CEO Peter Harvey believes that a quality gym staff must demonstrate more than technical expertise. "Service doesn't only mean showing someone how to do an arm curl," he says. Certified personal trainers develop workouts that zero in on each person?s specific goals, giving clients the skills to pole-vault over impassable plateaus. By steadfastly refusing to hand out fish in favor of putting on master classes in fishing, they help clients become self-sufficient, educating them on fundamentals.
During these one-on-one sessions, and in solo workouts, guests set calories ablaze atop rows of continually updated equipment. Treadmills, recumbent bikes, and strength-training tools line the walls.
Members can also drop in for as many group classes as they can muster. Inside a separate studio, stationary cycles whir in time with galvanizing music, kickboxing strikes arc through the air, and barbells rise with each BodyPump rep. For more meditative practices, Pilates sessions and several types of yoga enhance flexibility and focus.
The first running of the Potomac Hunt Races took place in 1952, and the event has been an annual tradition in Montgomery County ever since. The event celebrates steeplechase racing—a form of competition that originated in 18th-century Ireland, when riders would dash across uneven terrain and use towering church steeples as their beacons. Today, regular two- to four-mile tracks have become the battlegrounds for steeplechase events, and horses equipped with on-board GPS systems have made church steeples obsolete. Potomac Hunt Races carries on the tradition of this modern-day version of steeplechase racing, while implementing a tradition of its own: donating a portion of the proceeds from each year's event to charity.
Master falconer and bird-of-prey expert Mike Dupuy shares his love of the 4,000-year-old sport of falconry during exciting and informative demonstrations with his avian costars. A professional public speaker, Mike entertains his audiences with personal anecdotes and motivational speeches that use falconry as a metaphor to encourage them to follow their dreams. Guests also get to learn about each feathered raptor while it surveys the crowd for wild Energizer bunnies, and Mike encourages audience interaction by inviting volunteers from the audience to hold the hawk and try in vain to teach it to bark like a dog.
It's easy to think of artists as solitary people locked away in their studios—Mark Rothko withdrawing to obsess over the interplay between his blockish swaths of color or Jackson Pollock dangling a dripping brush over a canvas on the floor of an empty room. This is the exact opposite experience Michele Foshee wants people to have at artventureUs! An accomplished designer with clients including National Geographic and the White House, Michele sees painting as an engaging social experience where friends and complete strangers can share an adventure as they paint both original pieces and re-creations of famous works, such as Gustav Klimt's The Kiss.
Some classes include wine, and students don’t need experience, since Michele and her instructors take a step-by-step approach to teaching the basics of working with acrylic paints. They also furnish participants with every supply they'll need from a closet full of aprons, canvases, Greek muses, and paintbrushes. In addition to leading public classes, the team at artventureUs! organizes private painting parties.
Atlantic Edge Dive Center's dive-masters might technically be classified as land mammals, but they spend enough time under water to earn the honorary title of amphibian. They spend days and nights teaching and leading dives, whether they're arming curious beginners with basic skills in one of their on-site swimming pools, or conducting open water certification tests off the coast. They go beyond simply certifying students for adventure: they provide rescue diving, dive master, and instructor training as well.
Their passion for the aquatic pastime draws them to all kinds of watery outposts. They lead excursions to the Florida keys to help rehabilitate the coral reefs surrounding the islands, and dive into the relatively calm waters of the tanks in the Baltimore National Aquarium, where they have a chance to see 53 species of fish feed in the secret underwater cafeteria.
Since its founding in a small Gaithersburg, MD warehouse, Amazing Art Studio has taught others the basics of visual art and empowered them to explore various art forms on their own. The studio hosts open sessions that allow burgeoning artists to freely explore different creative and hands-on mediums. During pottery painting sessions, participant can explore techniques for decorating bisque with glaze, while painting classes transform blank canvases into still-lifes and landscapes. Glass-fusing and mosaic sessions, meanwhile, let students freely combine pieces of colored glass into wild geometric and organic designs. The studio also organizes camps and programs for children, and after-hours adult workshops that encourage pairing art with beverages. Throughout the day, books and pictures are always on-hand to jump-start creative thinking.