Best Smoothie Shop
Will JuiceLand’s reign ever come to an end? Although they have an extensive menu full of juices, hot drinks, and healthy shots, the smoothies reign supreme by allowing customers to keep it fresh (in more ways than one) with every order. Continuing its undefeated streak, it remains Austin’s favorite place to grab a smoothie.
2. Daily Juice
JuiceLand Fun Facts
What are your best-sellers?
(fresh apple juice • banana • blueberry • cherry • peanut butter • brown rice protein • flax oil • spirulina)
(almond milk • banana • spinach • hemp protein • peanut butter)
What makes JuiceLand so popular in Austin?
At JuiceLand, we source the highest-quality ingredients, keep the music super fresh, and dedicate time, money, and juice to supporting various local nonprofit organizations. Our shops have a unique vibe spirited by creative and conscious employees, and we're all about feeling better all the time.
How does JuiceLand extend beyond juices and smoothies?
We have recently had the opportunity to offer a submission-based scholarship program to our employees, to be used toward going back to school to create a more sustainable future, or getting a yoga teacher certification to share mindful living with our community. Our goal is to make the the world a better place by creating happy, healthy, sustainable communities.
Best Coffee Shop
This powerhouse international chain beat out local boutique java shops this year. With numerous locations around the city and delicious seasonal specials, a Starbucks is never too far out of reach.
2. Summer Moon
3. Caffe Medici
Favorite Guilty Pleasure
With more than 30 years of history in Austin, Amy’s Ice Creams has mastered the craft of making sweet treats worthy of your cheat day cravings. The menu changes frequently, and the employees are as funny as the treats are delicious.
Favorite Brunch Spot
Newly opened in May, this brunch spot has quickly made a name for itself in Austin. Treat yourself to the scrumptious pancake flight or get your hair of the dog fix with one of their boozy breakfast beverages.
2. Kerbey Lane
Best Food Truck
Fusing Korean and Mexican flavors into all of their dishes, this unique food truck keeps you coming back for more. The food truck has seen immense success, going on to open three brick and mortar locations, as well as securing a deal on Shark Tank to continue the expansion.
Best Healthy Restaurant
Another new kid on the block, True Food Kitchen has become a fan favorite since its opening in February. The menu is full of food options for every kind of diet and palate, while keeping a focus on local, sustainable produce.
3. Casa de Luz
Offering one-of-a-kind craft cocktails in a hip, airy space, Whislers is exactly where you need to be during happy hour… or any other hour of the day.
Favorite Local Beer, Wine, or Spirit
Naturally gluten-free, and offering six different flavors, Deep Eddy gives you the ingredients you need to be creative with your cocktails.
2. Tito’s Vodka
Favorite Grocery Store
This grocery chain offers a variety of products and brands, all at a reasonable price. With locations around Austin, HEB is convenient and reliable for residents citywide.
If you have long struggled with your relationship with food or you’ve (unsuccessfully) tried every diet in the book, Carly gets it. Working with Carly goes beyond nutritional advice; she provides motivation, education, and support. Plus, a little bit of tough love when you need it!
3. April Stone
Keep reading for the Best of Lifestyle!
Best Spa Experience
1. Milk + Honey – WINNER
For an unforgettable pampering experience, check into Austin’s born and bred Milk + Honey. All four locations extensively cater to your utmost relaxation and healing needs.
3. Lake Austin
Chase Alexander—Lead Stylist at Milk + Honey
What should you consider when finding the right stylist?
A few things. Personality fit—for me, consultations are really important. The first time I meet someone I always want 15 minutes prior to their scheduled appointment so that we can talk and I can understand their lifestyle, because I need to give them a look that will match that. Connecting with someone that understands what you want is important. I also suggest finding someone that believes in the products that they have. I love our color and product line, and you need good stuff at home that will give you whatever hair you want. Everyone here at Milk + Honey is really talented so it’s not a concern of whether you’re going to find someone who is going to be able to give you a great haircut. The difference comes down to tiny details of personality, preference of product and stuff like that.
What are the best practices to keep your hair healthy?
It starts with shampoo and conditioner. You have to have something that has quality ingredients. I also do glossing treatments for my clients a lot, almost every time they come in and especially during seasonal changes. They are semi-permanent colors with or without pigment and they just give your hair that extra shine and silk. Plus, they last 6–8 weeks.
