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.
As a physical therapist, Carrie Moore worked to help patients rehabilitate their musculoskeletal injuries for five years. Throughout her practice, she noticed a troubling trend: a striking number of the dysfunctions were the result of insufficient or nonexistent fitness regimes. From this realization sprung RipQuest Boot Camp, Carrie's four-week offensive against sedentary lifestyles. Along with her staff of physical therapists and trainers, Carrie motivates groups of 20–30 toward lean and toned physiques via muscle confusion. This technique is based on fast-paced, dynamic workouts that target different muscle groups to prevent them from getting too accustomed to certain routines, thus rendering exercise ineffective. Tweaked to accommodate varying fitness levels, the boot camps rally sluggish bloodstreams with cardio, strength-training, speed, and agility exercises using a variety of fitness equipment. Patrons power through lunges to build solid quads, hurl medicine balls to bolster core and arm strength, and jump ropes for a calorie-annihilating burst of cardio. Boot campers should bring a water bottle, yoga mat or towel, jump rope, and hand weights or supportive gnomes that weigh 5 to 10 pounds.
Pieces by local artists, yoga demonstrations looping on a flat-screen TV, and comfy furniture all line the sun-soaked lobby at Bikram Yoga Sugar Land. The waiting area exudes the same soothing vibes students find inside the studio, where teachers lead 90-minute yoga sessions. Each class consists of 26 postures and two breathing exercises, which pupils of all ages and body types enact in a room heated between 105 and 107 degrees. The heat helps bodies stretch during the intensive cardiovascular workout, which burns calories, melts away stress, and increases flexibility.
If that sounds overwhelming, don't fret??the studio hosts beginner's classes several times a day, and supplies helpful info for first timers. Bikram Yoga Sugar Land even offers courses for kids, special-needs children, and babysitting for moms. Once class lets out, students can enjoy one of the studio's relaxing spa treatments, which range from massage therapy to organic facials.
Intense physical training marries relaxing spa services behind the distinctive geometric façade of Lux Fitness Spa. In the fitness arena, the sounds of cardio equipment play against words of encouragement spewed by deft personal trainers, who push clients toward their fitness goals. From helping casual exercisers shed pounds to guiding athletes through marathon running or extended bouts of standing at podiums, the trainers customize each individual fitness plan. They also focus on what goes into the body, enlisting supplements from the onsite store to complement an involved approach to nutrition and meal planning.
The other side of Lux hosts licensed aestheticians and massage therapists who take up the reins to pamper spent bodies. Using top-shelf products by Elemis and Bliss, they customize hydrating and blemish-banishing facials for men, women, and teens, and in the massage room, flush out toxins with special massages.
Karen Mones's passion for fitness began at a young age, exercising to Jane Fonda videos with her mother. She went on to play softball, earn her bachelor's in exercise and sports science, and obtain six instructor certifications in everything from yoga to strength training. She founded Houston Adventure Boot Camp to share her knowledge and passion for fitness with as many people as possible.
She and her trainers create different regimens each day, taking advantage of the city's natural spaces and natural forces to enhance their workouts. They challenge gravity by having students lift their own bodyweight or free weights. Students plow through the heaviest friction the air can throw at them in sprints, and they hold up under constant pressure from the sun to nap in the middle of a field.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the Charleston. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.