Equipment: LifeFitness, Hammer Strength, Cybex, Technogym, Hoist, Power Plate
Students should bring: fitness apparel, water bottle, towel
Registration required: Yes
Good for beginners: Yes
Average class length: 30?60 minutes
Class location: Indoors only
Guests allowed: No
Parking: Pay-to-park parking garage
When Vancouver won the opportunity to host the 2010 Winter Games, the city of Richmond decided to build a venue that would be of lasting benefit to the community: the Richmond Olympic Oval. What was once the home of long-track speed skating has since been transformed into a 20,000-square-foot fitness complex, housing a state-of-the-art gym, two ice rinks, volleyball courts, basketball courts, indoor soccer fields, running tracks, climbing walls, batting cages, an indoor rowing pool, and more. Staff members organize activities using each aspect of the venue, ranging from sport leagues to fun fitness challenges. Members gain access to the facility and its programs as whole, allowing them to work out on their own or experience the gym's amenities as part of a group fitness class.
Fitting such a variety things under one roof?and doing so elegantly?is no small feat. But here, a beautiful arching roof literally covers the entire facility. "The Richmond Olympic Oval has won over 50 awards for building design and innovation, including the Institution of Structural Engineers' 2009 Structural Award for Sports or Leisure [Structures]," according to the facility's program manager. The competition for that particular accolade was pretty fierce, since it also included Beijing's Bird's Nest stadium and Water Cube aquatics centre, as well as a 50-foot-tall statue of Joseph Pilates whose core keeps getting more defined.
If each form of martial arts and self-defense was a different musical instrument, then Johnny Ahmed would be a one-man orchestra, one where every note could shatter a plywood board. For more than 15 years, Mr. Ahmed has immersed himself in the world of martial arts—he's mastered kickboxing and Muay Thai, earned a 5th degree black belt in Taekwondo and a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and has become certified in Bas Rutten MMA. In fact, Bas Rutten himself even visited Mr. Ahmed's studio, Richmond Martial Arts.
The majority of visitors to Richmond Martial Arts, however, aren't master fighters. Mr. Ahmed and his fellow instructors work with adults and children of all levels, starting with students as young as two years old. Their kid-focused programs work to build discipline, social skills, and confidence, as well as keep kids fit and active. Instructors also host specialized "Bully Proof" workshops, helping little ones avoid harassment at school. Adult and teen programs, meanwhile, split off into specific martial arts. Instructors teach disciplines such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai kickboxing, and Taekwondo: a full-body workout that instills balance, strength, and flexibility. Regardless of the chosen program, the faculty helps students stay in shape and learn practical, real world self defense.
Given all the medals they’ve accrued in international competitions, you’d think the instructors at Apex Martial Arts would dedicate more space to a trophy case. Instead, owners Milo and Marcy Hilario opted for 1,200 square feet of open mat space and a roped-in, 18’x18’ boxing ring, ideal for imparting their vast stores of competition-level experience. Named Richmond’s top martial-arts school for three years, Apex teaches through hands-on instruction and attention to technique. Instructors emphasize the proper leverage behind successful jiu-jitsu holds, or personally demonstrate a coy tickle to the trachea or the hip shifts that power a devastating right cross punch. Students stretch and cool down after class, talking shop in a modern lounge appointed with black-leather couches and a flat-screen TV.
Two fields, a soccer shop, five indoor tennis courts, and an outdoor, heated pool. Those are just some of the amenities inside Sportstown Sports Complex, but it's also got something a little unexpected: its own sports bar. In the glow of TVs or outside on the hundred-seat patio, visitors to the kid-friendly Sportstown Tavern find brews, food, and detailed instructions on how long to wait before eating and swimming. If your thirst for competition isn't quelled by beers—or by the Thai curry mussels and housemade pizza—you can keep up the spirit of play with a game of pool or Texas Hold 'Em on Tuesday nights.
Fusion Fitness Pilates Studio helps guests improve their core strength, flexibility, and posture through an array of Pilates classes. Rather than focusing on a few specific muscle groups, Pilates workouts are designed to exercise the entire body?unless you have vestigial wings, that is. Some sessions involve mat exercises, and others use devices such as the Reformer/Tower. Unlike free weights, the Reformer/Tower alters its levels of resistance as you use it, creating an exercise tailored to your specific capabilities.
The husband-and-wife team of Bobbi and Patricia Lusic introduces all levels to the art of the Argentine tango during group, private, and semi-private lessons. They work with each dancer’s capabilities, using progressive lessons to build upon fundamental steps as they cover topics such as musicality and etiquette. The duo also hosts social dances for students to show off newly acquired skills, and puts on performances for corporate and private functions.