What’s in your bag?
Kevin Murphy Anti-Gravity Styling Liquid
Everyone in Texas wants volume. This is a heat protectant and volumizer—it gives the hair a lot of bounce and movement without being too heavy.
Davines Love Hair Smoother
It’s a hair crème, pre-blow dry lotion since we all have frizz because we live in Texas. I chose that because it gives silky soft beautiful blow outs.
Kevin Murphy Night Rider for Men
It’s a matte finishing paste that gives you texture. You can run your hands through your hair throughout the day and you won’t have a hand of goop—that’s something I don’t like in my products.
Kevin Murphy Doo Over
It’s a dry texturizing spray, because everyone wants texture. It’s the “thing” to work with what you have; letting your hair dry naturally, putting in a few loose waves, nothing overly styled. The spray is a dry shampoo mixed with a hairspray, so you have more movement, but it still looks like you.
Kevin Murphy Young Again Oil
This is a great finishing oil for little pieces that need a some extra love. It’s perfect for frizz—one drop is all you need. You can use it on wet or dry hair, and I use it a lot on women that want a silky soft blow out. It finishes the look and makes it look extra expensive and polished.
BaByliss Volare V1 Hair Dryer
The engine in my hair dryer was designed by Ferrari, so it’s incredibly powerful. Even after using it everyday for two years, it’s never failed me.
Milk + Honey’s Hand Purifier No. 08
It’s a lavender-eucalyptus scented hand sanitizer, that I always have with me. Most hand sanitizers freaks me out, it makes me feel like I’m at the doctor. This one smells lovely, it softens your hands—everyone in my family gets one as a stocking stuffer.
Favorite Store for Fitness Apparel and Gear
High-quality athletic apparel and athleisure wear meets functionality and comfort at Lululemon. Whether you’re aiming to get sweaty or get stylish (or both!), the options for workout staples are abundant.
Located in the heart of downtown Austin, The W boasts chic and stylish rooms with impressive in-house amenities like a full spa, swimming pool and sun deck. Not a guest? You can still check out their creative happy hour menu Monday through Friday 5-7 p.m at The Living Room Bars, Trace Austin, and the WET Deck.
3. JW Marriott
Best Veterinary Clinic
1. Corner Vet
With a passionate staff and a steadfast mission to unite the city through a love of animals, Corner Vet not only cares for your animal—they care for you.
Best Bike Shop
Serving Austin’s cycling community since 1983, Bicycle Sport Shop has had ample time to stake its claim as the leader in bike retail and service. The store is run by passionate folks who have a love for cycling that is contagious.
Keep reading for more Best of Lifestyle!
Best Local Nonprofit
1. Austin Pets Alive! – WINNER
Founded in 2008, APA made a promise to increase live outcomes from shelters in Austin. Since then, they’ve saved more than 25,000 dogs and cats from euthanasia, and spearheaded both pet health and adoptive programs. Stop by their shelter and you might just find yourself a new furry friend.
2. CG Victory
APA Fun Facts
What are some things to consider prior to adopting a new animal friend?
Your housing situation—whether you live in an apartment or a home—the size isn’t really an issue, it’s more about your lifestyle. If you are active and you want your pet to do that with you, look for that kind of animal. Also, if you are in an apartment or somewhere you don’t own, look into their pet policies. You don’t want to adopt something that you’re gonna have to end up giving back. Financially, there are things to consider: can you afford adding a pet to your family? You have to factor in regular vet visits, their yearly check-ups, and heartworm and flea medication. You need to be prepared for some emergencies in case that happens. Make sure you’re in a good financial place and you know you’re ready to have an animal for a certain number of years. A cat can live on average 15–18 years, small dogs can live 15–18, and large dogs have a shorter lifespan of 10–12 years.
What are the major sources of funding?
So, we don’t have any city support—our funding comes completely from donations, whether it’s the public or single donors. We’re also blessed to have so much community support, like Austin Subaru putting on Paddle for Puppies, which solely benefits the parvo puppy ward. We have third-party events across town all the time with different companies and organizations. We’ve even had kids run lemonade stands for us!
How is APA! different from other shelters?
