Empower Fitness Lab – HIIT Box

This place. This place knows how to ave fun. But let me back up for a second. So, I signed up for a class through class pass, and then last minute had to cancel because something came up. I called to see what could be done, and was prepared for them to be like, your shit out of luck and you owe up $15 for canceling late, but that is not even remotely what happened! The guy that answered the phone, was like no biggie, we will try to recredit the class and if you don’t see a credit back within the week just give us a call and we will go ahead and sign you up for a free class anyways. So about 4-5 days pass and I get a text saying, don’t forget to sign up for your free class! I was like OKAY! YAY! Here is the date I want and I was all signed up again. No harm no foul.

I really wanted to try their HIIT (high intensity interval training) Box class. They also have HIIT Yoga and HIIT Strength I think … and maybe some others, but I wanted to try the boxing one. I signed up for a Thursday 5:30 PM class and got there about 20 min early for the typical paperwork and first time run down stuff. I found a parking spot, but the shopping center it was located in was pretty crowded, so I would imagine it may get pretty tough to park at certain times of the day. As soon as I walked in I was greeted, very energetically I might add, by like 4 people. I filled out the little waiver thing and then was shown the ropes. I was also given a heart rate monitor to put on for the class.

So I found out that the person who like started Orangetheory Fitness branched off and started this after he left Orangetheory. I don’t know the full story, but I could see some resemblance like with the heart rate monitor and ‘scoreboard.’ There are a few screens around class and you are suppose to stay in a certain color with your heart rate and you get points based on the time you spend in each zone and you are ranked in the class. Not sure if I really care about the scoreboard though. I mean I am going to workout the same intensity whether I see my points on a screen or not. Some people may really like seeing that though.

Anyways, the workout was half on the floor and half on the treadmill, but not a normal treadmill. It is one of those curved treadmills that you propel it by how fast you run. So the faster you run, the faster the belt moves. So half of the class is spent on that and you go through intervals that the instructor calls out. So there is you base pace, which is basically walking, then a faster pace that I don’t remember the name and then your all out sprint. So he may say, 1 minute base pace, 3 minute middle zone and 30 second all out sprint. You go through various intervals for about 30 minutes, then switch with the group on the floor.

On the floor we spent 15 minutes doing intervals of free weights, TRX bands and the rowing machine. Then the last 15 minute segment is spent on the punching bag doing various punching combos and other workouts like jump squats and lunges. We ended class with a couple minutes of stretching and that was that!  It was basically a middle ground between Sweat 1000 and Orangetheory. I was not a fan of Orangetheory, but I am obsessed with Sweat 1000. If you have class pass, I recommend checking it out. The atmosphere and staff was amazing and the workout was great too. Definitely something a bit more unique.

For more information on Empower Fitness Lab visit http://www.empowerfitnesshouston.com/ or follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/empowerfitnesslab/ and Instagram at @empowerfitnesslab

Sweat 1000

I am so glad I went back to Sweat 1000 for a second class and this time I brought along some victims (insert evil laugh here). But really … Sweat 1000 is probably one of the hardest workouts I have experienced so far. If you read my Orangetheory Fitness post, then image that but ON STEROIDS!  

Sweat 1000 Heights is the first location in the US which is pretty cool. As of now (January 14th is when I am writing this post) they are still under construction, but are having trial classes for people to be able to experience the madness before they officially open. Sweat 1000 originated in South Africa and is now spreading their wings into the US, Australia and Switzerland. I have a feeling they will do extremely well in Houston, especially at their Heights location.

My first experience with Sweat 1000 was a great one! Everyone was super inviting and very motivational. Tashie (@tashiesmith) was my first instructor and she was a bulldog, but like a really cute and friendly one. During the workout she was barking out exercises kind of like a drill sergeant, but she never singled anyone out, or put anyone down for not being able to keep up. That is one of the things I loved about this place is that it is SUPER intense, but no one ever pushed you too hard. They motivated you to do YOUR best and forget what everyone else was doing. Andrew (@andrewsweat1000) was the same way. He was tough, like really tough, but always encouraging. Both Tashie and Andrew were super nice before and after class as well, saying how good we did, even though I was minutes away from death. Last comment about the amazing people at Sweat 1000 before I get to the actual workout. The owners, Jordan (@jstrouse4) and Ana (@natassjb) were incredible. I went to Tashie’s class on the 6th and then when I went back for Andrew’s class on the 14th, they remembered me. Not only did they remember that I had been there before, but they remembered my name! Now I know they had a signup list with everyone’s names, but still, that’s impressive and it means more than they know. That’s one of the reasons I love Revolution Studio too, because they know you by name after like 1 class and make you feel like you are really part of this wonderful and welcoming community.

