Located within the Robert E. Loup Jewish Community Center, JCC Sports & Fitness welcomes people of all religions, ethnicities, genders, and walks of life. Inside, members audition new sweatbands atop Precor, Cybex, StairMaster, and other cardio machines, or head to the weight room to test their strength by arm-wrestling equipment by Cybex and FreeMotion. Between the spinning, heated yoga, and group exercise studios, instructors teach more than 100 group classes each week, but personal trainers are also available for one-on-one or small-group training.
Parents on their way to the full-size gymnasium or indoor or outdoor pools can drop their kids off at the childcare center, or suit up alongside them to wade in the kiddie pool. Steam rooms and whirlpools help men and women relax and shed stress after a long day of work, and men can also head into a traditional shvitz, or steam bath.
Diving for more than 30 years, Ron Busch—PADI master instructor and owner of Coral Key Scuba & Travel Center—first decided to share his passion for underwater exploration in 1995 by building a facility that catered to all facets of scuba and snorkeling. Since its construction, the center has been recognized as a PADI five-star training center that offers scuba and snorkeling classes, professional gear, and diving trips to far-off locales such as Isla Mujeres. An avid traveler, Busch entrusts day-to-day duties to the center's manager, a PADI master scuba diver and trainer, Randy Partch, who teaches 22 different diving specialties and boasts certification to repair and service many different brands of scuba equipment and one kind of Xerox machine. Factory-trained technicians populate the center's repair shop, mending, maintaining, and returning equipment back to owners with an average one-week turnaround.
Navy Special Operators are recognized as some of the world's most feared warriors. Run using the same aquatic training program that tests the mettle of real-life divers and explosives techs, Hellbender's Amphibious Bootcamp sends exercisers plunging in and out of the water as they blast through a blend of calisthenics and aquatic exercises. A diverse collection of former sailors, soldiers, and firefighters lead the classes, shouting encouragement as as students switch from pushups and pull-ups to freestyle, breaststroke, and sprint swims. Movable obstacles including sandbags, weights, and decommissioned bathyspheres also wait beneath the depths, challenging endurance as they bulk up screaming muscles. Classes welcome all fitness levels, but exercisers should be able to tread water, swim at least 25 yards without stopping, and arrive with their own goggles and swimsuit.
PlanetSwim founder and owner Stephan's life is a timeline of aquatic achievements, containing awards that he won as a competitive swimmer as well as several teaching titles—lifeguard trainer and Red Cross–certified swim instructor among them. At PlanetSwim, Stephan holds his staff to similar standards. Each teacher has a minimum of five years of swim-instruction experience and has also been Red Cross–certified. Together, the team channels its knack for tutelage into swim lessons for children and adults of all ages in indoor, heated pools, including the one in Louisville, which is filled with warm water to encourage students to get in.
PlanetSwim's philosophy centers around personal attention, an element that demands small class sizes and a supportive atmosphere. Whether they are leading a 10-minute lesson for a water-shy toddler or an intermediate course on different strokes, the instructors monitor their pupils closely to ensure both comfort and development of technique.
The city lights of Denver twinkle in the distance from Mount Vernon Country Club, a 90-year-old private club that is not only proud of its picturesque views from atop Lookout Mountain—which also include the Genesee Mountain and the snowcapped Rocky Mountains—but of the activities it affords both members and guests. Making membership even more affordable due to their lack of a golf course on the grounds, Mount Vernon Country Club is not just your average country club. Members are welcome to enjoy the main dining room and Fireside Lounge’s menus of savory steaks and seasoned seafood dishes, or to dig into the weekly king-crab buffet and weekend brunch. On Friday and Saturday nights, the Fireside Lounge keeps diners entertained with live music, which has included past jazz performances by Kenny Barron, Billy Higgins, and the Fort Apache Band.
Along with a bounty of savory cuisine, Mount Vernon Country Club also offers a variety of indoor and outdoor activities. Members can splash around the club’s 25-yard outdoor pool—complete with tube slide and poolside restaurant—or swing rackets day or night at three clay and three hard-court tennis courts. Though the club's original golf course was converted into a water resource and lost-ball orphanage decades ago, members can still swing and putt amid the manicured greens at Evergreen and Raccoon Creek golf courses for a discounted rate.
To keep Mount Vernon Country Club in tip-top shape, the club has undergone remodeling and updating through the years, which has included the addition of banquet halls and an exercise facility. The curvy bar and contemporary chandeliers give the almost-century-old establishment a modern feel, while the grand wood- and stonework still exude the club’s authentic, rustic-cabin charm.