So this place changed the way I thought about reformer pilates. Think of a barre workout on the reformer. Talk about burning muscles! Most reformer classes do have a barre inspiration, but Defy takes it to another level.
Defy Pilates in Houston, both conveniently located for me. One is in bellaire, within walking distance from my work and one is in the heights, about 5 minutes from my house. They offer 2 free trial classes, so I tried one class at each location. I didn’t have a problem booking the Bellaire location and went right after work one day. The heights location on the other hand was harder to book. I had a friend wanting to join me so we needed 2 spots available and could only make the 5:30 AM classes which were all full!! We had to book our class 2 weeks in advance and ended up taking the last 2 spots.
Both of the classes were pretty equal in intensity. The first one I took used a little weighted yellow ball and this big box thing that you put on the reformer to use as a prop to sit and lay on. The second class used the pilates ring and the same big box. Like I said, both classes were very barre inspired with lots of pulsing. For instance, you may start by doing full range lunges for a period of time and then switch to pulses where you move within an inch of space. This is where the burn ramps up!
Defy is definitely a full body workout, but again, just like with any reformer class I have taken, you barely sweat even though your muscles are on fire. Both locations were really easy to get to with decent parking lots. Pretty convenient for anyone really. Oh, and one other thing I like is that they don’t require you to buy those grippy socks! You can just go barefoot if you want.
Here is my reformer pilates rankings from most favorite to least so far:
Anyways, you get 2 free classes, so why wouldn’t you give it a try??
Okay….so it’s been awhile since I’ve written…but I am back! I’ve tried about 4-5 new places recently, but I was struggling getting myself to write because I started to feel like they were all just the same thing over and over and I didn’t know how to write something new about them. I just needed a quick break!
Anyways, let’s chat about Ride in the Heights (that’s Ride with an I, not y). They are pretty damn different too. So I got together 3 of my gals and we signed up for a Friday noon class with Taryn. We all showed up and were given the tour, not that there is much of a tour because it is just their little retail space, the lockers across from the cycle room and then 2 restrooms, which is pretty similar to most indoor cycle studios. I got set up on my bike and then it was time to SWEAT and holy cow did we sweat. The cycle class itself wasn’t anything super different than most cycle classes. It was actually a bit underwhelming compared to the Soul Cycle classes I have been taking at River Oaks. The reason we were all literally DRENCHED in sweat though was because it was HOTTTTTT. I had the spot in the wings/side bar/whatever you want to call it that is right next to the mirror and I couldn’t even see myself in the mirror it was so fogged up. My friend even said she had trouble breathing it was so hot in there.
The atmosphere was also similar to other cycle studios. About 50 bikes in a room filled with blacklights and loud music. Great atmosphere, great music and clean facility, plus so really cute apparel that all happened to be 30% off the day I was there. Taryn, the instructor was nice too, but not as ‘welcoming’ as some of the other studios. If you have read any of my other blog posts, you know that I like it when instructors make it a point to introduce themselves to the newbies.
Anyways, I felt like I was wearing a wetsuit when I walked out because of how soaked my pants were… it was so GROSS, and I’m even one of those people who actually LIKES to sweat. When you take your first intro class (which is free) they offer you 20% off any package you sign up for it you sign up that day. One of my friends signed up for a pack of classes so she must have really enjoyed it. I’m not saying I didn’t like it, I’m just saying I prefer Ryde or Soul Cycle in River Oaks better. Give it a try yourself though! Remember, first class is FREEEEEE, but wear as little clothing as possible because it is hot hot hot.
This workout was 943580348 times harder than I thought it would be. I was humbled, that’s for sure. According to Wikipedia… “Aerial silks (also known as aerial contortion, aerial ribbons, aerial tissues, fabric, ribbon, or tissu, depending on personal preference)is a type of performance in which one or more artists perform aerial acrobatics while hanging from a fabric. The fabric may be hung as two pieces, or a single piece, folded to make a loop, classified as hammock silks. Performers climb the suspended fabric without the use of safety lines, and rely only on their training and skill to ensure safety. They use the fabric to wrap, suspend, fall, swing, and spiral their bodies into and out of various positions.”
I had seen so many people on Instagram and Facebook do these workouts and make it look so effortless and fun and I was like, “I wanna climb these puppies and suspend from the ceiling like spiderman!” I signed up for a class and recruited one of my workout buddies to join me so I wouldn’t be the only uncoordinated newbie in the class. I show up and was talking to the really nice girl at the front desk who was all, “Oh, don’t worry! Anyone can do it. It’s for any fitness level and expertise.” LIES. Just LIES.
There were 8 sets of silks in the room, and most of us were doubled up with someone, so the class was around 12-14 people maybe, and probably half were newbies like us and 1 girl who was like a freaking monkey. She was climbing these silks like a mad woman.
