Defy Pilates

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:

Defy Pilates

Method Pilates

PosturFit

Avenue Fitness

HIP Fitness

Anyways, you get 2 free classes, so why wouldn’t you give it a try??

Defy Pilates Connie
Thanks for the company @connieisthebest

For more information on Defy Pilates visit http://defypilates.com/ or follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Defy-Pilates-1164304360358641/ (Bellaire) or https://www.facebook.com/Defy-Pilates-325458807873070/ (Heights) and Instagram at @defypilates

 

Method Pilates

I’m pretty sure I have said this a few times before, but reformers pilates is typically not my jam. I am more of the cycle, bootcamp, sweat, sweat, sweat type workout girl, buttttttt when one of my favorite yoga instructors from Revolution Studios opened up her own reformer pilates studios, I just had to give it a try.

I’ve taken 2 classes so far, both from Dani, and I have really enjoyed them. I still have 1 more to take, and I am looking forward to trying a different instructor. What I love about the studio is, well a lot. It is in Rice Village which is a great location, and has a Nourish juice bar in the front of the studio. All of the reformers have these cute and inspiring saying engraved into the floor and there is a really fun neon spring sign on the wall that is perfect for taking boomerangs (boomerang wouldn’t load for some reason 😦 but you can see the fun light up spring sign in the background of this pic even though it’s blurry). There is also a small retail section with method branded clothes and grippy socks and I so want to buy all of it!!

Method Pilates Rice Village

The class itself was medium intensity, which is perfect for beginners and also for the more advanced person. In 50 minutes they focus on your entire body. Both classes I have taken started with a focus on legs and booty, then we moved to arms and back and ended with abs and a bit of cardio. Like I said, full body workout! Legs and booty are usually worked by doing squats, lunges and leg lifts with resistance plus some other stuff. Arms are typically bicep curls and tricep kickbacks, etc. Abs are planks or mermaids (which SUCK). Lastly, cardio is like mountain climbers in plank position or something like that.

If you have never taken a reformer class, I definitely recommend trying one out. They are pretty fun mainly because it’s just different than anything else. It is all resistance which is adjusted by adding springs on and off your carriage which makes it harder or easier to move. It doesn’t seem like much when you are actually in the class though, or at least I never sweat and muscle fatigue doesn’t ever really happen for me, but in the days to follow I am always sore, especially in my abs and obliques.

One negative and positive about the class is that there are only 8 spots total per class so you have to book your class pretty far in advance cause they fill up FAST! The good part about there only being 8 people in class is that you get the one-on-one assistance and support you need from the instructor. Classes are all purchased and booked through their app which you can download from the app store for free. You can also see a full schedule and all of their pricing in the app. They have single classes for purchase if you just want to try it out once or packages that you can buy depending on what you are looking for.

So far I would say this is my favorite reformers pilates class. My ranking is:

  1. Method Pilates
  2. HIP
  3. Avenu Fitness

I still have a bunch of reformer classes already on my schedule to take and will add them to the rank as I blog about them. Whichever class you decide to take, just don’t forget your grippy socks!!!

 

For more information on Method Pilates visit http://www.methodpilates.com/ or follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/methodpilates.tx/ and Instagram at @methodpilates (btw, their instagram is super cute)

 

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

HIP Fitness

Another mini rant coming your way so brace yourself. So I pass by HIP Fitness pretty regularly and have been wanting to try it. Unfortunately they don’t do a free intro class, but for first timers it’s only 15 bucks so I figured what the hey right?! Wrong! I sign up, arrive a few minutes early and the girl goes, “You need grippy socks, here are some you can buy, the cheapest ones are $16.50.” $16.50 for a pair of SOCKS?!? Am I that cheap or is that just as outrageous as I think it is! Anyways, I had already paid $15 for the class so I didn’t want to just walk out, so I forked up another $17-something for the damn socks and joined the class. I know my rants make me sound cheap, but really it’s not the money I am ranting about, it is the lack of communication on what to expect when you sign up for something. 

BTW … here are the socks I am talking about. You can get 12 pair for only $24 on Amazon!!!!!! So basically they cost 2 bucks each …

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Okay … on the the workout. HIP Fitness stands for High Intensity Pilates. They use the reformers as shown in the picture below.

Randi (not sure if I spelt that right) was the instructor and before class started she gave me a quick tutorial of how to use the machine and what to expect. I jumped on the machine and off we went. There were only about 10 reformers, so the class size was small. Majority of the people there were women, but there was a guy in my class and one came in for the class after mine.

The workout was definitely INTENSE, but in an odd way. I made it through the entire workout without sweating, but my muscles were on fire and I had to constantly take breaks. The exercises were really small movements that just targeted the shit out of my hammys, shoulders and abs mainly. The reformer is basically used to add resistance to each and every move you do. I felt like a baby gazelle trying to stand for the first time when I first got on … actually, I felt like a baby gazelle the entire time. It was quite awkward and shaky but it was the first time I had ever used the reformer so I assume if I continued to use it I would grow out of baby gazelle phase.

