Practicing Yoga in Tampa: Our Favorite Studios, Instructors, and Places to Practice

Yoga is a fantastic hobby. As much of a mental workout as a physical one, it is a pastime that can encompass several benefits in one. You’ve got exercise, meditation, learning, and, at the right studio, community. For many, and hour of yoga leaves them feeling physically and mentally stimulated in a way that just cannot be replicated with other workouts.

Yoga has grown in popularity over the past few decades, and the trend has certainly hit in Tampa. There are dozens of studios across the bay area to explore, all offering different styles, vibes, and times for practice.

Below are three lists:

  • The Three Best Studios in Tampa
  • The Three Best Instructors in Tampa
  • The Three Best Places to Practice in Tampa

That last one may surprise you – as a lot of yoga practice around Tampa Bay doesn’t actually occur in a studio!

If yoga is a new activity for you, there are several things you may want to know before you hit the mat:

  • Make sure to wear comfortable, stretchy clothing. Form-fitting is best since you will be moving around quite a bit and don’t want your shirt flipping up over your head!
  • Understand that there are different styles of yoga. Some are calm and gentle, and some feel like an intense cardio workout. Read class descriptions ahead of time so that you can be mentally prepared for whatever you are walking in to.
  • Reservations will likely be needed. Yoga is popular and space is limited. Check out the studio online to see if you need to reserve a spot. Required payment in advance is common.
  • If it is your first class or even your first class at a new studio, show up 15-20 minutes early. You will likely need to fill out some paperwork and sign a waiver.
  • If you don’t have a mat, don’t stress! Most studios will rent them to you for a dollar or two a pop. If you prefer to have your own, they cost less than $10 at Marshalls and TJ Maxx.
  • Bring water. You might work up a sweat, and it is always good practice to have water on hand during a workout.
  • Studio etiquette is a thing. No shoes in the studio, and make sure to respect the quiet space. Loud conversations with your friends or neighbors are disruptive to others.
  • Teachers may offer hands-on adjustments. This is normal and they are trying to help you improve your practice. If you aren’t comfortable with this, let your instructor know ahead of time and they will respect your space.
  • If you have any injuries, let your instructor know about those ahead of time as well.
  • Some teachers demonstrate some don’t. It is completely acceptable to glance around the room at what others are doing if you are unsure on what to do next.
  • Remember that yoga is for everyone! Do not feel intimidated if your poses don’t look like the person’s next to you. Remember that it is called yoga practice, because that’s all it is.

So put on some comfortable clothes, grab your mat, and get ready to listen to some Sanskrit instruction while breathing deeply! Yoga is for everyone, and somewhere on the lists below is the perfect experience for you.

 

The Three Best Studios in Tampa:

This is, of course, an incredibly subjective list. A space that is beautiful to one person may feel uncomfortable to another. Keep an open mind when exploring a studio, and remember that there are some absolutely fantastic studios in town that are not listed here.

 

Bella Prana

Almost every yogi in the Tampa Bay Area has tried at least one class at Bella Prana, and for good reason. This incredible studio features three studio spaces, a full yoga boutique, shower facilities, and more than 90 classes per week! If you are fitness motivated, you can take a Power Hour class or a Flow Level 1 or 2. If you are in it more for the mental benefits, you can try Yin Yoga or Breathwork Meditation. They even offer heated classes and chanting classes. This studio offers the full spectrum of yoga activities, all lead by some truly wonderful instructors. If you are new to yoga, then this is a great place to start out. You can pick up a bundle of classes or even a month of unlimited in order to explore different styles and instructors.

Be forewarned, this space can feel slightly intimidating when you first walk in. The lobby is huge and cavernous, and there are always yogis running around. If you are unsure of where to place your things, which studio space is yours, of what props you need, just ask! The vibe of the place is very welcoming. So hold your head high and join the practice!

 

Sattva Yoga

This studio stands in stark contrast to Bella Prana. It is situated in a small bungalow home and overall feels much more intimate than the yoga warehouse that is Bella Prana. They offer much smaller classes, so you are bound to get more personal attention from instructors. In fact, after just a few visits they are going to know you by name. The class list isn’t quite as extensive as some other studios in the area, and while there is certainly a fitness focus within this studio, it is clear that their instruction is more heavily influenced by mental work. At the start of every class, you will sit on your mat and get a brief “Dharma Talk” from your instructor. This can encompass anything from personal anecdotes to discussion of astrology, to the weather outside. Once you have all experienced the talk together, it is time to practice. You will feel the principles of the talk throughout the design and movement of the class, and it all adds up to a pretty incredible experience.

