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.
Whether leading an individual, pair, or group, Evolutionary Fitness’s trainers add muscle to their workouts with StrengthFlo. Created by Josh Parish, winner of Living magazine's Best Personal Trainer of 2013 award, StrengthFlo is a medley of functioning training techniques meeting each exerciser where they’re at, so anyone can take on its sequences of repetitive movements. It not only strengthens and lengthens the whole body, but also bolsters connective tissues, which can mean quicker recovery from injuries. A trip to floCamp doesn’t just burn calories; it also decompresses the spine as cores strengthen.
There are no treadmills at Kaia F.I.T. Katy. In their place, members find certified coaches, nutritional counseling, and exercise regimens that focus on strength, coordination, speed, and balance. The full-body workouts change with each class session, incorporating an approach called muscle confusion that keeps participants from getting bored and muscles from remembering their times tables. Even outside of classes, supportive coaches help clients reach their goals, providing nutritional counseling in addition to setting a foundation for camaraderie.
The instructors at Elite Krav Maga and Kickboxing teach a blend of advanced fitness techniques and offer practical advice, whether in the realm of combat, exercise, or health. They help pupils tone their bodies by pounding away on heavy bags while intermittently switching to endurance exercises. They also employ strength and endurance during krav maga classes, which focus on a suite of practical self-defense moves used to fend off attackers armed with fists, knives, or guns. Individuals can opt to take group classes or receive one-on-one training within the 3,900 square-foot facility.
After playing football at the collegiate and professional levels, Chris White earned his ACSM certification as a health-and-fitness specialist. He puts this experience to use at Fit With C.H.R.I.S., where?along with his fellow trainers?he helps clients shed pounds and lead healthier lives. Some of Chris's fitness services include personal training, group boot camps, and custom meal plans.
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."