In Shape / It's Life

Your Ultimate Guide to Working Out in Houston

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Happy New Year! It’s that time of year when you make a lot of promises to yourself: Gonna eat healthy, gonna clean out the old closet, gonna get fit. Well, we can help you with one of those goals.

We kind of work out — a lot. And we write about it — a lot. Here are all the Houston exercise spots we’ve tried and why we liked them:

All We Do is Spin, Spin, Spin No Matter What

All spin classes are not created equal, but all of these spots have similar approaches: Great music, full-body workout (including incorporating hand weights for an arm portion), 45 minute classes, and young, fun instructors.

RIDE Heights

RIDE HOUSTON HEIGHTS

What: Austin-based indoor cycling studio.
Where: 19th Street in the Heights
Cost: One class for $22, more options here. But your first class is free!
Toughness rating: 3/5. The class is challenging, but you put what you want into it
The workout in one sentence: “The most fun you can have on a bike.”
Read more here.

Soul Cycle

soul cycle river oaks kirby houston

What: The cycling trend that started it all.
Where: One in River Oaks at Westheimer and Kirby, and another in Memorial at Memorial and Voss.
Cost: $30 — the most expensive cycling option.
Toughness rating: 4/5 (It really depends on your instructor, but the hardest cycling class I have taken has been a SC one)
The workout in one sentence: Tap it back.
Read more here.

Revolution Studio

What: One of the OG indoor cycling studios in Houston. Plus, there’s yoga!!
Where: One in Sugar Land, one near Memorial City Mall, and one at Kirby and Westheimer.
Cost: One class is $24, but RS is the only (?) studio that has unlimited packages. Plus yoga too! More deets here.
Toughness rating: 3/5.
The workout in one sentence: One community sweating and dancing together — on a bike.
Read more here.

RYDE

What: Indoor cycling with a light-up screen on your bike (so to challenge yourself to the extreme).
Where: River Oaks Shopping District on West Gray.
Cost: First class is $15 OR you can do a week unlimited is $30. More deets here.
Toughness rating: 3/5
The workout in one sentence: Get your rave on — on a bike.
Read more here.

Biking Downtown

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What: Make your own workout on a bike downtown.
Where: Wherever you want to go. We recommend Buffalo Bayou Park.
Cost: $5 for a 24-hour pass. More here.
Toughness rating: Do your own thing, but probably a 2/5.
The workout in one sentence: See downtown while engaging your core and legs.
Read more here.

Find Your Zin

You’re delusional if you think yoga isn’t a workout. It’s challenging for your body, and refreshing for your mind. It’s literally a win-win.

Big Power Yoga

big power yoga montrose waugh

What: Big, Baptiste-style yoga classes full of yogis of all shapes, sizes and skill levels.
Where: One at Waugh and Allen Parkway and one off I10.
Cost: Your first month is $40 unlimited (a drop-in class is $20). After that, it’s $99/month for unlimited yoga.
Toughness rating: 3/5
The workout in one sentence: One of our favorite yoga studios with tons of class options and an amazing savasana.
Read more here. and here.

Bonus: Big SUP Yoga

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What: Two hours of Yin Yoga, including practicing on a paddleboard.
Where: 288 Lake
Cost: $35-$40, includes the paddleboard.
Toughness rating: 3/5. Well, you are balancing on a board in still water, which can be a challemge, but Yin Yoga is slow moving. You hold poses for long periods of time.
The workout in one sentence: Test your balance skills and mix up your practice.
Read more here.

Joy Yoga

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What: Vinyasa yoga of varying challenge/skill level with
Where:Off Washington near Shepherd.
Cost: $20 for a single class; $39 for a month of unlimited yoga (for new members). Membership is $99 a month with extra perks, like guest passes, discounts, free shirt and mat rentals.
Toughness rating: 4/5. I remember Joy being challenging — especially the power classes. But, there are tons of different classes, including prenatal classes and candlelight yoga.
The workout in one sentence: Find your joy in not hot yoga.
Read more here.

Black Swan

Raven Tower Yoga

What: Donation-based sweaty yoga studio (80-95 degree rooms)
Where: Off White Oak Blvd. in the Heights (and occasionally at Raven Tower for free)
Cost: $88 a month membership for unlimited. Recommended $10-20 donation per class.
Toughness rating: 4/5. The heat makes it TOUGH. Plus it’s a challenging class to begin with.
The workout in one sentence: Sweat your way to relaxation.
Read more here.

Get the Pilates Body

Pilates tends to be a non-cardio workout done on a mat, but more likely on a reformer, in a small class. You focus on your breathing and hold challenging poses/small movements that strengthen your muscles — all of them, but definitely your core.

HIP Fitness

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What: High Intensity Pilates. A Lagree Method-taught, 45ish-minute class on a megareformer.
Where:  River Oaks District or off West Holcome (the OG studio)
Cost: First class is $15 or first unlimited two weeks is $69. After that, classes are $35 or cheaper for packages. More here.
Toughness rating:  6/5. Might be cheating with that rating, but it’s HARD.
The workout in one sentence:  Not your normal pilates — so, so much harder.
Read more here.

Citizen Pilates

citizen pilates hieghts boulevard houston

What: Reformer pilates in a sleek new studio.
Where:  New studio is off Heights Blvd. The original location is off Houston Ave.
Cost: Your first class is $10. $30 classes after that. Package options, too. More here.
Toughness rating:  4/5. Reformer classes are hard everywhere, but when we went most were beginner classes. Could possibly get tougher and tougher as the new studio grows and advances.
The workout in one sentence:  Instability is your friend — and your enemy.
Read more here.