The space is small, so know that you might be practicing in a hallway, against a wall, or super up close and personal with your neighbor, but the entire environment just adds to the charm!

 

CAMP

Camp isn’t just a yoga studio. This fitness complex also offers aerobic, circuit, and spin classes. The yoga is, however, housed in a separate building, and you can purchase yoga subscriptions only, so for the sake of the list, we will consider it to be its own studio. This is not a great studio for beginners. Classes are all heated, and all decently intense. The instructor will assume you have a base knowledge of poses and yoga principles. If you are looking to take your practice to the next level, then this is a fantastic choice for you. The flow classes are physically and mentally challenging, and the flow 2 classes offer instruction for arm balances, inversions, and more difficult postures that you can’t always access in a level one class.

The space is well lit and well appointed, but it is HOT. Definitely expect to sweat in this studio. It cannot be avoided, and you are absolutely not alone. This studio is not for the faint of heart, but if you are looking for a challenge, then Camp is here to challenge you.

 

The Three Best Instructors in Tampa:

Like studios, instructor preference is incredibly subjective. It is important, however, to connect with an instructor. Many people only begin to like and appreciate yoga when they find the right fit in a teacher. Again, keep an open mind, and try to identify what you value in an instructor. Do you prefer tough love or quiet encouragement? Are you there for fitness or for meditation? Do you like to be touched or not? These are all things to keep in mind when considering which instructors you will like, and which are a better fit for a different type of yogi.

 

Austin Haigler

Austin teaches at the Yoga Loft, a fantastically intimate little studio in Ybor City. He is friendly and informal and is the perfect choice of instructor for anyone who isn’t into the hippy side of yoga. Austin began practicing in 2011, which means he is relatively new to the practice as well, and his style of teaching is incredibly accessible. He is also known as the “handstand king”, so if you are working on some floating poses definitely check out one of his classes!

 

Kolton Durkin

Kolton teaches at Sattva Yoga, and her classes are not to be missed! Kolton is very open about how a difficult time in her life led her to practice, and how yoga helped her to face her challenges and find a sense of inner peace, and you can feel that journey in every class she leads. She is great at explaining how to get into complicated looking poses and is highly encouraging of anyone and everyone who comes to her class. Not only that, but she exudes friendliness and honesty in a way that is very appealing. If you are looking for an instructor who is on your side and is honest about her own path, then Kolton is the instructor for you.

 

Anne Popovich

Anne teaches at Camp, and her classes are peaceful and encouraging, so much so that the more difficult sequences will sneak up on you. Her calming voice will slowly guide you into increasingly challenging sequences until her reverent humor during the impossible ab sequence breaks your focus in a delightful way. You can tell that Anne has a deep appreciation for her practice, and occasionally breaks the flow of classes out into workshops in order to encourage her students to grow and get better. According to her Camp bio, her favorite quotes are “Come with your heart or don’t come at all,” and “The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it.” That should tell you everything you need to know about how Anne approaches and runs her class.

 

The Three Best Places to Practice

Yoga can happen anywhere and everywhere, and there are several fantastic locations around Tampa for you to enjoy your practice. If the thought of joining a studio intimidates you, or in any way gives you pause, then skip the classroom altogether and go out into the world and experience yoga a different, more unique way. It is time to get out of the studio and into the world – enjoy yoga anywhere!

 

The Front Lawn at Armature Works

The front lawn of Armature Works is a truly magical space. Overlooking the Hillsborough River and downtown Tampa, this space is outdoors, in the sun, and has an incredible view. Community yoga classes are periodically held by teachers from different local studios, like Bella Prana and Kodawari. If you are looking for an iconic Tampa experience, this is it.

 

Ybor City Museum State Garden

Every Saturday morning, instructors from the Yoga Loft host a free community class in this incredibly charming outdoor space. The garden is really more of a courtyard, outfitted with a brick floor and a charming fountain. You can easily find sunshine or shade, and you will be practicing with dozens of local yogis all out to enjoy a Saturday practice. This is a fantastic, peaceful place to practice.

 

Curtis Hixon Park

This riverside park is the heart and soul of downtown Tampa. The incredible landscaping, innovative art, and architectural features all make this space an incredible place to practice. A free class is held every Sunday evening on a tiered part of the lawn that turns your “studio space” into an amphitheater. So come practice while watching the Florida sun slowly sink over the Hillsborough River. It is a wonderful way to end your weekend and kick off a new week.

 

There is so much yoga available all over the city that there is no excuse not to try it. Whether you are an experienced yogi or a tepid beginner, there is space for you in this practice. You will learn to breathe deeply, quiet your mind chatter and appreciate your body for everything it is capable of. Why not give it a shot? So find a class, find an instructor, find a space, and go out and enjoy it!

