The AFM Annual "Best Of" Awards 2013

By AFM – January 1, 2014


Each year, Austin Fit Magazine asks our readers and the city of Austin to let us know who’s the best, in fitness and in our community. You never fail—and this year brought record response. Here, without further ado, are the results of the 2013 AFM “Best of” Survey.

Best Place to Meditate
When it comes to meditation, Austinites are a bunch of homebodies. Overwhelmingly, the standout response was “somewhere at home.”

Best Eastern Medicine Business
This was a close category; a wide range of responses made a clear winner a tough call. A slight change to this category still sees repeat winners (PK Acupuncture & Wellness Center, Windows to the Sky) as well as a slew of new entries.

1. PK Acupuncture & Wellness Center 8%

AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine (tie)

2. Windows to the Sky/Matthew Kirsch 7%
512 Wellness/Ann Mowat

Bamboo Field

Pearl Acupuncture

MaudiesBest Post-Race Celebration
Clearly, Austin doesn’t want for post-event hangouts. A variety of responses came in, but Tex-Mex seems to be a clear favorite.

1. Maudie’s 4%


At Home

2. Kerbey Lane 3%

Best Outdoor Patio
Red’s Porch led the pack in “Best Outdoor Patio.” Quick: How many of these have been the scene for an
AFM issue release party?

1. Red’s Porch 6%

2. The Grove 4%

Shady Grove

Perla’s Seafood & Oyster Bar

Hula Hut

3. Contigo 3%

Milk-HoneyBest Spa Experience
Can you say “aaahhh?” It’s always nice to pamper yourself after a hard effort (or at anytime at all). Milk + Honey, with two locations, led the pamper pack, while Lake Austin Spa Resort, located along the banks of the Lake Austin, came in second. Viva Day Spa—open every day—closed the group.

1. Milk + Honey 24%
2. Lake Austin Spa Resort 15%

3. Viva Day Spa 11%

AmysBest Guilty Pleasure Dessert (Restaurant Name)
Treat yourself! Here’s Austin’s top picks for those guilty pleasures. Amy’s and Lick are both specialty ice cream shops, each unique (and with their own ardent fans), and Gourdough’s offers donuts in a variety of weird and wonderful ways.

1. Amy’s Ice Cream 8%

2. Gourdough’s Specialty Doughnuts 6%

3. Lick Ice Cream 4%

Best Fitness Apparel
A slight rewording to this category led to a shift in results. Lululemon athletica and Luke’s Locker held on to first and second, while Academy, a Texas-based company with more than 170 stores throughout the nation, made its “Best of” debut.

1. lululemon athletica 39%

2. Luke’s Locker 13%

3. Academy Sports + Outdoors 10%

juicelandBest Smoothie Shop
With an almost exact repeat of 2013, Austin’s iconic JuiceLand maintained its dominance.

1. JuiceLand 24%

2. Daily Juice 13%

3. Whole Foods Market 8%

JackAdamsBest Bike Shop
This category seems to be a lock; these three shops have dominated since 2012, and the results—down to the numbers—are almost an exact repeat of 2013.

1. Jack & Adams Bicycles 29%

2. Bicycle Sport Shop 19%

3. Mellow Johnny’s 12%

Best Healthy Restaurant
Where else but at Whole Foods Market does a grocery store fall into the “restaurant” category? Casa de Luz, known for its vegan, organic, and gluten/allergen-aware menus, showcases Austin’s emphasis on healthy, while Snap Kitchen illustrates that fast doesn’t have to mean bad for you. Tying for third, Beets Café provides a unique living food (raw) option.

1. Whole Foods Market 10%

2. Casa de Luz 8%

3. Snap Kitchen 6%

Beets Café (tie)

Best On-the-Go Meals
Snap Kitchen (“Eat right. Feel great. Live well.”) exploded into first place this year; MyFitFoods, which just moved its company headquarters to Austin, fell a notch, and Whole Foods Market moved into third place.

1. Snap Kitchen 34%

2. MyFitFoods 23%

3. Whole Foods Market 11%

Best Dog Workout
Where do you like to give your pups a workout? One-third of AFM readers hit Lady Bird Lake Trail for time with their pawtners, while Auditorium Shores and Zilker Park provide other favorite options.

