Alice Column

Cheap Bastard's Work-Outer's Guide

Do you want slimmer eyeballs? Maybe your elbows are looking a little heavy these days? Do you want to wake up, look in the mirror and love what you see so much that you invite yourself to sex? Do you want rock-hard abs and a new haircut? Do you want to punch some stuff in an environment where punching some stuff is socially acceptable? Of course you do.

And lucky for you, Dallas, finding places to work out is easy. There are lakes to run around, there are bikes to bike, there are trails to be trailed, there are drunks to chase, there are tollways to yell at, there are tollway concepts to yell at and there are beef ribs to bicep curl. You can even burn calories laughing at the people trying to do yoga on paddleboards and downward-dogging face-first into White Rock Lake. But it's so damn hot right now, it's a good time to find some respite from the Roger-Rabbit-Judge-Doom-melt-your-face heat and sunniness inside a gym.

But gym memberships are expensive, and before you pay all that money and sign your life away, you have important questions: Is this gym a bro-gym or a fembot-gym? Will the training methods they use help me bulk up my glutes and tone my 'nads? Will the air be conditioning? Will there be appetizers?

With this guide to working out, find the perfect place to work out of all the workouts in Dallas, and start getting the working out results you've always wanted. After just one read, you will have gained muscle mass and lost up to 8 pounds. BEGIN.

Cheap Tips

Paying money to sweat in Texas is ridiculous. If you must, here are ways to navigate the workout world for less.

  • First Class Free
    Instead of buying a membership somewhere, hit up every "first time free" trial class in Dallas. Or go to the same place 100 times with a different identity every time. Getting the identities will be difficult and illegal, but it will be cheaper in the short-run. And if you get caught, at least you'll get that last 5-minute sprint from the cops, which totally gets the heart pumping. Go ahead and skip the warm-up stretches. Once you pull a hammie and land in jail, you'll have all kinds of free time to PUSH IT!!

  • Bed a Morally Bankrupt Class Instructor
    If you're looking to pay less to much-less for your boutique gym classes, simply bone a class instructor! Post-bone, ask for a deal and you'll probably get it. If not, at least you burned calories. Hope you remembered to use a FuelBand.

  • Open Your Own Gym
    Come up with a new workout concept and open your own gymnasium. You get free classes, plus you'll be a legend once people hear about the lifelong benefits of Fro-Yoga ("The place where you pound frozen yogurt and then do a bunch of planks! It's the future of working out!") or Mission: Impossible Jumping Out Of Planes N Shit ("Stuntmen and women are the best men and women. Let's run on top of moving trains and suction cup our way up skyscrapers with zero training and 100 percent BAWLS!!! Parkour is for losers!!")

Gym Etiquette

Before you head to the gym, make sure you know how to gym properly.

  • Stink-Eye the People Who Are Late or New to Class
    People who show up late to boutique gym classes are The Worst. How hard is it to be on time for fitnessing? Fitnessing should always be your priority. Stuck in traffic? I don't want to hear it. Stop being a puss, leave your car, toss your car keys to your kids and run the rest of the way to class. Always haze n00bs with eyes of stink and disgust.

  • Primal Screams & Grunts
    You're going to need to do these after lifting any amount of weight or pushing yourself in any way. Done throwing that medicine ball against a wall? Grunt. Three-pound hand weights? Scream it out. Taking a dump? Go hard or go home, y'all. Watch any Maria Sharapova match, 24 Hour Fitness step class or 2-year-old-leaving-the-waterpark tantrum for a tutorial.

  • Grumblebrag
    If you're not grumblebragging, you're not really working out. "Ugh. I'm so sore from dead-lifting 400 pounds yesterday. Gah." "Oh man, I'm just exhausted from running 56 miles this morning before I got to work." Practice often. Post your grumblebrags on social media even more often.

The Gyms

Beyond 500

5915 Forest Lane, Suite 310, 972-802-1384

Fear level during class: 4 out of 5

Sweat buckets: 2

Instruction level: 2 out of 5

Air conditioning: YES

Bro count: 1

Number of people in class: 8

Concept: Burn more than 500 calories in every single class you attend. The Reform & Run class is intervals of Pilates on Reformer machines followed by intervals of running on treadmills.

"It's a mechanical treadmill, not electric, so it's much more environmentally friendly!" They tell you this as you step up onto the Curve, which is, essentially, a hamster wheel. As you start to walk, the speed immediately gets away from you, and suddenly you're running at a breakneck pace that you cannot stop. There is no stop button. You are a failure.