The 3 Best Hot Fitness Classes in Tampa FL

Working out in a hot room is beneficial for a variety of reasons. It raises your heart rate, helps you to break a sweat, and loosens up muscles, which reduces warm up time and improves flexibility. Tampa Florida is no stranger to heat when it comes to being outdoors, but with so many people here accustomed to air conditioning, a heated workout can still feel like a strange and unusual experience. Working out in a hot class is an exercise in endurance and perseverance through discomfort, but the relief and elation you feel once you step out of the heat and back into some AC is nothing short of magical.

Hot classes require a bit more preparation than their normal-temperature counter parts. Before you attempt a hot class, make sure you are good to go with these to-dos:

  • Stop eating within two hours of the class’s start time
  • Bring plenty of water (plan for twice the amount you drink during a normal workout)
  • Make sure your clothing is breathable – cotton t-shirts are not your friend here
  • Bring along a hand-towel to wipe away sweat with

Hot classes are growing in popularity, here are the 3 Best Hot Fitness Classes in Tampa, FL.

 

#3 Gaze Hot Yoga – 75 minutes

If you are looking for some honest-to-goodness hot yoga the way it is meant to be practiced, you cannot go wrong with Gaze Hot Yoga. The 75-minute class will take you through 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises meant to stretch and strengthen your body by stimulating glands, nerves, and organs. This is not a flow class but is rather an exercise in holding poses. The idea is to deepen your postures and sweat out toxins. Traditionally, a Bikram practice takes place in a room heated to a whopping 105 degrees, so get ready to sweat. 75 minutes will definitely be a test in endurance, without being totally overwhelming, but there are 60 and 90-minute classes on the schedule as well.

Gaze Yoga is located in the newly trendy Tampa Heights neighborhood. The studio has a sleek, industrial design aesthetic. The grey concrete floors and rope art in the lobby almost give off a chilly vibe, which makes the heat of the practice room all the more surprising when you walk in. The staff is very laid back and inviting – giving off an immediate hippy vibe. This is how Gaze Yoga describes itself on their website: “Gaze Hot Yoga is a place for all human beings to move their bodies in a way that promotes optimal health, greater strength, increased flexibility, and improved mental acuity.” (source).

The people that practice at Gaze seems to be more interested in their internal focus than their external surroundings. People tend to keep to themselves and are quite serious about their individual practices. This class is great for anyone looking for a trendy vibe without too many bells and whistles. This is a studio for people looking for some serious self-care and self-improvement.

 

#2 The Hot Power Hour at Bella Prana

Walking into Bella Prana Yoga, located right outside of Downtown Tampa on Platt, is almost like walking into a super trendy wellness store. The large lobby space has a lot of retail, including athletic wear, healing books and crystals, and a variety of yoga props. The studio is huge and sees hundreds of students a week, so it can be easy to feel anonymous. However, if you are a repeat practitioner, the staff will quickly learn your name and details of your practice. There are three studio spaces, shower facilities, and an amazing 90+ classes a week! You can even explore private yoga instruction if you are a fan of more one-on-one attention. The Hot Power Hour is a heated flow class that will take you through many, many sun salutations and vinyasas. This is a great class for intermediate yogis looking to improve strength and connected movements. This class is a little more free-feeling and fun than the Bikram class at Gaze, with the class description urging you to “not take yourself too seriously”. If you are looking to try out a heated flow class for the first time, this is a great option since it is only 60 minutes, and the instructors always have anupbeatt attitude. Just be ready for some hands-on adjustments.

The people that practice at Bella Prana range from beginning yogis, so seasoned inversion masters. There are dozens of classes offered everyday, so if the Hot Power Hour isn’t your thing, you can explore Ashtanga, Flow Level 1, or Yoga 101 instead. There are also about three-dozen instructors, each with their own style and sensibility. This studio basically offers a sampler platter of teachers, yoga styles, and levels of heated classes. Maybe try the Hot Power Hour first and explore from there!

 

#1 Hot Full Body at CAMP

This class is super effing intense. It isn’t yoga, it isn’t pilates, but it lives somewhere in between. This class takes place in the Yoga Building at Camp (described more fully in the Camp Gym Review), and it is described on their website as “50 minutes of total-body, HIIT-based class incorporating powerful plyometric work and deep isometric movements. We use hand-weights, fast paced movements and a heated room to get your heart rate up. This class brings the energy with upbead music an da serious challenge! Get ready to sweat.” Even that feels like an understatement. In this class, you can expect to do something like 45 seconds of jump squats, followed by a 15 second squat hold, and to repeat it 4-5 times. This way, your body is never fully at rest, and your muscles remain engaged. It is incredibly challenging – humbling even. It is the perfect class for anyone looking for a cardiovascular challenge.

