THE HOLIDAY SEASON IS UPON US, and with it comes lots of great food and leisure time to spend with friends and family. Although spending time relaxing with our favorite people is a great way to de-stress and wind down from our busy lives, ‘tis also the season to stay fit. If Thanksgiving turkey and grandma’s pumpkin pie have you more excited than a stop at the gym or an at-home squats session, perhaps now’s the time to consider a wider range of fitness options from our diverse-as-ever city.
When seeking a new fitness routine, there are options to fit everyone’s comfort zone—or maybe even break it a little. From aerial silks to adult dance classes, flying trapeze lessons and everything in between, check out our eight picks for unique fitness classes in Houston below. (And before you show up at the studio, make sure your workout wardrobe is fresh with some locally-sourced threads.)
1. Embrace Bollywood at Bollycurves
If you’ve ever seen a Bollywood movie before, you know to expect brightly-colored costumes, dramatic storylines, and awesome dance sequences. At family-run fitness studio Bollycurves in Missouri City, you can step inside a Bollywood movie yourself while you work out, burn calories, and build endurance while learning cinema-worthy dance moves in a small group class setting. They offer HIIT and cardio classes set to the music and choreography of Bollywood, in addition to accessible Bollywood dance lessons if you’re looking to learn some more authentic moves, regardless of your flexibility or skill level. Yoga classes are also offered here, customized to your body and focusing on pain relief.
After a $5 trial class, contact Bollycurves for class prices.
2. Soar Through the Air at AXIS Aerial Arts
You don’t have to be an acrobat already to try your hand at aerial arts, which offer a great opportunity to build up core strength and flexibility through elegant, dance-like movements (while you’re upside down in mid-air, no less). There’s a variety of aerial fitness classes for all shapes, sizes, and levels—beginning with beginner-friendly introductions for adults, and even kids classes starting at age six—which teach aerial silks, sling, trapeze, Lyra (a sort of aerial hula hoop), and cube classes, all different styles of acrobatics which you can check out for yourself on their Instagram. AXIS also offers both morning and evening pole classes; another excellent way to build strength and confidence through a fun and—potentially—flirty fitness regimen.
Contact AXIS Aerial Arts for info on class prices.
3. Get Your Bounce On at DEFINE body & mind
This sleek gym in River Oaks offers a mindful, wellness-based approach to their cycling, yoga, and barre classes. Their signature “bounce” classes blend barre (which is itself a blend of pilates, yoga stretching, and a muscle-building, cardio-intense ballet workout) and HIIT (that’s high intensity interval training, if you’ve been out of the gym game for a while) with mini trampolines—that’s right, mini trampolines. You’ll see all the effects of a regular gym workout, and put less pressure on your joints while bouncing with weights and resistance bands. You can also find specialty classes like hammock yoga, a unique yoga class incorporating aerial fitness; and mind-ball rolling, a self-massaging technique done with props and yoga mats. As a remote bonus: almost every class offered in-person is also available live on Zoom.
In-studio class prices begin at $24. Find more info on prices at DEFINE body & mind’s website.
4. (Finally) Become a Ballerina at Hunter Dance Center
When you want to get even more creative with your fitness routine, try an adult dance class—regardless if you’ve ever pointe-d or tapped a toe. Beginner’s ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, modern, and contemporary are all offered here, as well as opportunities to grow your performance skills through advanced classes, all taught by professional dancers (and Houstonians) with strong connections to local dance troupes and venues that make our performing arts scene shine. You can also try out aerial dance here, in addition to pilates and yoga, and work your way up to landing a spot in one of their student showcases. You’ll be onstage in no time.
Drop-in class prices begin at $20. Check out Hunter Dance Center’s website for more information on class prices.
5. Let the Baa-d Vibes Go at ROSE Therapeutic Farm & Goat Yoga
If you’re really just looking to spend a mellow day out in the Texan countryside with a relaxing Saturday morning yoga sesh—and maybe some four-legged friends, head out to ROSE Therapeutic Farm in Fulshear this weekend for an hour of low-key yoga to stretch and sweat, and baby goats to ‘aww’ over. (No, we’re still not over goat yoga.) Following the class will be mimosas and a tour of the farm, where you can meet other cute farm animals and de-stress even further from your daily grind—because taking care of your inner health is an important part of fitness, too.
Goat yoga classes at ROSE Therapeutic Farm are $34.
6. Let Your Inner Self Out at Inner Me Studios
This studio, with its bold and eclectic mix of dance, pole, yoga, weight training, and aerobics classes (each with their own unique, modern spin), might not be for everyone; but if you can find your niche here, you’ll find yourself in a supportive, exciting, and confidence-boosting environment. From belly dance to twerking, solo salsa (no partner necessary) to stiletto dancing—heels not required, but highly encouraged, if your aspirations are Beyonce high—the all-inclusive studio specializes in fun, high-energy classes that will challenge your strength, maybe open up your sensual side, and help you reach your fitness, self-love, and/or music video-worthy dancing goals.
Class prices begin at $28. Find more price options on Inner Me Studios’ website.
7. Join the Circus at Texas Circus and Aerial
Cirque du Soleil who? At Texas Circus and Aerial, you can actually take circus training lessons, where you’ll learn things like trapeze and flying trapeze, handbalancing, juggling, and acrobatics—even if you’re not interested in attending clown college, or never got the chance to. Let circus professionals teach you their craft through specialty classes, bungee fitness (a cardio workout that takes place only partially in the air), aerial silks, dance and barre, and aerial yoga (more on that below). These classes are definitely more than novelty—they’re true workouts, beneficial for building strength and flexibility, burning calories, and working on balance. Plus, who wouldn’t want to add a fun new skill to their resume?
Drop-in class prices begin at $30. Find more info on Texas Circus and Aerial’s website.
8. Defy Gravity at Aerial Yoga Houston
You’ve heard of yoga. And now you’ve heard of aerial silks. Isn’t it time someone combined the two into aerial hammock yoga? Most classes are all-levels, even if you’ve never done yoga or anything aerial before, and range from stretchy, relaxing yin and restorative classes, some of which also involve regular mat yoga and wall-supported poses; to more dynamic and challenging routines incorporating barre, conditioning, and aerial tricks. You can book a private or small group session (six people maximum) at this cozy Montrose spot, or attend an upcoming Full Moon workshop for a total cleanse for the month ahead.
Class prices begin at around $30. Find more price info on Aerial Yoga Houston’s website.
9. Fight Off the Blues at Revolution Dojo
Maybe you tried martial arts as a kid but never made it past yellow belt. Or, maybe you took a couple kickboxing classes before the pandemic, and then just never got back into it. Whether you’re a UFC superfan, looking to gain some self-defense skills, or just want to try something new, Revolution Dojo offers supportive, beginner–advanced MMA (mixed martial arts) classes in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, capoeira, judo, and muay thai kickboxing at their Cypress, Heights, Katy, and EaDo locations. Local MMA professionals will tailor your training to fit your interests, whether it’s staying in shape with cardio or weight loss, or working toward competition-quality fighting skills.
Contact Revolution Dojo for info on class pricing.