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.
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.
With Awakened Yoga's diverse selection of body-bending classes, yogis of all abilities can strengthen their bodies, ease their minds, and nurture their spirits. The schedule offers multiple classes each day that vary in style. Yoga 101 helps beginners build the foundation for their practice, and the sweat-inducing cardio and core class offers an effective workout that emphasizes toning the abs, back, and hips. Some classes, such as the rigorous Vinyasa flow, are heated to 85 degrees and warm muscles into pliable, fibrous putty, making them easier to twist and pull into various animal shapes at birthday parties.
Fred Astaire Dance Studio's retinue of step-savvy instructors transforms clunky feet into sashaying instruments through a quartet of private and group dance classes. During the 45-minute private lessons, students and their optional partners learn basic footwork while building the confidence necessary to take a spin on the dance floor or backflip into a corporate rival's cubicle. Covering the basics of Latin, ballroom, swing, and country-western dancing, individual lessons cater to a student’s specific needs before letting them loose during the 45-minute group classes. Accompanied by 8–30 other amateur rug cutters, these communal dance lessons bolster partnership, timing, and rhythm, and keep feet agile enough to maneuver the punch-bowl stampedes of modern dance floors.
Sugar Land Gymnastics & Dance's expansive space is a patchwork of tumbling mats, balance beams, uneven bars, and other equipment. It's amidst this colorful collage that kids lay a foundation for lifelong fitness and future sports such as basketball, or basketball with backflips. Students are guided by a knowledgeable team of instructors headed by Executive Director Bryan Kiser, who has more than 25 years of experience with the Men's Junior Olympic gymnastics program, and Mei, the women's coach, whose more than three decades of gymnastics experience includes time as a competitor with the Chinese national gymnastics team. The staff splits kids up by age and skill level for recreational gymnastics, and those who decide to pursue their flips and tumbles more seriously can transition into Sugar Land Gymnastics & Dance's competitive program.
In addition to gymnastics, the staff teaches karate, dance, and cheerleading lessons. Seasoned instructor Bonita Jennings builds coordination and grace, transforming the pitter-patter of little feet into the structured patterns of dance styles such as tap, jazz, ballet, and hip-hop. When classes aren't in session, Sugar Land Gymnastics & Dance hosts birthday parties with activities such as rock-wall climbing and ziplining.