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.
Chris Green's passion for basketball has led him from the courts of his high school to the major arenas where he played with the ABA West All-Star Team. Though he was bestowed with many awards and accomplishments throughout his career, Green realized that his life's calling was not with basketball, but with helping people improve their lives through fitness. Eager to use his athletic talents to make a difference, he graduated with a degree in kinesiology and became certified in personal training through the International Sports and Science Association.
Today, Green combines the athletic prowess he cultivated on the basketball court with a positive, yet intense style of training during six-week boot camp programs, personal training sessions, and motivational coaching sessions. Dedicated to propelling students towards their fitness goals?whether those goals include losing weight, toning muscle, or squeezing into child-sized giraffe costumes?he supplements training sessions with regular motivational videos. Green also conducts regular self-improvement seminars on nutrition and body image.
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.
Stroller Strides puts an athletic twist on parent-child bonding time, as baby-filled strollers are integrated into one-hour cardio and toning classes. The program is the brainchild of Lisa Druxman, a pre- and postnatal-fitness guru who also exclusively writes the "Mompreneur" column in Entrepreneur magazine. In addition to creating the now nationally practiced fitness program, Lisa has also shared her expertise in her book L.E.A.N. Mommy and in award-winning fitness articles.
As their parents take part in a health-centric activity, little ones also benefit from the social aspect of spending time with other children that share a similar interest in hedge-fund investments. Stroller Strides suggests toting babies that are at least six weeks old, but welcomes kids of any age that enjoy carriage-riding to accompany their parent or caregiver.
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.