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.
The first time Lisa Leonard took a Zumba class, it was the fastest hour of her life. She?d had a blast, and it inspired her to become a certified instructor. In her classes, she leads two types of Zumba routines: traditional fitness, which fuses latin dance and exercise, and toning classes that incorporate light free weights. With each version, students learn moves that, like rickshas, are easy to follow yet still burn a lot calories.
Kara's Pole Studio is anything but exclusive. Owner Kara Davis makes a point to welcome every adult—no matter their age, size, or gender—to engage in high-flying, liberating exercises. Though spouses and significant others can't attend the same classes as their mates, Kara welcomes all to experience her pole-conditioning, chair-dance, and cardio-burlesque courses. As an extra treat for her students, Kara also hosts special guests, which have previously included industry celebs such as regional pole-dance champions and Miss Pole Dance Australia 2012.