Not long ago, what made a gym popular in Dallas was probably more about the size of the facility, the amenities it provided and the cost of the membership. Today, gyms are more likely to be measured by the way they make you feel, the sense of community they provide and whether their offerings address the mind, body and soul. Now, a stellar workout is about total wellness, which is why GRIT Fitness tops our list. Founder Brittani Rettig believes in developing the whole person. A graduate of Cornell University and Harvard Business School, Rettig, who goes by Brit, found her passion in fitness and developed a holistic approach through classes that include traditional weights and cardio, athletic training — Did we mention Brit was the captain of the Cornell women's basketball team? — as well as dance, yoga and other tailored programs. Dallas corporate types, and many more, are finding balance with Brit.

Readers' Choice:24 Hour Fitness700 N Harwood St., 214-220-2423, and other locations
Dallas Yoga Center

Those who practice yoga know it's a journey. Many stumble onto the path by way of health and fitness pursuits; others are drawn to the emotional and spiritual benefits. But for most, inspiration comes from a combination of all these things. And because the journey of no two yogis is the same, the more access you have to all that the world of yoga has to offer, the easier it will be to cultivate a fulfilling practice. The Dallas Yoga Center tops our list of places to practice because, since 1989, it has made yoga, mindfulness and wellness its mission, and with that, has helped shape today's thriving North Texas yoga community. With more than 75 classes each week, members and drop-ins can explore various forms of yoga and meditation practices in a nonjudgmental, accepting space. Sure, hard-core power yoga is a thing, but at DYC what's important is uncovering a practice that serves you best. Whether it be through a nice gentle flow, gong meditations, self-compassion workshops, panchakarma cleansing or any of the practices offered here, make an intention to pursue the best you. DYC will support the journey.

Jiu-jitsu, wrestling, judo, Muay Thai, boxing, kickboxing and karate — when integrated, they call it mixed martial arts, MMA for short. It's not for the faint of heart, but as UFC popularity continues unabated, more people are adding self-defense to their fitness routines. At Octagon MMA, you don't have to aspire to be the next Conor McGregor to reap the benefits of their MMA training facilities and the wide variety of classes and training options. Octagon instructors are among the best in the city and incorporate multiple disciplines into personal and group training sessions. Want to compete? They'll help get you competition-ready too. Good luck, badass!

Is your financial outlook already indicating that the lil' ones are going to need an athletic scholarship if they ever want to go to college? We understand. But keep in mind, the moolah won't be easy to come by if you already have to beg the coach to put him in. Here's some advice: You have to spend money to make money, and many North Texas soccer parents already know that an investment in a personal coach can make all the difference. For goalkeepers, former Dallas Sidekick Sagu is who you need to gain the edge. Through weekly personalized and group training sessions and summer camps, the no-nonsense native of Brazil — and goalie for its 1999 national team — will drill in the physical and mental keys to successful goalkeeping. Sagu is tough but compassionate, which is why his goalkeeping academy is so popular. And isn't it a fact that someone who goes by one name is probably pretty darn good at his work?

With just more than seven minutes remaining in the first quarter, the University of North Texas' bid to upset Arkansas in the Razorbacks' home stadium was looking good. Head coach Seth Littrell's team was up 7-0, ready to receive a punt after stopping the Arkansas offense. Then Littrell and special teams coordinator Marty Biagi decided to go for the jugular. UNT punt returner Keegan Brewer caught the punt at the Mean Green's 10-yard line and did the best acting job he'll ever do. Despite never having waved his hand over his head to signal for a fair catch, Brewer ambled toward the sideline with football as if he had done just that. One Arkansas player even asked him why the referee hadn't blown his whistle. Brewer didn't say anything and continued his walk, heading toward a wall of his teammates who had assembled along the North Texas sideline. When the return man reached his allies, he gave up the ruse and burst into a full sprint, running untouched to the Arkansas end zone. Thanks to Littrell, Biagi and Brewer, UNT went up 14-0, never looking back on the way to a 44-17 win. In the week following Brewer's deception, the NCAA signaled that it may change the rules to make sure a trick play like the one UNT ran will no longer be possible.

This is not your mother's spin class. Darkness and pulsating beats are just two precursors to the drenched condition you'll find yourself in 45 minutes after you begin your Soul Cycle class. This high-intensity workout requires only nominal coordination, good news for the less coordinated fitness enthusiasts among us. Once class kicks into gear, you're rarely "in the saddle" (read: seated). Instead, you're doing "jumps" (which are exactly what they sound like) or hovering a pinkie's length above your seats. Get excited to attempt pseudo-push-ups off the handlebar and somehow juggle 2-pound hand weights all while spinning. It hurts. But it hurts so good.

Readers' Choice:Soul Cycle
Top Golf

For those who love golf but are more Caddyshack than PGA Tour, Top Golf is the place to go. You can work on your form in a low-pressure environment that encourages fun over frustration, with a climate-controlled bay serving as your base of operations while you aim for arcade-like targets on the range. You can bring the whole family to enjoy the games and extensive menu, or make it an adults-only night by sampling the offerings from the bar while you compete to see who woulda, coulda been the next Tiger Woods.

Yoga is where we go to zen out, but for some of us hip-hop can have the same effect. The folks behind hip-hop yoga classes at V12 Yoga Studio have figured out that when you combine the two, you get a new, fun way to connect mind, body and spirit. Led by Dallas fitness enthusiast Ade Hazley, hip-hop yoga flow infuses breath, alignment and meditation with culturally relevant music. The energy is sure to get you centered. If not, just dance.

Arbor Hills
Yeah, yeah, we know. It’s in Plano; this is Best of Dallas. Can't we all just get along? Besides, the Observer gives plenty of love to the (Relatively) Great Trinity Forest, Cedar Ridge Nature Preserve, etc. This year we're giving the nod to Arbor Hills because, despite what you might read in your local alternative weekly, our neighbor to the north is not a dystopian suburban wasteland of lawn Nazis occupying single-family homes. You'd know that if you've ever been to Arbor Hills Nature Center, which is 200 acres of blackland prairie and riparian and upland forests that just happen to be nestled in the heart of a suburban landscape of lawns and single-family homes. We're not saying it's perfect, but it does have 3 miles of paved hiking trails, another 3 miles of unpaved hiking trails and nearly 3 miles of off-road biking trails. It’s also home to a pavilion, fields of wildflowers and stands of native trees, plus it's a certified Audubon cooperative sanctuary site. So, birds, nature, things like that. Also, from certain vantage points, you might be able to peek in a Plano homeowner's window and learn that they are just like us, though not as cool, of course.
Epic Waters
With 11 slides, a swimming pool, a lazy river and an aquatic playground under a retractable roof, this new 80,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor waterpark provides year-round family entertainment. Thrill-seekers (who are at least 48 inches tall) can drop at high speeds on the Lasso Loop, experience a sense of zero gravity on the Yellowjacket Drop or compete with friends on the E-Racers. And since swimming is the only reasonable outdoor activity to participate in during Texas’ triple-digit summer heat, there’s also an outdoor wave pool open from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

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