Work It

The Greatest Workout Classes You’ve Never Tried

These creative, often unusual approaches to fitness may just be the thing to get you off the couch.

By Sarah Rufca Nielsen January 4, 2015 Published in the January 2015 issue of Houstonia Magazine

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Pound founders Kirsten Potenza (center) and Cristina Peerenboom (right) lead a drumming class.

With these unique offerings, you’ll never sweat the same way again.


Where: ROW Studios, 5570 Weslayan St.,
How Much: Single class $25, 10 classes for $225, monthly rates starting at $150
Why: “There is definitely a growing trend around rowing as the centerpiece of functional fitness,” says owner Greg Scheinman, which is exactly the sort of thing you’d expect a guy with a rowing studio to say. But who are we to argue? Proper rowing utilizes 80 percent of all muscles, making it one of the most efficient cardio options ever invented. And while we’d prefer the real thing, not even Lake Como at sunrise could provide as much motivation as land-rowing in a group. “The All Body class changes every day,” says Scheinman, “and capitalizes on the most efficient and effective way to get fit, which is high-intensity intervals, rather than just getting on a bike and going for an hour.” 


Where: Pretty Haute Fitness, 3702 Cypress Creek Pkwy. (Project Move Dance Studio),
How Much: $10 per class
Why: This is the ultimate fitness regimen for people who love air-drumming to Genesis. (In other words, everyone, right?) Founded by a pair of professional drummers, Pound uses weighted sticks to combine drumming with strength training, forcing the body to work within the rhythm of the beats—and to a soundtrack that rocks, of course. 

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Hoop dance uses equipment a little heavier than your childhood hula hoop.

Hoop Dance

Where: NiaMoves, 508 Pecore St.,
How Much: Single class $15, five classes from $65
Why: Perhaps it was inevitable that nostalgia—having crept into everything from our food to our clothes—would one day impact our exercise regimens too. Anyway, that day has arrived, courtesy the 1950s. We’re not talking belt exercise machines here but hula hoops, yet more proof that fitness has become playtime for adults. Incorporating moves inspired by tai chi, hoop dancing employs a hoop that’s bigger and heavier than your childhood version, creating a fun, high-energy workout that improves balance, flexibility, and core strength—yes, we’re talking a serious abs workout. 

Booty Barre

Where: The Good Space, 5757 Woodway Dr.,
How Much: Single class $25 ($15 for members), monthly rates from $55 plus $75 annual membership fee
Why: Nothing makes for long, graceful muscles like ballet, as evidenced by the recent barre class explosion. At this studio, the focus is squarely on the derriere, as students mix dance, pilates, and yoga for a fun cardio class with serious sculpting.

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Body rolling requires one simple prop: an inflatable ball.

Yamuna Body Rolling

Where: Pure Body, 3835 Bellaire Blvd.,
How Much: Single class $35; 20 classes $450; monthly rates starting at $139
Why: A workout regimen designed to counteract the impact of stress and age, body rolling requires just one simple prop, an inflatable ball. Color-coded to target individual muscle groups when rolled between the body and the floor, the balls help relax the back, align the spine, and improve breathing, posture, and balance. 

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