So how the class worked was we started out with a typical warm-up, then got right to the silks. While one person was on the silks, the other was either doing squats or abs or pushups or something off the silks. The instructor would show us a move and it looked just sooooooo simple but these little fu**ers were so stretchy and my arms are still super weak that EVERY move was a struggle and looked like what I assume a baby panda bear would look like climbing a tree for the first time, but I was less graceful. Below is a little video of one of the moves, and again, it looks soooo simple, but I swear to you it is not.
I don’t think I sweat at all during this workout and what I didn’t like about it is that there really wasn’t a way to do an easier moderation of the moves, so if you didn’t have the strength to do it, then you just couldn’t do it. When I left, I didn’t really feel like I got a great workout, except maybe in my abs from laughing so hard at myself…and the ab portion actually was a b****.
All in all I did have fun, but I don’t think I would go back unless I had more arm strength. Also, it hurts your hands really bad because you are gripping so tightly and It’s just not something your hands are really used to so even if you have the strength, your hands hurt so badly that it is still hard to hold on, although I know that is something your hands would eventually get used to with time. Oh and I found them on class pass just FYI.
If you have gym-timidation like at all, this is NOT the place for you. But before I get into all of that, let’s talk traffic and parking. Both were AWFUL for me. I left my office at 5:15 PM which is right on 610 at Bellaire and I didn’t arrive until 6:05 PM. If it wasn’t rush hour it should have taken me about 20 minutes. When I finally got there, it was a bit dark and I had no clue where to park. It was mostly street parking and if you went over a block or two there were plenty of spots, but I am always so nervous about street parking in Houston. Anyways, I got to Studio Fitness and parked with about 10 minutes to spare….not that it really mattered though because I was the only one in my class.
I walked in and this is where the gym-timidation immediately kicked in. There were like 100 people doing 100 different training sessions and classes and just everything. It was ABSOLUTE chaos. I don’t even know what you get if you sign up to be a member of Studio Fitness. Some people were doing their own thing, some were in classes, some were personal training and some were just chilling on couches in the front. I was very confused. The gyms itself was pretty run down, but they had probably EVERY piece of gym equipment you could think of though. They had cardio machines, weight machines, free weights, punching bags, TRX bands, boxes for jumps, sleds, medicine balls, I mean really, you name it, they had it!
So I walked in and was greeted by some very nice people and showed to where my class was going to be. I was the only one for the class that day, but typically it’s a small group training session, so no more than 8 people per class. My instructor was really nice. He was probably about 60-70 years old. I hope he never sees this though in case I am way off and he’s really like 40-50 … that would be AWKWARD!
I signed up for the TRX class which are the bands in the image below. This is just an image I googled because I was so overwhelmed with everything going on that I forgot to take pictures. The class was broken down to 3 sets: legs, abs and arms. Legs was just a bunch of lunges and squats. Didn’t really feel like it was a great leg workout, but the abs and arm moves were really difficult. Basically every exercise is an ab workout though since you have to stabilize yourself on the bands the entire time. I definitely think my arms will be sore tomorrow.
Ultimate question is, would I sign up for it again? And I would have to say no. If you want to visit Studio Fitness, I would sign up for another class, unless you are a beginner, then this class will be a great starting point with your fitness.
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 …
This isn’t so much a workout review as just a what to expect post. Here’s what I mean…
Let me start by giving a little shout out to my favorite brewery, Holler Brewing Co. – @hollerbeer. My husband and I both agree that Holler has the best tasting beer in Houston that we have tried so far… and we have tried a lot! The reason I am ‘hollerin’ at Holler’ is because we were leaving the brewery one day and right next door noticed they were building out a new cycle place called CYCLEBAR, so I added it to my list and once they opened I signed up for a 30-minute intro class with a few friends.
I was somewhat disappointed and yet somewhat pleased with the intro class. I was really looking forward to a good ride, but that’s not at all what this was. There were about 6 of us total that signed up for the class, and they told us they only allow about 20 to sign up for these intro classes. We were all assigned a bike and given a branded water bottle with our name on it as a little present. We were also given some shoes to use during our ride. We spent the first 10 minutes or so outside of the bike room with the instructor, @loganhtx21, going over CYCLEBAR in general, so I little history about it, a bit about the instructors, how it works and what they offer, etc… then we went into the room with the bikes. The next 10 minutes or so were spent teaching us how to adjust our bikes to fit each of us and how to clip in and out and what all the numbers and screens mean. This is the part that pleased me! I have been to quite a few cycling classes and usually the people just kind of set up the bike for you and then you ride, but I like how they take the time to teach you how to set it up so if you come back for a real ride, you are good to go.
Once everyone had their bike set up and were clipped in, we rode… but only for 2 songs which made me sad because my expectation was that the 30-minute intro session would be a 30-minute ride… and it wasn’t. Anyways, Logan was a great instructor and seemed like his class would be really fun. All of the staff was actually really friendly and helpful and the facility was really nice. The bike room was pretty dark with all different light settings for all types of moods (most similar to Revolution Studio), oh but the room was COLD… just so you know… Logan mentioned that they have tons of theme rides and even had a request for a Disney Theme ride that they were working on… sooo count me in for that one!