Now it’s time to talk about this craziness they call a workout. The workouts are 60 minutes of insanity. It is set up similar-ish to Orangetheory Fitness like I mentioned before, but instead of spending 30 minutes on the weights and then 30 minutes on the treadmill, you are switching every 5 minutes or so from floor to treadmill. There are tons of variations on the treadmill. Sometimes you are sprinting, sometimes you are maxed out on hills at a 30% incline… yes… I said 30% and if you have never experienced a 30% incline before, I encourage you to go see what it feels like. And if you don’t have a treadmill, just walk over to the wall and try walking up that… it’s basically that same thing! While you are on the treadmill they call out 4 numbers, the first 3 are speeds so you have your runner speed, jogger speed and walker speed and the 4th is the incline. Let’s just say, I can barely keep up with the walker speed…that’s how intense it is. So you do like 5 minutes on the treadmill then jump off and do 5 minutes on the floor. If the class is really full, half of the people are on the floor while the other half are on the treadmill and they they switch back and forth. If the class is on the lighter side, then everyone is on the treadmill at the same time and then on the floor at the same time. Floor exercises vary. My first class we had weights and a buso ball, second class we had like an aerobic step and weights, and I know they also have punching bags that they can set up. All of the workouts on the floor are pretty similar. Lots of body weight and free weight exercises with the last round focusing on abs. At the very end we stretch for a bit and then die…or just begin to dread the fact that everything is going to be sore when we wake up the next day. Hurts sooooo good!

The atmosphere is pretty neat too. I know they are not fully done with construction, but I have seen some insta posts from their South Africa studios and its all black lights,laser lights and loud music. We had a bit of that, but apparently our experience with Sweat 1000 was only at about a 30% level compared to what it will be like when they are done. The Heights location will have full bathroom facilities with showers and towel service so you can go before work and just get ready there to save time. It will also have a limited coffee bar and fresh smoothies and there is even talk of a Seaside Poke kiosk in case you want to grab lunch or dinner after a workout.

So definitely up there in my favorite workouts, and as far as I can think, I think I will go ahead and give it the “toughest” workout award… maybe… probably…

Not sure if they are doing anymore trial classes before they open, but their plan is to open sometime in the next 2 weeks-ish (from the 14th). So they may be open before this post goes live. Oh, let’s talk pricing real quick before I let you get on with your life. There is a founders package which is 200 buck-a-roos per month for the first year that you can get in on NOW, otherwise it is $30 per single class, $145 per 5 classes, $275/10 and so on and so forth. All of their pricing is on their website which I will give to you now …

SWEAT 1000.jpg

For more information on Sweat 1000 visit http://www.sweat1000.com/studios/usa/ or follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/sweat1000houstonheights/ and Instagram at @sweat_1000

 

Ryde – River Oaks

I can’t say enough wonderful things about this place…but I will start with the few minor cons and then unleash my love for this place. Let’s just jump right in, shall we?

Con #1: I passed it up…I had it plugged into my GPS and I still passed it up! Ryde River Oaks is in the River Oaks Shopping Center off W. Gray St. Con #2: Parking sucks over there. Everywhere I tried to park was a 30 min parking spot, so I had to park in a lot across the street and walk over, which wasn’t a big deal, but looking for parking in Houston is not really my cup of tea. Con #3: Although the facility was really nice and clean with great equipment, there was little to no seating/waiting area. So before and after class was somewhat of a clusterf***. I think that is all the cons.