The fun thing about this class is that everyone in the room with you is struggling just as much as you are. It isn’t uncommon to hear some nervous laughter, sighs, grunts, and moans of pain as everyone tries to keep up with the super-human instructor. There is comradery in the misery, so you are unlikely to feel alone. The overall vibe at camp is we are here to work our butts off (while wearing Lulu Lemon) but in this class, you will really, really feel it. Not for the faint of heart, but an incredible workout nonetheless.

 

So grab a towel and some water, muster some internal grit, and face down the heat like a true Floridian!

The Three Best Hip Hop Classes in Tampa

Hip Hop is more than a style of music. It has inspired clothing, street art, dance, and fitness. Decades ago it crawled its way out of New York and has spread to every corner of the globe. Everyone from dancers, to musicians, to children and parents can enjoy Hip Hop in a variety of forms, and Tampa is no exception. If you are looking to access your musical side, the consider taking a Hip Hop class!

Hip Hop is fantastic in that it is accessible to everyone. Everyone from professional dancers to complete beginners can enjoy and get good at moving to everyone’s favorite jams. So if you are considering exploring your sense of rhythm and movement, try one of these Hip Hop classes, and enjoy!

 

Beginners Only Hip-Hop Dance Class at VYB Dance Studio

This class is perfect for anyone who is reticent to give something new a try. If you are afraid of walking into a hip hop dance class only to be paired with people who seem to have secret second careers as back up dancers for J.Lo, then this is the class for you! It is specifically marketing to beginners ONLY, so you are guaranteed to be surrounded by other people with your limited ability. This is a fantastic way to start out in the Hip Hop world. You get to visit a professional dance studio, experience a full dance class, and do it all without the pressure to perform beyond your abilities.

VYB Studio (stands for Voice Your Body) was founded in 2007 by a group of dancers set on creating a professional studio with an urban feel. This studio is focused on lifting dancers up, and celebrating talent in the Tampa Bay Area. Their blog highlights local dance talent, and the fantastically energetic videos they post to Instagram will make you want to get up out of your chair and join the routine!

The studio is located in South Tampa on Bay to Bay Boulevard, and single class drop-ins are $20.

 

Hip Hop Classes at The Hip Room

Another great place to explore Hip Hop is at The Hip Room in Tampa Heights. This entry cheats the list a little bit since there are actually myriad of adult Hip Hop classes offered at this Studio alone! The Beginners class focuses on the fundamentals of Hip Hop, and every time you join you will learn new steps and a new combination. Once you have mastered that class, you can move on to Intermediate Adult Hip Hop. At this level, you will focus on expression through movement, and you will also learn new combinations every time. The Advanced Hip Hop Choreo class is focused specifically on picking up new choreography, and on dancing with intention. Basically, the first level teaches you how to move, the second level teaches you to make those movements your own, and the third level teaches you how to pick up new routines quickly.

You can also explore an advance Hip Hop/Latin Fusion Class, an Industry class aimed at advanced dancers trying to break into the professional dance industry, and even high heels Hip Hop Classes! (Guess which shoes you wear to that one).

This variety at this studio is truly a thing to behold. The studio itself is located in Tampa Heights and occupies a gorgeous and cavernous second-story space in a historic brick building. At the Hip Room, they say that to move your hips is to move your soul. They believe that dancing can help individuals find joy, health, and happiness. They are friendly and inclusive, stating on their website that “The Hip Room is a unique Tampa dance studio. This studio was created to break free of the typical one-size-fits-all approach to dance instruction. We believe that the best dance instruction is built around the needs of the student.”

If you are looking for a unique, positive experience with Hip Hop classes, you cannot got wrong at The Hip Room.

 

Dance Fit at LVL UP

If you are looking to Hip Hop for fitness, then look no further than LVL UP in Seminole Heights. The Dance Fit class combines many styles of dance into a unique fitness workout. The instructor puts on some music, stands at the front of the class, and simply guides you through a variety of pre-choreographed routines designed to get your heart rate up and your booty shaking! The class is largely Hip Hop heavy, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself rocking out to your favorite jams. The class takes off like a racehorse, so make sure you are paying attention, but the moves are easy enough for any level to master. If you want the experience of doing a complete choreographed routine without going through years of training, then this is the class for you!

