Barking orders for more than 20 years, The Sergeant's Program's head sergeant Chuck Dyson and his dedicated troop of more than 50 sergeants and personal trainers transform figures with military-style fitness sessions. The program provides a knowledgeable instructor to lead recruits through cardio, core, flexibility, stabilization, and resistance training while creating camaraderie amongst fellow fitness platooners. Though each day is fueled with running drills and calisthenics, Mondays and Fridays will be focused on increasing lower body and flank strength and Tuesdays and Thursdays will be geared toward upper body workouts. Cardio-intensive Wednesdays are solely dedicated to getting the heart pumping, sweat streaming, and reshaping rumps flattened by years in stagecoach-driver seats. Although the sergeants utilize a tough-love approach to push clients to their fullest fitness factor, the atmosphere is kept personable by their injections of light-hearted humor and giggling quartets of chipmunks.
Since 1956, Valley Mill Kayak School has trained countless kayakers, including the first kayaking recipients of Olympic medals, on the deep waters of the Potomac River. A former Olympian and four-time freestyle-kayaking world champion, Eric Jackson personally designs the school's lesson plans around modern whitewater-paddling techniques. Eric trains each of the school's American Canoe Association–certified instructors, who, in turn, dispense their knowledge to beginners and proficient paddlers alike.
Through a wealth of small classes, private lessons, and occasional clinics taught by Eric himself, pupils discover such skills as paddling and basic strokes, or attempting to work your kayak into rhythmic-gymnastics routines.
Chef and wine connoisseur Nafi livens up gatherings with catered food, wine tastings, and other culinary services. Party guests feast on spreads of cupcakes or dishes that can be chosen according to theme such as regional cuisine from Paris or the Middle East. Customized wine tastings cater to all palates and levels of wine experience, and Nafi provides everything necessary for themed tastings or guided pairings with cheese or chocolate, with the guests' budget and tastes taken into account. Nafi also leads hands-on cooking classes in a variety of cuisines that meet in three-session intervals.
CEO Peter Harvey believes that a quality gym staff must demonstrate more than technical expertise. "Service doesn't only mean showing someone how to do an arm curl," he says. Certified personal trainers develop workouts that zero in on each person’s specific goals, giving clients the skills to pole-vault over impassable plateaus. By steadfastly refusing to hand out fish in favor of putting on master classes in fishing, they help clients become self-sufficient, educating them on fundamentals.
During these one-on-one sessions, and in solo workouts, guests set calories ablaze atop rows of continually updated equipment. Treadmills, recumbent bikes, and strength-training tools line the walls.
Members can also drop in for as many group classes as they can muster. Inside a separate studio, stationary cycles whir in time with galvanizing music, kickboxing strikes arc through the air, and barbells rise with each BodyPump rep. For more meditative practices, Pilates sessions and several types of yoga enhance flexibility and focus.