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
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

SPHERE
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:

RYDE
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 

SoulCycle
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
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

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

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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