In a story by Patch reporter Elizabeth Janney, owner David Sturman described Elkridge Athletic Club as "a friendly gym," stating that “no matter what your fitness level is or what your shape is, you feel comfortable here." The welcoming environment—together with high-energy classes and cutting-edge equipment—may be why voters named the health club as the best local gym in an Elkridge Patch poll.
Each initiation-fee-free, month-to-month membership includes access to the sauna and hot tub along with unlimited group classes. Guests dance to straightforward moves set to Latin beats in Zumba workouts, and combine cardio and mind-body techniques in Hour of Power classes. Members also receive a complimentary personal-training session to design a customized fitness plan or learn to make a black leather purse that looks just like a kettlebell.
With locations in 24 states, it?s safe to say Fitness 19?s approach to fitness has piqued exercisers? interest. Each gym houses Life Fitness cardio machines and Hammer Strength strength-training equipment, as well as a staff of personal trainers who oversee one-on-one workouts and a group of caretakers and professional ranch hands who wrangle the kids' area. Certain locations also offer group classes such as the senior-oriented Silver Sneakers program.
Kicking, punching and jabbing are typically discouraged, but not at Transformations Fitness for Women. The women?s-only gym?s kickboxing-style workouts give athletes the moves they need to tone physiques and brush up on their fighting maneuvers, no matter their level of experience. The gym?s two locations boast eclectic class schedules, with classes ranging from Zumba dance fitness workouts, which burn calories with sultry Latin moves, to sessions that enhance strength and flexibility through a fusion of yoga and Pilates. While guests work out, they can drop kids off at the gym?s complimentary daycare.
Within each noncompetitive Curves facility, female fitness seekers are invited to move through a 30-minute circuit of hydraulic-resistance machines that are designed to promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. Shunning cumbersome weight stacks, the hydraulic gadgets adapt to each exerciser's body weight and fitness level to complement her individual abilities, subsequently decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. And because traditional lift-and-lower motions tend to create bulky muscles, Curves' machines promote push-and-pull movements to sculpt toned, lean muscles, perfect for crushing unsuspecting grapefruit. Experienced trainers are always nearby to help clients manage their machine maneuvering, and a soundtrack of fun, upbeat music includes cues to let women know when it's time to move on to the next station or break for an air viola solo. Customers who wish to continue their membership after the trial will need to pay an enrollment fee of $49 in addition to the monthly rate.
Okello Dunkley designs his workshops for students who have just bought or are thinking of buying a DLSR camera but are mystified by its myriad gadgets and gizmos. The accessible nature of these classes has helped Dunkley spread them into nearly a dozen locations across the Midwest and east coast, where students as young as 12 learn how to take a digital camera off automatic mode and manually manipulate ISO light sensors and aperture openings. More advanced classes delve into working with difficult light?such as cloudy weather or days when the sun is set on strobe light?and others explore how to navigate computer software for photo manipulation.
Influenced by her upbringing in Sierra Leone—where the food culture emphasizes local, artisanal ingredients shared by neighbors—Jeanette Warne guides small groups of adults, teens, and kids in themed cooking classes geared toward age group. In how to-style classes, budding chefs learn such fundamentals as how to cook with wine, how to prepare classic French dishes, or how to tell the difference between a baguette and a baseball bat. The class lineup also covers specializations, such as pastry-chef techniques and cooking for specific dietary needs. Courses typically yield 3–4 dishes.
Warne also lends her expertise to party planners by catering international-themed feasts that feature passed hors d'oeuvres, Mediterranean dinners, and eclectic four-course buffets. The company maintains environmentalist practices, not only through sourcing ingredients locally, but also by buying biodegradable flatware and minimizing the use of single-use paper airplanes that carry food to diners' plates.