Revolve Pole Studio

Okay. Every woman should be required to take a pole class. I know this sounds so strange… but from someone who has struggled with body image issues my ENTIRE life, I have never felt so liberated or confident EVER! Now I am not saying to get on a pole and twerk on stage in front of an audience in the buff, although if that’s your style, then by all means GO FOR IT, but I am saying to try a pole fitness class like they offer at Revolve Pole Studio.

I have been wanting to try this for quite some time, but I was just super intimidated and nervous that I would look like a total dork and feel out of place, and boy was I proved wrong. First of all, the people that work at Revolve are the sweetest and most patient people. On top of that, the people taking the classes are all super nice as well and there is NO JUDGEMENT.

So my first class was a beginners class where we learned a super short, but super fun routine. Everyone was laughing and chatting and no one judged me when I asked 800 times for Jackie, the owner and instructor, to help me learn the moves. The classes are small so you get 1-on-1 help when needed. There were only 5 people in my first class, 3 in the chair class I took and 5 in the risque pole class I took.

Each class starts with a really simple warm up of stretching and body rolls and just simple movements to get the body warmed up. Then the instructor walks you through a portion of the routine and you just follow along slowly. Then I ask (a few times), “Wait, can you do that again?” or “Wait, how did you do that?” before we run though it to the beat of a song. Then the instructor adds on another portion and we put it together and then another portion, etc, etc until we have covered the whole routine. Then I ask 56 more questions/clarifications and finally the lights dim way down low and we perform the whole routine 3-4 times through to different songs.

Here is the thing. At first I was super self conscious about … touching myself and acting ‘sexy.’ There is a lot of outline the body and touching your hips or whatever, and I was nervous because I wasn’t alone. But as the class went on, I realized that I hadn’t even taken a second to look at anybody else and guess what, they weren’t looking at me. The classes are really about just being in touch with yourself (no pun intended). If you want to go off routine, you can go off routine. It is a very similar theory to yoga where you do you and forget the rest. Be in tune with yourself and move in the way your body craves. I have only taken the three classes so far (beginners pole, chair and risque pole) but each time I leave that studio, I just feel so alive and confident and free.

Now when it comes to it being an actual workout, I would give it like an intensity level of maybe a 4-5. It really does not require a huge amount of strength, but it does require a bit more flexibility and rhythm. After the first few classes, my hip flexors were a bit sore, my calves were sore and my upper back and shoulders were a bit sore, but that was really it. My calves were sore because if you aren’t wearing the 7” platform shoes, you are supposed to stay on your highest of tippy toes, just barefoot. I did try on the platforms and I was SHOCKED as to how comfortable they were, but I think for my ankles sake I will just stick to bare feet.

I suggest signing up for the new member package of 5 classes (use in 2 weeks) for $35 and trying all of the variations to see which on you like best. Then every month they do a series class where you can sign up for a series (I think 4 classes plus some drop in classes) and learn something specific. This month just happens to be beginners/basics, but next month might be chair or something else.

Listen, don’t think too much about it, just go take a freaking class. You do not have to be in shape. You do not have to have rhythm. You do not have to be flexible. You do not have to wear super high heels. You just have to be willing to try something new and really appreciate the fact that you are a beautiful human being and you should flaunt your shit even if it is in a dark room with nobody watching!

For more information on Defy Pilates visit https://revolvepole.com/ or follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RevolvePoleStudio/ and Instagram at @revolvepole

Lonestar Fitness

“Get the good life.” So I met Kelly West, owner of Lonestar fitness for the first time about 3 months ago at a networking group for work. As soon as she introduced herself I was like, ooh, I need to talk to her! After chatting with her for a bit I just straight up told her I needed to take her class which is super convenient because the gym is less than a quarter of a mile from my work in Bellaire.