We are focused on the animals most at-risk for euthanasia. Every single animal that comes here comes from a different shelter where they were on a euthanasia list. We have programs that are here solely to answer the reasons animals are being killed in shelters, like the parvo puppy ward, neonatal kitten nursery, and feline leukemia sanctuary. Our mission is to help these animals that are dying in shelters every year. We also do our canine good citizen program, where we take pitied dogs, such as pitbulls who are often overlooked because of the stigma attached, and train them. We list their skills so then people do a double look and see that they are adoptable. These dogs can walk through a crowded room without being distracted, or accept a friendly stranger. That’s what sets us apart—we have programs that are actively fighting these reasons for killing, more than just being an adoption center.
What kind of volunteer opportunities are available at APA?
You name the skill you want to use and we can probably put you to work. If you want to do data entry, we have data entry. If you want to walk dogs, you can walk dogs. For that, you have to go to volunteer orientation—which is a program that can be done online. Anything outside of walking dogs includes laundry, stuffing rubber toys with peanut butter, and helping out in the neonatal kitten nursery. We have bottle baby feeders—those are very dedicated volunteers because it’s at least a six-week stint of feeding by bottle in the nursery. There’s all kinds of grounds work like mowing and cutting trees, too.
The former champion of “American Gladiator” built a fitness empire under Camp Gladiator’s name and has fiercely led the company into popularity and prosperity.
2. Jess Martin
Best Hair Salon
1. Milk + Honey
Milk + Honey wins yet another top spot in the year’s “Best of.” There’s a reason Austinites are crazy about their services, but we suggest finding out why for yourself.
2. Jose Luis
3. Urban Betty
Best Camping Spot
1. Inks Lake
With over 200 campsites and 22 available for rent cabins, Inks Lake offers fun both on and off the water. Fish, kayak or scuba dive on the lake, or put your feet to the test on the nine miles of beautiful, hilly hiking trails.
Keep reading for Best of Wellness!
1. John Tuggle – WINNER
John Tuggle – The Tri Doc
How often do you recommend that patients come to visit you?
In most cases, with an acute injury, I’d recommend twice a week for four weeks. Then, we see where we are and make adjustment from there.
How do you know when it’s time to see a chiropractor (versus a physical therapist or an orthopedist)?
I’m an athlete and I work really hard to keep athletes doing what they love to do. You need to go to a doctor that understands you, and I think athletes like that about me. If you have a soft tissue complaint, I’m your guy. For example, if you have pain from a posture problem, you’re going to have some imbalances in your muscles. We’ll work on correcting shoulder posture, getting good range of motion in joints, and strengthening your upper back.
What are some of the major causes of injuries in your patients?
I treat a lot of plantar fasciitis. Also, a lot of hamstring problems, gluteal, and hip flexor issues. About 80 percent of my patients fall under those. It’s very common among runners. You see it with triathletes, too; we often work on imbalances in the glutes and the hip flexor. That translates into a hip problem, where you have pain, but they’re all really caused by the same thing.
Do you have a preferred workout?
I never thought I’d be saying this, but running used to be my least favorite and now it’s my favorite. So, I’ve transitioned over the years. But really quality workouts, because they hurt the most but make you feel the best when you’re done with them. I love speed workouts. Swimming is probably my least favorite, putting that long distance in the pool.
What’s in your bag?
I do a little bit of everything, but I mostly do running, mountain biking, and triathlons. In my bag is my Trigger Point grid for post-workout. I’m a big fan of Hokas. BASE Salt to replenish electrolytes. Mountain bike shoes and helmet. Safety first!
Best Physical Therapist
Home to more board-certified specialists than any other practice in Texas, Texas Physical Therapy Specialists is the place to go for injury rehabilitation.
3. Jeff Potts
Formerly taking first place in the “Best Eastern Medicine” category in years past, Matthew still holds onto the winning title. His approach to healing is unique—both bodywork and acupuncture are implemented in his practice.
2. Ann Mowat
Best OB/GYN Doctor
Austin Area OB/GYN is lucky to have this repeat winner on staff yet again! His compassionate approach to women’s care makes him a standout physician in Central Texas.
2. Robert Cowan
3. Lisa Jukes
Best Orthopedic Doctor
His résumé is full of honors and accolades, and his work is reflective. But, the real reward for Dr. Driscoll is the ability to “provide patients with the same level of excellent service and compassionate care that I would offer a member of my own family.”
1. Amy McClung
Dr. McClung’s ultimate goal is to help her patients in any way that she can. Her approach is nonjudgmental, and as an avid runner, she connects with fellow fitness lovers.
