Dallas is an interesting city. On the one hand, it’s no secret, nation-wide, that Dallas is an image-conscious city. Images and articles abound about the attractiveness of Dallas residents. On the other hand, Dallas regularly makes an appearance on the lists of unhealthy or obese cities. Color us confused. Regardless of the camp you fall into, and perhaps in large part because of this Dallas paradox, Dallas has no shortage of gyms. Traditional gyms exist — those with the equipment and programs you are used to, and Be Well Dallas has even reviewed some for you.

But if you’re looking for something different, something to jump-start a new fitness routine or mix-up what you’ve been doing, Dallas has quite a few options. Below find some of our favorites:

InCinR8
Once you meet Danny Connolly, you immediately know why people swear by his 8 Method program at IncinR8. The program is based on Connolly’s experience as a trainer at the Cooper Aerobics Center and the 10 years he spent working in fitness in Los Angeles.

Connolly explains his program with a contagious enthusiasm. “The eight-minute cardio circuits are perfect to elevate the heart rate up to a point of 'maximal' fat burning,” he says. The eight-minute timeframe keeps the body from tiring out and permits it to maintain perfect form. The difference between 8 Fitness Dallas and other programs is Connolly’s philosophy of doing one rep at a time. “No other program preaches this like I do. In my classes, participants are taught how to maximize each and every rep by slowing down, focusing by concentrating on the muscle group involved, and by intensifying each rep,” he says.

Like Connolly’s enthusiasm, the program works best for friendly, optimistic people who have positive attitudes: “I am personally involved in each person’s success. I know everyone by name and care about them as people and human beings.”

It’s for this reason that the classes at InCinR8 are limited to 20 people or less. Connolly can “keep an eye” on everyone. All you need to succeed is an optimistic attitude, trust in Connolly, and an understanding that just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, your fitness goals will take some work. But give Connolly a month, and he claims you’ll see changes in your body, and your thinking, in that relatively brief time.  You can buy individual classes, class packages, or monthly or annual memberships. There are also intro class and SMU student options.

CrossFit
The number of CrossFit affiliates across the Dallas area is intimidating, but the basic gist behind the absurdly popular fitness program is the same wherever you go. It’s just a matter of committing yourself to the CrossFit lifestyle and finding a gym (also called a “box”) that fits your personality.

If you talk to any person who is an active CrossFit member, he will swear by its effectiveness. Koy Nichols, of CrossFit Deep, thinks he knows why some people have success with CrossFit. “I think it is a good program that works for people who may not find success in other workout regimens because it is about more than just working out.  We teach and stress the importance of proper nutrition, mobility, flexibility, and recovery as well. It is really more of a lifestyle rather than just a workout routine,” he says.

Another fulfilling aspect is how quickly the rewards can be seen, he says. Admittedly the workouts are challenging, and Nichols doesn’t claim it is easy. “Anyone starting CrossFit should have the mentality that it's a journey. I recommend giving CrossFit at least three months before bailing out.  It's really something you should try and commit to and see how you progress.”

Unfortunately for some, that goes for the nutrition aspect as well. As Nichols puts it, “If you eat real food and work out hard, good things will happen. For 99 percent of people, if you eat junk food all the time, no fitness regimen will work.” If the CrossFit lifestyle appeals to you, take a look at one of the gyms in the area.

Tread Fitness
If running is your cardio activity of choice, but you want to add in some weight training, Tread is another good option. The classes are challenging, but you get to set the pace and decide how hard you want to push yourself. The fun music is a plus, and the high energy of the instructors makes the hour fly by. The one-hour group classes are generally comprised of “muscle-toning and strength-building exercises” combined with 10- to 15-minute treadmill intervals. The result is a boost to your cardiovascular stamina and a leaner you. Tread also offers specialty classes focusing on abs, arms, or your back half.

After an hour, your workout is complete, and you’ve done it all — cardio, strength training, and a little head-bopping. You can buy individual classes, class packages, or monthly memberships. Rate information and schedules can be found on the Tread website.

Flywheel
Spin classes aren’t new, but Flywheel focuses on spinning and creating results. The classes last 45 or 60 minutes and will include climbs and descents while working arms with weighted bars. An in-house DJ carefully creates the playlist so that the rides are synced to the music beat and make each class unique. While your instructor leads your class, including targeted resistance levels and RPMs to aim for, you decide what’s right for you and ultimately control the intensity of your workout.

If it’s your first class, get there early. Someone will run you through a brief orientation and get you set up. To see results, you should try to attend class three times a week. Flywheel classes can be purchased individually, in class packages, or as monthly memberships. Rate information and schedules can be found on the website. Check out the Flybarre program while you’re at it — it can offer a nice compliment to the Flywheel classes.

Title Boxing Club
If getting out a little aggression and getting in a great workout sounds appealing, Title Boxing Club might be for you. Boxing, rather than say, hanging out on the elliptical for 30 minutes, should leave you feeling more like you just kicked some serious you-know-what when you leave the gym.

If you are wondering what a regular class is like, see our recent review here. Title Boxing Clubs offer one-hour classes in several varieties: full body Power Hour classes, kickboxing classes, boxing classes, and personal training. “If you are looking for a solid workout come ‘Hit It Hard’ for one hour. This complete fitness workout helps strengthen your core faster than other exercise classes,” the club says about its general Power Hour class. That’s a bold promise, but it’s certainly an appealing one.

And, Title Boxing Club claims you’ll see results after each class. Good news for first timers: the first class is free. After that, prices vary depending on the types of membership you want. After a one-time fee of $99, you can pay monthly dues of $79 (it’s cancellable with a 30-day notice), enroll in an annual membership of $69 per month if you pay the first and last month at signing, or put down a full year upfront for $708 ($59 per month) and skip the $99 fee altogether.