LVL UP is a fantastically inclusive studio, stating that “Our mission is to provide the ultimate dance + fitness experience in a fun, supportive and positive atmosphere. Our classes are for people of all ages and skill levels.   No dance experience necessary!   We provide the moves, you pick the level….watch as you LVL UP!”. They also share fun and positive facts about dance, stating that “Regular dance practice can increase your flexibility, range of motion, physical strength and stamina. The repetitive movements involved in dance can improve muscle tone, correct poor posture, increase balance and coordination and improve overall cardiovascular health.”.

LVL UP is a fantastic way to burn calories to the rhythm of your favorite songs. Everyone from beginners to advanced dancers has something to gain from cutting loose and exploring fitness through Hip Hop Movement.

 

So the next time you watch someone get down in a Hip Hop video and think “I wish I could do that, “ remember that there are plenty of classes and instructors out there who can help you to achieve your goals and even your pipe dreams! Hip Hop is for everyone, so find a studio and have fun!

What is Your Mode of Existence? A Review of Sattva Yoga

According to the great modern guru of Wikipedia, Sattva is one of the three Funas or “modes of existence” developed by the Samkhya school of Hindu philosophy. Sattva is the quality of goodness, positivity, truth, wholesomeness, serenity, wholeness, creativity, constructiveness, balance, confidence, peacefulness, and virtuousness that is drawn towards Dharma and Jnana (knowledge).

That incredible list of adjectives that help make up the concept of Sattva perfectly encapsulate the spirit of Sattva Yoga. Set into a small converted house on Florida Ave in the recently hip neighborhood of Seminole Heights, the spirit of Sattva is welcoming and encouraging. This is how a yoga studio should feel. It is cozy, unpresumptuous, and encouraging. Walking in feels like entering someone’s private yoga retreat, but they are more than happy to have you there. Actually walking in though, may be a bit challenging. The first step is finding the parking lot entrance.

The studio is set off of the street and considering that the parking lot is behind the building, it can be confusing to newcomers. To get yourself there, look for an overgrown access road to the left of the little house. The path almost looks like it belongs to the strip mall next door. This will lead you into Sattva’s backyard, overgrown and glittering with string lights. Once you park, you enter the studio through the back entrance. The back patio is home to dozens of potted plants, which gives the entire place a tropical, zen vibe. Look out for Kali Tutu, the studio’s outdoor cat who also makes the porch her home. Abandon your shoes here. Once you step inside, check in via a wall-mounted iPad and find a spot on the beautiful hardwood floor. Sattva provides blocks, blankets, and straps, but you should plan to bring your own yoga mat.

Every teacher has their own unique style of running a class, but everyone at Sattva is going to give you a brief Dharma talk before class starts. These brief speeches are meant to inspire your spirituality and guide your practice. Sometimes they are motivated by the teacher’s own experiences, sometimes they are influenced by the change in seasons or the time of day. Whatever the topic, they are a great way to transition you from a hectic day to a peaceful practice on the mat. If owner and creator, Kelly Watson is teaching, you will most likely enjoy a brief meditation and Om to the hypnotic tones of a harmonium, a free-read pipe organ that looks like a cross between a child’s piano and an accordion but sounds like a small symphony. From there, you will launch your practice.

Sattva offers gently guided practices for yogis of all levels. There are beginner classes available, but really anything is accessible to anyone. The small space and intimate interior make it easy for instructors to offer personal attention and hands-on adjustments. You can find balance-based flow classes, yin classes, seated meditation classes, and even prenatal classes. No matter which class you choose, the thesis of Sattva seems to be “Re-energize the mind, then the body”. Unlike more athletic studios that encourage yogis to build muscle and work up a sweat, Sattva asks its yogis to turn their motivation for improvement inward towards their minds and spirit. If you are interested in the spiritual and meditative aspect of yoga, something you may not have been able to find at other studios after your fifth iteration of Sun Salutation A, then Sattva is a great place for you. And no, you do not need to know how to meditate before you show up. They will teach you. They are instructors, after all.

In addition to offering fantastic, spirit-guided yoga classes, Sattva offers 200 and 300-hour teacher trainings, yoga therapy & massage (by appointment), and a small artisan store featuring items from local artists.

Sattva is also incredibly affordable. A drop-in is $13, which is pretty standard, but your first month of unlimited yoga is only $30! After that, it is only $60. You can also purchase an entire year of yoga for $600. A 5 class punch card is $50, and a 10 class punch card is $100. Anyone who has price-compared yoga classes recently will recognize those rates from about 10 years ago. When Sattva first opened, they advertised with the slogan “Make Yoga Affordable Again,” which of course speaks to their welcoming nature and community-based values.