Now on to all that I loved about Ryde. Front desk people were super friendly and got me signed in and hooked up with a pair of shoes (first pair is on them, every class after that is 3 bucks – I think – to rent them). When the doors finally opened for class to get started, I had a hard time finding my bike because it was sooo dark, but I finally found it and within like 2 seconds a staffer was there to help me set up my bike and answer any questions. After I was set up and waiting for class to start, the instructor came up and introduced himself, which we all know I love! I think it is so incredibly important to make sure first timers at any gym, restaurant, store, wherever feel welcomed. Drew was my instructor and he was GREAT! Within the first 2 songs my quads were already burning. I would say Ryde is most similar to Revolution Studio as far as style of class goes. It was very dancing and you really had to have rhythm… which I struggle with… a lot! Regardless, I had fun, which ultimately trumps everything else.

Class was 45 minutes long. We did sprints, and hills and push ups and tap backs and side to side things and arm weights. I am writing this the day after class and I am super sore… although I kind of live in a constant state of soreness. Anyways, the music was loud, the class was energetic, it was a good time and great workout. They also keep track of your stats throughout class and then email you a summary which was cool! Here is mind below:

Ryde Stats

So thus far here is my ranking for cycling studios, and again, these are based on the location I went to and most importantly the instructor, so this is just my opinion on the few trial classes I have taken.

  1. Revolution Studio
  2. Ryde
  3. I feel like CycleBar would be here, but I need to try a real class
  4. Soul Cycle
  5. DEFINE West University

 

For more information on Ryde visit http://www.letsryde.com/ or follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rydehouston/ and Instagram at @rydehouston

DEFINE Bellaire – Bounce

Talk about FUN! Okay, I have been wanting to try this Bounce class since the time I visited DEFINE West University back in August, but I could never find a time that fit my schedule…until now! Bounce classes are typically only during the day which sucks but makes sense since they are probably not as popular as DEFINE’s signature Body class and they share the same room so one of them has to give. Anyways…the Friday before Christmas I was off work and there was a class at 4:15 at DEFINE Bellaire, so I signed up and I am so glad I did!

I showed up a wee bit early and talked to the owner, Deborah, who I kind of knew already from work, but she was so sweet. We talked about my blog and she told me they were looking to train some new instructors which totally peaked my interest… just saying 🙂 If this interests you as well, contact Deborah at DEFINE Bellaire! I also met the instructor, @kaylamhyde, who was also super sweet and very energetic. I picked out my light and heavy weights and claimed my trampoline and then it was time to jump on!

There were only 5 of us in the class and funny enough, 4 out of the 5 of us were all newbies to Bounce. Now, I have said this before and I will say it 800 more times … I am not super coordinated, but I am really trying to work on it (esp if I want to become an instructor). The class reminded me a lot of a Rev/Cycle class because you move to the beat of the music. So we started off what I like to call jump/running…like high knees on the trampoline…but to the beat of the music…or at least tried to jump to the beat of the music…I kept getting off beat… Anyways, we did that for a bit, then added some arm movements with the high knees, the some sashays which really threw me for a loop, then would turn to the side, then back, then switch the lead foot, then turn some more back to the front, then sprint as fast as we could to finish out the song. Round 1 on the trampoline was done and it was time to hop off and grab our weights.

We use really light weights, only about 2-3 for light weights and 4-5 for heavy. All of the moves that we did off the trampoline were very similar the their Body class, so small pulses and focused on specific muscles. If you have ever taken a Body or Barre class, these were the types of movements we were doing. After that song was over we would jump back on the trampoline for some more jump/running for a song, then off the trampoline for some more weighted Body/Barre inspired moves, then on the trampoline, then off, then on … until class was over and it was time to stretch.

Kayla was a fantastic instructor. She was super energetic and made sure we were all smiling the entire time. Half the time I was loose and having fun laughing at myself, the other I was so focused on staying on beat I probably looked like a robot. I wish my parents would have forced me to take a dance class when I was younger. It would come in handy these days.

So my overall experience at DEFINE Bellaire was fantastic. Pros: everyone was friendly and helpful, the building is super easy to find and get to with tons of parking, a variety of classes to choose from (Body, Bounce, Rev, Yoga, Pilates and even Hammock classes which is next on my list!). Cons: some of the classes are hard to fit into your schedule if you work a full time job since they are only offered mid-morning and early afternoon. Oh, also just a piece of advice, if you call to make an appointment and they don’t answer, just leave a message or email them and they will get back to you ASAP! They are really good about getting back to you in a timely manner as long as you leave your info.