HIP Fitness.png

HIP Fitness has 2 locations, one off of Holcombe and Greenbriar (which is the one I went to) and one in River Oaks. Parking and traffic was easy for me to get to at the West U Location. The actual studio is just one big room. You walk in and there are just rows of reformers and a little front desk and a small retail sections with some really cute but EXPENSIVE workout clothing … there I go again being cheap. They had these navy leggings with little pink Texas all over them that were so cute but were $120. I feel like I should do a blog about inexpensive workout gear because I am the queen of finding those deals!

Anyways, this blog has gone on long enough. I do recommend trying HIP Fitness, but make sure to bring some grippy socks when you go. Prices are all listed online so check them out and see what you think. The workout was intense, but I think you would need to incorporate a healthy dose of cardio into your routine as well because there was zero cardio involved. I’ll leave you with this, I only tried one class, but I have a friend in Baton Rouge who said she has been using the reformer for about a year now and LOVES it.

Learn more about HIP Fitness at http://www.hipfitnesstx.com/

or like them on Facebook at West U: https://www.facebook.com/hipfitnesstx/ or River Oaks: https://www.facebook.com/hipfitnessriveroaks/

HOTWORX

I am very conflicted with my experience with HOTWORX at Planet Beach. I haven’t been posting in awhile because I was so graciously given a free month at Planet Beach by a friend and I wanted to use my membership as much as possible.

I came across HOTWORK through a Facebook ad stating, “Come try a FREE HOTWORK workout.” I signed up for my first class, even asked a friend to join and when we showed up we were told that they class was free, but we had to pay $10 each to rent a HOTWORX mat and towel. We decided to go ahead and try the class and I was pretty happy with the actual workout, but I will get to that in a bit.

I want to start this blog by talking about the lack of communication and somewhat manipulation of the staff at Planet Beach. If you don’t want to hear my rant, skip this paragraph to read about the actual workout. First, it was the “FREE” class that actually costed $10, no biggie. Then we were told that they had a special going on for $99/mo. unlimited services including HOTWORX, all tanning services, the massage bed, facials and teeth whitening. We were shocked at the deal and asked numerous times, “So it’s only $99 for all of that?!” and told yes everytime. We both purchased the package and were on our way, excited about all the pampering we would get over the next month. I showed up for my first HOTWORX session as a member as was asked if I wanted to pay the $10 to rent the towel and mat or buy my own for $50…..WHAT? I thought it was covered in the $99. NOPE! And you can’t use your own mat and towel, even though I have 8 million mats at home because these are special mats and towels that are made for the temperature … I call bullshit, but on with my rant. So I said, “Fine. I will buy the mat and towel for $50 because I will come more than 5 times.” Long story short, 2 days later, I get a charge on my card for $100….because according to the girl who worked there, it was $50 for the mat and $50 for the towel even though my friend and I both heard on multiple occasions her say, “It’s $50 for the mat and towel.” NOT “$50 for the mat and $50 for the towel.” I mean what sane person would pay $100 for a freaking mat and towel … I already thought $50 was outrageous. Even longer story short, everything we did besides tanning and the massage bed was an extra fee. Want a facial, the service is free but you have to pay for the products. Same with teeth whitening. All bullshit if you ask me AND a fantastic way to lose a customer. BYEEE Planet Beach forever.

Ok onto the actual HOTWORX workout. HOTWORX is a little wooden room that you rent out for  1-3 people. There is a TV inside and you pick between like 7 different workouts like yoga, pilates, iso, warrior, etc. The room is basically an infrared sauna that is kept at 120-125 degrees. All of the videos were pretty similar. Basically you hold poses for about 1-2 minutes at a time and just SWEAT. Each video is 30 minutes long which is just enough to have you completely drenched by the time you walk out. The workouts were moderately difficult. I could do 90% of the poses without letting up but my right hand girl had a bit more trouble during the workouts. I enjoyed the workouts and felt re-energized whenever we were done, but I probably would never do HOTWORX again, esp if the customer service is as bad as it was here at other Planet Beach locations. (btw we went to the one on Buffalo Speedway)

HOTWORX.JPG

Another note on HOTWORX. I have always had a bad pain in my shoulder, just a effed up muscle, but on days I did HOTWORX, the pain would melt away within being in the sauna for only 5-10 minutes. I need to find me a sauna to visit more often I suppose.

Anyways, I suggest HOTWORX if you like to sweat but want low impact. I don’t suggest it because it is expensive as hell for what it is. I would suggest just finding a real yoga or pilates studio to go to instead, unless you hate working out in front of people, then we are back at a pro for HOTWORX since you are by yourself in a room. All in all, there were more cons than pros with HOTWORX.

 

Learn more about HOTWORK at https://planetbeach.com/HOTWORX/ or find Planet Beach at Rice on Facebook at  https://www.facebook.com/planetbeachrice/

 

Hot Yoga Plus – Hot Pilates

pricing Talk about a good community. Traci Silverman, a friend from networking, invited me as her guest to a 60-minute hot pilates class that she teaches. As soon as I opened the doors to Hot Yoga Plus, I was greeted by some of the nicest people. Traci introduced me to two other instructors, the instructors introduced me to other classmates and so on and so on. I felt like I met every person in the studio which is always a welcoming feeling. I set all of my belonging in a cubby along with me socks and shoes and got set up with my mat, towel and water (weights optional) and waited for class to start.