1. Lady Bird Lake Trail 31%

2. Auditorium Shores 15%

3. Zilker Park 10%

Best Apartment/Condo Gym
With rental real estate and communal living taking off, AFM thought it was time to recognize those complexes that do fitness right. This new category brought in a wealth of responses—did you know you can live at the W?

1. Domain Parkside and Villages at the Domain Apartments (FX Fit) 10%

2. Riata Apartment Homes 7%

Gables Residential

3. W Hotel Austin (W Residences) 6%

AdventureRaceBest Adventure Race
These races are some classics, as they make the list again this year. Like the team aspect? Go for Tough Mudder. Want lots of obstacles? Spartan Race has 15 in three miles. If fire doesn’t faze you, hit the Warrior Dash.

1. Tough Mudder 21%

2. Spartan Race 9%

3. Warrior Dash 7%

Best Outdoor Workout
Another slight revamping of the category brought some new—and interesting—responses. Newcomer Stronghorn Fitness exploded onto the scene, besting last year’s winner (Camp Gladiator). And a fair number of you simply called out Austin’s fitness jewel, Lady Bird Lake Trail.

1. Stronghorn Fitness 26%

2. Camp Gladiator 18%

3. Lady Bird Lake Trail 13%

Best National Gym
More of Austin voted in this year’s AFM “Best of” poll, and the percentages just got larger in this category. Life Time Fitness took No. 1 for the fourth time in a row; Gold’s Gym stayed at No. 2 for a second year; and 24 Hour Fitness gained another 6 percent in its hold on third place.

1. Life Time Fitness 30%

2. Gold’s Gym 24%

3. 24 Hour Fitness 17%

Best Local Gym
More local gyms were called out and, while the top three all returned from 2013, the percentages—and order—changed. Pure Austin, which has a new location opening in downtown Austin this month, held onto first; Castle Hill Fitness (with its downtown location on North Lamar Boulevard) gained one percentage point to move into second place. Camp Gladiator, which boasts 100 plus workout locations on its website, fell to third.

1. Pure Austin 15%

2. Castle Hill Fitness 13%

3. Camp Gladiator 8%

Best Boot Camp
Austin is boot camp crazy. Newcomer Stronghorn Fitness, which opened its doors in 2013, managed to break Camp Gladiator’s hold on the category. Should we put the two bootcamps into the ring for a faceoff? CrossFit Central Relentless Boot Camp held onto a list position with third.

1. Stronghorn Fitness 33%

2. Camp Gladiator 26%

3. CrossFit Central Relentless Boot Camp 7%

crossfitBest CrossFit Facility
CrossFit has been soaring in popularity; the company has more than 5,000 affiliates. Austinites love their WOD, and here’s where they like to get it best. In a surprise upset, CrossFit & Fearless knocked multi-year winner CrossFit Central to second place; CrossFit Round Rock, located on Old West Drive, returns after a one-year absence, and CrossFit South Lamar makes AFM’s “Best of” list for the first time.

1. CrossFit & Fearless 36%

2. CrossFit Central 11%

CrossFit South Lamar (tie)

3. CrossFit Round Rock 9%

Woodward CrossFit (tie)

Best Yoga Studio
New players in the yoga studio scene managed to reduce Black Swan Yoga’s 25 percent of last year’s results, but the donation-based studio held onto its lead. Yoga Yoga recaptured second place; Castle Hill Fitness tied with Wanderlust Yoga Studio, which “aspires to bring the extraordinary aspects of the Wanderlust Festival to the everyday lives of the people who live, work and visit Austin.”

1. Black Swan Yoga 18%

2. Yoga Yoga 12%

3. Castle Hill Fitness 10%

Wanderlust Yoga

PilatesBest Pilates Studio
In a switch from 2013, this year’s winners were predominately specialty studios rather than gyms that offered Pilates. JoyMoves, a Pilates studio located in Westlake, made its debut on the “Best of” list at No. 1. Castle Hill Fitness, which offers Pilates classes daily, dropped to second place. Mauro Pilates, led by advocate and instructor Liana Mauro, gained percentage points and was tied by Kor180, a studio that offers a mix of interval training and Pilates.