For more information on DEFINE Bellaire visit http://bellaire.definebody.com/ or follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DefineBellaire/ and Instagram at @definebellaire

 

Mekanix Round 2 & JuiceWell

Back in August, I wrote a review for Mekanix Calisthenics Gym. The session was HARD and the people were super friendly and supportive, so when I saw a little special on Facebook for a session and smoothie for $10, I thought, what they hey, let’s try it out again. I was really interested in seeing how my body handled the workout this time vs. last since I have been working out soooo much more lately.

I show up and again, it was kind of strange. There is no check in area or front desk person, it’s just kind of walk up and wait until class starts. I did get to finally meet the owner, Justin, who I had been chatting a bit with back before my first class. He would be taking the class with us this time. I had the same trainer, @gregorygains, which was cool so my class would be pretty similar to the first time which would make it easier to compare.

Class started with the same stretches and chest openers to get us prepared… although I was not prepared at all for what was to come. Class was very similar to the first time I went. Lots of crawling on the floor and squatting and jumping and my quads were feeling it within the first few minutes. It’s funny because as we were doing some jumps, I was thinking in my head that I was doing so well and jumping so high and when I asked Greg to take a video of the class doing an exercise and rewatched it, I was barely even getting up off the ground!!! I will say though, I did leaps and bounds better this time vs. when I visited in August. I could tell my flexibility has increased tremendously from yoga which is really important in most of these moves and my overall stamina was stronger. I was definitely tired after the workout, but I wasn’t like dying… I even went to another cycle class a few hours later.

So the workout itself was really tough yet amazing. I felt it for days after. They people are all really encouraging and supportive of each other. There were about 10 of us and everyone was high fiving or doing little shout outs to motivate someone to finish their last rep. I love love love that type of environment! After class was smoothie time. Wen, the owner of JuiceWell, was there to hand out really fresh and DELICIOUS smoothies. He had vegan and non-vegan as well as a few different flavors. I got a beet based smoothie and fun fact, I like beets. I had not idea! I later visited Wen’s juice and smoothie shop called Sustain Juicery because I literally pass it everyday on my way to and from work. I stopped in one day around 12:30 and it was PACKED and for good reason. This time I got a Green Monkey smoothie and it was just as good as the first one, if not better. I will definately be back to try some of the juices or acai bowls. Just a little side note – there is a menu on the wall at Sustain with a few different juices, smoothies and bowls but you can customize or create anything your little heart desires and all of their ingredients are FRESH fruits and veggies, not juices or syrups.

 

 

For more information on Mekanix Calisthenics Gym visit http://www.mekanixhouston.com/ or follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mekanixhouston/ and Instagram at @mekanixhouston

 

For more information on JuiceWell visit https://shopjuicewell.com/ or follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/juicewellhouston/ and Instagram at @juicewellhouston

Camp Gladiator

One day I was working out at the little gym at the apartment complex that I live in and towards the end of my workout, one of the others guys that was in the gym stopped me and was like, “Have you ever heard of Camp Gladiator?” He said the workout I was doing that day reminded him of it and that I should go with him one day, so I took him up on that offer.

Camp Galdiator is typically 4 weeks of unlimited workouts, for all fitness levels, led by a personal trainer at various locations. When you sign up you can go to any location as much as you like. The workouts are 60-minute long, total-body workouts done in a group class format. I joined Mariano on a Wednesday morning at 5:30 AM at the River Oaks location which is in front of the lululemon in Highland Village. The workouts are done outside in the parking lot and the only equipment required is a mat.

McKenzie was our trainer that morning and can I just say, I almost bailed before I even got there because that morning was 45 degrees and raining… I am so proud of myself for just showing up. Anyways, there were about 15 or so people at class that morning, which was apparently a light crowd, probably because most people aren’t as crazy as me and would prefer to stay bundled up in a warm bed for a few hours longer.

Anyways… We started the workout with 3 laps around the stores then some other light cardio for the warm up, like high knees and hip raises, and a bit more jogging. After we finished the warm up we really got to work. I would describe is best as a HIIT (high intensity interval training) style workout. The first round went something like this:

In and out squats – 20

Hip raises/bridges on the mat – 15

Star Jumps – 10

Sprint to cones and back

5 min on repeat

All out 30 sec burpees to reach your maximum burn out

We did that 2x then did another round of other exercises in the same type format. Classes ended with 1 all out spring around the parking lot, then abs and stretching before taking a group photo and heading home to unthaw.

