By the age of 30, Stephanie Howard's extreme athleticism had nearly run her body into the ground. She was participating in physically demanding sports, from snow-ski racing and water-ski jumping to 197-mile relay marathons and even playing volleyball while pregnant. Stephanie had severely traumatized her spine in the process, suffering from compressions that landed her in physical therapy, chiropractic sessions, and regular injections at a pain clinic. Everyone told her this could only end one way—with surgery.
Stephanie refused to believe such extreme measures were necessary, and, on a whim, enrolled in a hot yoga school. Not only did her pain begin to subside, but she found herself gaining strength in her back. Hot yoga was the cure she needed. She eventually opened Yoga Hot Spot, starting out teaching 10 classes a week on her own before expanding to three locations with a team of experienced instructors. Each class takes place in a heated studio and explores various techniques including hatha, power vinyasa flow, and giving nicknames to individual beads of sweat.
New Health Centers consists of more than 400 health-care practitioners across the country, each working to alleviate physical discomfort with natural techniques. Doctors work in conjunction with licensed massage therapists to soothe aches, pains, and relieve stress.
Jeff Wood, the founder of Health Fitness Complete, understands the difficulty in achieving exercise and health goals—he lost 125 pounds in 2007. He's taken his personal experience and created a fitness center that offers the best training methods and equipment for its customers. One-on-one training sessions are just that—private, with only the trainer and client present, allowing clients to feel more comfortable without others looking on. And in both personal-training sessions and fitness classes, customers work out with dynamic equipment that exercises myriad body parts and muscle groups. Machines where users sit down may allow the chance to sketch out updates to the Nike swoosh, but rob exercisers the ability to train postural and other muscles. Instead, Health Fitness Complete offers many pieces of equipment that allow clients to work out multiple muscles more effectively.
Methow Valley Sport Trails Association's 120 miles of manicured snow pathways unfurl through a scenic landscape of valleys, forests, and mountains. Adventurers spend three consecutive days carving swathes through the powdered paths, with gently rolling areas for beginners, lengthy climbs for veterans, and loop-the-loops for skiers with rockets strapped to their backs. Coast through the 30-kilometer Methow Community Trail, which traverses the Foster-Twalks Suspension Bridge and bows low to the Methow River. On the machine-groomed tracks of the Mazama Trails, newcomers glide through flat farmlands, and the Sun Mountain Trails have an even mix of easy, intermediate, and difficult runs that all end at the doorstep of a warm hut.
Bear Mountain's picturesque, 350-acre course unfolds alongside the Wenatchee National Forest, and the course’s natural plateaus and elevation gains of 700 feet expose golfers to breathtaking views of Lake Chelan and the surrounding high-desert mountainscape. Built in 2005, the course accommodates golfers of all experience levels with five tee boxes per hole, giving a golf-resistant first-timer a chance to get to know his or her neighborhood’s PGA pro in residence. Your Groupon also includes unlimited range balls and a GPS-equipped golf cart, which will spare you the terror of getting lost and suddenly finding yourself on the Autobahn.
Though founded by a seasoned international climber, Mountain Madness is dedicated to getting amateurs out on the peaks. A squad of guides, adept at both climbing and teaching, lead excursions that include climbs and wilderness treks, all while imparting practical mountaineering skills. This holds true on their specialty North American alpine summit climbs that accommodate the varying paces of beginner and more experienced climbers. At areas such as Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan, groups navigate forests, active glaciers, rugged rock formations, and intersections with broken traffic lights as they advance to the top—either in one day or over a longer camping trip.
Adventure also permeates the rock-climbing courses, and an array of lead-rope-climbing excursions. Both set out to conquer single- and multi-pitch climbs over granite and other rock on routes in Washington Pass, Leavenworth, and beyond. Though the aforementioned trips are available year-round, avalanche-preparedness training and backcountry skiing excursions present different ways to delve into the winter wilderness.