Active H-Town

The ultimate guide to Houston's best free fitness classes

Pilates gets a HIP, innovative spin at this Houston studio. Courtesy photo

Originally appeared on CultureMap


If you have commitment issues or FOMO when it comes to finding that perfect place to sweat, burn, tone, and tighten, be sure to check out these hot spots that promise a sweat-inducing workout and deliver results, all while letting you give them a trial run.

Orangetheory Fitness
With 14 studios in Houston and six more set to open this year, this 60-minute high-intensity interval-based workout is equal parts cardio and strength training, incorporating treadmills, rowing machines, and a strength floor with free weights, TRX straps and abdominal equipment. Designed for all fitness levels, clients wear a heart-rate monitor during class striving to keep their heart rates in the target zones throughout the class.

First class: Free

Pricing: Membership and package options range from $7/session for unlimited monthly training to $28 for a drop-in session

SWEAT 1000
SWEAT stands for Specialized Weight Endurance Athletic Training, with 1000 representing the number of calories burned in a groundbreaking full-body one-hour workout. SWEAT 1000 integrates components of interval training, functional training, core stability work, athletic, and agility training into a dynamic, action-packed class that is different every single time. The studio is outfitted with high-end equipment including world-class FreeMotion Incline Trainers, which are capable of an incline up to 30 degrees. The fitness regimen is intense enough for the most extreme fitness enthusiasts with enough variance to cater to beginners.

First class: Free

Pricing: Founders Launch — $200/month unlimited for 1 year, $30/class (single class), $29/class (5-class pack - $145), $27/class (10-class pack - $275), $25/class (20-class pack - $500), $22/class (50-class pack - $1,100).

EaDo Fitness
Offering 30-minute HIIT/ Quick Fit classes utilizing a variety of dumbbells, kettle bells, running, rowing, and more in a typical boot camp style, these workouts are indoors, allowing for year-round classes. EaDo Fitness offers a beginner’s fundamental class, CrossFit classes and also yoga and commits itself to providing a supportive and exciting experience for all members – whether first timers or veterans.

First class: Free

Pricing: $99/month (no contract)

Defy Pilates Studio
These 50-minute fusion reformer classes will, without out a doubt, kick your butt (and get it in shape while doing so)! The skilled and energetic instructors at Defy will lead you through a sweat inducing routine combining elements of both classical and high intensity Pilates. The best part: workout while jamming out to super fun tunes in an intimate environment.

First two classes: Free

Pricing: Varies, single class is $30

O Athletik
This all-encompassing facility offers a wide range of classes including circuit training, weight lifting, agility, yoga, barre, kick-boxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, sand fit, hill fit, kids Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, kids wrestling, kids yoga. Also offered are soccer and volleyball leagues included in the monthly membership fee. 

First class: Free

Pricing: $145/month

9Round includes everything you need: a full-body workout that's fast, effective and fun, personal trainers to help you along the way and expert nutritional guidance that’s based on the latest exercise and nutritional science. Perfect for people seeking a unique and flexible environment, the kickboxing themed fitness program incorporates functional, interval, cardiovascular, and circuit training regimens. The best part: no class times – just drop in when you can and get to work for half an hour.

First class: Free

Pricing: $79-129/month for unlimited workouts

HIP Fitness
HIP Fitness (High Intensity Pilates) offers a 45-minute workout that works out every muscle in your body using the Megaformer. Exercises are heart-pumping, muscle burning and there is no stopping until your body is shaking. Classes are limited to 10 clients at a time to guarantee every client the attention he or she deserves. HIP Fitness offers a total-body program that combines cardio, strength training and Pilates to burn up to 700 calories in each session. Workouts are intense, low impact, and efficient. Strengthen, tighten, tone and elongate your body quickly and safely through 100s of different exercises.  

First class: Mention CultureMap and first class is free

Pricing: Pricing varies (one month unlimited passes $195-$265/month)

The Preserve Houston 
One of the newest and most beautiful gyms in River Oaks now offers more than 70 classes a week — everything from ATC and Metcon to yoga and Pilates with a bit of cycling in between. Cycling variations include Rhythm Ride, a 45-minute indoor studio style cycling experience (think party meets workout) and Performance Ride, a 45-minute indoor cycling ride where HIIT training with climbs, drills and intervals meeting incredible tunes.

First class: Mention CultureMap and first class is free

Pricing: Membership fee $229/month

Led by former MLS player Michael Chabala, SPHERE is a soccer-inspired fitness class designed to connect people on and off the field while using a ball to do more than just score goals. The two most popular classes are SPHERE – the signature non-stop soccer-inspired fitness class designed for all skill levels from beginners to pros that takes place at local parks and indoor soccer venues around Houston and POWA — 30-minutes of interval cardio treadmill routines and sideline strength training that uses the ball to shred your fitness goal and is an exclusive class only offered at the Four Seasons.

First class: Mention CultureMap and first class is free

Pricing: SPHERE: $15/class, $100 monthly or $200 for 3 months unlimited; POWA: $20/class, workout includes complimentary valet, use of steam room, shower, pool and hot tub at Four Seasons Hotel Houston  

Not free, but check out these first-timer deals and get ready to sweat:

This next generation indoor cycling experience embodies the essence of invigorating fitness, unparalleled service and maximum burn in a luxurious boutique environment. RYDE is well known in Houston for its exhilarating music and highly skilled and energetic instructors.

First class: $15

Dance House Fitness (DHF) 
If you didn’t know dancing can burn some major calories, meet Dance House Fitness (DHF), which offers some of the most exhilarating and Instagram-worthy stories in a fitness environment. DHF offers 60 and 90-minute classes like dance cardio, choreography, lower body activated, interval training, yoga and more. No dance experience necessary — just positive vibes and a willingness to #werk (or #twerk).