Camp Gladiator_River Oaks_Group.jpg

I really enjoyed McKenzie’s energy, especially at 5:30 in the morning. The group I was working out with was also really nice. Everyone was high fiving and there were a few partner exercises that we would do while also answering a question about ourselves. For instance, we were asked to tell the other person how we spent Thanksgiving while we were facing each other doing high knees and like high fiving … okay this sounds really corny, but I don’t really know how else to describe it…

Overall I really enjoyed class. It was definitely a good workout, but just tons of cardio and lots of squat jumps. My quads were pretty damn sore for the next few days. I think what I liked most about it was the group accountability aspect. I would think if you go to the same class/location consistently for 4 weeks then you would form a pretty close group of friends from it.

If you are interested in trying a free session, just look up a Camp Gladiator Trainer near you and ask to join in a class just to try. McKenzie was more than happy to have me there and not pushy at all about joining which is refreshing.

Camp Gladiator_River Oaks_McKenzie

You can find out more about Camp Gladiator at https://campgladiator.com/ or follow McKenzie at https://www.facebook.com/cgtrainermckenzie/

SoulCycle

A huge thank to @atcheeylaurenn (instagram) for inviting us to try out SoulCycle. @atcheeylaurenn had some free passes to try out SoulCycle and she did a damn good job recruiting some first time riders for a Sunday morning sweat sesh … and boy did we sweat! So I have tried a few cycle places now (Revolution Studio and DEFINE Body & Mind) and I really REALLY loved Revolution and really really didn’t like DEFINE so I had a good scale to compare SoulCycle to and I would say if Revolution is a 10 and Define is a … 4 then SoulCycle is an 8 overall.

The overall atmosphere and facility of SoulCycle is very similar to Revolution. The staff is super friendly and helpful. The staff got us set up and clipped in beforehand. The instructor came up and introduced himself before class and used our names throughout the class to keep us motivated. The actual facility was bright and clean and had fun designs on the wall and a signature yellow spin bike outside … overall it was very inviting and easy to find. They also have a wall of merchandise/apparel you can purchase which I took a look at and LOVED what they carried but need to resist my urge to buy even more workout clothes right now.

First thing we did when we walked in was sign the little waiver and get our bike assignment, which they actually email you the day before with extra instructions and what to expect … it was actually a really cute and welcoming email … I’ll post a screenshot of it below. They we got our shoes and were shown around to the lockers and restrooms/dressing rooms. We locked up our crap and put on our shoes and were ready to get clipped in and start riding.

SoulCycle Email

Like I said before, the staff came in and helped all the newbies get their bikes adjusted and get clipped in. Our class had A LOT of first time riders! (Side note: The studio can hold 60 people per class. I would say we had about 30 or so at the Sunday 10:45AM class) Pinij (@pnalampoon) was our instructor and he came around and introduced himself, then it was time to ride. The workout itself was pretty killer. I was literally drenched in sweat at about the halfway point and then the sweat just kept pouring out my body … it was amazingly gross. So far I have said all good things about SoulCycle, so why am I rating it below Revolution you ask?? It all has to do with the actual workout.

So at SoulCycle we rode … and rode and rode and rode … then did a few push ups, a few tap backs and only 3 arm moves with the weights. Although I feel like I got a fantastic workout, It was just kind of the same thing over and over. At Revolution, we rode but we did tap backs and push-ups and tricep dips and jumps and sprints and hills and we danced!!! Then when we picked up the arm weights, oh man, I thought my arms were going to fall off they hurt so bad. At Revolution we were constantly switching it up and doing something new. At SoulCycle, there just wasn’t as much variation. Also, at Revolution there was like lighting variation so like black lights and a very club-ish vibe, whereas SoulCycle was still club-ish and they played with the lights a bit but just not as sweet of a vibe as Revolution … although MUCH better than the vibe at DEFINE.

