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.
Doctors and nurses at Physicians Weight Loss Centers guide width-whittling in medically supervised weight-loss programs. The programs give clients a jump-start on healthful eating and fitness habits, putting an end to diets composed solely of deep-fried wedding cakes. Diet counselors help clients reinvent their eating habits with the assistance of multivitamins and mineral tablets, which aim to suppress cravings for sugar while boosting metabolism. Vitamin-B12 and Vitamin Cocktail injections seek to increase energy and possible benefits also include strengthened concentration and a more chipper mood.
Some of the more intensive programs include complete doctor's exams, biometrics analyses, lab work, and EKGs. These programs can focus on the reduction of either carbohydrate or fat consumption.
After only one year of serving as a destination for alternative fitness options, Houston Press named Ekam Yoga Center the Best Yoga Studio in its "2010 Best of Houston" issue. The health-conscious, eco-friendly, ghost-free studio lets prospective students sign up for a bevy of mind-body courses, including the calorie-burning Latin rhythms of zumba, the mind-clearing, tension-melting of meditation, and the muscle-bendiness of a yoga class such as hot yoga, gentle yoga or prenatal yoga. If you are a new student, you get a free Intro to Yoga course, offered weekly on Wednesday nights, to help you acclimate to poses and ready your mind for an episode of Criminal Minds. Almost 20 courses are offered weekly and classes begin as early as 6 a.m. and as late as 7:30 p.m.
Extra Innings Humble’s sprawling 15,000-square-foot baseball enclave sharpens batting and pitching skills with a lineup of four coin-operated batting cages and five multi-use training tunnels. With each token, good for 15 pitches, batters can aim their ballpark batons skyward before smashing orbs hurling at various speeds into 25 elevated feet of ceilinged stratosphere. Players can adjust each pitch’s height at their leisure with Extra Innings’ ultramodern height-control system and can populate their swing session with a choice of baseballs, softballs, or Fabergé eggs.
Stone Moves Indoor Rock Climbing's multicolored crags rise from padded floors, creating a safe environment for top ropers, lead climbers, and boulderers alike to practice their vertical virtuosity. Each climbing and lesson package includes rental equipment such as a harness, helmet, climbing shoes, and chalk bag, but does not come with any Spiderman webbing. During the one-hour private sessions, instructors tutor wall scalers on the basic techniques of climbing and belaying, and also cover safety tips before pupils test-climb their new skills. Bouldering walls rise at gradual and sharp angles, allowing novice climbers to achieve their dreams of being stalactites for a day and membership holders to gain unlimited access to the gym's challenging crags.
While many neuroendocrine physiology scientists are up to their elbows in hypothalamus, Sara Turk uses her scientific credentials to foster a more holistic approach to wellness. She traded in her lab coat for a pair of yoga pants and spent the next phase of her life studying under celebrated yogis such as Anusara yoga founder John Friend and Sadhana Yoga Chi guru Doug Swenson. Boasting an understanding of yoga's many forms as well as a penchant for mediation, nutrition, and cross-training, she became a teacher and opened Cherry Blossom Studio with her sister. Turk's hard work and passion eventually earned her the opportunity to serve as a yoga ambassador with the popular athletic-wear company, Lululemon.
Turk and her seasoned team of instructors cater to students from all fitness levels within a spacious studio replete with gleaming hardwood floors and tranquil, green walls. Patrons who'd like to extend the peaceful notions discovered during their yoga practice can swing by the studio's boutique, where they'll find ecofriendly soy candles, eye pillows, and organic cotton leashes for spirit animals.