Hosted across the city from NASA’s Mission Control Center, Space City Con invites fans from Houston and beyond to meet their idols from sci-fi and fantasy movies, films, and print media. Celebrities from beloved franchises drop by to dole out autographs and photo opportunities, in addition to with comic-, anime-, and literature-industry artists and writers. The convention halls rattle with sound of polyhedral dice during ongoing tabletop gaming events, along with the bellows of LARPing elves as they fall from a perfectly executed lightning-bolt spell. Visitors can pay homage to their heroes at fan-film screenings and the yearly Masquerade costume, in which they can show off fandom-inspired cosplay get-ups or purely coincidental Stormtrooper armor.
At Soundbox Studios, the human body is the preferred artistic medium. Owners and brothers Andrew and Duy Nguyen, along with Calvin Eata, have created an encouraging space that supports the Houston dance community. Skilled instructors oversee hip-hop classes for all levels, teaching basic moves and rhythm patterns that students will later modify and make their own as they progress through the curriculum. The Soundbox also sports their own sharply dressed crop of performance teams, including The Lady Rascals, Riot Squad, and Lunchbox, a preadolescent crew capable of breakdancing their ABCs.
What inspired you to open a group fitness studio?
As instructor who worked in a gym for several years, I encountered many people who maintained their membership strictly to attend one or two group classes. Thus, they were paying for equipment and programs that they did not utilize. Consequently, I saw a need for a studio that would offer people such as that—as well as the many that do not like the large gym setting—a place to take great fitness classes at a much lesser cost and more intimate environment.
Have you seen any of your students or gym members undergo an inspiring transformation? If so, tell us about it.
From a physical standpoint I have definitely seen weight decrease and strength increase in many clients. But a notable transformation I have witnessed is actually a more mental one. A specific client shared that attending GroupFit classes has "brought a new light into her life." She shared that she feels more confident and is more willing to socialize in groups. And weight was not the issue at all. In fact, she was possibly underweight when starting classes. But, as her physical strength grew, so did her self-confidence. Her husband also attends classes and she has noted that being able to go to classes together has brought new light to the family as a whole. Thus, the "family" feeling of GroupFit is also a positive element of the studio.
Certifications: ACE Personal Trainer, Zumba (Toning, Gold, and Zumbatomic), R.I.P.P.E.D., Piloxing, Pilates (Reformer and mat), PIYO, TRX Suspension Training
Favorite Workout: Currently, Piloxing
Favorite Athletic Shoe: Asics
Philosophy: In order to change your body, you have to change your workout.
When Joan Barnes founded Gymboree Play & Music in 1976, she envisioned a facility where parents and children could play together in a safe and age-appropriate environment. In the following decades, Gymboree Play & Music spread to more than 30 countries across the globe, helping youngsters from infants to 5 years old develop cognitive, physical, and social skills. The company's instructors lead classes such as Play & Learn, its flagship course, in which parents and kids move through a seven-level program filled with storytelling, play activities, and debates on the merits of sandwich crust. Talented staffers also prep youngsters for school and foster development in areas such as music, art, and sports. Throughout all classes, they make use of custom play equipment designed by acclaimed playground designer and seesaw-tamer Jay Beck.
Situated northwest of Houston, the Houston National Golf Club and Strategic National Grass Reserve pocks itself with 27 holes, playable, like Voltron, in three possible combinations. Designed by legendary hole artists Von Hagge, Smelek, Baril, and McConaughey, the rolling green is punctuated by varied hazards and distractions like ponds, sand traps, and virtual gazelles. Both beginners and professionals can find something to challenge their walking and bad-shot-excuse-making skills. Houston National's GPS-equipped carts automatically keep the game's score and track your position in case you get lost amidst the unending flatness.
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.