Next comes the Reformer portion of the class. A Reformer is a Pilates torture device (no one expects the Reformer). Imagine a rowing machine, with a platform that moves back and forth. Now put your hands on the platform instead of your ass and "just push your hands away from your feet and do a plank!" Spend the rest of this class fearing that you will break your face on the metal carriage that is inches below your chin. Stress burns calories.

After class, a lady workout gazelle stretched out. She swung one foot behind herself and then grabbed that foot above her head. She stood like this, holding one foot over her head, the other on the floor, blocking the path for everyone else. In yoga, this is called the Advanced Dancer Doucher pose.

Eventually, she scooted up a little so that I could walk past her as she was doing this stretch, and I got an eyeful of sweaty private parts. Read: They gently brushed my shoulder as I walked by and I went, "What was that?" Once I turned to answer the question, I was eye-to-eye with the sweaty vagina part of yoga pants. Too close. Which brings me to a part of working out in public that I like to call: "Hey! Where are your privates?"

Your body parts are yours and yours alone. Make sure you always know where they are during your workout. Obviously, it's beyond cool that you can hold your foot over your head. Just try not to point your tchotchkes at anyone's face while you're holding that foot up: Had I been in a punchier mood, I could have high-fived a ute.

Title Boxing

4140 Lemmon Ave., Suite 275, 214-590-2964

Fear level during class: 4 out of 5

Sweat buckets: 3

Instruction level: 5 out of 5

Air conditioning: YES

Bro count: 3

Number of people in class: 12

Concept: Participants punch and kick 100-pound heavy bags. All classes are taught by trained boxers and kickboxers.

Of all the boutique classes, Title Boxing had the broadest spectrum of body types. At the Uptown location, I expected the class to be much more Uptown-ed than it was. I thought for sure someone would show up in a day scarf and heels. As it turned out, it wasn't just a bunch of lady meatheads or stay-at-home dads — it was all the people. And someone smelled like tacos. Both of these things made me extremely comfortable in this classroom.

Most of the class time is spent punching a 100-pound heavy bag. There's even a moment the instructor calls "three minutes of free therapy," during which you are encouraged to let out all your aggression and frustration on the bag. As I repeatedly kicked the bag in its bag nuts, I realized that punching and kicking things helps me find my center better than any yoga class.

Three cheers for uppercutting the shit out of your problems.


5300 E. Mockingbird Lane, 214-370-5800

Fear level during class: 2 out of 5

Sweat buckets: 1

Instruction level: 5 out of 5

Air conditioning: YES

Bro count: 0

Number of people in class: 9

Concept: This ballet-inspired, core-centric class focuses on alignment, flexibility and posture as you work through targeted mindful muscle movements. It's like Pilates and The Nutcracker made an angry death-wish workout baby.

"Trust the barre" we're told as we all pull against it with our entire body weight. I want to trust the barre, but my insides do not at all trust the barre. The other eight women in the class lean away gracefully while my entire body rejects flexibility and inner peace. I play the Large Marge Eye-Pop-Out scene from Pee Wee's Big Adventure on a loop in my head.

This is barre class, where all of the ladies are thin and speak in soothing voices. All hold onto a hope that if they stretch their legs over their heads long enough, they'll get that White Nights Gregory Hines bod we all seek. The Dallas is on fleek here: Full make-up on most attendees, the attire is exclusively Lululemon (excluding my Target yoga pants and oversized barbecue competition shirt) and a high percentage of the body parts in the room are still being nourished by the kid's menu.

I tell the instructor that after class I'll be going next door to Knife to pound a bacon tasting because "It's protein, right?" She only looks at me with fear and concern in her eyes. I tell her I am joking (lie). She laughs and says, "Oh, that's funny!" (Lie.)

The barre finally gives way, ripping out of the wall, causing everyone to fall on their perfect asses­­. Baryshnikov, halfway across the world and smoking a cigarette, starts laughing at the ridiculousness that just befell the Ballet Force, and I eat every person in the room. Conclusion: Barre class makes you sweat bullets and eat people. I can see why people love it.

CrossFit White Rock Lake

5815 Live Oak St., Suite 104, 214-444-8540

Fear level during class: 5 out of 5

Sweat buckets: 3

Instruction level: 5 out of 5

Air conditioning: NO

Bro count: 15

Number of people in my class: 4

Concept: CrossFit's concept is constantly varied functional movements performed at relatively high intensity in a communal environment. With no air conditioning.

Working out here will feel like living inside a dry hump: There'll be sweating, grunting and ultimately, it'll be pretty shame-filled. Something will feel like it's missing. And that "something" is likely your sanity. Because once you walk into this box (CrossFitPeople call their gyms boxes, because calling this a gym would be so 2010), high school peer pressure takes over your brain and tells you that if a 17-year-old can do 30 pull-ups, "SO CAN I RIGHT NOW, DAMMIT."

