As more people have moved into Downtown Tampa and the surrounding urban core, the city has responded with an influx of fitness studios, gyms and weekly workouts everywhere you turn. It’s now possible to get a free, different workout nearly every day of the week without ever leaving Downtown Tampa and Ybor City, and the options for fitness classes are growing daily. Read on for some of the fun and unique ways to get fit around Tampa’s urban core.
Workouts in the Park
Curtis Hixon Park
The Tampa Downtown Partnership jump-started the trend of free, pop-up style workouts in the urban core with its (still-running) Yoga in the Park way back in 2010. Now, stop by Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park nearly any day of the week at 6 p.m. for a trainer-led class that will get your heart rate pumping or help you unwind after a long day, all with a gorgeous backdrop of the Hillsborough River. Yoga is up first on Sunday, followed by PRIMAL MVMNT (see below) on Monday, Zumba on Tuesday, Bamboozle Fit Club bootcamp on Wednesday and barre on Thursday.
600 N. Ashley Drive | tampasdowntown.com/fitness
ONE TO WATCH
“Why am I not passionate about fitness? That’s the real question,” Bradford Stevens says with a laugh. The owner and founder of VKNG Row fell in love with rowing in college, eventually opening the studio to share the low-impact, highly effective workout with the general public. Stevens and his team focus on full-body wellness and design their circuit-style workouts to prevent injury and improve function (and to have a little fun in the process). One of VKNG Row’s most unique offerings is the PRIMAL MVMNT class, held for free at Curtis Hixon Park every Monday in collaboration with the Tampa Downtown Partnership. Full of what Stevens calls “animalistic-type movements and patterns,” participants crawl, crab-walk and squat their way to better movement.
VKNG Row | 1221 W. Cass St. | vkng-row.com
Armature Works Workouts
Find your zen (and then find a snack inside the Heights Public Market) at one of the free workouts offered a few times a month at Armature Works. The Armature Works Run Club meets the first and third Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. for a 5K on the Riverwalk, followed by socializing and 10% off post-run cocktails at the BAR at Armature. Then, relax the second and fourth Tuesday mornings of the month for Weekday Yoga, or try Yoga on the Lawn on the fourth Sunday of the month.
1910 N. Ola Ave. | armatureworks.com
CrossFit Downtown Heights
Downtown Tampa’s first CrossFit gym recently opened a few blocks east of the Rialto Theatre, offering classes Monday through Saturday and open gym time every day of the week. Class times start as early as 5:30 a.m. and include a 30-minute express class at noon for a quick but thorough lunchtime workout. The gym welcomes CrossFit newbies to the program with a special “on ramp” program designed to introduce them to the core CrossFit movements and prepare for regular classes.
1601 N. Marion St. | crossfitdowntownheights.com
Wellness at the Wharf
A few times a month, Sparkman Wharf will partner with companies like Lululemon and the Harbour Island Athletic Club to host free classes on its waterside lawn. Recent offerings have included slow flow yoga, HIIT and dance fitness. Workouts are typically held the first Sunday morning and Wednesday evening of the month, but check the Sparkman Wharf website for September and October’s full schedules.
615 Channelside Drive | sparkmanwharf.com
Harbour Island Athletic Club
Doing the same workout over and over again is boring (and, according to science, ineffective), so membership to a facility like the Harbour Island Athletic Club gives you access to a huge variety of classes, fitness equipment, sports courts and training. Members can try group classes like yoga, pilates and spin, or hit the tennis, volleyball or handball courts. The Harbour Island Athletic Club also has classes and activities specifically designed for kids, so gym time can become family time.
900 S. Harbour Island Blvd. | harbourislandathleticclub.com
The data nerd’s dream, Orangetheory’s workout is focused on getting your heart rate up to nearly its maximum for 12 minutes or more. That rate — plus calories burned and other metrics — are tracked via a wearable device and shared with you via the Orangetheory app, where you can see your progress over time. The workout itself is led by a trainer and is different every time to keep your body working and your mind engaged throughout the 60 minutes.
140 S. Meridian Ave. | orangetheoryfitness.com
LVL Up Dance + Fitness
Let’s be real: If you don’t like working out, there’s no real way to ever forget you’re working out, but the classes at LVL Up come pretty close. Try more fitness-inspired options, like Zumba, Pound or PiYo (pilates-yoga fusion), or put on your dancing shoes (read: sneakers) for dance fit, modern dance fusion, or even adult ballet basics. Break out of your comfort zone even more and try your hand (abs?) at belly dancing.
6119 N. Florida Ave. | lvlupdance.com
Opening this fall in the Channel District, Union Three is all about building relationships through fitness. Expect good vibes and great music pumping through the studio’s classes, which include indoor cycling and three different hot yoga options. Stay tuned to Union Three’s website and social media for details on their pop-up preview studio.
1221 E. Cumberland Ave. #4 | unionthree.com
Yoga Loft & Yoga Downtown Tampa
Two of Ybor City and downtown’s top yoga studios recently combined forces, and the sister studios are promising more classes and shared memberships to come soon. Yoga Downtown Tampa is perhaps best known for offering two different swing — or aerial — yoga classes. In the garden of the Ybor City Museum, Yoga Loft hosts a donation-based community yoga every Saturday morning, with all proceeds benefiting the museum.
2002 E. 5th Ave. #5 (Ybor) | 206 E. Cass St. (Downtown)
ONES TO WATCH
Jessica King & Kaley Eckersdorff
If the idea to run away and join the circus has ever crossed your mind in a particularly stressful moment, aerial yoga might be the workout for you. Third-generation circus performer King and yoga teacher Eckersdorff joined forces in 2016 to open what would eventually become Aerial Dragons, a circus arts studio and performance troupe. Aerial Dragons’ instructors teach aerial arts classes for people of all abilities, helping strengthen and stretch your entire body on a whole new level.
Aerial Dragons Studios
1703 N. 24th St.