AFM Fit Fieldtrips: Mauro Pilates and Hot Lava Obstacle Course
Alex: There's nothing negative about this place. From the moment you walk in to this ultra clean, brand new studio in Westlake to being greeted with owner Liana Mauro's lovely smile, you'll enjoy every second of your Pilates practice here. The AFM staff came out for a group Pilates session, which was a mixture of guys and girls (so guys, don't be scared to get your Pilates on). We worked primarily on the Reformer, which reminds me of a massage table--only it's tricked out with cables, springs, and bars to make every single muscle in your body work hard. While on the Reformer, Liana guided us through small, precise movements with our legs, arms, and core. This was what I enjoyed the most, as you really start to work those secondary and stabilizing muscles that are often hard to train.
I can see why AFM readers voted Mauro Pilates "Best Pilates Studio" in 2012 . Whether you're a Pilates pro or a newbie, give Mauro Pilates a try. Their focus on proper form and attention to how your body feels throughout the session makes this worth every penny.
Sarah: I've always thought Pilates machines looked a little scary. Let's be honest: Reformers can look a little torture-inspired, am I right? However, I was ready to take on whatever Liana Mauro was going to throw at us at Mauro Pilates. The machines are actually not nearly as complicated as I imagined, and the simple-yet-repetitive moves provided that burn that I love/hate so much. Liana did a great job of walking us through each exercise, even though none of us had actually used a Reformer before. I definitely felt muscles I didn't realize I had the next day, and I wouldn't hesitate to go back and try this place again.
Jackie: It was pretty intimidating walking into Mauro Pilates and seeing these huge metal contraptions complete with springs and harnesses. My first instinct was to run far away. But as it turns out, these machines, known as Reformers in the Pilates world, provide a really fun workout. Liana showed us some great moves, and I was definitely feeling the burn the next day (and the day after that..). I think Mauro Pilates and I could be good friends!
Weston: Pilates is only for women, right? Not the case, my friend! I never felt so good after leaving Mauro Pilates. First and foremost, Liana is a great instructor. She let us (and her clients) choose the music to workout to, which is fun. She also has a way to get you to transition from movement to movement in a fluid manner by explaining the next exercise in a concise yet detailed way. Since there are four Pilates machines, she can go from person to person and really get them in the most effective position. I don't think I've ever felt some of the muscles we worked during the workout that she was able to target. It was a total body workout and my core was engaged with most of the positions. I'm not shy to say that I will be back!
Hot Lava Obstacle Course
Weston: Hot Lava is a kind of like a playground workout for all ages. It was really fun to challenge ourselves and our muscles in ways we usually don’t do. Besides the foam pit, I think my favorite thing at Hot Lava was the slack line. It challenged my balance, foot strength, and concentration. I think Hot Lava is a place where parents, friends, and kids can enjoy themselves while being active, not knowing they’re getting a workout too. By the end of our time at Hot Lava, we all felt like we could compete on American Ninja Warrior!
Sarah: What can I say? Hot Lava reminded me what it was like to be a kid again, and it was awesome! This "gym" offers a multitude of obstacles ranging from slack lines to rings to foam pits. They offer specific workouts, but you also have the option to just play around or create your own obstacle, which we opted to do. After getting a feel for all of the obstacles, we organized our own course and timed each AFM staffer individually. I have a bit of a competitive side and had every intention of coming out on top; however, our strapping young Austin Fit Magazine men beat me by seconds (totally on a technicality). I could have stayed and played around at Hot Lava all day, but, alas, real life called and we had to part ways with the big kid jungle gym. I'd love to go back to Hot Lava with some friends and re-live some childhood games - don't touch the floor it's lava!
Betty: I got a great upper body workout at Hot Lava! Swinging like a monkey while holding onto moving rings was a fun challenge! Trying to balance on a thin moveable strap was also a great challenge! I did, however, master the Hula Hoop as well as flipping in the foam pit! What a great, fun obstacle workout!
Leah: I workout all the time doing the usual things, but that is not exactly what I'd call what we did at Hot Lava Obstacle Course. What we did was PLAY, and that's something I haven't really done in a long time. I'm talking about running, jumping, tumbling, climbing, swinging, Hula Hooping, and hitting…plus a whole lot of laughing. I had no idea what to expect (which seems, surprisingly, to be fairly common with our Fit Field trips—and I like that about them. They're always an adventure); fortunately, co-owner Ben Broussard explained the various stations and demonstrated some moves before we were turned loose on the place. Yes, I really did say "You are really amazing" out loud after watching Ben do beast leaps on the quad blocks; he told me that he improved very quickly after spending time at the gym. I could see that this was true, as I improved on several things just in the short time we were running around. For example: I had almost NO success with the slack line when we started; I was flummoxed by the pipe slide (having watched "Ninja Warriors" really doesn't help with actually doing it); after an hour, though, I could get more than halfway across on both. Sarah devised an obstacle course that we all ran through for time. It was so fun, and it really didn't matter that I wasn't that fast. By the time we left, I felt happy, carefree, and worked out. And it was all full of fun, functional movement, which is clearly something I need to find room for in my workout routine. I've already told my family that we need to go; after all, I am looking forward to hitting more people with the pugil sticks. [You can see a list of all the obstacles here]