At each of its 31 area locations, the YMCA of Greater Houston pursues a mission to bring health, wellness, and personal growth to communities. Kids leap into activities ranging from swim lessons and youth sports to a teen Youth & Government program that stirs up confidence and leadership abilities in students, preparing them for mudslinging student-council campaigns.
Zumba, ballroom dance, and Les Mills group exercise classes shake up adult workout routines, as complimentary childcare frees up parents to pursue fitness goals. Meanwhile, adult sport leagues such as basketball and racquetball result in friendly competition and hyper-literate team names inspired by obscure philosophers.
Tell us about your business.
Marie Christine's Dance and Fitness was founded as a way to help women 18 and older to meet their wellness and fitness goals. Our founder, Kristen Hall, is certified in the PrimaBarre and Booty Barre workout methods which will create a lean, toned, and sculpted physique.
Exercise is challenging, and people frequently give up on their fitness routines. How do you keep clients motivated?
Our workouts are challenging, but we strive to create and upbeat environment that is filled with plenty of encouraging words. We also pull a lot of positive focus into each class to help our clients visualize meeting their goals and creating the body they've always wanted. We provide modifications for those who feel that they are not yet ready for some of our more challenging routines. We change our workout routines weekly in order to keep our class fresh and exciting, and we also assist our clients by being available for any questions before and after class.
Do you run your gym according to a particular exercise philosophy?
We believe that the workout environment should be free of any judgment. Clients of all shapes, sizes, and fitness levels are encouraged to join our class.
What is a typical session of your program or class like for a student?
A typical class lasts between 50-60 minutes in length. We begin with a warm-up, followed by several routines that sculpt the arms, legs, glutes, and abdominals. We stretch between each workout segment and utilize light hand weights, exercise bands, and medicine balls. Each workout is done using the Ballet barre or Pilates mat. At the end of each class you will have worked out from head to toe.
Equipment: Ballet barre. Resistance bands are available for purchase.
Students should bring: Pilates mat, small hand towel, and water.
Average class length: 30–60 minutes
Number of staff: 1–5
Class location: Indoors only
Registration required: Yes
Good for beginners: Yes
Guests allowed: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
The reformer Pilates instructors at Pilates Powerhouse whip bodies into tip-top shape with three one-hour reformer Pilates classes (a $35 value each). The core-strengthening sessions, which accommodate humans of all body types and abilities, employ resistance equipment to build sleek, toned muscles and increase flexibility, coordination, and the endurance necessary to mambo backward in roller skates. Intimate three-person classes allow vigilant instructors to ensure trainees stay in proper form and don't cheat on mandatory astrophysics exams, and an emphasis on proper breathing de-stresses frazzled pupils.
After punching the clock at their corporate jobs every day without giving it so much as a black eye, Heather Prenatt and John Prenatt decided to let go of their frustrations and pursue their true passion: fitness. During the one-hour CrossFit sessions at CrossFit Friendswood, the duo leads students in a total-body regimen that may have them swing from gymnastic rings, hop on and off plyometric boxes, and raise chins high on pull-up bars. While adults perform the varied routine, tots can play Xbox and Wii in the kids’ room.
During good weather, they sometimes take the training out to the parking lot to push, pull, and heave weights under open skies. The functional movements of CrossFit's ever-changing exercises make everyday actions easier and safer, such as climbing stairs or launching the kids to school using only one arm. The program also helps increase lean body mass and burn calories even after the workout. Because the system was designed for everyone, Heather and John have CrossFit Kids sessions as well, which incorporate all the same elements, just scaled down to meet the abilities and fitness levels of children and teenagers.
It seems there's something for everyone beneath the high ceilings of the Friendswood Fitness facility. Different sections of the floor are painted with track markings, yard lines, and basketball-court delineations. Weight machines challenge muscles, as do stationary bikes when people try to carry them onto the treadmills. Workout gear such as free weights and fitness ropes abounds. Varied class options include yoga, Zumba, and interval training, and personal trainers customize one-on-one workouts.
Trainer and fitness guru Justin Bradshaw modeled Sgt H20's Combat Swim after the rigorous training he received as an Army diver. Each aquatic session tests fitness practitioners of all ability levels with moves designed to maximize lung capacity, boost swimming speed, and tone the entire body. Water adds extra resistance that amplifies the effects of exercise, and the pool’s gentle gravity proves easy on the joints. Exercisers tackle tasks such as pool sprints, towel swims, treading water with weights, bending submarines over one’s knee, and group exercise drills, as well as aquatic conditioning kicks. In Dallas, Sgt H20's personal training programs entitle trainees to attend complimentary boot-camp classes if they complete three hours of personal training per week. An online depository of nutritional advice helps students keep their weight-loss or healthy-living efforts on track.