The Punta Gorda Club unleashes muscular potential with an on-site nutritionist, a well-equipped gym, six clay tennis courts, and more than 80 group fitness classes each week. During a one-on-one nutrition consultation and dietary analysis (a $99 value), the club's food guru will discuss each client's eating habits, then draft a written meal plan that outlines what flavors of Twinkies they're allowed to eat. Additionally, an unlimited one-month membership (a $90 value, including enrollment fee) lets patrons loose to toughen tendons on the gym's playground of cardio machines, free weights, and step-aerobics teeter-totters. Members can also choose from more than 11 types of group fitness classes such as yoga, spinning, and Pilates, to tone their tummies in tandem or swat serves on six clay tennis courts.
The art masters behind Vino's Picasso throw pretentions aside during each of their painting sessions, where artists of all skill levels gather to express their creativity and make new friends. As students arrive with their favorite drinks in tow, they settle in amid lime-green walls dotted with finished paintings. Local artists pass out all necessary supplies—such as acrylic paints, brushes, canvases, and easels—and begin a lesson on a particular painting while offering tips as pupils complete their masterpieces. In addition to their instructed sessions, Vino's also offers open paint sessions, and private parties for brides-to-be and spies who just want to learn about painting. While artists wait for their paint to dry, they can peruse the Starving Artist's gallery and bar, where limited production wine and craft beers bask in the glow of paintings produced by local artists. Students are also welcome to purchase gifts or stock up on supplies.
Before finding her calling as a yoga instructor, Sylvia taught biology, Earth science, and general science for more than 25 years. Throughout her years in the classroom, she practiced yoga as a way to calm her mind and balance her body. In 2005, she switched gears—she trained for more than 1,000 hours and earned her E-RYT 500 certification. She specializes in Kripalu-style mindfulness yoga, which emphasizes self-acceptance and consciousness of the interplay between life and yoga. Although she primarily teaches multi-level classes, some sessions, such as chair or adaptive yoga, are intentionally geared toward those with limited mobility. At the beginning of class, she occasionally reads inspirational passages or practices levitation.
The staff at Dlynne Designs helps patrons to create iridescent, eye-catching jewelry and keepsake items. The lesson calendar contains a variety of options and subjects, including a two-hour introductory course and private instruction. During the workshops, blossoming artisans learn techniques for cutting and fusing glass, skills useful for creating colorful works of art or combining glass eyes into larger, unusable glass eyes. Experienced teachers show pupils how to make pendants and jewelry in small-group or private-party settings, both of which allow students to bond with one another.
To say that Captain Peter Williamson has been a scuba fanatic his whole life is somewhat untrue—he lived six whole years before even discovering what scuba diving was. A fan of the sport since the ripe old age of six and an avid diver since the age of 12, Captain Pete has attained three teaching certifications and a USCG 50-ton master’s license to captain a dive boat. When he’s not exploring coral or unpopular Atari game cartridges at the bottom of the ocean, he slings gear from all the major producers of scuba equipment in his dive shop.
World Gym is a no-nonsense fat-blasting factory outfitted with more than $250,000 in brand-new equipment, a friendly staff, and professional personal trainers. Spinning classes are offered daily, and with more than 50 new spinning bikes, presenting myriad opportunities to embark on imaginary bicycle rides through the sunlit streets of Paris circa 1953. Professional trainers, such as Cathy “Cat” Griffith, winner of several NPC Women’s Figure Championships, are available to help take exercise regimes up a notch, and more than 60 cardio machines, circuit equipment, and a garden of free weights round out the spacious interior. Childcare is available for grandparents whose children refuse to spot for them, and weekday hours of 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. make sure that surly early worms and coffee-jitter night hawks have equal access to the bench press.