The Estes Park lodges are surrounded on three sides by the dramatic wilderness of the Rocky Mountain National Park. In addition to enjoying the YMCA’s many amenities, guests are within hiking distance of one of the continental U.S.’s most scenic outdoor refuges. Each room in the cozy Longs Peak, Emerald Mountain, and Rams Horn lodges sleeps up to five guests in two queen beds and a floor futon, and once you and your brood check in, you’re free to explore the abundant activities available at the more-than-100-year-old establishment. During warmer months, shoot a round of mini golf or challenge a child to a one-on-one basketball or volleyball throwdown (indoor courts are available fall through spring). In the winter, outdoor ice skating and guided snowshoe activities are offered for fans of the frigid winterscape. Lower-key visitors or those with a screaming need for x-treme learning can wander into the fully stocked library or historical museum.
Orchards Athletic Club packs skilled personal trainers, dozens of weekly fitness classes, racquetball courts, a heated swimming pool, and a steam room into its modern 30,000-square-foot space. Fitness seekers can mold svelte physiques with group classes including Zumba, spinning, aerobics, and BodyFlow sessions, which meld Pilates, yoga, and tai chi. Dive into the 25-meter four-lane lap pool, heated to a soothing 84–86 degrees, for a solo swim, or partake in a joint-friendly strength- and endurance-building AquaPower class along with buoyant peers. During the two personal-training sessions, experienced trainers shower clients with personal attention and help them to reach fitness goals, from losing weight to digging up the treadmill buried under the backyard deck. Orchards Athletic Club conveniently keeps its doors unlocked seven days a week.
For many, maintaining a healthy fitness regimen is an off-putting chore on par with cleaning the garage or assembling that backyard roller coaster for the kids. The folks behind Snap Fitness, who now boast locations all over the world, are of the opinion that this doesn't have to be the case. They believe 24-hour access to premium cardio and strength-training equipment, innovative easyFIT monitors to track personal progress, and perpetual guidance from certified professionals can help transform physical fitness into an accessible activity that yields measurable and tangible results. In addition to providing online workout rubrics and meal plans, they work to keep sweat glands up and running by offering work out rewards programs, making regular check-in calls, and measuring bodies—sans padded muscle suits—every 30 days.
Members at Curves, a fitness center designed exclusively for women, rotate around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines designed to work with female bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help to manage participants’ machine maneuvering and muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing momentum, the hydraulic machines use participants' own body weight, fitness level, and aerodynamic water bottles to create resistance that matches abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can. Between each weight station lies a recovery board where ladies cool down while walking, jogging, or running in place to keep up momentum. With each workout warrior at a different station, the only competition that exists is with one's own burgeoning muscles.
Great minds think alike, and this was definitely true for Kyle Baxter—a professional tree climber—and Bridget Baxter—an accomplished high-school and college cross-country and track runner. Each certified instructor owned or worked at a local Bikram studio, but it wasn’t until they met at a Bikram yoga convention in 2006 that they discovered each other. Now the married couple oversees two Bikram yoga locations, which offer classes for students of any level seven days a week. Each studio is kept at a toasty 105 degrees, and sessions are led by a certified Bikram instructor who guides patrons through muscle-building and stretching poses that promote healthy, lean bodies. A large towel, yoga mat, and water bottle are recommended for each class, so the studios offer rental towels and mats for those whose dog ate their yoga mat along with their homework.
Sunlight streams through the floor-to-ceiling windows at The Zone Health and Fitness, illuminating rows of free weights, whirring cardio machines, and enthusiastic certified personal trainers and nutritional consultants. Owner Greg Bobby helms the crack staff and uses his degrees in sports medicine and exercise physiology to carefully craft fitness routines aimed at stepping up metabolism through resistance training, cardio workouts, nutritional guidance, and vitamin supplements. Guests and members can partake of myriad group fitness classes such as yoga, spinning, and kickboxing, or devise their own workout regimes with the bountiful free weights and machines at their disposal.