When Brian Cain joined the Marine Corps in 1997, he could barely finish the initial fitness test: a 1.5-mile timed run, two minutes of pull-ups, and two minutes of sit-ups. But as he trained, he gained endurance and strength, until eventually, he became the one leading daily workouts—even while putting himself through extra training in the evening. When he returned to civilian life, he kept challenging himself with marathons and Ironman triathlons and helped his friends and family members shape up. In December 2011, Brian founded Evolve Athletics to, as he puts it, "turn my passion into a business." During his boot camps, he challenges people of every fitness level with pushups, sprinting, plyometric jumps, and other exercises, which he mixes up each day. Though he acknowledges that the workouts are "pretty high intensity," he tries to meet each camper where they're at and push them from there. He modifies exercises for beginners, and challenges fitness veterans by adding resistance using Neoprene sacks filled with sand. But Brian sees his boot camps as more than just a one-off fitness class. He views the human body as the quintessential piece of workout equipment. "I want people to understand that you don't need a treadmill or elliptical to get your cardio, and you don't need a weight machine with 16 different stations to do your strength training," he says. None of his workouts require a gym membership to duplicate, so students can easily reproduce them at home or on commuter trains. Brian says his campers have seen their overall health and fitness improve, not only through the exercises, but also with the nutrition advice and help from the online food logs they have access to. One of his students dropped more than 20 pounds during a three-month weight-loss competition he hosted. "She was your typical 47-year-old mother with a couple of kids, really didn't have time for herself," he says. "But she was there every morning at 5 a.m. and just did what she needed to do." For Brian, seeing that change is his reward. "It's taking somebody who hasn't done anything fitness-related in maybe years, and then starting from the bottom floor and seeing them progress," he says. "That's why I do it."
At K2 Academy of Kids Sports, kids scurry around a 6,500-square-foot space filled with trampolines, balance beams, and rope swings spread beneath an overhead zipline. Accompanied by parents or legal-guardians, children can roam free across the indoor terrain during open-play hours or join gymnastics, cheerleading, and tumbling classes, in which instructors tailor lesson plans to each age group with an emphasis on fun, collaborative learning. Gymnastics sessions encompass everything from basic rolls to intricate dance routines, whereas cheerleading skills progress from simple tumbles to the ultimate inspirational challenge?making Eeyore indifferent. Tumbling pupils master cartwheels before tackling cardio training and jumps, further honing their skills in workshops and clinics designed as intensive studies of each activity.
During the off-season, day camps and summer camps keep teensy feet distracted from toppling store-window displays of fragile "Kick Me" signs. Year-round, the S.O.A.R. program tweaks the traditional gamut of classes for athletes with special needs. Using the Mother Goose Time curriculum, K2's preschool focuses on hands-on learning activities that aim to prepare children for kindergarten academically and socially.
The Rumfolo family's blood seems to have mixed with oil somewhere in the past. It probably happened in the 1950s, when Walter Rumfolo founded the first incarnation of The Showboat Drive-in—a restaurant where his children worked throughout their teenage years. His children must have carried it with them, because today his grandchildren, Johnny and Chris, operate a drive-in movie theater by the same name. They've preserved the original venue's neighborly vibe and kept the family’s blood intertwined with car engines by employing Johnny's sons to sell tickets and run the projector. Today, the small-town ambiance has a much larger area to cover, and each of the theater's two jumbo screens steps up to the task by accommodating 400 cars full of spectators.
Guests park at dusk for a night at the movies—a full night, with double features painting the sky silver for hours. Audiences access the films' sound through their FM radios so that they don’t have to swipe a copy of the script and have their children read the parts. Together, families and dates can sit on lawn chairs, blankets, or inside the car as they lose themselves in the plot and munch concessions that range from burgers to candy and popcorn. The staff caters to viewers at any point during the films or intermission, providing a playground for restless youngsters and jumping cars if their batteries fizzle.
Paul Bellow Jr. knows crawfish. For the past 32 years, the seasoned chef has been perfecting crawfish-cooking styles at his own restaurants, developing his recipe's signature blend of flavor and spice. To gauge the tastes of his diners, every year during crawfish season, Paul drives his trailer across town to conduct crawfish and shrimp boils for various special events.
At Cypress Station Grill—his latest restaurant conception—Paul pours the lessons of years of cooking into a menu of Cajun and American specialties. Live shipments of the plump crustaceans arrive at the kitchen during crawfish season, which Paul and his kitchen staff simmer and serve by the pound. As pots bubble with crawfish and shrimp, the kitchen crew grills thick steaks, fries seafood dishes, and weaves toupees out of hearty pastas. Behind the bar, mixters and mixtesses dole out colorful specialty cocktails, beer, and wine.
Housed in the historic Cypress Station building, the restaurant's towering ceilings and hardwood rafters still retain the grandeur of the former bustling railway hub. Hanging lanterns beam down on rows of wooden tabletops, and a towering outdoor brick fireplace crackles amid the two expansive outdoor patios. A separate game room keeps youngsters occupied, giving parents breaks from their kids' ceaseless rants about tax reform.
The 12 full-size and three mini courts at Huber Tennis Ranch provide an immersive environment in which tennis players can practice strokes, perfect footwork, and improve fitness through classes and open-play times. Head instructor Tony Huber leads a teaching staff certified by the Professional Tennis Registry who instruct both adults and juniors on all aspects of the game, from serves and volleys to congratulating a vanquished ball machine on a valiant effort.
Adults participate in several class styles including programs for beginners or cardio tennis, which combines cardiovascular exercise with high-intensity repetition of on-court mechanics. Juniors can rise through a number of ranks based on age and ability, ranging from introductory classes for beginners to classes that train youngsters for high-level competition. While practicing their strokes, players draw inspiration from Tony's wife, Liezel, among the top-ranked professional women's doubles players in the world and Grand Slam champion of the Australian, French, and U.S. Opens as well as Wimbledon. Huber Tennis Ranch keeps a busy schedule of classes and drills; check the calendar for upcoming times.
North Cypress Family Practice & Laser Center?s resident physician Dr. Amrit Thandi has experienced the evolution of lasers over the past decade by serving as a Luminary Advisor for Alma Lasers Inc.?the brand she still relies on to tighten slack skin, remove hair, and rejuvenate damaged complexions. The technology helps her maintain a practice that avoids invasive procedures, although she can perform minor surgeries at her office or refer patients to other specialists within the North Cypress Medical Center.
A graduate of Dayanand Medical College in Punjab, India, Dr. Thandi completed her residency in family practice at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Today, she practices general medicine and performs cosmetic enhancements with equal care aided by an aesthetician and a medical assistant. Dr. Thandi meets with each of her patients and has a hand in every procedure, from cosmetic injections to preventative care exams. The two aspects of the practice seem to balance out. Gentle body-sculpting treatments can be incorporated into a weight management regime, and up-to-date medical acuity can address dermatological concerns such as psoriasis or an embarrassing tattoo of the Pythagorean theorem.