After Randy Woody lost his aunt and grandmother to diabetes and obesity, he became increasingly distressed about his own 320-pound frame. He began researching weight loss and strength training and set to work creating a healthier lifestyle for himself—all at the age of 13. Over the years he was able to whittle away 145 pounds, and eventually became a personal trainer, competitive bodybuilder, and member of the American College of Sports Medicine. He teamed up with Brenda Woody, a fitness trainer and motivational speaker, to start Michigan Women Boot Camp, a weight-loss program that has transformed the lives and bodies of more than 10,000 clients.
Six days a week, the indoor boot-camp sessions challenge students with a rotating lineup of light running, resistance training, obstacle courses, and core exercises. Like scaffolding that reads only transcendentalist literature, the environment is supportive, yet serious. The Woodys only expect campers to perform to their individual ability level, but they ask students to show up as often as five times a week to get real results. The approach must be working; the Woodys boast that approximately 85% of their members are repeat visitors.
Rich crimson and jet-black poles punctuate the lustrous hardwood floors paving Fantasy Fitness Studio, where certified dance and fitness instructors aim to enhance both women's self-esteem and fitness through sensual, muscle-toning pole dancing. They bolster their full roster of pole-dancing classes with tutorials on diverse techniques such as hip-hop dance, boot-camp-style workouts, and Zumba, fostering a motivating environment for students of all skill levels during each session. They also host group parties within the elegant studio and can even organize mobile festivities at offsite locations, such as homes or moon colonies.
Though it’s called Michno's Cafe, coffee and pastries are not on the menu here. Instead, Michno’s exudes a bar ambiance with a menu boasting a half-pound burger handcrafted from fresh meat delivered three times a week and hearty deli sandwiches. One sandwich boasts new york strip steak, and beer-battered cod gives an audible crunch in another. At the bar, Michno’s buzzes as guests take advantage of daily drink specials. Crispy appetizers such as waffle fries and deep-fried mushrooms literally fuel patrons on karaoke Wednesdays and trivia nights in a way that the thrill of victory only aspires to.
At The Painted Glass, a wine glass isn't just a vessel for sipping—it's a canvas for exploring creativity. During two-hour classes, students learn techniques for brushing images on long-stem glassware of peacock feathers, twisting branches, or anything else the imagination comes up with. But its mission goes even deeper than that. The studio started as a supportive art class for women with mesothelioma, and has since expanded to offer classes to anyone with a desire to paint. Today the of services go even farther, with classes also accommodating larger groups, such as bachelorette parties and seniors groups.
Foam-topped pints of beer complement Timberwolf Tavern's menu of hearty pub food. Housemade bread and tortilla chips scoop up the kitchen's specialty cheese dip of the month—also the name of the award for Wisconsin's best swimmer—and vegetables join a blend of Mexican cheeses inside quesadillas. Timberwolf also makes crispy chicken strips that can be dipped in ranch and barbecue sauces. Buffalo wings, alternatively, can be dipped in six sauces, such as hickory, honey, and a five-alarm sauce.
Feet dance up and down the six electric strips that run across a 4,200-square-foot raised floor amid shouts of “En garde!” and blunted foils whipping through the air, meeting each other with the piercing ring of steel on steel or glancing off of padded vests. This scene takes place each weeknight at Salle d'Etroit Fencing Academy, where coaches Ben Schleis, Rebecca Keeling, and Jon Zelkowski teach the finer points of fencing, a sport originally developed by the French as an excuse to wear white after Bastille Day. The experts preside over classes for adults and youths, teaching them to wield foils, épées, and sabers.
In addition to organizing classes, the United States Fencing Association–sanctioned club hosts tournaments and matches pupils with new and used equipment at the pro shop. Should their weapons have issues after being used to clean whales' teeth, students can drop by the armory, where technicians take care of rewiring blades and other fixes.