SoulCycle Memorial_Group Photo.JPG
@atcheeylaurenn and friends! Thanks again 🙂

Anyways, overall I really enjoyed my session at SoulCycle. I’m not going to post the prices, because you can also find them all online at https://www.soul-cycle.com/ but if you’re a first time rider you can do a 3-class pack for $60, which isn’t that bad if it includes shoe rental … but I didn’t ask about that and I doubt it does. The other good thing about SoulCycle is if you buy a class package, let’s just say you buy the first time 3-class pack, you can use them whenever and at any location. They have 2 locations in Houston – Memorial (the one I went to) and River Oaks.

 

For more info on SoulCycle visit https://www.soul-cycle.com/ or follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SoulCycle-1637617196554397/ (Memorial) or https://www.facebook.com/SoulCycleROTX/ (River Oaks)

Avenu Fitness

Nicest owner ever. Let me just start with that! Not only was the owner insanely generous and helpful, the entire staff was welcoming. LOVED my week at Avenu Fitness. I reached out to Avenue Fitness via Instagram and it took them a bit to get back to me, but once they did, I got treated like a VIP. I was instantly connected with Brent, one of the owners, and told him I had a fitness blog and wanted to try them out! He was so gracious and invited me over for a cup of coffee, on him, at their in house coffee shop where they serve delish Boomtown coffee. He gave me a tour of the facility which is broken into two separate buildings with a interior shop in between that’s separating them. To the right is the fitness/training facility that has free weights, machines, TRX bands, medicine balls, sliders, etc. etc. and to the left is the pilates studio.

All of the workouts at Avenu Fitness are 30 minutes long and guided by an instructor. Brent shared with me his vision for opening this gym and it seems like he has really made his dream come true. Brent and his wife have owned Avenu since 2006 (if I remember correctly) and really wanted it to be that place for those people who are ‘too busy to workout’ to come in, get a killer workout and be out the door in 30 minutes. Right now they have only one location and it is smack dab in the middle of a neighborhood in West U. Very convenient for anyone living in that area, but still really easy to get to if you live elsewhere.

I was set up with a Pilates class with Meagan at 5:30 Monday morning followed by a discovery session with Kay, then I attended a community conditioning class on Tuesday at 6:00 AM that Brent led, and finished off my time at Avenu with a training session with Angie on Thursday at 6:00 AM. Avenue is definitely a place for the early riser. In fact, their last session starts at 6:00 PM because one of the things that was important to them was to be able for, not only them, but their trainers to be able to have a life outside the gym. Most trainers burn out within 2-3 years because they are working from 5 AM – 10 PM at most places and it leave little room for them to have a life outside the gym. Brent mentioned that majority of the trainers have been with them for around 10 YEARS! That alone should prove to you that the community at Avenu is bar none.

Let’s talk about the workouts now. The pilates class with Meagan was good. I have to say the one I took at HIP Fitness was more intense, but It was also 2x as long. We were on the reformer for all of the class which is still a very new piece of equipment for me so I was a little like a baby elk all wobbly and off balance, but Meagan helped me get into correct form and provided a great workout in 30 minutes.

I met with Kay after class for my discover meeting which really got my week started off on the right foot. The discovery session is just a few minutes of chatting about your goals and motivations and trying to identify areas that may need improvement. Where do your weaknesses lie and how can we work on strengthening them to make your overall health and wellness better. That is one thing I was really impressed with about Avenu and it was that they cared about overall health and wellness, not just fitness. They want to find out what those triggers are that have held you back prior to coming to Avenu instead of just prescribing you with fitness classes in hopes that you reach your fitness goals.

Something really cool that Brent does is a community conditioning class every Tuesday and Thursday at 6 AM that is open to the public and free to attend. When I went on Tuesday, there were 7 of us, outside running sprint intervals for 30 minutes and that was it! Simple yet effective. Every session is a bit different, with different drills, but all just quick, simple conditioning work.I will definitely be attending more of those sessions and bringing along more friends, as long as I can get them out of bed that early that is!