The room was hot (somewhere in the high 90s), so I started to ‘glisten’ before we even started moving. Side note: I highly suggest investing in a yoga mat towel if you are going to do any sort of hot yoga or Pilates. I have one on my to buy list and am in desperate need because I am always losing my grip and sliding around on my mat. Click the image below to see more fun options and pricing for yoga mat towels on Amazon.

The first half of the class was all mat work. It included lots of breathing exercises, hip raises and abdominal work. Then we got up and did a round of ‘crazy 8’s.’ From the sounds people were making, I was prepared to die … but it really wasn’t that bad. I was told at the beginning of class by one of the other instructors to not use weights for my first class, but I definitely needed them. Crazy 8’s were a series of exercises, where you perform 1 exercise for 20 seconds then get a 5 second rest, then you do the 1st exercise for 20 seconds, 5 second transition, 2nd exercise for 20 seconds, 5 second rest, then the 1st exercise for 20 seconds, 5 second transition, 2nd exercise for 20 seconds, 5 second transition, 3rd exercise for 20 seconds, 5 second rest and so on until you get to 8 exercises in total. Traci called the workout a HIIT workout that was pilates inspired. (HIIT stands for high intensity interval training)

Traci was a great instructor! Very energetic and even brought ‘shots’ for everyone. She said at the beginning that she will bring the juice shots, we bring the 6 packs….that made me chuckle. I would rate the workout a medium intensity workout. I definitely needed weights to increase intensity, but I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I started so I never grabbed them. I think the hardest part about the entire workout was just the heat. Every inch of me was covered in sweat and I started to get just the tiniest bit light headed towards the end because of the heat and probably a little dehydration.

Overall it was a fun new workout, but I don’t think it is something that would become part of my everyday routine. I especially loved the environment and the people I met, but the workout just wasn’t quite my style, unfortunately. They are having a special right now for anyone interested in trying it out, $30 for 14 days unlimited.

Hot Pilates with Traci

For more information on Hot Yoga Plus and to see pricing and membership availabilities visit http://bikramyogameyerland.com/

For more info on Traci visit https://www.feelinggreattoday.com/

DEFINE body & mind

There is one word I would use to describe this workout and that is, FIRE. My legs were on absolute fire during the “body” class at DEFINE body & mind in West University. DEFINE body & mind offers a variety of classes at 11 studios in the Houston (and surrounding) area. Their classes are body, rev, bounce, yoga and mind. You get one free trial class and can sign up for it online or by calling in. I had issues with the submission form online so I gave them a call and they were so kind and knowledgeable. I asked for a class recommendation and the girl suggested body or bounce (trampolines) for a first timer like me. Since the bounce classes didn’t fit my schedule, I just went ahead and signed up for the body class , but I will be back from bounce one day.

When I showed up, I was welcomed by the staff and given a quick little tour of the facility. Right up front they have a cute little retail section that I had to exercise extreme willpower to stay away from. They also had the cycling room in back, the multipurpose room up front and a little kitchen area to the side. Oh and parking is odd. They have a small lot on the side of the building, but then about 2-3 blocks down they have another designated lot … just FYI.

So the body class is described as “A one-stop shop for the tone and length you’ve been looking for. This results-oriented class combines Pilates, yoga, ballet and core strengthening techniques, coupled with easy to use equipment (for that extra oomph!) to define your best body.” I had never taken a class like this before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Courtney was my instructor and was super sweet. She helped me get set up, put me in the front of the class (eek) and helped me through the entire workout.

The workout covered full body and the equipment used were a light and heavy set of weights, a ball (not sure if it has an actual name) and a band to stretch at the end. You are also positioned on a yoga mat in front of a ballet bar. The workout was intense from the beginning, but a different kind of intense then I am use to. I barely sweat, like at all, yet my muscles were just lit up. I haven’t felt burn like that in my legs in a long time. Arms and abs were burning too, but I was able to push through that pain. I kept having to take a break and stretch during the leg portions. I think the burn was so intense because the muscle movements were so very small and isolated.

The class was pretty full and ranged from what looked like beginners to advanced. I felt like majority of the people in the room had some sort of dance background which made me feel super clumsy and uncoordinated…but what’s new?! I am definitely interested in trying out some of the other classes they have to offer, but if you are looking for a toned body, I think this is a place you should try out. The body class really focused on strength and flexibility and was just a complete mix of pilates, yoga, strength, ballet…you name it!

All I know about pricing right now is that the first class is free and individual classes are $24 each. I know they have packages and plans, but I am not sure what they are yet. I am signed up to take the rev class in the next few days, so I will get some ideas on pricing and let you know about it in the next post. I am also excited to try the rev (cycling) class so I can compare it to the cycling classes at Revolution Studio (which I absolutely LOVED).

To find the location closest to you, visit: http://definebody.com/fitness-studios/

I went to the location at West University here: http://westuniversity.definebody.com/

West University Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Define-Body-Mind-West-U-295810803833845/

West University Instagram: @define_houston