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.
Soothed sighs and breathless chatter fill Alvin Health & Wellness Center, attesting to spa services and heart-pumping fitness classes. Stones for back massage soak up warmth as aromatherapy oils fill the air, and massage artists pack together algae mud wraps. The staff also leads cardio-kickboxing and fitness-boot-camp classes to better bodies as well as minds and self-defense classes that teach pupils to fight off overly aggressive car-wash mascots.
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.
The Texas Yoga Association is a non-profit organization that exists to unite the yoga community in preventing the Texas Workforce Commission's regulation of yoga (see the association’s FAQ page for more information). With today’s deal, beginning yogis or long-time enthusiasts can select a convenient studio location and register for five classes to be taken over the course of one month. Available yoga styles vary from location to location, but include vinyasa, hatha, prenatal, yin yang, and pralaya yoga, as well as zumba classes and reverse moonwalking.
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.