Thursday finished off my week with my fitness session with Angie. All I can say is that half hour FLEW by and my hamstrings and lower abs were SO sore for the next 2-3 days. The training sessions are all started on the half hour so as long as you show up on the half hour or hour you can jump in at the beginning either with a specific trainer one-on-one or with a small group. I was grouped with 2 other ladies who showed up the same time as me and we all went through the same exercises then were out the door and on our way in just 30 minutes. Pricing for the sessions depend on if you want to have a one-on-one or group session. A single one-on-one session is $55 and small group session is $35. All pricing is listed on their website.

If you want personal training in 30 minutes at a gym where people actually care about your health and well-being, then I highly suggest Avenu. I didn’t mention this, but when I walked in on Thursday, I think like 10 people all shouted hey to me! It was like I was walking into a group of old friends and just felt welcoming.

 

For more info on Avenu Fitness visit http://avenufit.com/ or follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/avenufit/ and on Instagram at @avenufit

TITLE Boxing Club

This is it … almost! TITLE Boxing Club was the closest thing I have found so far to the UFC Gym in Baton Rouge that I loved so very much. I saw an ad on Facebook for a free class, which seems to be a trend for me, and signed up! It was as easy as going to their website, filling out your info for a free class and writing a short message saying which class you wanted to try before hitting the submit button. I was emailed back with confirmation email within 24 hours and followed up with a call a few days before telling me to come a few minutes early so I could get wrapped and set up.

I showed up a bit later than hoped, thanks to my GPS, so by the time I got wrapped up and filled out the paperwork class had already began. I scheduled my class for a Sunday at 10:30AM because again I was worried about traffic and wanted to make sure I didn’t have any commitments or appointments before or after.

Class started with a few laps around the bags (these were the hanging bags I am used to) and then things really started to heat up. We did some really tough bodyweight exercises, like lunges and squats and burpees, but they weren’t like normal lunges, squats and burpees, they were like lunges, squats and burpees on steroids. It was just a lot of different moves to get warmed up and I was sweating pretty hard before we even put the gloves on to do some serious bag work. In fact there was another first timer next to me and towards the end of the warm up I heard him turn to his girlfriend/wife/whoever and say, “Why are we here?” HAHA

After the warm up, we got our gloves on and started some combinations on the bag. Luckily I have had experience with kickboxing before because there was no guidance (unlike iLoveKickboxing) and the instructor would just yell out combinations and demonstrated them 2-3 times, but had I never kickboxed before I would be completely and totally lost, like the people next to us were! I LOVED these combinations though. They were challenging and we were all punching, kicking, kneeing, spinning, jumping, ducking, I mean it was a lot! The instructor also came around with the like punchy glove things … I know, real technical, so that you could do the combination with him vs. on the bag just to give us a bit more of a challenge. After the bag work, we finished with some super intense ab workouts followed by a bit of stretching.

I 100% like this kickboxing class the best so far in Houston, but it still wasn’t up to par with the UFC Gym in Baton Rouge, the main reason being the staff, not that the staff was rude or mean or anything, just because they weren’t very informative or engaging. At iLoveKickboxing and the UFC Gym, they made a real effort to get to know you and teach you, whereas TITLE just taught the class and if you could follow along then it was an incredible workouts, otherwise you were just a lost puppy.

After class I went to return the gloves and there was no one at the front desk. I waited for about all of a minute or so but was so sweaty and smelly and hungry that I just put the gloves down and left. We (my husband joined me for this class) did get a call as we were driving home saying they were sorry they didn’t get to catch us before we headed out and wanted to know how we liked it and if we had any questions. I did check out the pricing sheet while I was waiting to return my gloves and I thought the pricing was pretty reasonable. They had a couple different options for membership so here they are:

1 year unlimited classes = 0 initiation fee, $940 total paid in full

1 year unlimited classes = 99 initiation fee, 69+tax/month

6 months unlimited classes =  0 initiation fee, $450 total paid in full

Month-month unlimited classes = 149 initiation fee, 89+tax/month

2 weeks unlimited = 100

Most of those also include a week pass for friends/family

These may not seem reasonable to some people, but that was one of the most intense workouts I have experienced so far on this journey and am already feeling sore. I know I will be hurting tomorrow. Basically, what I am saying is if you want to have a ton of fun and get an pretty damn intense workout in at the same time, this is the place to be. If they had a location closer to where we live, I would highly consider doing more classes with them. Also, at the beginning of class the instructor mentioned that for any newbies he would offer a half hour of training with him to work on technique, which is fantastic, but it really would be beneficial before the class … not after!

