At Curves, exercisers of all fitness levels move around a circuit of hydraulic-resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage machine-maneuvering and muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks, filling medicine balls with medicine, and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines account for different body weights and fitness levels to create resistance that matches one's abilities, which thereby decreases the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
Laurie Bostian founded Personal Artist Studio as a way to combine her two greatest passions: teaching and art. For more than 25 years, she has specialized in creating custom portraiture and paintings, and her work has traveled to private collections in countries from the United States to Canada to Great Britain to Australia.
When Laurie isn't transforming personal pictures into graphite, acrylic, or watercolor keepsakes, she leads weekly art lessons in Lincolnton and Charlotte. Students of all skill levels gather for relaxing, therapeutic creation sessions. Burgeoning artists learn to wield graphite, acrylics, pastels, and watercolors to craft their own masterpieces or awe-inspiring grocery lists.
Race City Raceway houses an arena for hobbyists of all ages and abilities to compete in fun, high-intensity slot-car racing. Visitors can bring their own tiny-scale speedmobile—or borrow a loaner from the raceway’s collection—and slip it into the groove of one of five racetracks for a casual jaunt or a competitive relay. Warm up on the drag strip, a trackway designed to test the true speed and potential time-traveling abilities of each car. Racers can whip around the 155-foot Thunder Road or traverse the 110-foot Beast, a track laden with hairpin turns and ant-size streakers haphazardly darting into the middle of the street. Speedsters who are new to the thrill of slot-car racing can challenge drivers of similar skill on Fridays at 7 p.m.
Snap Fitness's around-the-clock gyms enable members to work on their physical well-being with a cornucopia of fitness equipment. With 24-hour access, members don't have to let The Man tell them when to help themselves to Snap's strength and cardio equipment, which features built-in TVs and other media diversions. For those who exercise during conventional hours, Snap's friendly, unintimidating atmosphere welcomes patrons of all ability levels, unlike schoolyard dodge-ball squads. Members also enjoy nationwide access to all Snap Fitness locations, ideal for working out while traveling. For a dose of custom advice, patrons can seek out a personal-training session with a certified coach, who helps them assess and address their fitness goals. Clients reap the benefit of individual attention as a personal trainer helps them tackle weight loss, prepare for an arm-wrestling competition, or unveil the mysteries of arcane cable-weight machines.
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.