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. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage your machine maneuvering and your muscle making. 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.
Owner Jessica Jones-Healey founded Tidewater Studios for the Arts Inc. in 2009 as a noncompetitive forum for kids to practice performing and visual arts. Winner of a 2011 Virginian-Pilot Reader's Choice Award for Best Dance Studio and Best Performing Arts Academy in Portsmouth, Western Branch, Churchland, and North Suffolk, the facility inspires children with engaging explorations into the joys of hand-made art, hand-played music, and hands-free dance.
Makeup artist Kim Nicole doesn't just make over clients. She also teaches people how to brandish pigment brushes of their own. Those who have a special occasion coming up might swing by for a daub of feature-spotlighting color, and those hoping to sharpen their skills can take a class. Kim can travel to teach a session at students' homes, or she can spill the tricks of her trade at her own studio.
Racks of gleaming free weights stand near benches, weight machines, and heavy bags waiting to be punched. Located on the second floor, the gym's large windows let in plenty of natural light to illuminate exercisers during intense core classes or focused yoga sessions.
Putting a brush in the hand of everyone who walks through the door, the staff at Paint Gallery aim to make art less intimidating and more fun. During classes—available for both kids and adults—participants follow an instructor's simple directions on dabbing, brushing, and Monet-ing to create a finished work of art to walk out the door with. Frequently held at local pubs, instructors encourage pupils aged 21 and older to sip on glasses of beer or wine while painting.
Anytime Fitness, as the name suggests, is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 512 days a year with nonstop security. Novice calorie burners and ripped Michelangelo models alike can take advantage of a one-month membership (a $55 value), which equips bodies with enough treadmills, cycles, elliptical machines, and weights to train them to run a marathon inside of a swimming pool filled with mud. Highlight the results of fat-frying and muscle-mass-magnifying sessions with one month of unlimited tanning (a $30 value) in a bevy of beds that paint ripply physiques a brilliant shade of bronze. Then, during a personal-training session (a $45 value), Anytime’s staff of fitness gurus can help exercisers set new fitness goals, revise and personalize workout programs, and correct form during strenuous pinky exercises.