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Turn Up for the New Year at Houze of Sports in Bel Air

The group of about 13 women pumped their fists, twirled, kicked, moved their feet from side to side all to a pounding bass line.

The group moved at the direction and encouragement of Turn Up instructor Meaghan Maher, who led them through the hour-long dance fitness routine Saturday afternoon at the Houze of Sports in Harford Mall in Bel Air.

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The Saturday class was the inaugural Turn Up session at Houze of Sports. Owners Jack and Renee Patterson, who are coming up on one year since they opened the fitness center, hope to offer Turn Up twice a week. Classes are scheduled to start on a regular basis on Wednesday, Jan. 8 at 7 p.m.

Turn Up, which involves participants working against their body weights, is ideal for people who want to get into fitness as part of their New Year’s resolutions," Maher said.

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“It’s so much free movement, anybody can do it,” she said. “It is you moving and expressing yourself in that moment.”

The owners plan to eventually expand the classes to four times a week with 30 to 40 people per class, Jack Patterson said.

The 13 women who took part in the first class were at various levels of fitness and not all kept pace with Maher’s high-energy routine. Participants do not have to match the instructor’s pace and moves exactly, though, according to Maher.

“It is free movement for one hour,” she said after the session. “You’re accessing every facet of who you are.”

Participants can be dancing, working their muscles or “just owning that moment — it’s your therapy,” Maher said.

Houze of Sports, which celebrated the grand opening of its Harford Mall space in January 2019, offers a host of fitness activities for youths and adults.

“We’re fulfilling our passion to help youth athletes all the way up to adults, no matter what their fitness journey is,” Renee Patterson said.

Services include the Parisi Speed School training program for athletes, small group sessions for adults, Zumba, plus strength training with battle ropes, kettle bells and other devices.

Houze of Sports is one of many fitness and wellness entities participating in an upcoming health fair. The fair is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 25 in the Bel Air Armory at 37 N. Main St. from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; admission is free.

“We are all about community, building one another up in our health journey,” Patterson said.

Turn Up combines four components of fitness — dance, high-intensity interval training, active recovery and body weight toning, according to Maher. The style is often compared to Zumba, but what sets it apart from other dance fitness routines is “the intensity behind it ... and it’s the community, it’s the people,” Maher said.

“It was high energy; I had a good time,” participant Hilda Brinson, 40, of Abingdon, said after the class.

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Brinson said she works out on a regular basis, so Turn Up would be an addition to her current routine. Her fitness goals include weight loss and toning, and she said Turn Up could help with toning.

“You’re not thinking about working out, you’re thinking about having fun and letting lose,” she said. “And, it’s your own body weight.”

Amanda Hughes, 26, of Peach Bottom, Pennsylvania, came down to Bel Air to take part in the Turn Up class and support Maher, who is her sister-in-law.

“It was really fun; it just made me feel good,” she said.

Hughes’ 5-year-old daughter, Emma Maher, worked out with her mom for part of the session and then spent the rest of the hour in Houze of Sports’ children’s play area. Hughes said it is good for her daughter, even at age 5, to get involved in fitness activities.

“I think, once she gets used to everyone, she’ll do [Turn Up] more often,” Hughes said.

People who do Turn Up can burn 600 to 800 calories per workout. Maher stressed that participants do not have to follow exactly what the instructor does, such as, if the instructor bends down, the participant can stay up.

“It’s how their body wants to go for that step,” she said.

Maher noted people should not feel intimidated about trying Turn Up if they are new to fitness routines.

“With the freedom of movement, you’re having fun and getting a workout in at the same time,” she said. “There is no intimidation.”

More information about Houze of Sports is online at https://www.houzeofsportsmd.com. Maher can be found on social media via her Meaghan Maher page on Facebook or follow her @meagmaher on Instagram.

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