pupils with golf wisdom culled from both his 35-year competitive career and a certification from the Nicklaus/Flick Golf School. The passionate pedagogue helps players sharpen their game, lengthen their drives, and fold scorecards into paper cranes with hands-on, comprehensive lessons conducted at multiple courses throughout the hills of Treasure Valley.