If you are looking for another window into the spirit of Sattva, look no further than what owner & creative-director, Kelly Watson, says about herself on the Sattva website:

“Yoga is the Science of Self-Realization. This time tested path found me when my body and mostly my mind needed healing and guidance. I believe that the world of yoga is so vast, and full of so many transformative tools that anyone can become a practitioner of this great science and make it a way of life. As an instructor, I push my students to develop a sadhana or daily personal practice that keeps them in touch with their highest Self and in harmony with the rhythm of life. My classes are full of passion; utilizing music, mantras, and mudras to convey very specific themes, relevant to the culture we live in today. I am forever grateful for my own teachers in this life: Annie Okerlin, Alison Cramer, Kelly Morris, Barb Newborn and most importantly Tony Nenov for providing guidance on the path of yoga and always reminding me of the importance of practice and detachment. Namaste!”

This self-actualized and spiritual practice may not be everybody’s cup of tea. Some yogis are in it primarily for the strength and flexibility, and that’s fine. But if you are curious about the history and intent of yoga, or if you would just rather spend your $60 on a month of yoga classes instead of one session with a therapist, then definitely check this place out. They will be happy to have you!

Are you a Happy Camper?

Remember summer camp? Nothing in the adult world can quite capture the chaotic energy of a summer spent at sleep-away camp. Your counselors were the coolest young adults you had ever encountered, every day was filled with amazing and exhausting activities, and at night you slept so deeply that you forgot you where you were when you woke up.

Camp Tampa, a new gym in South Tampa, tries to recreate the magic for adults. Their camp theme is definitely campy…they call their studio the “Camp Grounds”, their fitness instructors “counselors”, and their class schedule “Activities”. You can shop for new workout clothes in the “general store”, and everyone seems to own at least one article of clothing declaring themselves a “Happy Camper”.

Here is how Camp describes themselves on their website: “Anyone who’s ever been to camp knows it’s more than just a place to play capture the flag and make macramé potholders. CAMP is freedom. CAMP is friendship. CAMP is exploration. And CAMP Tampa is meant to be that and more for adults. A place where you can try new things, push your boundaries, make new friends and connect with old ones. CAMP is so much more than a fitness studio. It’s an adventure.”

So what does Camp have to offer? This is not a traditional gym with a row a treadmills and a weight room. This is an instruction-based gym that offers classes in the three following categories: Cycle, Yoga, and Circuit. Three fitness styles that effectively offer you cardio, stretch, and strength training. The gym consists of three classrooms spread across two buildings. There are several styles available in each category, so you can customize your own fitness schedule.

Style #1: Cycle

Camp offers a spin class to end all spin classes. The cycle room is packed with tightly spaced bikes, and every camper is given special spin shoes so that they can actually clip into their stations. Every bike is laid out with a towel and free weights (in case your instructor chooses to use them), and camp staff is available to help you adjust your bike’s seat and handlebars. Once class actually starts the room is dimmed and music is pumped through loudspeakers. Your instructor explains the different hand positions, how to adjust the resistance on your bike, and that camp offers a beat-based ride, which means that the songs are pre-selected to offer you faster or slower rhythms. You may think that you are there to work your legs and your heart, but through free-weight use, on-bike crunches, and insane amounts of resistance that they call “climbing that hill”, you are actually in for a full-body workout. Throughout class, your instructor will shout out instructions along with bits of inspiration, and the lights will periodically change from dim front lighting, to complete darkness for sprints, to black light for a special vibe. When class is finally over and you unclip for a quick stretch, you will be drenched in sweat, walking on shaky legs, and feeling better than you ever have before.

There are four types of spin classes available:

Camp Cycle: The standard 45-minute rhythm ride. This is a great class to start with to get a vibe for how Camp handles spin.

Cycle/Yoga Blend: 25 minutes of spin followed by 25 minutes of yoga. You can get your heart pumping in spin, then head into the yoga room to stretch out your muscles while your entire body is warm. If you don’t have time for yoga, you can always take just the 30-minute cycle portion as an express class.

Cycle/Circuit Blend: 25 minutes of one, then 25 minutes of the other. It doesn’t matter where you start since the entire class switches rooms together. This is a great way to get in two types of workouts for the price and time allowance of one.

Cycle Sculpt: 45 minutes of full-body resistance training. Your bike will be harder to pedal, you will definitely use your free weights, and your instructor might even utilize resistance bands to work your muscles along with your cardiovascular health.

