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.
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.
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.
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.
Due to her contagious love of yoga, Inga Balciuniene's class space has grown from a room that could only hold four guests into a studio with its own fountain, massage area, and teaching staff. Even so, the certified instructor hasn't stopped reaching out to her community. Her Hatha- and Vinyasa-style lessons cater to any age, body type, and ability, with posture adjustments for students who stretch at different paces. She also entertains children aged 3 and older with lighthearted kids' yoga sessions, which channel creativity to keep youngsters moving instead of convincing them that their mats are lava. Inga also teaches yoga principles to special needs kids and adults, including some with autism. Apart from classes, events such as Yoga and Wine Night—where libations and recipes for healthy eats are passed around—encourage visitors to socialize in the candlelit space.
Inga is far from possessive of the environment she has built, and she readily rents out the studio to other teachers. She currently shares the space with a belly-dance expert and two massage therapists.