Photo courtesy of Exiza

Hot girl walks, Pilates, HIIT, or barre – whatever the workout du jour, 2023 is the year for Houstonians to get moving.

According to a recent poll by statista.com, the top three 2023 New Year's resolutions for adults are to exercise more, eat healthier, and lose weight. Get ready, as gyms and outdoor trails across the country will be teeming with workout enthusiasts for the next few weeks.

Looking for motivation to get off the couch and keep your New Year's resolutions intact? Cool — or hot — gym clothes really help. From leggings that won't roll down and offer much-needed sweat-wicking to a sleek bodysuit, looking in the mirror at the gym while sporting a good 'fit is a proven incentive to keep going.

Whether or not getting in shape is a 2023 goal, trying something new in January is always a good idea. We offer fashionable fitness motivation and inspiration via local activewear brands to shop now.

Accel Lifestyle

All it took was the frustration of a stinky t-shirt for founder Megan Eddings to invent Prema fabric. This antimicrobial fabric remains odor and bacteria-free even after the sweatiest gym sesh. Made from eight recycled water bottles and organic cotton, Accel's Forever Joggers offer the best comfy and sustainable materials.

Accel's revolutionary Prema fabric keeps the post-workout stench at bay. Photo courtesy of accellifestyle.com

DBS Living

Houstonians Larry Leonard and Sukaina Rajani (of Macaron by Patisse fame) recently launched a line of athleisure apparel called DBS (Don't Be Scared). Featuring workout wear for both men and women, DBS is made of premium materials in vibrant colors. Designed for workouts and everyday wear and made from soft squat-proof fabric, their leggings offer four-way stretch and two side pockets.

The DBS – Don't Be Scared brand was recently launched by Houstonians Larry Leonard and Sukaina Rajani.Photo courtesy of dbs.com


Ethically made and designed by Houston native Reagan Bregman, Exiza's mission is to empower women to feel good about themselves daily. One of the company's newest arrivals is the Quarter Zip Jacket, available in the colors black and cappuccino foam. Bregman, whose degree is in marketing and who spent time at Google and Oracle, has launched a new Exiza line called Breaking Barriers (find it here) that honors women all over who do everything from shattering ceilings and launching companies, to managing kids and homes.

Exiza focuses on exercise and the active lifestyle not for vanity, but for self-care.Photo courtesy of exiza.com

Fiercely Built

Local favorite Fiercely Built was founded by Erin Miller to encourage women to live their best life through self-acceptance, happiness, fitness, and health. Known for their value-priced sets in bold colors and designs, this Pop Fuchsia Set is made from soft, breathable material.

Fiercely Built is known for their value-priced sets in bold colors and designs.Photo courtesy of fiercelybuilt.com

Ivy Park

Beyoncé put her mark on the athleisure industry when she unveiled Ivy Park in 2016. Named after Houston's Parkwood Park (where the superstar used to run with her father) and her daughter Ivy Blue, her ultra-glam collaboration with Adidas is a mix of high-tech performance gear and fashion. The Metallic #Ivytopia is available at Adidas stores.

Beyonce's latest collab Ivy Park x adidas features metallic performance gear. Photo courtesy of Ivy Park/Instagram

Mighty Aphrodity

Located near the Galleria, Mighty Aphrodity is a boutique that carries quality fitness and athleisure clothing. Owned by native Houstonian Valerie Horwitz, previously a fashion art director, the store has many brands, including Alo, Bala, BeachRiot, Perfect White Tee, Nux, and more.

Located near the Galleria, Might Aphrodity carries a number of fitness and athleisure brands. Photo courtesy of mightyaphrodity.com

Shop DYI

Houston-based DYI, Define Your Inspiration, recently closed their M-K-T Heights store, but the cult favorite is still available online. Their Compression Basic Long Sleeve has an interior bra with removable cups making it ideal for the gym or on the go.

Houston-based Shop DYI sells fitness and streetwear fashions. Photo courtesy of Shop DYI/Instagram

Solely Fit

Former ABC13 reporter Stefania Okolie is the founder of Solely Fit, a brand that supports and unites stone women while telling a story of who they are. Solely Fit's sleek bodysuits are made with soft fabric and are available in various bright and neutral colors.

Former ABC13 reporter Stefania Okolie is the founder of Solely Fit, a brand famed for their bodysuits. Photo courtesy of mysolelyfit.com


Figure-flattering shaping activewear for men and women is the core of XODUS Fitness Apparel. Their XFA Bodysuit is made with a padded bra and an exposed back, perfect for showing off those gym gains.

XODUS focuses on shape defining fitness gear for men and women. Photo courtesy of XODUS/Instagram

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

New grocery store's Houston debut leads top stories

this week's hot headlines

Editor's note: It's time to recap the top stories on CultureMap from this past week

1. New Houston-area grocery stores offer shoppers bulk restaurant food and supplies without a membership. Four locations are open now with two more coming soon.

2. Booming Houston 'burb named best place to buy a home and raise a family in America. The city earned high marks for its job market, housing availability, and more.

3. Brad Paisley joins George Strait and Selena with induction into RodeoHouston's prestigious Star Trail of Fame. This honor makes Paisley the 10th star honored with a gold plaque to commemorate his years of outstanding entertainment at the Rodeo.

4. Brad Paisley steals hearts — and a fan's phone — in his Star Trail of Fame RodeoHouston show. The performer brought the warmth from his plaque unveiling onto the stage in front of a sold out matinee crowd.