1. JoyMoves 20%

2. Castle Hill Fitness 14%

3. Mauro Pilates 12%


Barre-StudioBest Barre Studio
The Bar Method once again captured 24 percent of the popular vote, with Pure Barre edging ever closer in this workout favorite pas de deux. Barre3 (the name references its unique three-step system in workouts) grabbed third place for its first appearance in the “Best Barre Studio” category.

1. The Bar Method 24%

2. Pure Barre 23%

3. Barre3 14%

Best Boxing/MMA Gym
AFM combined boxing with mixed martial arts this year, and readers responded with a knock-out punch. Fit and Fearless, which has Krav Maga and Jiu Jitsu instruction in addition to CrossFit and running classes, handily led the category. Impact MMA is a kickboxing gym, and John’s Gym combines mixed martial arts with family fitness.

1. Fit and Fearless 62%

2. Impact MMA Fitness 13%

3. John’s Gym 5%

Best Fitness Competition
There are a lot of competitions out there that don’t fall into the standard categories, and AFM wanted to know which ones are Austin’s favorites. It’s no surprise that CG Games, with its emphasis on community, led the pack. CrossFit Games—“The Fittest on Earth”—reflect the Austin community’s love for all things CrossFit. And, aw shucks; AFM was honored to be included with such great company with the AFM FITTEST taking third place.

1. CG Games 36%

2. CrossFit Games 24%


Best Bodybuilding Competition
With the interest in figure competitions and bodybuilding, AFM added a new category this year. It’s no surprise that Austin icon Dave Goodin’s events, the Texas Shredder (April) and Texas State Naturals (November) captured No. 1 and 2; Naturally Fit Super Show (July) managed to claim No. 3.

1. NPC Texas Shredder Classic 34%

2. NPC Texas State Naturals 15%

3. Naturally Fit Super Show 9%

Best Place to Swim
Where does Austin like to take a dip? The city’s favorite pools all sport natural water. Deep Eddy utilizes well water; Barton Springs is filled with water from the fourth-largest spring in Texas; and Pure Austin’s Quarry Lake is the result of a stone quarry combined with a local spring (it’s 45 feet at the deepest point).

1. Deep Eddy Pool 20%

2. Barton Springs 19%

3. Pure Austin 6%

Best Youth Fitness Organization
A worn-out kid is a happy kid, and Austin has great kid-friendly workouts. Leading the list is the YMCA, with six locations in the Austin area. CG Arena, a subdivision of Camp Gladiator, came in a close second; Sport Speed, which provides a variety of training from team to individuals (with small and group training as well), debuted with ten percent of the popular vote.

1. YMCA 16%

2. CG Arena 15%

3. Sport Speed Austin 10%

Best Road Race
So many races, so little time. 3M is celebrating 20 years, and Austinites gave an early anniversary present with the coveted “Best of” position. The Austin Marathon and Run for the Water 10 Miler simply slid down a rung, keeping their same relative positions and showing Austin’s love for distance.

1. 3M Half Marathon 17%

2. Freescale Austin Marathon (and Half) 16%

3. Run for the Water 10 Miler 12%

Best Triathlon
It’s a Labor Day tradition to get out and tri your best at TriRock Austin, and the race held its dominating position. CapTex Tri, part of the Life Time Triathlon series, has been around for 23 years now and holds on to second again. Austin-area triathletes turned to local business High Five Events to recognize Jack’s Generic for third place.

1. TriRock Austin 23%

2. Life Time Tri: CapTex 15%

3. Jack’s Generic Tri 9%

Best Off-Road Event
Whether they’re biking or running, Austin athletes aren’t afraid of a little dirt. This new category got some vague responses that showed a variety of interests. Rogue fans couldn’t nail down just one event, so we lumped them together; the Dirty Du is Texas’ oldest off-road run/bike/run event, held at Rocky Hill Ranch; and, rounding off at third, was the generic “trail run.”

1. Rogue Trail Series 22%

2. Dirty Du 12%

3. Trail Run 6%

Marathon-HighBest Local Fitness-Focused Nonprofit
Austin’s a fit city, and it’s nice to be able to share with those nonprofits that help our community. Marathon High, a free, after-school training program through Rogue Running, has a mission to “promote balanced, healthy lifestyles” to show kids that “they can achieve anything they put their heart into, all by simply running.” CG Victory provides sponsorships to Camp Gladiator sports camp for children. Ballet Austin’s Butler Community School has a variety of outreach programs to bring families to fitness.