The gym is not your typical box gym like Planet Fitness or Anytime Fitness, but I also wouldn’t consider it a boutique gym. It is quite small, but has everything you would need. The thing is, you cannot just go in and work out whenever you feel like it and do your own thing. Anytime you go in for a workout, a trainer either provides a workout for you or you take a small group training class. I decided to try out the small group training class (about 6-8 people) and after having to reschedule numerous times for all sorts of reasons, I finally made it over there last week, AND brought another friend I connected with through another networking event. And can I just say that I am loving how my professional work life and personal gym life are starting to overlap. Makes me very very happy!

Lonestar Fitness with Kearston.jpg
Kearston – networking friend turned workout partner 🙂

Anyways, on Monday and Wednesday at 5:30 PM they do the small group training classes. I got there around 5:15 PM just so I could look around and get a feel for the place. Like I said, it is small, but has all the equipment you could ever need really. There are like 2 treadmills, a bike or two, an elliptical, a little running strip, a full weights station with dumbbells and barbells, TRX bands, bosa balls, weight machines, etc. etc. I could literally go on for a long freaking time, but you get the point. I was greeted by Jess when I first walked in along with another trainer and then later met a third trainer who helped lead the workout, and I have to say, they were ALL so freaking nice. Unfortunately, Kelly wasn’t there, but I had already rescheduled so many times, I didn’t want to reschedule again when I found out she wasn’t going to be there.

Jess led the workout and when 5:30 hit, she took called us to the the back of the gym and assigned us all stations. Each station had a mat, a dumbbell, another ‘elevator’ of some sort (I will explain later) and a jump rope. There was a white board in front of us with like 10 exercises on it. The goal was to run through the exercises as many times as you could in 30 minutes. Here were some of the exercises (and I am not sure on the exact number of reps or order of each one, but I know I am in the ballpark): 15 Hip thrusts with the dumbbell, 20 breakdancers (abs), 20 alternating lunges with weight in the air, 15 elevated push-ups (so whatever elevator you had, you put your feet on and did push-ups – I had a bosu ball), 20 weighted v-ups (abs), 15 reverse pushups (kind of like pullups on a bar or TRX bands), 15 squat jumps and 50 jump ropes. Something like that. So you just cycled through as many times as you could in 30 minutes with a goal of 3 rounds. I made it through about 3 and half rounds.

When I first saw the whiteboard and heard the explanations of the exercises, I was like eh this is going to be easy and boring, but I was actually very surprised at how I felt after. I was a little sweaty, mainly because there is no air, just big fans, and my quads were shaking pretty intensely. What I didn’t like though was that there wasn’t a warm-up or cool-down and if there isn’t one built into the workout, I typically don’t do it even though I know how important it is. Anyways, I see Kelly pretty much every week for work now and her catchphrase is “get the good life” meaning, she doesn’t want to be that fad gym. She wants clients who are ready to make a lifestyle change, clients who have a serious goal and are ready to achieve it through nutrition and fitness. I love this! Fitness is not a fad. Health is not a fad. Diets should never be a fad. Your health is a lifestyle change and you have to commit to making that change or else you will never achieve your goals. If you are serious about getting healthy and making a change, contact Kelly. She would love to chat with you at her gym and figure out a plan to get you from where you are to where you want to be.

 

For more information on Lonestar Fitness visit https://lonestar.fitness/ or follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LonestarGetFit/ or and Instagram at @lonestar.fitness

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

 

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

Hunter Dance Center

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.

 

For more information on Hunter Dance Center visit http://www.hunterdancecenter.com/ or follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/hunterdancecenter/

 

Studio Fitness Heights – TRX Suspension Training

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!

Studio Fitness Heights Interior
Stole this image of Studio Fitness Heights Interior from Google

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.

Image result for trx training
This is just a stock image of TRX Suspension training that I also stole from Google …

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.

For more information on Studio Fitness Heights visit https://www.studiofitness.org/ or follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/studiofitnessheights/ and Instagram at @studiofitnessheights