5. Houston's best burgers smash the game with exotic add-ons, beefed-up buns, and more. Presenting the nominees for Best Burger in the CultureMap Tastemaker Awards.

Netflix series Waco: American Apocalypse debuts with newly unearthed footage

Documentary News

Netflix has a new series on the tragedy that took place in Waco three decades ago: Called Waco: American Apocalypse, it's a three-part series documenting the standoff between cult leader David Koresh and the federal government that ended in a fiery inferno, televised live, with 76 people dead.

The series debuts on March 22, to coincide with the 30-year anniversary of the event which took place from February 28 to April 19, 1993.

It's an oft-told tale and not the only new release to try and exploit the 30-year anniversary: Jeff Guinn, former books editor at the Fort Worth Star Telegram, just came out with a book in January, also described as definitive, called Waco: David Koresh, the Branch Davidians, and a Legacy of Rage.

Waco: American Apocalypse is directed by another Texan: Dallas native Tiller Russell (Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer), who obtained never-before-seen videotapes of FBI negotiations, as well as raw news footage and interviews with insiders.

Those insiders include one of David Koresh’s spiritual wives; the last child released from the compound alive; a sniper from the FBI Hostage Rescue Team; the FBI Crisis Negotiation Unit Chief; journalists; and members of the ATF tactical team who watched colleagues die in the shootout against the heavily armed members of the religious sect.

The FBI videotaped inside the hostage negation room, thinking they'd be there maybe 24 hours, not 51 days.

"These are video cassettes that were sitting in somebody’s closet for 30 years, that show the mechanics of hostage negotiations in an intimate setting - not the hostage negotiation scenarios you see in films, but a team of people grinding, day in and day out, for 51 days," Russell says.

He also procured footage from Waco TV station KWTX, who had a reporter embedded in the initial gunfight.

While the standoff was broadcast live on TV at the time, much of it was out of camera range. The film uses 3D graphics to recreate the details of the compound.

Russell acknowledges that the tale of the cult leader who was also a pedophile, the debate over the right to bear arms, the constitutional limits of religious freedom, dredge up painful conversations that continue today.

"It cast a long shadow, pre-saging the Timothy McVeigh bombing in Oklahoma, the shooting at Colombine, and a growing distrust of government, but I think it's important to reckon with our past so we don't repeat mistakes," he says.

"So much of what’s roiling in culture today can be traced to Waco, a story about God and guns in America with all these children at the center whose lives were determined by the adults around them," he says. "There was no playbook for what happened, everyone was out on a limb, and people made mistakes. But almost everybody was trying to do their very best."

"I think this is a story that's often recalled in politicized terms, with finger-pointing on who screwed up and how did we get here, but there's a profound humanity to it all," he says.

Watch the trailer below:

Texas Top Chef winner debuts new National Geographic series during SXSW

Top Chef

Texas is proud to claim chef Kristen Kish as its own, but the Top Chef winner has always had a global mindset. She first earned her chops in French and Italian cuisine at Boston's acclaimed Menton restaurant, infusing those influences into the menu at Arlo Grey with a pioneering curiosity and adventurous spirit. Now, she's bringing that explorer's mindset to a new National Geographic series that debuted Tuesday, March 21.

Available on Disney+, Restaurants at the End of the World is a docuseries in which Kish travels to off-the-beaten-path pockets of the planet. The four-part series follows Kish as she searches for the secret ingredients – people, places, culture, and traditions – within the world’s most remote restaurants in Boquete, Panama; Svalbard, Norway; North Haven Island, Maine; and Paraty, Brazil.

A lucky selection of South by Southwest (SXSW) attendees got a sneak peek of the series at a special dinner last week. The event took place inside Arlo Grey at the Line Hotel, where Kish mingled with guests and introduced clips from the upcoming series. A family-style dinner featured dishes inspired by different episodes of the series, from Maine-inspired Parker House rolls to Arctic char and strawberry semifreddo.

"This series is all about shared experiences and trading stories," Kish said, introducing the evening's menu. "So, when putting this menu together, I realized there are a lot of similarities. When I think back to all the places I went and new things I learned, there are so many familiar flavors to every bite that can bring you right back home into your own story."

The menu celebrated each location in the upcoming series, often in the same course: Parker House Rolls (with delicious whipped brown butter) were a nod to her New England episode ("Maine Island Barn Supper,"), paired with a scallop crudo commemoration of her time in Brazil ("Brazil’s Floating Feast,"). Meanwhile, the main course gave guests a glimpse of the great lengths Norwegian fishermen go to when harvesting Arctic char, accompanied by a clip of Kish's adventures with local purveyors in Svalbard, Norway.

The aim of both the dinner and the upcoming series is to showcase the tenacity it takes to run restaurants in such remote places. Each episode follows Kish behind the scenes with local purveyors, farmers, herders, kitchen crew, managers, and head chefs to hear their stories. She invites viewers along with her in the hunt for the best and freshest ingredients, unearthing the culture and heart behind global cuisine and showcasing the balancing act required to bring unique food to the table around the world.

“Food has an unparalleled power to bring us together and teach us about one another and the world around us, and we see that firsthand by going to restaurants in the world’s most remote areas,” says Chef Kish via release. “Filming this series with National Geographic was an adventure of a lifetime that taught me so much about an industry I’ve been steeped in my whole life. I can’t wait for viewers to come along on the journey with us and experience these dishes at restaurants most never even knew existed.”

The first episode of Restaurants around the World debuted on March 21.

Kristen Kish

Courtesy National Geographic

Top Chef winner Kristen Kish has a new National Geographic show that debuted on March 21.