The YMCA Adventure Warrior Race gives kids and adults a chance to prove themselves against ropes courses, mud, water obstacles, and other unexpected mental and physical challenges—all while supporting a good cause. Amid the breathtaking views and tranquil waters of Lake Tris, runners maneuver around trees and carry heavy objects up the sometimes snow-covered Laurel Highlands mountains, climbing up to 1,000 feet as they go. Warriors aged 16 and older make a 4-mile circuit, whereas younger participants run age-appropriate distances of a half mile or a full mile. Trophies and the respect of all the woodland creatures are awarded to the top male and female runners, top male and female teams, and top co-ed team. According to the Daily American, funds raised from the race provide camp scholarships that allow kids to attend residential and day programs at the 263-acre YMCA Camp T. Frank Soles.
Alpha Fitness Club shepherds exercisers of all stripes toward their desired level of svelteness with a fleet of Star Trac fitness equipment and engaging group fitness classes. Ellipticals, treadmills, and bicycles give exercisers the strength to knock stubborn calories off their bodies, and resistance machinery and free weights convince muscles to come out of their hiding places. Furthering fitness pursuits, Alpha Fitness Club’s trainer, Frank—who hails from a decorated career as a Marine, a bodybuilder, and a power-lifter—tailors his one-on-one sessions to help customers to lose weight, gain muscle, and maintain mint-condition sweatbands. Exercise classes include Zumba, spinning, Pilates, and step; the club’s schedule inspires exercisers to power through with a dose of fitness camaraderie.
Center Ice Arena grants skaters plenty of space to perfect their gliding strides with a trio of NHL regulation size ice rinks that host open skates and lessons as well as the home games of the Allegheny Badgers amateur youth hockey. The arena starts beginners of all ages off on the right blade with its Learn to Skate program, which covers the fundamental mechanics common to speed skating, hockey, and figure skating, preparing participants for national programs or a permanent move to the North Pole. The Learn to Play Hockey program focuses the instruction, helping kids learn to turn and make hockey stops. Students and recreational skaters can show off their skills during the arena’s daily public skates, the times of which can be found on the arena’s calendar of events. A comprehensive fitness and entertainment center, the arena also houses a fitness center open to both skaters and the public, a party room, and a video arcade.
With machines set up in rows to encourage competition, many ordinary gyms cater to men's bodies and psychology, right down to the urinals that were "accidentally" installed in the women's locker room. At Curves, you'll 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. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines use your body weight and fitness level to create resistance that matches your abilities, decreasing 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.
Though he has studied, practiced, and taught yoga in such far-flung locales as Mexico and Southeast Asia, Zeb Homison counts his childhood living room in western Pennsylvania as the site of his fondest yoga memory. That's where, as a tottering pre-kindergartener, he worked through poses alongside his mother. After studying dance and theater, Homison—now the owner of Bikram Yoga Pittsburgh— moved to San Francisco, where he rekindled his relationship with yoga while working at a Bikram yoga studio.
The heat, combined with the repetitions of the postures, focused his mind while conditioning his body, and he was hooked. Studying under Bikram Choudhury, the father of Bikram yoga, was another clarifying experience and one that taught Homison to open up and accept the inevitable. That could mean working through intensely fatigued muscles to push toward greater flexibility, or performing all 26 poses at a black-tie dinner party whenever guests clink their glasses and shout "Pose!"
"When studying yoga, you have to be patient with yourself," says Homison, echoing the philosophy that his staff repeats to encourage students to take their time learning the practice. Together, the team works with patrons, inspiring them through bouts of frustration. "Yoga can be a lifelong process," Homison says, "and you just have to be open to it."