2. Renee Snyder
Keep reading for more Best of Wellness!
Best Mental Health Professional (Psychologist, Psychiatrist, LPC)
1. Tracy Carver – WINNER
2. Casey Lepper
Tracy Carver – Vibrant Counseling
After seeing patients how do you unwind?
Yoga is a great therapy and it’s so helpful for me to come to classes. I see clients and then I come to the yoga studio; it helps me feel more centered. Yoga has been instrumental in helping me become a more compassionate counselor, because I’m not carrying around a bunch of my own stuff. Instead, I can be really present with my clients.
Is there a common issue you see in your patients?
A common issue that is nearly universal with all of my clients—whether they’re dealing with addiction, depression, or anxiety—is self-esteem issues. With nearly all of my clients, we work on cultivating greater self-acceptance. So if someone comes to see me I can almost guarantee that it’s going to be woven into the session in some shape or form.
What is your personal approach to therapy?
So, I’m a graduate of the UT Counseling Psychology PhD program. The program didn’t just teach us one way of approaching therapy—there was an underlying humanistic approach, which simply means being non-judgmental. Then, I did some training in Boston where I got more exposure to a psychoanalytical modality. So I combine both of those in my approach, which, in layman’s terms just means I have a strong theoretical background where I can listen to what someone is saying, go back to the literature, and try to cultivate a deeper understanding of their issues. It also means I don’t come in with an agenda or impose my own beliefs on my clients. I really try to meet them where they’re at, whether it’s through humor or whatever resonates or has meaning to them. Even with spirituality, I really try to step inside their realm, rather than impose just what I learned in grad school.
How do you know when you’ve found the right therapist?
Friends and family ask me that all the time when they’re looking for help. I think it’s a very personal decision, but the No. 1 thing for me is someone you can trust. Hopefully they’re qualified and credentialed and good at their job, but if you don’t feel comfortable opening up and sharing with that person then the therapy is not going to go anywhere. It’s kind of like dating—there might be some trial and error. I offer consultations so people can meet me, see my office, and see if they think we’re going to be a good fit. I also tell people you should feel empowered! Especially here in Austin, there are so many therapists and counselors that if you do end up with someone that isn’t a good fit for you, there’s probably another one down the street.
What are some good methods of mental health care outside of professional help?
I recommend meditation to almost all of my clients. It’s usually the ones that are the most scared of meditation that need it the most. Someone who is already calm and zen-like probably doesn’t need it as much as someone who has a million thoughts running through their head all the time. Those are the people that can really benefit from meditation—and it’s free. You can do it anywhere. The internet has provided so many resources for us, they’re accessible to anyone. Podcasts are another great resource. (I have one of my own coming out soon.) That’s another great outlet for mental health, because it’s helpful to feel connected to others. You’re not the only one dealing with this, you’re not the only one struggling. There are people suffering in the same way as you, but they’re actually talking about it. I think that can be so fulfilling and nurturing to hear.
1. Nazim Shahi
Another repeat winner, Dr. Shahi is constantly striving to further his knowledge in the area of dental health. His South Austin office is posh and inviting, making it a comfortable environment for patients.
2. Summer Rydel
3. Bryan Smith
Best Massage Therapist
Michelle’s experience as a triathlete, CrossFitter, and cyclist helps her more personally connect with clients that come to her with fitness-related soreness and pain.
3. Sue Fegelman
A Texas Ex, Carly works in the community that helped foster her passion for childhood healthcare. She understands the costs, side effects, and struggles of medications and treatments, and therefore works to maintain a comfortable, conversational practice that limits unnecessary treatments and gives parents a fair voice in the path of their child’s health.
3. Ari Brown
Best Cosmetic Surgeon
1. Ned Snyder
A recipient of St. David’s First Humanitarian Award and recognized in 2014 as a Best Doctor in America, the Austin community continues to regard Dr. Snyder as one of the best in his industry. He works to create natural looks, reflective of the wants and needs of his clientele.
3. Rocco Piazza
Best Med Spa
On a mission to “help you receive the compliments you deserve,” Ideal Weight and Skin’s clinic combines skin care, body contouring treatments and weight management programs. The spa is clean and the staff is committed to helping you achieve your personal goals through non-surgical means.
Keep reading for Best of Fitness!
