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A Daily Conversation About Dallas

Doing Good

Dallas: The City of Random Acts of Kindness, Pt. 13

| 4 months ago

Dallas Yoga Center has long been a favorite of ours. The 30-year-old Lemmon Avenue studio has been named a D Best several times. The studio temporarily closed its doors in March due to city mandates, and its founders quickly pivoted from a weekly schedule of more than 70 in-person classes to about 40 virtual classes.

Soon after the shelter-in-place order took effect, the studio saw a dire need for mental health resources in our community. Dallas Yoga Center’s founders decided to give back by helping essential workers decompress with yoga and meditation. On May 6, Dallas Yoga Studio launched its CARE4 Initiative to give these workers free access to its online class library. The initiative is directly funded by the studio’s loyal members, who kept their memberships even when the physical location was closed.

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Health & Fitness

Fitness Giant Gold’s Gym Has Permanently Closed Its Dallas Locations

| 5 months ago

Driving south on the Dallas North Tollway, approaching Oak Lawn, a cluster of Jeffersonian-style redbrick buildings stands to the left. One of the northernmost buildings houses the international headquarters of Gold’s Gym, a global chain with 700 locations in 29 countries. The fitness giant was forced to permanently close both of its local gyms — in Uptown and Preston Center — on April 15.

“As our global community continues to navigate these difficult and uncertain times, we want to provide consistent updates regarding the impact of COVID-19 on our gyms,” wrote Adam Zeitsiff, president and CEO of Gold’s Gym, to its members across the globe. “Today this includes sharing the news that the COVID-19-related closures have caused us to reassess the viability of some company-owned Gold’s Gym locations and make the difficult decision to permanently close about 30 gyms across the United States.”

All Gold’s Gym locations, whether corporate-owned or franchised, have been temporarily closed in accordance with directions from local and state governments and public health officials. Gold’s Gym froze all membership dues at no cost to customers, which, no doubt, caused serious issues concerning financial solvency. (This presumably forced the closures.) 

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Local News

Headington Companies Lays Off Hundreds of Employees Across Its Dallas Operations

| 6 months ago

Last weekend, before Dallas banned dining inside of restaurants and drinking at bars, it was business as usual at the Midnight Rambler. The subterranean craft cocktail salon at Tim Headington’s Joule Hotel downtown was open until it wasn’t, which left its staff wondering about next steps. Sources tell D Magazine that leadership left employees mostly in the dark with little communication.

It is one of more than 15 concepts owned and operated by Headington Cos. that will be permanently or temporarily closed as Dallas enacts public health measures aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus. According to multiple sources, as many as 400 employees have been laid off or furloughed. The news was first reported last week by Central Track.

Employees like Jose Gonzales, the lead bartender at Midnight Rambler, suspected something like this may have been on the horizon. “It would have helped a lot as far as having a little more clear view of what was going on,” he says. “Until somebody tells us anything we still act like everything’s normal and that was the case, they just didn’t budge…they acted like everything was normal which is definitely very ominous. … You kind of start kind of realizing it’s getting closer.”

It is all the more startling considering the years that Headington spent making downtown his own cultural playground, first by turning 1927’s Dallas National Bank Building into the Joule Hotel. From there came restaurants and upscale retail department stores, most notably Forty Five Ten, which Headington purchased in 2015. He extended his reach into the Design District, commissioning a sculpture from artist Daniel Arsham to link the Italian restaurant Sassetta and the upscale sports bar Wheelhouse. He demolished a century old building across from the Joule during a Cowboys game and replaced it with a giant eyeball designed by the Chicago artist Tony Tasset. Every year, the Dallas Art Fair is bookended by a highly programmed bash in the courtyard in front of that sculpture.

Headington was an early bettor on a post-Recession downtown Dallas that had not yet seen an influx of new residents, remodeled hotels, and pricy bars. You could love or hate it, but Headington had a vision for the city. That vision is now gone in a flash. 

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Health & Fitness

This Dallas Fitness Trainer Quit Her Job to Climb Mount Everest

| 2 years ago

On March 25, Crystal Lovell will leave her home in McKinney, Texas–where she’s been sleeping in a Box Altitude tent to simulate the rarefied air at 18,000 feet–to fly to Kathmandu and climb Mount Everest. Sitting across from her in Houndstooth Coffee on Henderson Avenue, it’s hard to believe that the F45 fitness trainer only hiked her first mountain three years ago. “I got into it kind of by accident,” she says, sipping a bottle of water while I eat a croissant. “I moved here from Florida for work and went through just total depression and gained 50 pounds. My whole life revolved around work.”

A friend invited her to go backpacking through Yosemite, and one night they camped on top of a mountain peak. “I fell in love with the struggle of it, and then getting to see the views,” she says.

She took a break from her job as a sales consultant with Lincoln Financial to attend a 6-day mountaineering school in Washington with Alpine Ascents International. Then she climbed Mount Rainier, the tallest peak in Washington.

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Fitness

How One Man Stayed Sane at Spin Class

| 2 years ago

About a half-hour into class, around the time my thigh muscles began to feel as if they were evacuating my legs, the spin instructor shouted something that made me unreasonably angry.

“There is a reason why your windshield is bigger than your rearview mirror!”

Group fitness classes are rife with these motivational platitudes. We are biking to nowhere, clipped into pedals, but urged to “leave what happened today outside.” We get reminded that “we’ve come too far to give up on ourselves” and that “we control what we get out of today.” They’re usually meant to lightly empower you, to gently nudge you to stay on beat or up the resistance. Sometimes they work, other times you roll your eyes. But this one broke the fourth wall.

