(IT’S NOT HOU IT’S ME) — Every new year, we’re intrinsically programmed to try something new — new diet, new goals for ourselves, and new workouts. There are countless opportunities to get fit here in Houston, and I thought this year I’d tell you 20 of my favorite workout studios, classes, or instructors, and why I love them so much.
I know 20 sounds like a lot — for me, I was scared of not getting to that ambitious quota. But, amazingly, I probably could have gone on and on!
A lot of these are available through ClassPass! Sign up with my tracking code (click here!) to get your first month FREE! I’ll indicate below if the class is on ClassPass!
Hollywood class with Triston and Mara at F45
So, let’s start with my newest obsession. F45 is a big chain of franchises — there might be one closer to you! But the newest Houston location is off Houston Street in the Sawyer Arts District. I’ve been a few times — exclusively for the Saturday morning 8:30 am Hollywood class. It’s a full hour and is ~probably~ the hardest class, depending on who you ask. But it’s ADDICTING!
You move through a series of 26 workout moves — ropes, sprints, high knees, crunches, weighted squats, rowing, biking — and work 40 seconds on and 15 off. You move through that twice with a water break in between.
I love it because you can literally do ANYTHING for 40 seconds, right? Mind over matter! And Triston and Mara are the BEST motivators. They come around and pump you up or correct your form. Tell them we sent you annnddd you’re likely going to find me out there most sweaty Saturdays!
Crew Fitness butt kicking with Marcia
Hard to pick just one of my favorites at Crew Fitness, but I’m going with the OG Marcia, who owns the studio with her husband Dan! I think I love Marcia’s class because we tooootally have the same music taste. (PSA: Crew is on ClassPass!)
Crew Fitness, if you haven’t heard or read me obsessing about it already, is a high energy, butt-kicking class that combines rowing and floor work for an amazing 4- minute workout in the Heights.
Usually, you row about 2,500 to 3,000 meters or so throughout class and spliced in between rowing reps of leg, core, and arm workouts. I love it — it’s so different from what else is out there and I honestly go like twice a week and still find myself getting sore!
Boost Pilates with hilarious commentary by Natalie
I’ve taken a lot of different instructors at Boost Pilates mainly at their Heights location — they actually have two other locations too! Convenient! But, I think I look forward to Natalie’s classes the most. For one, she’s got a great name, and she also just has a lot of personality that I find distracts me from the pain! (PSA: Boost is on ClassPass!)
Boost is reformer pilates, which is different from the Megaformer pilates places on this list — scroll down. Boost for me really gets those small muscles for a low heart rate workout I enjoy on a Sunday morning usually. It’s by no means easy, but the combo of stretching and small muscle work is also relaxing to me!
Sweaty Soul Cycle with Meg
When I decided I wanted to focus this blog post on specific classes and instructors, I immediately thought of Meg! She’s an actual real friend of mine, so duh I gotta shout out, but she’s also the founder of Sweatworks, which is a networking and events business for fitness freaks and instructors in town!
Meg is also a Fyre Fitness instructor, but where you might have heard of her is at SoulCycle. She teaches at both Houston locations and has the best energy. You’ll leave her rides drenched in sweat, with a new favorite song, and a totally uplifted mindset.
Take it outside with Camp Gladiator
Full disclosure, it’s been a minute since I worked out with CG. It’s a very addicting workout though so if you’re looking for a new group to get sweaty with, highly recommend Camp Gladiator.
The membership-based workout has daily popup locations all around Houston — from parks to empty parking lots! Some dates are weight heavy and others just use your bodyweight. Bring your own mat and weights and be prepared to leave with new friends!
Triple threat at Spenga
What if I told you that you didn’t have to decide between spin, weights, and yoga? The full hour combo classes at Montrose’s Spenga has 20 minutes of each! How cool is that? I booked myself a Friday afternoon class because 20 minutes of stuff was all that I could see myself doing. I think, because of the class’s structure, it’s actually a very do-able class for people of all levels! (PSA: Spenga is on ClassPass!)
Ps. You won’t need spin shoes because there’s no clipping in. Bring those tennis shoes and get ready to work!
Do good at The Studio Form
Remember the low heart rate pilates beauty of Boost? Yeah, The Studio Form ain’t that. Despite the cute pink exterior of Form, it’s a helluva megaformer workout. It’s so fast paced and the entire time I’m usually thinking, “Wait, I have to do WHAT?! No way I can do that.”
Alas, I do what I’m told and come out on the other end extremely sore and proud. My FAVORITE thing about Form though is that with every single class, the studio donates $5 to a charity. For that reason, you won’t find classes on ClassPass or any really insane deals. But, you do get the warm fuzzies along with the intense muscle burn. Get your first class for $15 with code “ANASTASIA”. To book, click on the 1 class series ($35) and enter the promocode at checkout!
Bounce it out with Billy at Define
OK, so we’ve blogged about this one before, but update: I did this class recently and news flash IT’S STILL HARD AND FUN! (PSA: Define is on ClassPass!)
