At Sound Fitness, one can almost hear the calories sizzle. Ample rows of bikes, ellipticals, and other cardio equipment let guests build strong, healthy hearts without feeling pressured to give up their machines to other guests or movie cops needing to commandeer treadmills. To propel exercisers toward their goals, certified personal trainers plot custom workout plans and demonstrate how to build specific muscle groups with the free weights and strength-training machines. Babysitters corral pintsize visitors while their parents jog and pedal, and shower-lined locker rooms keep watch over clothes and gym bags to make sure they don't wander home.
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 body disciplinarians at Grupo Cafu Capoeira instruct both beginning and experienced pupils in the traditional Brazilian martial art of capoeira, and its svelte mixed-martial-arts arm, Jaguar MMA, instructs in a hybrid styling of various martial-arts methods. Capoeira fuses music, dance, acrobatics, and combat in a fluid mélange that, like holidays with the in-laws, deftly mixes fun with reflexive defense moves. The practice helps to develop strength, grace, and physical confidence, in sessions that last 45 minutes to an hour. Capoeira is complemented by a swift gear change to mixed martial arts, a full-contact fighting system emphasizing adaptability and quick reaction to threats. Martial artists spend five to 10 minutes kindling cool muscle sticks, then 25 to 30 minutes absorbing methods and moves. Sessions in each discipline take place five days a week, mostly in evening; see the separate capoeira schedule and mixed martial arts schedule for full listings.
At Snap Fitness, members can stomp the exercise bug at any time—24 hours a day, seven days a week. Inside the all-hours gym, cardio equipment, free weights, and Cybex plate-loaded machinery inspire more sweat than a lie-detector machine installed at the rim of an active volcano. During staffed hours, members can tap into the professional expertise of personal trainers or find inspiration in numbers during small-group boot-camp classes. Snap Fitness’s online contacts can help its members to uncover nutrition plans and training ideas as well.
The reformer Pilates instructors at Pilates Powerhouse whip bodies into tip-top shape with three one-hour reformer Pilates classes (a $35 value each). The core-strengthening sessions, which accommodate humans of all body types and abilities, employ resistance equipment to build sleek, toned muscles and increase flexibility, coordination, and the endurance necessary to mambo backward in roller skates. Intimate three-person classes allow vigilant instructors to ensure trainees stay in proper form and don't cheat on mandatory astrophysics exams, and an emphasis on proper breathing de-stresses frazzled pupils.
Two private personal-training sessions pair gym goers with a certified trainer, who whips up fitness plans to help folks along their sweat-filled journey toward wellness. To build endurance and achieve a solid core, enjoy unlimited boot-camp sessions, which shake up old routines in a motivational setting. Finally, a body analysis gives the health-minded an idea of how their body's doing, and whether or not it's compatible with the future.