 

Style #2: Yoga

The yoga room at camp is actually housed in a separate building and has a calmer, more zen vibe than the building that hosts cycle and circuit. You can actually subscribe to camp for yoga only! Which is a great option for anyone looking for a challenging yoga studio with a variety of classes to offer. If you are a monthly subscriber, you will be given a yoga mat, a mat towel, and a hand towel to use in every class, which is great since most classes are heated. The actual yoga room is a beautifully designed space with large picture windows on three out of four of the walls. The windows look out onto lush landscaping of palmetto bushes and palm trees, giving yogis and the incredible feeling of being deep in nature even though in reality the parking lot is just a few feet away. When you walk in, you will be encouraged to stay quiet and meditative, and to find a place on the floor in one of the four available rows. Each row has helpful mat placement indicators, maximizing the space available. Cork blocks are available to everyone for modification, and once class begins your instructor will move throughout the room, occasionally offering pose demonstrations or hands-on adjustments. Every class has time for Shavasana built in, so you won’t have to sacrifice a rest if you have a busy schedule. There are several types of classes offered, but each one pretty much assumes prior yoga knowledge. This is not a great place to explore yoga for the first time, but if you are looking for a challenging, well-designed flow to expand your practice, this is a great place for you.

There are eight types of yoga classes available:

Root: This is the closes Camp comes to a beginners class. The room is heated to 95 degrees, and yogis are guided through static poses and mindful breathing.

Root Flow: A vinyasa flow class is a room that is heated to 95 degrees. Instructors will lead you through each salutation, but will not necessarily explain the positioning of each pose. Prior yoga experience is recommended.

Hip Hop Flow: A fast-paced vinyasa flow class in a room that is heated anywhere from 95 to 98 degrees. Popular hip-hop jams are played, so if you are sick of listening to Enya and want to rock out to some Kanye during your practice, then this is the flow for you. Prior yoga experience recommended.

Blend: The second half of the cycle/yoga class described above. This class assumes you are warm from cycling and takes you through a few vinyasa flows, but then calms you down and stretches you out in the second half. If you are subscribed to yoga only, you can take this as a 30-minute express class. The room is heated to 90 degrees.

Restore: A super-slow paced, deep stretch class. You will hold poses for a long time, and the room will be slightly cooler at only 85 degrees. The instructor will focus on mindful breathing, meditation, and opening the body’s energy channels. Every student is given a block and a bolster. All levels welcome.

Freestyle Flow: Looking to take your vinyasa flow to the next level? Take the class. The instructor will focus on inversions and arm balances, offering modified flow sequences and the occasional workshop to get you upside down. The room is heated to 90 degrees. Prior yoga experience pretty much necessary.

Power Flow & Chill: Camp is the master of blend classes. This 75-minute class offers 45 minutes of intense vinyasa flow, followed by 30 minutes of restorative poses. The room is heated 90 degrees. Listed as open level, but prior experience is helpful for the power flow portion of the class.

Hot Full Body: Not for the faint of heart, this is a 50 minutes high-intensity interval class that offers plyometric and isometric movements for toning and strength building. This isn’t even yoga. If you sign up for this class get ready to sweat your butt off in a fast-paced and incredibly challenging class that resembles aerobics more than anything else.

 

Style #3: Circuit

This style of workout, popularized by Orange Theory Fitness, involves high-intensity intervals. When you enter the circuit room, you will find a long row of self-propelled treadmills to the right and a row of weight stations to the left. You will have been assigned either a treadmill or a weight station to start out on, so you will be able to take your place quickly and efficiently. The treadmills take a minute to get used to. The running platform curves upwards, so that you can control the speed based on how high up on the curve you choose to place your treads. Since it is completely self-propelled, there is no way to set a pace ahead of time, so you will be forced to find your own rhythm. This is incredibly challenging for anyone used to electric treadmills, and the entire experience promises to help you burn up to 30% more calories in the same amount of time. Once you are acclimated with the room. The instructor will shout our exercises. A large clock on the back wall counts down the time you spend in each interval. The lights are turned low and the music is turned up, creating a pretty overwhelming sensory experience. The instructors will demonstrate the more difficult moves and will help correct your form if you are wrong, but at the end of day, the effort exerted is entirely up to you.

There are four types of circuit classes available:

Camp Circuit: 25 minutes of interval running on the treadmill, and 25 minutes focused on full body weight training on the weight stations. This is a great class to start with since you will get the chance to use all of the equipment in the room.

Camp Cycle/Circuit Blend: 25 minutes of circuit, 25 minutes of cycle. You can sign up to do either option first, just keep in mind that the first 25 minutes will definitely leave you tired for the second 25 minutes. You can also take the class as a 30-minute express Circuit workout.

Camp Stations: In this class, the instructor sets up different exercises around the room. Campers are broken up into small groups and asked to participate in exercises for 60-90 second intervals. When one station is complete, your entire group moves to the second station. This class can get a bit confusing, and should not be the first choice for any new camper.

