The inside of Blue Ash Strength & Conditioning looks like a jungle gym for adults. Here, people hang from bars of different heights, jump up to gymnastics rings, or flip giant tires through the space. This is a typical CrossFit class, led by experienced trainers who change up the workout routine every day to ensure muscles don't plateau. Their exercises are designed to create well-rounded athletes, and everything that's done can be scaled to accommodate guests of all fitness levels. A typical day at Blue Ash can bring any number of unforeseen challenges, from running around outside to hurling medicine balls.
Patty first discovered rock climbing in college. “I got sucked in right away,” she says. Before long, she found herself marrying a fellow climber—a man she met at Climb Time back when it was still managed by the original owners who also blended their relationship with climbing. “They got married at the gym,” Patty says, describing how the first owners scaled the roof to say their "I dos." Though Patty and her husband didn’t exchange rings at the top of a wall, they did decide to buy the gym.
The expansive arena challenges climbers with a 24-foot climbing wall, where novice and expert mountaineers alike grasp handholds with chalked palms or coax a gorilla to carry them up piggyback style. Along the other side of the facility, Patty and crew dare climbers to test their strength on a wide array of 15- to 60-degree bouldering inclines that sit above moveable pads to cushion jumps or falls.
Throughout the 11 courts lined up inside and outside of Court Yard Sportsplex, tennis balls thwack against rackets swung by players in private lessons, instructional clinics, and competitive interclub matches. Elsewhere, cardio and weightlifting machines whir with the effort of exercisers, and the squeak of tennis shoes echoes upon basketball and racquetball courts. In the heated outdoor pool—open Memorial Day through Labor Day—younger kids splash in the 3- to 5-foot waters during beginners' swim lessons, while older kids sluice through the water with instruction on a variety of strokes. Music emanates from classrooms, where a Joffrey Ballet–trained instructor orchestrates youth ballet classes and adults embrace personalized instruction with ballroom-dancing lessons. After any activity, members can soothe exerted muscles with the onsite massage therapist, who calms muscles with one of nine modalities and essential oils infused with lullabies.
To program director William Brashear and his team of teachers, yoga is a spiritual journey that begins within while a person is creating a bond with humanity. They inspire students of all ability levels to seek this inner peace in their classes, which cover a variety of styles. Options range from Mysore—a meditation-focused discipline—to power yoga—a vigorous Vinyasa-based course—to gentle yoga—a slower-paced rehabilitative class. To zero in on students' specific areas of concern, they lead one-on-one sessions, helping them master their techniques and learn Sanskrit words such as, "asana" which means "pose," or more commonly, "Can you please help me? My leg is stuck behind my head."
In addition to yoga, the school provides healing services, including Ayurvedic Thai yoga massage, in which a trained practitioner gently pulls arms and legs and twists torsos and shoulders in an effort to loosen the muscles and release stress. It also hosts yoga- and meditation-centric events and organizes calming retreats to locales such as Leeland Valley.
The Five Seasons Family Sports Club houses tennis courts, a dining area, fitness facilities, swimming pools, and a full-service spa under one roof. Within air-conditioned indoor courts or on outdoor clay courts, racquet slingers compete in friendly bouts to sharpen swings, refine backhands, and showcase grunting abilities. Members can also break a sweat in exercise areas speckled with modern cardio equipment and weights or cool off in an Olympic-sized pool with diving wells and wading areas. Before meeting others for a postgame beverage at the lively café, clients can wander to the spa for a relaxing massage or partake in a sports workshop to gain a firm grasp on game mechanics.
Roughly translated, tae kwon do means "the way of the foot and the fist." With more than 2,000 years of history behind it, the ancient martial art mixes movements of karate and kung fu with Korean kicking techniques. Since 2001, Cincinnati TaeKwonDo Academy has shared this authentic style of tae kwon do with students of all ages—some as young as 4 years old.
Today, the academy divides itself into four age-appropriate programs. The Lil Leaders program, for instance, teaches young kids the basics, focusing on the eight specific skills—including coordination, speed, and structure—that are critical to performing tae kwon do and escaping the time-out corner. On the older end of the spectrum, the Impact Teens and Adult program splices tae kwon do training with functional fitness drills and reality-based self-defense practices.