After several weeks of torturing yourself and complaining on social media, you'll be able to lift a car, so tell all your hater friends they can go suck on a penis!

Here's what I learned during the CrossFit class I attended:

· Dude in a moon boot and a tank top visiting his gym friends is not the best ad for this place.

· The most important part of dead-lifting is dramatically dropping the bar at the end.

· Bros.

· It's OK that the one dude in the intro class can immediately do swinging pull-ups. His shirt says "Highland Park HS gymnastics champs 2014."

· Peer pressure is still a thing.

· Y'all don't seem to know dick about the power of air conditioning.

· It's funny when people are grunting whilst lifting 15-pound weights to DMX.

· Of all the classes I've taken, this one seems to come with the greatest possibility of injury. My instructor was actually really good and careful, but if you walk in there ready to whip out your dong and show off, you're going to break it.

9 Rounds

3020 Legacy Drive, Suite 110, Plano, 972-618-7089

Fear level during class: 1 out of 5

Sweat buckets: 1

Instruction level: 5 out of 5

Air conditioning: YES

Bro count: 1

Number of people in class: 8

Concept: 30 minutes of kickboxing-inspired circuit training.

The people of Plano are very welcoming and kind. So, whatever you've heard about Northerners in this country, scratch it. The owner of this 9 Rounds franchise location was very nice and ended up walking me through every round of the class when he learned that I was new to the concept.

At 9 Rounds, every class is 30 minutes long and you do three-minute rounds at nine stations. (I know that doesn't add up. I used the remaining three minutes to adjust my tank top and dig my yoga pants out of my Polly Pocket. You do whatever you want with it.) The first station was jumping rope, and the owner asked me delicately if I had any urinary issues, "Most women who've had kids don't want to do the jumping rope so much, and we have modifications for that if you need them." My assumption that this class would be filled with moms: accurate. They're all here taking out their mom rage in a healthy environment. "CONGRATS, BETSY. YOU GOT THE FIRST SPOT IN THE CARPOOL LINE. NOW GET OFF YOUR PHONE AND GET OUT OF THE WAY BEFORE I SHOVE THAT TORY BURCH FITBIT THROUGH YOUR BOOB JOB SCAR."

The instructor was that ripped-smiley-angry-boot-camp-yelly variety of instructor, the kickboxinatrix. She barks orders with a smile, and you do that shit. (Leash optional.) Every three minutes a bell rings, signaling you to change stations. If you have any sensory triggers, this class is the most extreme immersion therapy out there.


Walnut Hill West, 3720 Walnut Hill Lane, 214-350-3140

Fear level during class: 0 out of 5

Sweat buckets: 0.5

Time spent smiling: 3 hours (a couple hours after the class, the glow remained)

Instruction level: 5 out of 5

Air conditioning: OBVIOUSLY

Average age of attendees: 55

Number of people in class: 15

Concept: Jazzercise is a dance-based group fitness program. It's a step class minus the step. Plus a stage.

There are no mirrors in this Jazzercise studio. Instead, the instructor instructs from an elevated stage at the front of the room, and the class is supposed to mimic her moves. It's just like doing the old school dance videos at home, only you're in a room with 15 other people. Fifteen people who are mostly 55 and older, who have been looking forward to this class all damn day. Read: It's better than being in a room filled with doughnuts.

The "WOOOOO!!!"-ing in this room is on. Everyone is 1989-Richard-Simmons happy. And simply nothing is cuter than hot grandmas grapevine-ing to Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off." Screw off, puppies and rainbows. You are not as cute. Not even close.

But the winner for Best Song to Watch Grammas Jazz And Ercise To has to go to the Ying Yang Twins' "Fist Pump, Jump Jump" (original version is "Fist Pump, Jump Hump"). The moment the instructor white-lady-Texas-cheerleader-beat-spoke the words, "We got a whole lot of ladies and a whole lot of fellas, when you put 'em both together we be ready for whatever!!!" I had to stop jazzing for a moment to appreciate the amazing. I think the Ying Yang Twins would be super proud.

If you go to the Jazzercise website, you'll see they are trying to fiercely rebrand themselves with lines like, "Get to know the new us" and tons of photos of 20-year-olds flexing. Dearest Jazzercise Advertising Team: Forget the rebrand, y'all. The reality of your classes is way more groundbreaking than anything that's happening in any other gym right now. Embrace your cult of grandma badasses. They're the happiest thing I've ever seen and I'm pretty sure they are going to live forever if the Ying Yang Twins can just keep selling records.