Best Strength & Conditioning Gym (Non-CrossFit)
1. Bigger Faster Stronger – WINNER
Located slightly outside of Austin in Manchaca, Texas, Bigger Faster Stronger turns everyone who walks through the door into an athlete. Their HIIT classes have put them on the map.
2. CG Arena
Mike O’Hara — Bigger Faster Stronger, owner, and winner of 2016’s Best Personal Trainer.
What do you expect out of a new client when they sign up?
I've been blessed to have trained people of all walks of life, and I've learned that it’s hard to “expect” any one thing while every athlete is so different. What I hope for, more than anything, is an open line of communication and trust. I ask my clients to trust me completely and to never hesitate with any questions, comments, or concerns. I've never had a client put all their trust in me, do exactly as I ask, and not have incredible results. It's all about trust and communication.
What are some pieces of gym equipment you can’t do without?
I often joke and tell people all I need is a ball, band, and a corner and I can take someone through the workout of their life! My favorite piece of equipment is, hands down, the human body. But if I had to pick one thing it would be the BOSU ball. It's such a diverse piece of equipment with a laundry list of uses and limitless benefits.
How are your workouts unique to the others found in Austin?
I pride myself in being every athlete's one-stop shop. So much so that I recently designed a HIIT program with 10 classes per week so my clients can come in and knock out their cardio. In all my years of training, two of the most common problems I've come across is clients having trouble with knowing how to properly eat and people having issues with not only doing their cardio, but actually pushing themselves during their cardio. My HIIT classes are intense but last only 25 minutes, so you're in and out within 30! It's a great standalone program to shred fat and tone up, but combined with my personal training, you're bound to take your fitness to the next level! I take great pride in being able to offer both top-notch personal training and high-quality classes, as well.
What’s your approach to personal training?
I approach each client with an open heart and an open mind. In order for my clients to succeed, I have to be willing to adjust my sails as often as needed. Some athletes are motivated by being yelled at, while others will shut down. My coaching tactics shift from athlete to athlete. I can't be a hard-nosed drill sergeant for everyone—something that fatherhood has certainly taught me.
Not every body type will see the same success from the exact same nutrition plan, or the exact same cardio program, or the exact same supplement recommendations. I do have a specific and precise program that I progress all of my clients through but there are certain phases throughout that I can and will modify if necessary. My approach, although deliberate in that we get results, is as open and varied as you'll find!
What’s in your gym bag?
My supplements from Total Nutrition, my GoPro, usually an EPIC bar, head phones, shaker bottle, water, a toy or two of my kids, my special socks for the trampoline bootcamp classes I teach at Altitude, and a few other random items!
1. Pure Austin
Pure Austin sets itself apart from competitors with special amenities and activities, like a two-story rock climbing wall and lake access exclusive to members. This is the kind of gym that will help you change your life for the better, thanks to award-winning nutritionists, dedicated personal trainers, and a performance testing center.
2. CG Arena
Camp Gladiator’s four-week adult fitness boot camp will get your blood pumping and your muscles moving. With a focus on equal parts strength, stamina, and speed, CG’s workout will provide positive results in a short time.
Best CrossFit Gym
As one of the first 50 CrossFit affiliates in the world and 11 years in Austin, it’s safe to say CrossFit Central knows how to give you a serious workout. The coaches at both locations radiate positivity and plan to continue building a brand of health and happiness through well-rounded programming.
Best Yoga Studio
1. Black Swan
The donation-based yoga studio is a fan favorite, as it remains on top for the third year in a row. Feel free to take a drop-in class or purchase an affordable unlimited membership to get your yoga fix with charismatic instructors and unique classes.
Keep reading for more Best of Fitness!
Best Barre Studio
1. Pure Barre – WINNER
Sculpt and tone your body and stimulate your mind during this ballet-inspired workout. No dance experience is required, so bring your two left feet and give it a go.
Rashanna Moss – Pure Barre Westlake
What do you want newcomers who have never taken a barre class to know?
Newcomers should know that Pure Barre is one of the most efficient and full-body workouts that there is. It’s a challenging workout that is very dependent on your upper body movements, so it’s important to understand that. It’s something that you commit to and stick with.
What sets you apart from other barre studios?
We are set apart because of the fact that we are such a family and invested in our clients from a personal standpoint. It’s not just about the workout or the techniques themselves (even though those are huge aspects) but we are so invested in our clients as people, and that’s why they stay and become a part of a true community.