Bounce, if you haven’t heard, is a high energy workout on, you guessed it, a trampoline. You’ll bounce to music, do pushups or crunches on the trampoline, run sprints, and more. It’s definitely a sweat sesh, and I loved taking Billy’s class in the Heights. He’s kinda silly and distracts you while you move that booty.
Jam out with Haley at CycleBar
Gah! It’s hard to pick just one instructor at CycleBar, where I’ve been a member for over 2 years (crazy!). But Haley, another one of my real-life friends, is a tough cookie, so book her if you’re down for a butt kicking.
I also feel like it needs to be said that Haley has the best music taste. I know it to be true because she steals my song recommendations for her classes. You’re welcome Haley.
Pro tip: Go to Haley’s 5:30 am Torture Tuesday classes. I know, I sound insane. But you’ll have THE BEST Tuesday because it’s all uphill from there.
HIIT latin night with Vanessa at Sweat 1000
Mixing up the cycling and pilates for a second to mention Vanessa’s Latin Night class at Sweat 1000 on Fridays at 4:45. It’s a great one to get your sweat on before you get into full weekend mode, and it’s only a 45 min class (as opposed to the usual 60!). Vanessa makes it really fun and spicy with some Latin beats!
Sweat 1000 combines treadmill work with floor work in fast intervals. You’ll never really have a chance to catch your breath and then boom, it’s over before you know it!
Fyre Fitness with Chichi
My other favorite megaformer spot is Fyre Fitness at 610 and Yale in the Heights! (PSA: Sweat is on ClassPass!)
Another one of my friends/professional butt kickers is Chichi! She’s such a sweetheart and has the perfect combination of motivation and kindness. I also love her classes because she really focuses on booties and abs — which like we all know are super important.
Get zen at BEYOGA
OK, so I’m not the biggest yoga person so I really appreciate BEYOGA for its variety! The classes they offer range from challenging “BE STRONG” and traditional “BE FLOW” to slow-paced “BE SLOW FLOW” and peaceful “BE ZEN.”
That last one is an incredible opportunity to focus on flexibility and restoration. Right now, it looks like the zen classes are on Thursday and Sunday nights — perfect for de-stressing after a busy week or chilling out at the end of a weekend. (PSA: BEYOGA is on ClassPass!)
Lengthen and tone with Darby at Pure Barre
Go tuck yourself at Pure Barre in the Heights! (Sorry, gotta love a good pun!) Barre is another one of those types of workouts where you won’t raise your heart rate TOO much but you’ll focus on really small muscles that make a difference in your posture.
Darby is the head honcho at the Heights location, so you know you’ll get the best instruction and hands on benefit! (PSA: Pure is on ClassPass!)
Jumpin party at Body Rock Pilates
Can you tell I’m kinda obsessed with Pilates? Body Rock Pilates has your typical reformer classes, but they also do a jump board class that’s so fun! (PSA: Body Rock is on ClassPass!)
You literally jump on a board affixed to the end of your reformer, and it sounds wild and dangerous but after a few minutes you really get the hang of it. Plus those bursting movements really cause some instability that is an added challenge.
Burn out at Barry’s
One of my most mentally trying workout of 2019 was Barry’s. Seriously, I was SO nervous. It looked so intense!! But I actually took a class during opening weekend with the CEO OF BARRY’S! And I survived and LOVED it, which is to say that anyone can do a Barry’s class!
The structure of the class is two sets of floor and treadmill work. One 10-minute on the treadmill, one on the floor, repeat and BOOM you’re done with your workout! Every day is a different muscle group focus too, so you get to mix it up.
Box it out at Vortex
Here’s another one if you’re looking to mix it up! Vortex, which also offers spin classes, has really fun boxing workouts. I know what you’re thinking: “Boxing? but what? how?” As someone who has never before picked up boxing gloves before the workout, and as someone who survived the experience, I can say with full confidence that it’s doable! (PSA: Vortex is on ClassPass!)
The class felt very arm heavy of course — I had some sore shoulders and biceps! But it really is a full body and cardio workout!
Get intimate with Courtney or Kale at Control Studios
OK, so last Pilates recommendation, I swear! But this one is super different! It’s classical pilates and super small class size so you really get hands-on instruction. (PSA: Control is on ClassPass!) There’s all types of classes — mat work, pilates chair, reformer, and even yoga!
I love Courtney and Kale — the owners! But you’re in good hands with any of their protegés.
Hang out at Define
Another Define class to hit in 2020 is their Hammock Class! It’s definitely different and challenging in a whole other level. (PSA: Define is on ClassPass!)
You really get to check out and invert — you’ll spend most of the class upside down!
Kick it with Michael Chabala at Sphere Fitness
Cardio? Check. Fun? Check. Soccer-theme workouts with Sphere Fitness are so high energy and, well, HARD. There are several different classes — from running heavy ones to bodywork in the sidelines.
Schedule some climb time at Momentum
I love the idea of skipping a workout for some rock climbing at Momentum! The gym is definitely fitness-focused (they even have yoga classes and weights!) but it’s less structured and totally what you make of it.