The trainers at God Body Sports Academy use parachutes not as an escape plan but as a tool to challenge clients, tying chutes to clients' waists and creating drag that makes dashes a greater feat of strength. It's just one of the techniques the company uses to push clients past their limit and into greater physical fitness or, one day maybe, past the sound barrier. Their staff of former collegiate and professional athletes design sports-training programs for youth and adult clients that may consist of pulse-pounding workouts held in the gym or outside at a nearby park. In addition, many God Body Sports Academy programs supplement the exercise with nutritional guidance and meal plans.
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.
Dr. Joe McDaniel has tried a little bit of every style of martial arts out there. His career spans more than 50 years, starting in 1961 with a stint as a boxer among the pugilists of Detroit. Since then, his fists and feet have traveled the proverbial globe, helping him earn a sixth-degree black belt in tae kwon do, senior-instructor certification in the Filipino martial art known as kali, and a silver glove in French savate, a form of kickboxing. Today, he uses his immense store of training to guide students of all fitness levels through a variety of martial-arts classes, introducing them to the quick strikes of muay thai, the cerebral strategies of boxing, and rhyming between-kick trash talk of kickboxing.
The year was 1975, and Sam Sann crept alongside his grandmother and sister through the untamed countryside of Cambodia. He and his family were fleeing political insurgents on foot, barely subsisting on snakes and any other sustenance they could find. After four years of wandering, the Sann clan finally made it to Houston, where Sam excelled in cross-country and track. From his post as a staffer at a gym in high school, Sam ascended to personal trainer after graduation and eventually opened Iron Sports Indoor Obstacle Course with the help of his wife, Gabby. Well-known for having a spirit more generous than the secret lovechild of Santa and a fairy godmother, Sam eagerly welcomes up to 60 visitors at a time into his unique two-story obstacle course fitness studio. Exercisers of all skill levels tether themselves to a rope belay system to surmount potholed walls with climbing pegs and then scurry through tunnels at the top of ladders. From ramps for running to monkey bars for swinging, the course offers a unique approach to wellness with fun built in.
The gym also houses traditional cardio and weight machines from Precor and two First Degree Fitness Fluid Cycles XT, which are akin to a bike for the upper body. Instructors, including American Ninja Warrior veteran Drew Drechsel, have backgrounds in sports medicine and fitness, and incorporate the facility's obstacle course and gym equipment into classes such as a year-round boot camp, Kids Fit sessions, and Zumba.
At Leadership Fit, ISSA-certified personal trainer Eric Banks rules with an encouraging fist. During boot camp and personal-training sessions, he motivates exercisers through an assortment of football, weightlifting, and track and field drills. To complement the workouts, he also offers wellness coaching. In addition to providing a fitness plan, wellness coaching provides a meal plan that shows exercisers how many calories and grams of protein, fat, and carbohydrates they need to eat each day and how many they need to throw at the ice-cream man.
Toned, fit, and highly experienced trainers share their expertise with others at United Cross Training. Amid vibrant graffiti-splashed walls and soft turf floors, the team of certified instructors motivate students to push themselves to their limits in high-intensity cross-training-style workouts, boot-camp classes, and personal-training sessions. They also conduct cardio dance classes, which channel the vivacious steps of salsa, hip-hop, and contemporary styles. To supplement workouts, their nutritional specialists craft meal plans to accommodate varying health levels and restrictive dietary issues, such as high blood pressure and reoccurring nightmares about man-eating arugula.