 

For more info, or to sign up for your free class, visit https://titleboxingclub.com/houston-westchase-tx/ or like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TITLEBoxingClubHoustonWestheimer/

 

iLoveKickboxing

I mentioned before that I had been wanting to find a good kickboxing gym because 9 Round was such a disappointment when it came to kicking and punching, so this weekend I visited iLoveKickboxing Memorial and TITLE on Westheimer. I will talk about iLoveKickboxing today and then compare it to TITLE on Thursday.

I saw a Facebook ad for iLoveKickboxing that advertised an introductory special of 3 classes plus gloves plus some reading material for 10 bucks, so I thought what the heck, let’s give it a try. I signed up for the introductory offer and within 24 hours I had a missed call and voicemail from the most energetic person I have ever heard on my phone congratulating me on signing up for the classes and wanting to know when I could come in for my first class.

I called them back and got a class scheduled for a Saturday morning at 9 because after looking at their schedule and their location and the atrocious traffic we have seen since the storm, I figured I would be safe and schedule for a time where there would be the least traffic and I didn’t have any other obligations before or after. They asked me to be there a half hour early so that they could give me a tour around and find out a bit about me, etc. etc.

I showed up at 8:30 and was greeted by Jasmine and Daniel. Jasmine led the class and Daniel stood by my side and helped me with my form and combos since it was my first class, which I loved! I have taken many kickboxing classes back in Baton Rouge at the UFC Gym, so I knew the basics, but it was great to have him there to polish up my technique. Before the class though, Jasmine showed me around, gave me my gloves and then we sat together and just chatted about everything from my job to my fitness goals to just life in general. People started showing up around 10 til and then it was time to hit the mat.

The class is an hour long. The first 15 minutes are the roughest part most would say. It is spent doing cardio and drills such as pushups and squats and burpees and such. The next 30 minutes or so were the fun part. It was time to put the gloves on and start attacking the bag. The bags were strange. I am used to hanging punching bags but these were weighted to the ground. The only real difference is that the ones that hang swing around when you kick and punch them, these just stayed in place. When it was time to do bag work, Jasmine was calling out combos and would walk around and help people with technique. Since I was new, Daniel had me start out with just 1-2 punches or jab-cross punches, very basic. After about a round or two, we decided I knew enough to just join in with the rest of the class instead of continuing to do the first time newbie version. The combinations were … okay. Nothing too difficult to follow which to me means nothing a bit stale, but I still enjoyed it and spent a lot of time trying to work on my form.

After bag work it was time to work with a partner and then stretch it out. We did a little but of partner combo work and then some like partner pushups and stuff like that. Lastly we stretched. After almost every workout or combination, there were always people woohooing and high fiving and you could tell there was a really good sense of community and encouragement there. One person had a heart monitor on and wanted to hit 500 calories during the workout but wasn’t quite there after stretching so a few of the other classmates stayed after and ran a few extra laps around the bags and cheered her on as she punched out the last few calories to hit that goal of 500. It was really cool to experience. (See Boomerang below)

After class, Jasmine sat back down with me to see how I liked it and then to run down the pricing. They will tell you when they call to confirm your class time, to make sure to bring a form of payment because they like to give a deep discount if you sign up on the spot. To sign up, there is a 198 intro fee and then a monthly fee depending on how you want to pay, around 80 bucks a month … I think. I was pretty worn out after so I kind of forgot. Anyways they offered 100 off plus a reimbursement for the classes you paid for, so either  110 or 120 (some of the specials are 20 for 3 classes) off the one time fee if you signed up that day.

Overall, I liked the experience. The staff was so energetic and helpful and happy. The facility was clean and easy to find. The class was intense, but not so intense that I felt like I was about to pass out or something. I mean I was able to do all of the moves and combos without stopping soooo, yeah! And I a excited to go back for my next 2 classes.

I am also very excited to share with you the comparison of iLoveKickboxing and TITLE later this week because they were pretty different!

 

If you want to check out iLoveKickboxing Memorial for yourself visit http://www.houston-memorial-ilovekickboxing.com/ or follow their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ILKBHoustonMemorialTX/ to sign up for your first few classes!