On the Go

Hur­ri­canes and jam­bal­aya and bread pud­ding—oh my! How to stay in shape while sa­vor­ing the city.


Think New Or­leans is all about overindul­gence? How to stay fit in "the city that care for­got."

Fit­ness in New Or­leans can be a hard thing to at­tain (and main­tain) with con­stant food-cen­tric fes­ti­vals, al­co­hol flow­ing all day ev­ery­where and del­i­ca­cies that mostly “start with a roux,” a mix­ture of flour and fat. Thank­fully, there are sev­eral classes ded­i­cated to help­ing lo­cals—and vis­i­tors—stay in shape while lais­sant les bon temps roulant.

One of the city’s most pop­u­lar fit­ness groups is Move

Ya Brass, which vice pres­i­dent Thomas Nguyen de­scribes as “a fit­ness move­ment that is all about com­mu­nity.” Each week the group hosts a Mon­day-night guided run and Tues­day-evening bounce­mu­sic dance class/work­out at Cres­cent Park, over­look­ing the Mis­sis­sippi River. Singer Robin Barnes started the group in 2015 with just 10 peo­ple, and it’s since blos­somed to more than 460 mem­bers. But they aren’t all lo­cal; vis­i­tors are en­cour­aged to join in as well. Pro­grams can also be tai­lored for con­ven­tions and other groups.

What’s great about Move Ya Brass is that classes are free and there’s no fit­ness re­quire­ment (real or per­ceived) for par­tic­i­pants. “There is no one fit­ness level that one must achieve to be with Move Ya Brass,” says Nguyen. “We want to cheer you on from start to fin­ish to com­plete your work­out, whether you are run­ning, walk­ing those two or three miles or get­ting through that Bounce Ya Brass or hip-hop dance/car­dio work­out.” Even chil­dren are wel­come.

At the New Or­leans Jazz Mar­ket’s monthly Bounce

Fit­ness with MoeJo events, par­tic­i­pants get a great work­out while learn­ing a few clas­sic New Or­leans-style dance moves. “My first ob­jec­tive is to reach peo­ple’s spirit and heart, be­cause that’s the most im­por­tant foun­da­tion of well­ness,” says founder Marissa “MoeJoe” Joseph. In­cor­po­rat­ing zy­deco and se­cond-line moves, MoeJo’s en­er­getic “dance­outs” help par­tic­i­pants “shed pounds, get leaner bod­ies, lift their buns and gain con­fi­dence, along with an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for Louisiana Cre­ole cul­ture.”

“To me, the best part of trav­el­ing is sam­pling the lo­cal cui­sine,” says Rupa Mo­han, the brain be­hind The Sweat So

cial, the na­tion’s first well­ness ser­vice specif­i­cally de­signed for trav­el­ers. “The worst part is feel­ing like you’ve gained five pounds and need to start all over at the gym.” In ad­di­tion to “ac­tive tours” of the city, Mo­han’s group con­ducts 30-minute fit­ness classes at Wold­en­berg Park and other lo­ca­tions that in­clude yoga, kick­box­ing and more.

Yoga is a per­fect al­ter­na­tive for those who want to wind down and de­com­press af­ter a too-fun week­end or stress­ful busi­ness trip. “It can be a great way to break up an oth­er­wise to­tally de­bauched visit,” says yo­gini and cer­ti­fied Pi­lates in­struc­tor Robin Gru­en­feld, who con­ducts classes at the New Or­leans Ath­letic Club. Yoga classes also speak to the lov­ing na­ture of New Or­leans, the tra­di­tion of unit­ing in re­lax­ation. “There are a ton of great stu­dios in the city that cater to this com­mu­nal as­pect of yoga,” adds Swan River

Yoga in­struc­tor Alex Hood, “be it for peo­ple who live here or for vis­i­tors.”

Each yoga class and stu­dio is dif­fer­ent and, notes Gru­en­feld, “of­ten the feel of the stu­dio will mir­ror the neigh­bor­hood in which it’s si­t­u­ated.” That’s ideal for vis­i­tors who want to con­nect to the area they’re stay­ing in, or for those who want to feel like they’re at the yoga stu­dios in their home­towns.

You’ll find yoga and Pi­lates classes of­fered at tourist at­trac­tions city­wide, from the New Or­leans Mu­seum of Art to the Louisiana State Mu­seum’s Ca­bildo. An­other fun way to com­bine ex­er­cis­ing with ex­plo­ration is on a New Or­leans Jog­ging Tour. Part 10K run/ part sight­see­ing trip, groups take off ev­ery morn­ing from the Old U.S. Mint.; pri­vate and cus­tom­ized ex­cur­sions are also avail­able.

New Or­leans has all types of vis­i­tors: busi­ness-trip­pers, hon­ey­moon­ers, bach­e­lor par­ty­ers, fam­ily re­union­ers, just-pass­ing-throughers. Just like it has lodg­ing, restau­rants, bars and at­trac­tions geared to ev­ery type, there’s a fit­ness class for ev­ery­one too. So en­joy the beignets, gumbo, fried seafood po’boys, pra­lines, ba­nanas Fos­ter and Hand Grenades, know­ing there are sev­eral ways to work them off … while keep­ing the party go­ing.

Move Ya Brass Yoga at the Ca­bildo The Sweat So­cial

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