What inspired you to start Pure Barre?
I actually was inspired while discovering it in Nashville, Tennessee when I lived there. I took a class and it kicked my butt. I consider myself a pretty fit person that understands a lot of different workout techniques (kinesiology is my background) so the fact that I went to a studio and got my butt kicked with these tiny movements, and it was an intimate experience, and I saw results so quickly—I was sold.
What are your goals for the future of Pure Barre?
My goal for the future of Pure Barre is to maintain a really strong community. I think six years in, it becomes harder to be as relevant and as fresh and the “it” thing, so every single year that is my goal—to remain on top, to stay invested in our clients, and just keep growing an authentic community.
What are some ways you do that?
We hire staff that are true, open, big-hearted people, and that makes a huge difference, because the staff translates into the clientele. What you put out is what you attract, so it all marries together. Then I think also it’s making sure that we stay in tune with our clients and their interests, so that we continue to do events and invest in philanthropic efforts that align with our community.
What’s in your bag?
I’m always going from workouts to meetings, so carrying something that’s a little nicer just helps me transition. The S’well bottle is my most favorite thing ever. It holds the temperature, it’s sleek, it matches my style, and it fits perfectly in my car.
My phone is always with me. I’m constantly texting and answering e-mails. I have this phone case because it matches my color scheme. (That’s very important to me, if you can’t already tell.) And same thing with my computer—it’s my life, so that’s why it’s often in my bag.
Sunglasses, because I can’t stand to be outside without them when it’s sunny. Lip gloss. You always gotta have a little pop on the lip. I carry smaller wallets because the reality is that when you’ve got something this big, sometimes you need to quickly transition into something smaller.
I recently founded Moderna Muse as a network and resource hub for women. It’s a way to bring everything full circle with becoming exactly who you’re meant to be, which is your inner muse. It’s not just barre; it’s how you show up, how you present yourself, where your inspiration comes from, what avenues you’re pursuing, conversations you have with people. We want to give women a place where they get all of those things, so our events always bring in elements of creativity, health, and fashion.
Best Indoor Cycling Studio
Indoor cycling classes can sometimes feel redundant and boring—but not here. A combination of high energy, great music, and trainers beaming with enthusiasm encourages you to work hard and have fun while doing it.
Best Pilates Studio
Not your average Pilates studio, Pure Pilates works hard to give you a personalized full body workout on their megaformer Pilates machine.
Best Boxing/MMA Gym
This gym accepts all ages and skill levels, with classes that educate kids and teens in comprehensive self-defense and anti-bullying programs. For adults, Krav Maga and conditioning are available at all times of the day.
Best Youth Fitness Organization
Camp Gladiator’s nonprofit program motivates kids to get active and be adventurous. It’s a great way to keep kids busy, have fun, and get them excited about healthy living.
3. Young Guns
Best Free Community Workout
The Stronghorn Saturday Sweat Session (also known as #SSSS) will kick your weekend off right. You’ll bust your butt to earn your shower, and make new friends in the fitness community.
Best Personal Trainer
1. Mike O’Hara
2. Kim Eagle
Best Yoga Instructor
Gustavo shares his lively and passionate spirit with Austin’s yoga community through classes, workshops, and philanthropic events. We highly recommend taking his YoStrong class at Wanderlust Yoga if you want a great burnout finished off with a deep stretch.
2. Amelia Raun
3. Brittany Michelle Collinge
Best Pilates Instructor
1. Maja Kermath
The founder behind kor180 isn’t just a savvy business woman and compassionate community leader, she’s also a favored Pilates teacher. She created the one-of-a-kind korFormer machine used in the Reform classes; nobody knows how to get the most of out it like she does.
2. Liana Mauro
3. Vlada Sheber
Best Barre Instructor
Part of the Pure Barre family for over six years, Kathryn has found her groove as an instructor through a focus on form and fun. Try her classes for a full body shakedown (literally!).
3. Casey Lepper
Best Running Coach
Hailing from Burundi, and heading the Gazelle Foundation, Gilbert inspires us to be charitable, grateful, and encourages his students to “run with joy!”
2. Valerie Hunt
3. Steve Sisson
Best Triathlon Coach
Her résumé touts her as a former professional tennis player, a coach at Austin Aquatics and Sports Academy, and a professional triathlete. No doubt that Natasha is a demonstration of outstanding athleticism. If you want to be the best, train with the best.