1. Marathon High 12%

2. CG Victory 9%

3. Ballet Austin 8%

Best Local Health-Focused Nonprofit
AAND and Sustainable Food Center are nonprofits dedicated to healthy foods for the community, while Go Mitch Go (named in honor of Mitchell Graham Whitaker) focuses on funding for blood cancer research.

1. Austin Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AAND) 10%

2. Go Mitch Go Foundation 9%

3. Sustainable Food Center 8%

AFM asked for our readers to name some of the “best of” fitness folks in Austin. Here’s who you want on your team for health and wellness.

Best Personal Trainer
1. Kim Eagle 14%

2. Christian Bazan 5%

Mike O’ Hara

3. Ryan Mortensen 3%

Pilates-InstructorBest Pilates Instructor
1. Shoshana Goldstein 17%

2. Liana Mauro 12%

3. Maja Kermath 9%

Best Spinning/Cycling Instructor
1. David Garza 22%

2. Kim Eagle 21%

3. Maja Kermath 6%

Best Massage Therapist
1. Michelle Hittner 11%

2. Chris Spears 2%

Rachel Bercy

Will Ravenel

3. Kip Chemirmir 1%

Steve-Cuddy]Best Physical Therapist
1. Steve Cuddy 22%

2. Rupal Patel 10%

3. Nic Engel 5%

Best Chiropractor
Some readers listed businesses, while others named people, so AFM separated the two for double the pleasure.

1. Next Level Chiropractic 6%

2. Austin Sports Therapy 3%
3. Advanced Rehabilitation 2%

1. Dorea Wilder 5%

John Tuggle

2. Ron Burnett 3%

3. Chris Sellers 2%

Sports-Focused-PhysicianBest Sports-Focused Physician
1. Dr. Ted Spears 11%

2. Dr. Martha Pyron 7%

3. Brian Ellsperman, D.C., A.C.P. 5%

Best Running Coach
1. Gilbert Tuhabonye 20%

2. Valerie Hunt 8%

3. Chris McClung 4%

C.J. Chavera

Best Triathlon Coach
1. Lauren Sears 9%

2. Erin Truslow 7%

Steve Blackmon

3. Claudia Spooner 6%

Maurice Culley

BeeBest Fitness Model
1. Bee Barnett 10%

2. Ashley Copley 6%

Kim Eagle

3. Dorea Wilder 5%

HaleyBest Nutritionist/Dietician
1. Haley Hall 18%

2. Meredith Terranova 9%

3. Crystal Bold 6%

Best Runner
1. Gilbert Tuhabonye 13%

2. Valerie Hunt 6%

David Fuentes

3. C.J. Chavera 5%

Paul Terranova

Best Triathlete
1. David Garza 16%

2. Lauren Sears 11%

3. Brandon Brickley 7%

Andrea-FischerBest Swimmer
1. Andrea Fisher 10%

2. Katy Dooley 7%

Julie Stupp
3. Brandon Marsh 3%

Brandon Brickley

Brendan Hansen

Michael Phelps

Meredith Terranova

Jimmy Feigan

Elementary-PE-CoachBest Elementary School PE Coach
1. Sarah Mark (Patton) 15%

2. Ryan Sanderson (Valley View) 9%

3. Larry Chauvin (Casis) 8%

Middle-School-PE-CoachBest Middle School PE Coach
1. Jaclyn Faulkner (Khabele) 17%

2. Meg Brown (Ann Richards) 10%

3. Billie Pennington (school not determined) 4%

Eduardo Venegas (school not determined)

High-School-PE-CoachBest High School PE Coach
1. Maura Cosgrove (Ann Richards) 18%

Mike Franz (Khabele)

2. Mike Rosenthal (Austin H.S.) 4%

3. Kyle Blanton (Westwood H.S.) 3%

Colin Sully (Leander H.S.)

LoganBest Race/Event Ambassador
1. Logan Delaware 66%

2. Robert Evilsizer 15%

Fitness-AmbassadorsBest Fitness Ambassador
1. Jess Martin 25%

2. Kim Eagle 14%

3. Dave Appel 10%

David Garza



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