Houston Rockets fans were understandably a bit doubtful in 2003. Out was fan fave Rudy T, in was the droopy-eyed, balding Jeff Van Gundy, a coach who was more famous for hanging off Miami Heat center Alonzo Mourning's leg during a playoff-game melee than leading the New York Knicks to the NBA Finals in 1999. And there were questions. Like how would the defensive-minded tactician handle All-Star guard Steve Francis's shoot-first, shoot-second mentality? Well, he didn't. Soon Francis was shipped off to Orlando in exchange for chronically selfish forward Tracy McGrady. Amazingly, Van Gundy taught McGrady the value of team defense and led the team to the playoffs that very year. Since then, the high school math teacher look-alike has been feisty (he faced suspension when he claimed an NBA conspiracy to unfairly officiate Yao Ming) and stable, the perfect combo to take the Rockets back to the promised land.
Readers' choice: Houston Rockets' Jeff Van Gundy
So few gyms have personality. Padded floors run for thousands of square feet with machine after machine and line after line of muscle heads and gym rats waiting for their chance at three sets of ten reps. It's a scene pulled from an Orwell novel. But FIT appears to have more character than clientele. There are few lines, and the view is spectacular. Get in your cardio on a Precor overlooking a postcard-perfect vista of the skyline. Work out Mondays to a live DJ. Speedwalk to the cafe, which has a similar breathtaking view, for a break or a carbo-charge; there's a Starbucks, Internet access, huge wide-screen TVs and sushi from Zake. Forgot your toiletry bag? Don't fret. FIT's locker rooms are stocked with everything you'll need, from self-locking lockers to mouthwash dispensers at the sink.

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