Clint Robinson's U.S. Air Force duty took him around the world, but it was his time in South Korea that made the biggest mark. There, he learned the art of tae kwon do—and the positive fitness and values associated with it. When he returned to the states and left the Air Force, it didn't take long for him to found his own martial-arts school. More than 40 years and 19 locations later, Robinson's Taekwondo continues to thrive on the same principles on which Clint founded his business: excellence, personal attention, and tradition. He now counts children's, adult, and family programs as part of his curriculum. With continued training, students of all ages not only hone their fitness, but also improve their mental sharpness, self-confidence, and discipline.
The press certainly likes California Family Fitness, granting the exercise venue such awards as a top spot on KCRA-3's 2012 A-List and Sacramento News and Review's Best of Sacramento 2012 Award. The press, however, isn't the top priority for the gym's staff; they believe that, to quote their about CFF page, “awards don't greet you at the door.” Instead, they depend upon their dedicated staffers at the front desk, chaperones at the Kidz Club play zone, and personal trainers to make families of clients feel at home. Certified personal trainers take aspiring exercisers of all ages through regimens that make use of the 16 available locations' ample workout machinery. Seasoned instructors, meanwhile, hold group fitness classes, free with a membership, fostering community as they incinerate calories during high-energy Zumba, step aerobics, Turbo Kick, and Hip Hop Hustle. Nine of the locations boast pools that host swim lessons taught by certified water-safety instructors.
While hitting the gym, parents can drop wee ones at childcare havens lined with playgrounds and age-appropriate investment manuals. After breaking a sweat on the exercise floor, clients can also shed excess body moisture in saunas and tanning beds.
Granite Arch Climbing Center doesn’t just teach its visitors how to surmount cliff faces, it prepares them to climb out in the wild. That’s because the facility is divided into different areas that replicate the characteristics of rockfaces around the world. Clients can climb their way up the pin-scarred granite of Yosemite, the horizontal cracks characteristic of upstate New York’s Gunks, or the limestone pockets and tufas found in Thailand. In between these internationally inspired rockfaces, climbers can practice basic skills on bouldering walls and belaying paths. Classes are also available to teach clients the basics or help established climbers advance to more difficult paths. Staff can also help form lasting birthday memories with parties, in which partygoers learn the basics before blowing out their candles and eating the wall.
Since 1972, Spare Time Clubs has evolved into a 10-club, full-service family sports club company that includes programs for both adults and children. Each location varies in size—some boasting multiple complexes—and houses amenities such as lighted tennis courts, pools, kids’ play areas, and fitness centers. At the Diamond Hills and El Dorado Hills locations, members can shine up in the onsite European spas, and the jewel of the Gold River club is a lighted stadium court encircled by a 5,000 square-foot observation deck. In the event of inclement weather or courts being overrun by ball-chasing dogs, players can schedule time at the dedicated indoor-tennis center, where eight fully sectioned-off, championship courts glow under the power of tournament-level lighting. World-class coaches develop kids’ court skills at the junior tennis academy, students of which can practice with an unlimited number of sessions at any of Spare Time’s other clubs.
Following the CrossFit ethos, instructors design high-intensity workouts that build strong, resilient bodies. Depending on their fitness levels, participants may begin the muscle-manufacturing process with exercises that use only their body weight, such as squats, pushups, and tonguestands. As tone and technique improve, trainers tack on tonnage with sonorous dumbbells and hissing kettle bars, as well as with plyometric boxes and medicine balls. Cardio blasters such as rowing, running, and rope jumping also enliven workouts. CrossFit’s physical-transmogrification techniques work for all healthy humans. To encourage progress and accountability, trainers urge clients to set incremental goals and record their achievements, preferably in a magical tome with a face on the cover that screams encouragement whenever it smells sweat.
The Kids Program at CrossFit StompinGround is focused on helping children build strength and learn about conditioning, but program instructors Jenn Rich and Kenya Runyan know that when working with kids, you've got to keep it fun. The hour-long sessions keep kids excited by moving briskly through a number of activities, such as gymnastics, jump-roping, running, and body-weight movements. Each program is designed specifically to meet the developmental needs of a different age group.