First class: $29 for a week of unlimited classes 

Try this 45-minute indoor cycling class that features high-intensity cardio, muscle-sculpting strength training, and rhythm-based choreography. Created to make fitness fun, inspirational, and community-driven, SoulCycle's classes are designed to transform both bodies and minds. The combination of world-class instructors, dark candlelit spaces, and high-energy music along with a full-body cardio workout fuels riders to move together in unison to create what they dub the "energy of the pack."

First class: Texas locations are offering a buy one get one class (two for $30)

RacePace offers interval-based group running classes led by certified running coaches catered to runners of all abilities. The calorie-torching classes are comprised of a variety of speed and hill intervals to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of your training. Regardless of your experience or ability, clients can benefit from the instruction, support and energy that the RacePace coaches and fellow RacePacers provide. Whether you're a first-time runner or an Olympic miler, this is a good spot to work on your running and fitness goals.

First class: $10

ROW Studios
Recently featured on TLC's My 600-Pound Life, ROW is a high-intensity, interval training studio in West U. Hosting more than 60 classes a week for all fitness levels, classes incorporate the rowing machine (the "erg"), where you'll be on and off the erg throughout class. All Body is their signature class, which they suggest new clients take first to get a feel for the workout.

First class: 30 Days for $49


*Pricing above reflects new clients only and varies by studio/location.

Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at Follow her on Twitter @jovanabernathy. Instagram @TourismGymHtx. Facebook @TourismGymHtx

"Supplements" is almost like a dirty word. Most people steer clear of this topic. There are 3 main reasons why people are hesitant to use them.

Reason #1: Supplementation gets a bad wrap for not having the purest products.

Reason #2: They can be very expensive. Is it really necessary to take on a new expense?

Reason #3: There are too many products from too many sources. You can get them online. That is over whelming. You may feel that the salesperson at the vitamin store may just be trying to sell you anything. For these reasons, It is hard to know who to trust. It is important to find a brand you trust from a trusted source.

Why I recommend them and think they are something to consider.

Back in 2005, I began running after I had already lost weight and was on supplements. Runners, myself included, often think that we can lose weight by our running program alone. I had not come to the full appreciation that often times runners are misguided to this fact. As mileage racks up, we often times rationalize a burger and beer diet thinking that we earned it. Then, we have not lost our weight and wonder why. Supplements are a great way to get kick started. They give you the much needed energy to handle workouts. Here are the ones that I use and why. You decide if supplements are right for you.


With any new training plan, I 100% suggest getting on a multi-vitamin. You are repeatedly putting your body under stress that it is not used to. This can cause havoc on your immune system. A multi-vitamin can help by filling in the gaps of much needed nutrients. You should be on a meal plan that supports your goals which gives you the macronutrients your body needs to perform. A multi-vitamin provides your body with the micronutrients it needs to perform. Just to be clear. Macronutrients means the food you eat that has the nutrients in it. Micronutients means the straight shot pill form of those nutrients.

Added Benefits

Multi-vitamins Increase your collagen production (AKA joint lube), a necessity for runners.

The B Vitamins provide energy, increased metabolism, and red blood cell production.

For ladies, multivitamins often contain folic acid, which are great for hair, skin, and nails.

Fish oil

Good old omega 3 fatty acids is the next go-to supplement. If you can't eat the macronutrient in wild caught salmon and other fatty fish, you can take the pill form. Your Omegas are essential for your brain function, your metabolism, and provide more good lube for your joints. This means more calories burned and less injuries.

Protein shake

Protein is vital to lose fat and build lean muscle. These muscles help you go the distance and give you speed. The thing is, to get all the protein that you need, you will be literally shoving food in your mouth all day. To help get you all the protein you need, definitely start drinking protein shakes. You are going to have to trial and error which are best for you and your performance and body. There are many types of protein. The most common are whey, plant based, casein, and egg white. Personally, with running, plant based is best on the stomach and won't slow you down. Casein, which is what I am using now, is optimal for late night use. It is slow absorption which means it will not make you bloated and cause discomfort while you are sleep. Try some and see which is best for you.

Fat Burner

If you are like me, you want to see results quickly. It is totally optional, but try a fat burner to speed things up. There are a few types so stay with me while I try to explain them in simple terms.

L-Carnitine: an amino acid that is a key ingredient in many fat burners. It is already in your body and simply put helps with the formation of mitochondria (which causes your cells to burn energy). Before I scare you, next…….

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA):

An amino acid that is naturally occurring in proteins such as milk, beef, lamb, and others. it assists with building lean protein while reducing body fat. Next.

Calcium Pyruvate:

I could give you the long explanation, but basically it sends out any unnecessary glucose before your body adsorbs it. It also transports protein to your muscles to promote growth. Remember going the distance.

We have now built a solid supplementation program for you. Funny enough, the fish oil and the multi-vitamin act as mild fat burners too. Begin taking these, you will see your gains increase exponentially…..or is that losses?

Remember, supplements are called supplements because they assist a healthy diet. People, who do badly on supplements usually abuse them through ignorance or bad habits. If you experience nausea or any other bad side effects is is probably because you did not eat enough as many supplements are to be taken with food.

I get my supplements online at They have a huge selection, but they offer spot on reviews from customers that use them. Look for the supplements that have hundreds and thousands of reviews as opposed to the ones that do not. Stick with the high scoring brands. They offer many articles about supplemenation. They are written by bodybuilders who can be quite technical, but they know their stuff.

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