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 recipe: take 5 miles of mud trails, fill them with more than 25 obstacles, add snow, and serve. The Badass Bash obstacle course is more than a race—it's a battle where competitors learn what they are made of. Across the 5-mile course, participants dash, clamber, and crawl through and over a series of obstacles inspired by firefighter, police, and military training. The favorites are back (Target Practice, Submarine Mines, and Check the Attic, among others), but there's also The Badass Bash's take on holiday cheer: Santa's Sack, Chimney Sweep, Don't Drop the Ornament, and more. But the real kicker is the snow. The event's organizers haul in a bunch of the cold white stuff, adding a chilly but festive note to the high-octane event. While adults are getting their hands dirty, kids 12 and younger can do the same on their own 0.5-mile course, the Kick Butt Kids Elf Bash. After the race, guests can mingle at the after party, which is livened up by free beer and live entertainment.
A portion of the proceeds of The Badass Bash benefits three fire, police, and veterans’ charities. All of the proceeds from the Kick Butt Kids Bash go to Caleb's Crusade, which helps children and families who are battling pediatric cancer.
Dustin Edwards and Stefanie Ink-Edwards wanted a new way to raise money for worthy causes, but they wanted to do it in a way that promoted active lifestyles. The answer was simple—start a non-profit mud run, and donate all of the proceeds to charity. They established the South Florida Mud Run, which sends waves of runners sprinting through 5 kilometers of mud and obstacles. Both man-made and natural, the obstacles range from mud crawls and tire walls to plank bridges and water pits. 100% of the proceeds go to benefit the Southwest Florida Children’s Hospital.
Within 10 years of opening its first location, Fitness 1440 has expanded into a franchise of more than 15 clubs across nine states. But, the enterprise doesn’t adhere to the cookie-cutter model of typical franchises; each location looks different, offers different amenities, and is tailored to meet the needs of the community. What members can always expect, however, is an arsenal of cardio and weight-training equipment, knowledgeable personal trainers, and group fitness classes, such as Zumba, yoga, and cycling.
AFAA-certified fitness instructor Kari Fundingsland did three decades' worth of research before opening Kari Kardio. Beginning with her first Jazzercise center in 1983, she amassed group- and personal-training knowledge at gyms stationed from the United States to Australia. She took note of club fads and their effects, and experimented with different exercise styles to create the Kardio Flex System—a malleable workout template that allows instructors to pair her proven exercises with their own music playing over speakers or inside their heads. Today, more than 30 group classes per week at Kari Kardio attest to the breadth of her industry savvy.
With backgrounds in competitive athletics, personal training, and other high-level fitness activities, Kari Kardio’s teachers pair time-tested training methods with the latest workout trends. Their classes—which run the gamut from spin to kickboxing to strength training—accommodate all experience levels with safe exercise modifications. Treadmills and stationary bikes line the 9,000-square-foot studio, helping students chase their fitness goals and complete stationary paper routes when not attending classes.
When she’s not standing in front of an early morning boot-camp session, certified trainer and nutritionist Sue Meredith can be found hiking, camping, or crawling over rocks in her jeep. Her passion for the outdoors transfers into her fitness classes, where she inspires women to have fun and make friends while working toward better health. Designed for a diverse range of women—including those of any ability level—Sue’s four-week programs combine fitness instruction with nutritional guidance, as well as the motivation to help students breathe the outdoor air. Two trained experts back up Sue's services with their own work. Dr. John Spencer Ellis holds 15 fitness certifications, which makes him the most qualified instructor since Einstein potty-trained his sons. Kelli Calabrese also pitches in her talents, which include three science degrees and 23 fitness and wellness certifications.