InStep Pilates

What: Private (or duo) pilates personalized for each student.
Where: Off I10 near Saint Arnold Brewery.
Cost: The intro package is three classes for $150.
Toughness rating:  3/5
The workout in one sentence: An experience that’s so good for your muscles that it feels like somewhere between a workout and a massage.
Read more here.

Defy Pilates

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What: A 50-minute reformer pilates class for all skill levels.
Where:  Off I10 on Heights Blvd.
Cost: Your first two classes are free, then the 5-class package is $50. Then there are various class packages.
Toughness rating: 4/5
The workout in one sentence:  Prepare to be crazy sore and end in a cool pilates vinyasa stretch.
Read more here.

Where to Run

Free and fun! Know where to go when you’re a swimmer-turned-runner training for a half marathon.. or quarter with us on Jan. 7!

Buffalo Bayou

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Where: 105 Sabine Street
Length: 1 to 8 miles
Pros: Downtown views, interesting run with hills, flowers, art, dog parks, bridges, etc. plus great post-run snack potential at the Kitchen at the Dunlavy
Cons: Hard to find parking, running under the Waugh Bat Bridge is smelly
More here. 

Memorial Park

Where: 7575 N Picnic Lane.
Length: 3 mile loop
Pros: Great parking, water fountains and bathrooms every mile, well lit for night runs, always busy
Cons: Trails can get muddy with big puddles after a rain
More here.

Heights Boulevard

Heights Boulevard Trail
Where: Heights Boulevard & I-10
Length: 2 mile trail (4 miles when you double back)
Pros: Shaded gravel path, water fountains every 1/2 mile or so, eclectic art that rotates monthly, intersects with the Heights Hike and Bike Trail
Cons: Not well lit after dark
More here. 

White Oak Bayou:

Where: 1031 Stude Street
Length: 2.5 mile paved path
Pros: Free 5K races every month with the Houston Wellness Project, a few blocks away from the Heights Hike and Bike Trail for longer runs, good parking at UH Downtown or Stude Park
Cons: Little shade and pavement can be hot in the summer
More here.

Best Barre None

Pilates meets dance. A low-heart rate workout that includes holding poses until your body shakes. You use light hand weights and incorporate a bar and moves straight from a ballet studio.

Pure Barre

Pure Barre River Oaks

What: 60 minute class with movements that change every 1 to 2 minutes so you never get bored or build muscle memory
Where: Multiple Locations. We’ve tried River Oaks and Heights.
Cost: New client special $99 for unlimited month / Regular Membership $195 per month
Toughness rating: 3/5
The workout in one sentence: You’re not going to sweat but you’re sure going to work; be prepared to target muscles you didn’t even know you had.
Read more here.

Bar Method

What: 45 to 60 min floor classes that use mats, balls, bands and a bar (of course) to get your body to burn
Where: 503 Westheimer Road
Cost: New Client special $89 for unlimited month / Regular Membership $175 per month
Toughness rating: 3/5
The workout in one sentence: Oh my quads. 10 more seconds never seemed so long.
Read more here.

Full Body Workout

Challenge your full body in one of these fusion/specialty classes that might be off the beaten path but will definitely beat you up — in a great, challenging way.

Define: Bounce

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What: A 45-minute heart-rate raising class on a personalized trampoline. (PS. There are also kids and lite classes—for an older generation).
Where: There are 10 Houston-area locations.
Cost: Your first Define class is free. It’s $24 per class after, or there are unlimited and bundle options. Deets here.
Toughness rating: 5/5. I died. It’s TOUGH and you sweat.
The workout in one sentence: The one class that is equal parts fun and challenging.
Read more here.

OrangeTheory Fitness

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What: A hour-long interval training class involving a treadmill, rowing machine and floor exercises with various equipment. The class tracks your heart rate and gives you points based on the minutes you spend in calorie-burning heart rates.
Where: There are 12 Houston-area OTF locations.
Cost: Your first class is free. Then memberships range from 4, 8 or unlimited classes a month. A drop-in session is $28.
Toughness rating: 5/5. You will not be able to under-perform in this class.
The workout in one sentence:
Read more here. And here.

Define: Body

What: 60 minute strength class that incorporates yoga, pilates and core moves
Where: Multiple locations. We tried River Oaks.
Cost: Single class $24 (first one is free!) / Unlimited Month $125 – $250
Toughness rating: 3/5
The workout in one sentence: Toning your body one squat, plank, and bicep curl at a time.
Read more here.

Camp Gladiator

Image from the CG website: campgladiator.com

Image from the CG website: campgladiator.com

What: Outdoor workout classes that incorporates cardio, strength and camaraderie.
Where: Parking lots and parks everywhere. There are dozens of Houston-area meet ups in the mornings and evenings usually. But bonus: There are meet ups across the US and if you’re a member you can go to any of them.
Cost: $69/month for 12 months or $179 for a 4-week camp. Sign up for the newsletter to get word if there are free months.
Toughness rating: 5/5. The heat is really what does you in. BRING WATER.
The workout in one sentence: The world’s your gym.
Read more here.

12 thoughts on “Your Ultimate Guide to Working Out in Houston

  1. Pingback: “Your Ultimate Guide to Working Out in Houston”—It’s Not Hou It’s Me | Digital and magazine journalist

  2. Hi! Just wanted to add that Ryde does offer unlimited packages too. $175/mo with a 3 month commitment. I started spin to get ready for my wedding. The wedding was in November and I have no intention of quitting at Ryde!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: A Few of Our Favorite Things: January | It's Not Hou It's Me | Houston Lifestyle, Food and Culture Blog

  4. WOW! You really did your homework 🙂 I just moved my Houston-based gym to CA, but…we’re online (live 1-on-1 video chat) for anyone looking for sessions without the traffic: FitArmadillo.com $49 for a private session (pacakges reduce the cost) but my Pilates instructor is doing free sessions for new members this month!

    Liked by 1 person

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