Whether at the retail store or beneath the water's surface, Bluewater Divers' crew maintains a commitment to helping their customers live life to the fullest. The staff, which includes PADI-certified instructors as well as an aptly named director of happiness, leads scuba classes at heated pools, natural bodies of water, or inside their own imaginations. After students master beginner courses, instructors can help them obtain PADI certification for open-water diving in the deep blue or learn advanced skills such as rescue diving. It’s not uncommon for students to foster new friendships with other divers or their instructors, especially during the school’s regularly scheduled social events and diving trips.
An authorized dealer for many leading brands, Bluewater Divers’ staff keeps the shop filled with necessary scuba equipment and accessories. The crew also runs a demo department, which lets divers test gear before they commit to living inside a giant fishbowl.
Earlywine Tennis Center helps amateur racket-wielders ascend to excellence with 12 well-lit outdoor courts and a fully stocked modern pro shop. Young beginners camps focus on imparting the fundamentals of the game to children age 5–9, and are held 9 a.m.–10:30 a.m., Monday through Friday. More mature players looking to pick up a racket or those with prior forehand experience can take a swing at the older beginners or intermediates classes, which are designed for tennis lovers age 9–17, and are held 9 a.m.–11 a.m., Monday through Friday. Concentrating on footwork, score keeping, and ref flattery, older beginners or intermediates classes employ strategy and drills that become more challenging as the player's ability improves. Small class sizes ensure that each student receives individual instruction as focused as a laser beam viewed head-on through a microscope. All camps also include a free T-shirt and hard-court-flavored victory taffy.
Each year, Mud Factor plows into towns across the country towing along a fun, yet challenging, course full of obstacles and mud to trudge through. It's 5 kilometers of dirty, sweaty madness that pits runners not against each other, but against their own expectations. Attendees don event bibs and bandanas before rocketing off the starting line in waves, dashing away to prove their superiority to steep hills, muddy pits, and inner demons. Costumes are encouraged—be they Mud-Thing ensembles or strategically placed Speedos—for racers who like to rock their own style. By conquering the course, participants win the right to don achievement medals.
There on the wall inside Conan's Kickboxing, Karate, Boxing Academy, next to four World Kickboxing Championship belts, hangs a photograph of founder Scott “Conan” Mincey donning a mustache and shaking hands with one of his numerous mentors, Chuck Norris. In fact, during his 34-year career, Scott has worked with a constellation of martial-arts stars and, since 1996, has brought that experience to his self-titled academy.
Scott teaches recreational and competitive fighting styles to a diverse student base which includes men, women, teens, and children. His classes blend equal doses of self-defense techniques with workouts designed to build lean muscle strength, speed, and endurance. Students can throw jabs in the pursuit of a leaner self, or train for all manners of blood-sporting competition in the gym's boxing ring, octagonal cage, or shark tank.
In all of weight loss, there may be no concept less aptly named than the “low-calorie” diet. That’s because the calorie unit we associate with food actually refers to kilo calories—meaning when we say, “2,000 calories a day,” we actually mean 2,000,000. A calorie is a unit of heat, or energy—specifically, the energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius. And if the number of calories we ingest is bad news, the upside is that we are burning them all the time.
A certain amount of calories—about 60–75% of the calories you burn each day—are needed to sustain the body's unconscious functions, such as breathing and circulation. Known as basal metabolic rate, the specific percentage depends on factors such as size and body composition, gender, and age (typically, as people get older, fat makes up a larger portion of body weight, causing calories to burn more slowly). Digestion makes up about another 10 percent of the calories burned, leaving physical activity to account for the rest.
During exercise, the muscles contract, causing the body's adenosine triphosphate (ATP) molecules to break down as the heart continues to pump faster and faster—increasing the body’s demand for more energy. Once the muscles have depleted the day’s caloric intake, they turn to other calorie sources to fuel the fire—making weight loss possible as the body begins to sacrifice fat cells to the god of the treadmill.