2. Peri Kowal
3. David Garza
Keep reading for more Best of Fitness!
Best Cycling Instructor
1. Tara Granberry – WINNER
2. David Garza
Tara Granberry – RIDE
How did you get into teaching indoor cycling classes?
It was an instructor in Dallas that I loved. She was so motivational and encouraging. How she made me feel is how I wanted to make others feel.
What workout pairs well with indoor cycling?
I would say Lagree Pilates. It lengthens the muscles and it’s all about slow, controlled movements. Whereas here, it’s faster and mostly cardio. It’s always important to have some strength training.
How many classes a week do you teach? How many do you take?
I normally teach 7–8 classes a week. I try to take 1–2 classes a week.
What advice do you give to newcomers?
I always tell them that the more you come, the better you get. It doesn’t necessarily get easier. Focus on something they were able to do in class—even if it’s just for five seconds—that is an accomplishment. Build from there. The coordination is challenging, but it can definitely be learned. It takes a little bit of time, but when you finally get it, it’s a really gratifying “a-ha!” moment.
How do you set yourself apart as an instructor?
I think each individual instructor is different. I try to make it a performance. So you’re not just getting a workout, per se, but you’re getting something that’s fun and engaging. [At RIDE] we strive to encourage and motivate people, but I think it’s more about the interaction in the room. A lot of instructors will just stay on the bike and talk the talk, but I’ll get off and dance with you and be in your face.
What’s in your bag?
Ditta (pronounced Dee-tah) is my dog. She’s 18 years old so she’s been with me through all stages of life. I take her everywhere. I love music and festivals. It’s one of the main reasons I love Austin. I drink coffee everyday—it fuels my body. And Jo’s is a short walk from RIDE so it’s convenient. I enjoy reading when I have the time. I prefer non-fiction.
Best CrossFit Coach
1. Dave Appel
With over 20 years of experience as a coach, Dave Appel doesn’t shy away from jumping in with his members and participating in the workout. His hands-on method, mixed with his loyalty and drive for success, makes him the ultimate CrossFit guru to learn from.
2. Justin Adams
Austin’s Best Fitness Ambassador
This bright and bubbly cycling instructor approaches fitness as something beyond a way to get in shape. Caprice turns her workouts into a celebration, a boost of inspiration, and an opportunity to give back to the community.
2. Jess Martin
3. Mike O’Hara
Hardest Workout in Austin
Another win for Camp Gladiator proves that this program is too legit to quit. This is one bootcamp that has found the perfect balance of super fun and extremely challenging.
Best Short Distance Road Race (10K or shorter)
The largest 10K in Texas, this race is held annually in April. All money raised is donated to local non-profits. 2017’s race will celebrate its 40th anniversary in Austin.
2. Turkey Trot
Best Long Distance Road Race (Longer than a 10K)
Run through green, tree-lined city parks, cross bridges over the Colorado River, and trek through Austin’s city streets and neighborhoods in this race. Advertised as walker-friendly, you don’t need to be an experienced runner to join the fun.
Experience the beauty of the Texas Hill Country in this race held annually in September. The event features eight different distance events, so there’s a race for every kind of athlete.
Best Trail Running Race
If you’re a runner who can appreciate creativity and community, it’s past time to sign up for your first Spectrum trail race. The locally-based company hosts races all over the state, including the first ever run through the Davis Mountains in west Texas. Spectrum wastes no time or effort conjuring up an impressive (and often whimsical) experience.
Best Cycling Event
This cycling facility and event is a no-nonsense, real-experience practice method to improve your racing dynamics and handling skills. Located on the east side of Austin, Driveway Series holds training and practice races every Thursday night from March through October.
Best Adventure/MOB Race
Spartan Races put your health, fitness, and mind to the test. With different difficulty levels and events all around the country, there’s no excuse not to give it a try.
2. Tough Mudder
Best Fitness Competition
1. AFM FITTEST
We’d be lying if we said we weren’t flattered! Thanks to everyone who voted for our event. We are always working to make adjustments and looking for new ways to keep this as Austin’s favorite fitness competition.
3. Horrible Hundred
Best Bodybuilding Competition
Although the Naturally Fit Games are a multitude of fitness competitions all under one roof, the bodybuilding competition draws the best contenders who practice bodybuilding, while abstaining from performance-enhancing drugs.