Fitnz 360 Aroma Yoga

4312 Live Oak St., 214-702-9975

Fear level during class: 0 out of 5

Sweat buckets: 1

Instruction level: 5 out of 5

Air conditioning: YEP

Number of people in class: 2

Concept: In Aroma Yoga, you're getting yoga plus essential oils. At the start of class, orange oil is massaged into the back of your neck by the instructor. At the end of class, lavender oil is massaged into your forehead.

When I signed up for Aroma Yoga, I assumed we would be smelling each other's feet and ohm-ing while an instructor fanned the class with dirty yoga mats. "Did you get that waft? Let the history of sweat that this mat has seen strengthen you. Breathe in the stank of The Many."

As it turns out, the class is just regular yoga in a very small group with an extremely attentive instructor (who employed a Beavis-y "Aww yeah" for every deep stretch) who periodically rubs your head and neck with essential oils.

Highlights of the class: Hearing a Japanese version of "Puff The Magic Dragon" and staying in Corpse Pose for a solid five minutes.

I'm super good at Corpse Pose because I've been Savasana-ing for years, but I prefer the little-known modification named Advanced Corpse Pose, which begins with eating a Tex-Mex enchilada plate followed by a 30-minute hold of Corpse Pose. If you want to make it even more challenging, snore.

City Surf

2805 Allen St. Suite 113, 214-597-3397

Fear level during class: 5 out of 5

Sweat buckets: 3

Instruction level: 5 out of 5

Air conditioning: CHYEAH

Number of people in class: 2

Concept: City Surf studio uses RipSurfer X boards from SURFSET Fitness (they're surfboards attached to platforms with bungees, so they wiggle while you try to find your balance on them). The Big Kahuna class is resistance training on the board with resistance bands.

Do you love surfing, but hate all that annoying water and nature that's always in the way? Great! City Surf is here to help! Get all the surfing minus all that water/nature bull, plus resistance bands and mirrors and McKinney Avenue's shitsauce parking!

City Surf's Big Kahuna class is yoga on a wobbly surfboard. "OK, just hop on the board and then do a plank." The instructor demonstrates getting up onto the board with ease. You step onto the board and almost immediately lose your balance. You are Bambi taking his first wobbly steps. You are an embarrassment to athleticism. You are Jack's Complete Lack of Surprise. Your body is pissed: "ABORT. ABORT. YOU ARE GONNA FALL OFF THIS THING AND BREAK YOUR STUPID NECK, AND THEN YOU DIE HERE. IN UPTOWN. DO YOU WANT TO DIE IN UPTOWN??"

You can adjust the resistance bands to your strength needs, but there's no adjusting the balance test here. It's hard, and that's the point. Your forehead sweat runs down your nose as you hold a plank on the board. Your eyeballs tell you that you look like a total dumbass, and they are not wrong. After all, you are failing at pretending to surf. Indoors.

Kettlebell Centric

5830 Abrams Road, 214-454-4737

Fear level during class: 3 out of 5

Sweat buckets: 3

Instruction level: 5 out of 5


Number of people in class: 3

Concept: The training class at Kettlebell Centric consists of a variety of strength-training workouts. Kettlebells and barbells were used. Kettlebells are cannonballs with handles.

Visit the Kettlebell Centric website and you'll find all the best strength-speak. (It's best if you imagine Ron Perlman saying this stuff while pointing a lit cigar at you.) "Kettlebells melt fat without the dishonor of dieting or aerobics." "Strength is noble." "Exceed your current expectations of what life is."

At Kettlebell Centric, when they want to get stronger, they swing a heavy kettle bell around for a bit, but they won't let you have a turn at swinging until after you've signed a waiver, completed a "Functional Movement Screen" and proven eight or 12 different ways that your body can handle it.

Training here was extremely hands-on. Every weight lifted in the room was watched by the instructor with serious and specific intensity. "When you bench press this, you're gonna want to bring that bar right down to your chest. A little lower for you — right down to your nipples." (cash-register-opening-bell-ding Nip bench press: achieved.)

Swinging the kettlebell was very much like attempting to lift an angry toddler (or, ya know, a rabid dog) off the floor: You take a deep breath, decide right off the bat that you're going to do this, and it's partly you lifting but mostly you using the asshole's own energy to his disadvantage. You hinge up, you hinge down, and when you finally put the bastard down, you're sweaty and you hope against all hope that neither of you has pooped.

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Alice Laussade writes about food, kids, music, and anything else she finds to be completely ridiculous. She created and hosts the Dallas event, Meat Fight, which is a barbecue competition and fundraiser that benefits the National MS Society. Last year, the event raised $100,000 for people living with MS, and 750 people could be seen shoving sausage links into their faces. And one time, she won a James Beard Award for Humor in Writing. That was pretty cool.
Contact: Alice Laussade