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.
Pieces by local artists, yoga demonstrations looping on a flat-screen TV, and comfy furniture all line the sun-soaked lobby at Bikram Yoga Sugar Land. The waiting area exudes the same soothing vibes students find inside the studio, where teachers lead 90-minute yoga sessions. Each class consists of 26 postures and two breathing exercises, which pupils of all ages and body types enact in a room heated between 105 and 107 degrees. The heat helps bodies stretch during the intensive cardiovascular workout, which burns calories, melts away stress, and increases flexibility.
If that sounds overwhelming, don't fret––the studio hosts beginner's classes several times a day, and supplies helpful info for first timers. Bikram Yoga Sugar Land even offers courses for kids, special-needs children, and babysitting for moms. Once class lets out, students can enjoy one of the studio's relaxing spa treatments, which range from massage therapy to organic facials.
Tucked inside the Greatwood Training Center, Performance Pilates is helmed by Cody Robbins and Michelle Haver, both seasoned benders holding certifications from Peak Pilates. Students slowly adapt to the core-strengthening rigors of Pilates in beginners' classes before moving up to challenge themselves in mixed-level mat classes or on equipment such as reformers, cadillac towers, chairs, and barrels. Group classes top out at four participants to ensure individualized attention and even teams for the trivia portion of class, though Performance Pilates also offers private one-on-one sessions for those who desire additional direction in their practice.
The concept behind Reformed Body is simple: two classes, each geared toward tightening and toning the body from head to toe. Choreographer and dancer Rachel Hosea founded the studio where she offers barre classes, which combines Pilates, ballet, and yoga.
Set to upbeat music, the “high-energy” barre classes tighten the entire body, but have the most prominent toning effect on the arms, thighs, abs, and glutes. The studio's pure Pilates classes—which are only offered twice weekly—challenge muscles with slow and steady movements. This boosts flexibility, encourages weight loss, and enhances the ability to easily fit into an air duct.
No man is an island, but you can still develop muscles that are hard as rock. The personal trainers at One2One Training Center have helped everyone from professional athletes to body builders get into the best shape of their lives. Anyone who goes through One2One's fitness program—natural athlete or otherwise—must be willing to admit the following: "I can't do it all by myself." With a dedicated staff of trainers so close at hand, that's not such a bad thing. Trainers work with individual clients to develop realistic fitness goals, then follow through with the help of advanced exercise equipment at one of three local facilities.
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.