By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
If your New Year's resolution has anything to do with losing weight, gaining muscle, increasing exercise, decreasing waist size or just generally getting your flabby ass back into shape, then consider yourself lucky to be in Dallas. The weather's warm enough to exercise outside most of the year, and the city is self-absorbed and vain enough to appreciate your exterior improvement far more than any inner growth you may achieve. Just remember--if you truly want to adopt life-changing habits, sitting on the couch and watching Oprah gab about her fad diets just won't cut it. Unless she turns you on. And then, honestly, you need a different sort of New Year's resolution, don't you?
Yoga studios are popping up around town faster than smoothie joints. And they taste almost as good. Or something like that. You can't drive Uptown without passing a scrunchy-wearing pack of socialites toting purple yoga mats. For those who are curious, you won't find a hotter spot than Sunstone Yoga (214-999-8999, www.sunstoneyoga.com). That's because Sunstone, which offers 37 classes a week, heats the room to 100 degrees for each 90-minute session. (See what we did there? You were thinking we meant trendy, right? Well, feel the burn.) Sunstone also has a good introductory deal available on its Web site--$10 for 10 consecutive days. That's an inexpensive way to decide whether hot-room yoga is right for you--or if you feel that you get your ass kicked enough at work, thankyouverymuch. Sunstone recently opened a second location in Preston Forest Village (214-373-7999), so when the Uptown girls get married and become North Dallas housewives, they won't have to drive as far. Another hot-room yoga option is Bikram Yoga (214-824-9642), but if you can't stand the heat, try the Dallas Yoga Center (214-443-9642, www.dallasyogacenter.com). With a variety of classes for everyone from beginners to hard-core students, and special classes for athletes, pregnant women and children, Dallas Yoga may be the most versatile yoga hub in town. Their eight-week beginner's series is a terrific way for newcomers to learn the basics without the intimidating presence of all those long-timers tying themselves in knots. And to avoid embarrassment when you get, you know, too relaxed. You know what we mean. Don't worry; it happens to the best of us.
If you want to lift weights, there's always 24 Hour Fitness (800-432-6348, www.24hourfitness.com). And we do mean always: They are the Starbucks of the gym world. Though some smaller satellite gyms actually do close (apparently, 20 Hour Fitness doesn't quite have the same ring to it), the big Magic Johnson Sport 24 Hour Fitness (214-360-0024) really is open all day and night. Try any of the chain's 24 area locations, but don't commit to anything on your first visit. Give them your phone number and employees will keep calling you for a couple of weeks with better and better deals that "just came down from corporate." Keep stringing them along and they'll eventually buckle like a belt. With 14 area locations, Bally Total Fitness (800-515-CLUB, www.ballyfitness.com) is much like 24 Hour Fitness--without the 24-hour shtick. Don't let them trap you in one of their membership coordinator's offices, but do take advantage of the free 30-day guest pass available on their Web site. If you have money and calories to burn, then the Premier Athletic Club (214-891-6600, www.premierathleticclub.com) might be right for you, since it is more of a swank health club than a regular old gym. Or cult of fitness personality Larry North (214-526-6784) will be happy to make you a member and shower you with pricey personal attention (but not shower with you) in the Highland Park Village version of his health-club chain. But don't forget about the YMCA (www.ymcadallas.org). There are plenty of locations--and more than enough hot soccer moms working out at around, say, 8 a.m. It might not be germane to your situation, but we're putting it out there anyway.
If you prefer breathing fresh air to the odors of a sweaty gym, then check out the running clubs at Run On! Dallas (214-821-0909, www.runontexas.com) or Luke's Locker (214-528-1290, www.lukeslocker.com). They have running classes and groups that can get you in shape for any race, from the three-mile Turkey Trot next November to the 26.2-mile White Rock Marathon in December. Plus they'll make sure you have the proper shoes and attire. If your resolution is to run more--but not to drink less--then the Dallas chapter of the Hash House Harriers (214-804-3999, www.dfwh3.org), whose brave motto is "Mud, Sweat and Beer," has half a mind to make you a member. And you'll have half a mind in a matter of weeks.
The Greater Dallas Bicyclists (www.gdbclub.org) organize group rides on weeknights and weekends. Whether you're a spandex-clad road warrior or your mountain bike has yet to see a mountain, the club has events for all skill levels with just as much emphasis placed on socializing as exercising. Unfortunately, they have yet to completely solve the bike seat/crotch situation.