One thing they did differently than any cycling place I have to yet, is that they had screens on each bike to track your RPM and your resistance, which most places don’t have. Most studios you just have to “feel” your resistance which means I never know if I am where I should be. Since it is all digital, they keep track of your rides and email you your results after every class. They also have a screen up front where they display everyone’s stats during class so you can “compete” with everyone around you (you can opt out being shown on the big board though if you don’t like people seeing your stats and you will still receive your summary email).
So my review is just on the intro class for now, but I am really looking forward to trying a full class sometime soon. Their prices are pretty high sooooo knowing my cheap ass, I will wait for a community ride or until they run some sort of special.
One of my favorite workouts of all time is kickboxing. I use to take classes at the UFC Gym in Baton Rouge so when I heard about 9 Round I got super excited to punch and kick some things! Unfortunately, it was a bit of a let down to me, sort of. Before I dive right into this post, I want to mention that I did visit the Westheimer Road location as well as the one in the Heights, so I will write about them separately because one of them was eh and the other was AWESOME.
First up, the Westheimer Road location:
6:30 AM – If you have been keeping up with my blog, you know mornings are not my thing, but it is a busy week and I wanted to get this class in. So I don’t do much research on gyms before I go. I just kind of let it surprise me and unfortunately, this wasn’t a pleasant surprise. I really thought I was going to be taking part in a kickboxing class, and this was not that.
The workout is, as they say, 9 rounds. Each round is 2 ½ minutes with a 30 second active recovery between rounds. The entire workout lasts 30 minutes. The exercises change each day except for one round which they keep the same as a challenge round. I didn’t really understand how, but I think it was whoever did that round the most in a week got a gift card to smoothie king (or something like that). So here was my workout:
2 ½ minutes of squat to military press with dumbbells; 30 seconds of burpees
2 ½ minutes of kettlebell squats with single arm raise; 30 seconds of hi-low plank
2 ½ minutes of 20 jab/crosses on the double end bag then 20 criss cross feet (repeat); 30 seconds of I don’t remember
2 ½ minutes of 20 hooks, 2 left kicks, 2 right kicks (repeat); 30 seconds of I don’t remember
2 ½ minutes of 20 jab/crosses on the bag, 5 rear kicks left, 5 rear kicks right (repeat); 30 seconds of I don’t remember
2 ½ minutes of ropes; 30 seconds of surrenders
2 ½ minutes of speed bag; 30 seconds of I don’t remember
2 ½ minutes of why can’t i remember; 30 seconds of I still don’t know
2 ½ minutes of reverse leg lifts and side to side toe touches; 30 seconds of mountain climbers and plank jacks
Sorry…apparently I have no memory, but you get the point!
Crystal was my trainer, and I believe the owner of this location. She was super nice but I didn’t feel pushed. At the end of the workout I felt like I should go home and run or do another workout again.
Now onto the Heights location:
OMG what a difference. When I walked in I was greeted very energetically and enthusiastically by all of the trainers. There was jumping and fist bumping and high fiving. The energy was flying. I mentioned to Bella that I was writing a fitness blog and had been to the Westheimer location the day before and she said right off the bat that she was ready to kick my ass which is music to my ears when it comes to a workout.
The workout style was the same as far as the rounds go, but the actual workouts were more intense and much more kicking and punching! The other really great thing about all the trainers at the Heights location was that they were very focused on helping you with your form and took the time to explain how to use proper technique. I have never been able to do the speed bag but Bella was literally holding my hand, showing me how to do it until I could do it on my own. It was fantastic.All of the trainers were very motivational and encouraging so the environment was just that much better. I also sweat more and definitely got a better workout at the Heights location. Oh but there were 2 negatives…the music was overly loud and parking sucked. I felt like I needed ear plugs and was constantly asking the trainers to repeat themselves and had to parallel around the corner and I don’t do parallel park That’s all though!
Ultimately 9 Round is great for the person who only has 30 minutes to workout and can’t make scheduled classes. After your first few times, you just walk in and go through the rounds on your own. You don’t have to schedule a time to come in, you just show up. All of the rounds are written on chalkboards or whiteboards so you know what to do at each round and in between rounds, the trainers just yell out random active recoveries for everyone to do.
I only got the pricing for the Westheimer location and since they are separately owned, the pricing is different for each location. They did both however offer a free week trial which you should take advantage of if you are interested in checking them out. The Westheimer location was only $75-89 depending on your payment plan (for example 75 is if you sign up for a year, 89 is month to month and there is a level or 2 in between). I actually find that pretty low for what they offer. It includes unlimited classes with a trainer present, that focuses on full body, cardio and strength training in every workout. Again, they have a free week, so why not give them a try?!
Visit www.9round.com to find a location near you, but if you want high energy and intensity, try out the Heights!