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 three types of Zumba routines: traditional fitness, which fuse latin dance and exercise, toning classes that incorporate light free weights, and Gold classes, which modify the routines to make them less intense. With each version, students learn moves that, like rickshas, are easy to follow yet still burn a lot calories.
Within a wood-floored studio jam-packed with exercise balls and resistance machines, certified trainers Amanda Kemp-Grant and Caroline Soul work to create a welcoming atmosphere where students of all shapes and sizes can work toward their goals of losing weight, toning up, or figuring out the location to Joseph Pilates' hidden treasure. The duo combine their wealth of experience—which collectively includes backgrounds in Pilates, yoga, spinning, body building, and a bouquet of other modalities—to craft and helm a selection of dynamic classes that includes mat-based Pilates, machine-based Pilates, indoor cycling, and ballet-inspired barre.
Music floods over the sound system as dancers on their tiptoes grip a ballet barre. A wooden floor supports their moves as they stare into a mirror, which reflects their perfectly pointed legs and angelic halos. At Center Stage Studio, owner, founder, and director Temi Woodley captains a team of instructors who lead dance and fitness classes in a noncompetitive atmosphere. Youngsters and adults alike can attend a wide variety of group classes, such as Zumba, hip-hop, two-step, and spiritual praise dancing. The studio also opens its doors for private dance or fitness lessons and birthday parties.
Soothed sighs and breathless chatter fill Alvin Health & Wellness Center, attesting to spa services and heart-pumping fitness classes. Stones for back massage soak up warmth as aromatherapy oils fill the air, and massage artists pack together algae mud wraps. The staff also leads cardio-kickboxing and fitness-boot-camp classes to better bodies as well as minds and self-defense classes that teach pupils to fight off overly aggressive car-wash mascots.
At 27,000 square feet, Gladiators Gym towers above lesser fitness facilities with an impressive weight room stacked with conventional weights and unconventional equipment. Serious skiers and snowboarders can also take advantage of the gym’s downhill simulation equipment—a revolving carpet that creates a platform for ski and snowboard lessons and recreation. Athletes train with the usual gear, but they can also build their strength and endurance with specialty equipment such as battle ropes, TRX suspension gear, two Austin Legdrive machines, and cones for agility drills. Artificial turf lines the floor to recreate outdoor workouts, which include agility drills and power drills such as tire flipping.
The trainers at Natural Talent Martial Arts and Fitness collectively hold more than 45 world titles. Armed with competition experience and years of training, they introduce kids and adults to the core values and principles behind martial arts. Beginning with students as young as 3, they offer kids karate classes that focus on cementing combat techniques while also instilling respect, honor, discipline, and self-respect into each pupil. They train adults in mixed martial arts and fitness kickboxing, and also hold Zumba classes for fitness-minded fighters.