Northwest Curves, a fitness center designed exclusively for women, provides members with a 30-minute circuit of hydraulic resistance machines designed for an efficient cardio and strength training workout. During the training, attendees can burn up to 500 calories and work each major muscle group to work toward individual fitness goals. An experienced coach is always nearby to teach and motivate participants, and a soundtrack of fun, upbeat music cues participants to move on to the next station. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing momentum, the hydraulic machines use your own body weight and fitness level to create resistance. Each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
In 1987, indoor climbing was as unpopular in the Seattle area as breeding labradoodles. But Vertical World––a pioneer indoor climbing gym––introduced the city to the up-and-coming sport of rock climbing in a controlled environment. Since its inception, the gym has expanded to three other locations in Everett, Tacoma, and Redmond, the latter hosting eastside climbers for more than 20 years.
A team of experienced route creators challenges climbers with more than 200 bouldering, lead, or top-rope routes in a wide variety of difficulty levels. The gym hosts competitive youth teams that have gone on to national or world tournaments. The gym's staff of climbers and guides also leads outdoor excursions that build confidence and teach novices how to identify a rock wall in the wild.
Whether inside the gym hopping on and off plyometric boxes or outside lifting weights when the sun shines, the trainers at Westsound CrossFit keep routines interesting with ever-changing daily workouts. It’s all part of the CrossFit system, which is designed to employ all muscle groups while staving off the boredom of repetition. Intense classes feature functional movements—such as lifting, pushing, and pulling—that prep participants for all sports, work, and daily activities.
American Athlete’s owner, Tony Held, and his team strive to foster a community that inspires their members to carry health and fitness throughout all aspects of their lives. To push them toward reaching their fitness goals, they’ve stocked their facility with strength and cardio equipment, such as Precor ellipticals and Keiser M3 cycles. They lead students in a broad range of group fitness classes, such as the heart-pumping, Latin-inspired global dance party known as Zumba. Their Les Mills classes include BodyCombat, in which participants unleash a furious array of martial-arts-inspired moves on imaginary armies of parking-meter maids. For more solitary workouts, personal trainers customize one-on-one sessions, offering encouragement as they help their clients blast past plateaus to new levels of fitness.
Members of Olympic Athletic Club strengthen their muscles in a building where weary nineteenth-century travelers used to rest theirs. The historical former hotel still exudes old-fashioned glamour, from the theater-like marquee and a clock designed by renowned neon artist Roger Legerano to the interior's leather furniture and exposed brick walls. A tour of the inside of the club also reveals why it was named Best Workout Venue in 2009 by the Ballard News-Tribune and Best Health Club in 2012 by Seattle Magazine.
In addition to rows of cardio machines with personal-viewing screens, visitors catch a glimpse of group classes that range from meditative tai chi to high-intensity boot-camp workouts. Children in the Kids Korner can entertain themselves by calculating the number of calories in an invisible friend's lunch while their parents swim laps in the pool or play a game on the basketball and racquetball courts.
It's been more than three decades since Andrew Drake rode his first wave, but his passion for surfing stays strong. Washington Surf Academy is the embodiment of his passion and has grown to include instruction not just for surfing but for paddleboards as well. Unlike a gingerbread man's enemies, Mr. Drake's classes don't take a cookie-cutter approach. "Every person is a unique case," he says. The diversity of his clientele is one of the things Mr. Drake finds most rewarding. "Some people will have huge fears, and it is nice to see them get over them. This one time, this lady was freaking out, but I talked her into it, and she loved it so much that she bought a board from us on the first day."
By helping them to float out of their comfort zones, Mr. Drake and his team open people up to the hidden world off Seattle's coast. With snow-capped peaks in the distance, surfers can conquer waves and paddleboarders can float beneath bald eagles flying to their next college history lecture.