I couldn’t escape the vision of sitting in the driver’s seat, squinting through a windshield. It was too specific and too dumb. And as my rage flared, I noticed the miasma of neon-drenched sweat, club-ready subwoofers, an EDM remix of a Migos track that sounded like someone dropping a dumbbell onto concrete over and over. Think acid flashback, but also with physical pain. And, remember, you paid for this experience.

And yet, cycling classes just like this one got me into an exercise routine for the first time since playing high school football.

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Fitness

Americans Aren’t Listening to Ken Cooper

| 2 years ago

Dr. Kenneth Cooper is the father of aerobics, the reason Brazilians refer to going for a jog as “doing their cooper.” The 87-year-old still has a daily workout routine that would put some 20-somethings to shame. The 2019 Lifetime Achievement winner in D CEO’s Excellence in Healthcare Awards has been interviewed by Barbara Walters and Ted Koppel and featured in just about every major publication. He has a Super Bowl ring. He has presidential friends and patients, past and present, all over the world. One time while on stage, then-Vice President George H.W. Bush nodded to him in the crowd and apologized that he wasn’t working out. Another time, he did a morning jog with a Brazilian president, and he says the papers next day read, “President Does Cooper With Cooper.” (They’ve loved him in Brazil ever since he lent his philosophies to the World Cup-winning 1970 national team, although Cooper credits this guy named Pelé.)

But inside his wood-paneled office at the Preston Hollow campus of Cooper Aerobics, surrounded by relics of a very full career, Cooper is talking about what’s next.

That would be the company’s expansion into China, where Cooper’s agent just inked a 10-year, “sizable figure” deal to allow a medical device-maker to use the Cooper name. There are Cooper complexes in Nanjing and Beijing. “The truth of the matter is it appears that my reputation in China—my name in China—is becoming better known than in the United States,” Cooper says. He aims to get youth there to take the Cooper Institute’s FitnessGram test. “I’m trying to get a comparative analysis so I can embarrass America,” Cooper says, adding that his preliminary testing in China tells him the country would put us to shame. “I need something to shock America back to reality.”

“We’ve got a problem,” he goes on. “We spend twice as much money as anybody else in the world on healthcare, yet we rank 43rd in longevity. Too much care, too late.”

That might not sound all that original to a business executive engaged in the healthcare ecosystem’s gradual move to a value-based system, which puts a greater emphasis on prevention. But it’s a message Cooper has been preaching long before anyone took it seriously.

And he hasn’t stopped. Cooper seems to still have something left to prove, even as he approaches the 50-year anniversary of Cooper Aerobics in 2020.

The career-changing moment for the ever-sharp and fast-talking Cooper occurred two years before that founding, in 1968, when he published Aerobics. The book brought the world that word, popularized jogging, and shed light on the positive effects of being fit. He wrote it while he was a physician in the U.S. Air Force, working with NASA on astronaut-appropriate conditioning programs. His books have sold 30 million copies and have been translated into 41 different languages.

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Humor

The Scary Truth Behind Bunny Yoga

| 2 years ago

Over the years, my wife has devised a trick for getting me to do things I’d prefer not to. She pretends that we’ve already discussed the matter and that I’ve forgotten I agreed to do the unpleasant thing. Taking advantage of my failing memory isn’t nice, but it’s effective. She would tell you that I’m making this up, that she doesn’t trick me, but I feel like she tricks me, and if couple’s therapy has taught me one thing it’s that feelings are just as important as facts.

She used the trick to get me to go to bunny yoga.

On a Friday evening, I asked, “We got anything this weekend?”

She said, “You’re taking Stella to bunny yoga tomorrow at the JCC.”

“What?! Bunny yoga? What the heck is bunny yoga? And why is it Jewish?”

“Tim. We already talked about this,” she said, almost certainly lying. “I have tennis tomorrow. You’re taking Stella to bunny yoga.”

Our 12-year-old daughter has a thing for rabbits. This is a fact that I remember. So while my wife was off doing something fun that she enjoys, I gathered up our yoga mat and our daughter and took them both to bunny yoga.

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The Ticket’s Junior Miller On Finishing His First Ironman

| 6 years ago

The Ticket's Morning Musers returned to the radio airwaves from vacation this morning. On his vacation, Junior Miller ran an Ironman triathlon, something he said he'd never do. I heard him tell the story this morning. If you didn't, you can read a version here. My favorite passage:

By the halfway point of the run, I was dead. I again had to talk myself out of quitting. I eventually figured that I'd come this far, done all of the training, and would probably never do another one of these stupid events again, so I might as well finish, even if I have to walk the rest of the way.

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Caption This: Mayor Rawlings Loves Fist Pumping

| 6 years ago

The U.S. Conference of Mayors started today with breakfast and jazzercise on the new Continental Avenue Bridge park. Because what all of these mayors surely wanted to see straightaway was everyone in workout clothes. Welcome to Dallas! Anyway, Tim and Zac, who are not mayors, are off judging essays and manuscripts for the Mayborn Conference today. If they were here, however, there would undoubtedly be discussion of this wonderful photo of Mayor Mike Rawlings fist pumping. "Let's Get it Started" by the Black Eyed Peas was played at some point, so I'm just going to assume it happened then. Because I don't get the joy (?) of hearing from Tim and Zac, I'll open it up to you, dear readers. Caption suggestions? Or better yet, thought-bubble suggestions?

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