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.
Amid the kettlebells and pull-up bars of a 4,200-square-foot facility, you can find a diverse range of athletes, parents, and professionals. In CrossFit Enigma's CrossFit classes, trainers lead students through high-intensity combinations of weight training, gymnastics, and plyometrics while scaling each movement to accommodate every student's fitness level. Rather than focusing on weight loss or muscle gain alone, each workout strives to enhance all domains of physical fitness, including strength, endurance, flexibility, and stamina. The CrossFit program stresses nutrition as the foundation of fitness, guiding students toward diets of vegetables and lean meats in lieu of high-glycemic carbohydrates and plastic scones from children's tea sets.
Stroller Strides puts an athletic twist on parent-child bonding time, as baby-filled strollers are integrated into one-hour cardio and toning classes. The program is the brainchild of Lisa Druxman, a pre- and postnatal-fitness guru who also exclusively writes the "Mompreneur" column in Entrepreneur magazine. In addition to creating the now nationally practiced fitness program, Lisa has also shared her expertise in her book L.E.A.N. Mommy and in award-winning fitness articles.
As their parents take part in a health-centric activity, little ones also benefit from the social aspect of spending time with other children that share a similar interest in hedge-fund investments. Stroller Strides suggests toting babies that are at least six weeks old, but welcomes kids of any age that enjoy carriage-riding to accompany their parent or caregiver.
Trainer and fitness guru Justin Bradshaw modeled SGT. H20's CombatSwim after the rigorous training he received as an Army diver. His challenging exercises encourage full-body fitness, using workouts that build stamina, boost metabolism, improve swimming skills, and promote weight loss. Incorporating the best of land-based cross-training systems, CombatSwim includes plenty of high-intensity interval training and pulse-hiking calisthenics. In the pool, water adds extra resistance that amplifies the effects of the exercises, which include swimming sprints, endurance swimming, and treading water with weights. Designed to sharpen the mind as well as the body, CombatSwim leaves exercisers with the same confidence and conditioning as some of the world's elite military warriors.