Camp Ass & Abs/Arms & Abs: At the end of the day, most people want nice arms, abs, and glutes. These split resistance classes offer 30 minutes of ass followed by 30 minutes of abs, or 30 minutes of arms followed by 30 minutes of abs. If you are bent on improving a specific body party, then this is a great class for you.

 

Hours & Availability: This is a class-based gym, and the class schedule varies day to day. Overall, it is easy to find a class time that works for you, since classes can start as early as 5 am and go as late as 9:30 pm.

 

Facilities & Amenities: The facilities are absolutely beautiful. The buildings have been beautifully renovated, and the gym equipment is new and high-end. Each building has free lockers with built-in code locks. Bathrooms are stocked with lovely shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, spray deodorant, dry shampoo, and hair dryers, and offering free cycle shoe rentals & yoga mats/towels to subscribed campers is a nice tough. There is even a daycare area where you can safely leave your kids while you work out for a small additional charge. Ideally, there would be a few more showers and the water fountain water would be chilled rather than room temperature, but all in all, it is a beautiful gym.

 

Instructors: The camp staff is very knowledgeable, and seems genuinely excited to help their campers lead more active lives. Workout sequence does not vary drastically between instructor, which suggests managerial influence on workout design, but since the sequences do change regularly and always offer a full body workout there is not much to complain about there. It is a busy gym, but a bit more client recognition would be a nice touch.

 

Affordability: This gym is not cheap, but given the variety of classes offered, amenities available, and the quality of the instructors, it can be worth the money. The monthly unlimited package is the way to go if you are an avid gym goer. There are monthly unlimited packages for the entire gym, or just for yoga, and you can pause your membership at any time to push back your payment date. This is great if you are headed out of town and don’t want to be paying for a subscription you can’t use!

 

Customer Service: Fantastic. The staff is easy to reach, and they are always happy to help you out with questions either about the workout, or your membership.

 

Overall Vibe: Bougie, friendly, and fit. The staff and clientele are regularly decked out in designer workout brands, and everyone seems to already be in shape. That being said, everyone there has an upbeat, happy attitude, and it seems like everyone is doing their best to stay fit and trim. It is a gym you go to be seen at for sure, but the workouts are so good that you had better be willing to be seen as a sweaty mess!

Exercise Tampa: 16 Easy Ways to Stay Fit for Free!

Do you want a way to keep your heart rate up and your waist slim, without forking over the money for an expensive gym membership? Maybe you want to try something new, like Yoga or Boot Camp, but are reticent to make an investment in something you might wind up hating. Sure, you could follow various YouTube videos alone in your living room, or go for an occasional jog…but sometimes the half the challenge of working out is keeping a consistent routine. Sometimes you need other people around you to motivate you and keep you on track! Whatever your reason, your need, or your preference, the good news is that there are several ways to exercise in Tampa, without having to pay a dime!

Below is an incomplete list of free workouts throughout Tampa, and after that there is a sample monthly schedule that will definitely help you to stay fit for free!

 

This is a great series since Lulu Lemon brings in local teachers from around the community. You will have a different instructor teaching a different style every week. It is important to connect with your yoga instructor, so if you find someone you really like you can always start attending the studio they work at!

 

This class takes place right before sunset in Tampa’s gorgeous riverfront park. Bring a mat, some water, and even your four-legged friend if they are well behaved and practice some yoga outside! It will not be the most meditative class you have ever taken since it is hosted in a busy city park, but the sense of community surrounding this class is lovely.

 

Another free yoga class! This one takes place Saturday mornings in the garden of the Ybor City Museum Society. It is a great way to kick off your weekend and maybe undo some less-than-healthy food and drink decisions you made Friday night…Yoga Loft, a studio in Ybor City, hosts, so you will experience practice with a variety of their instructors if you attend regularly.

 

If you want something a little bit more upbeat than yoga, try out this Zumba class hosted by the Downtown YMCA. The class takes place outdoors in Curtis Hixon Park, so you can take in some fresh air and workout all at the same time. Zumba is an upbeat, dance-based workout. You may feel a little silly boogying down in public, but it is worth the workout!

 

Another Curtis Hixon workout! This class is hosted by the Bamboozle Fit Club and is free and open to the public. Just bring some water, and you’re A-game because this class will absolutely kick your butt. It may be wise to schedule Thursday as a rest day after this class…

 

  • Free 5K run, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings

Running for Brews is a social club that gets together an astonishing four nights a week to share the loving of running, and beer, of course. This group is open to veteran and brand new runners, with everyone running the same course at their own place. On Mondays, the crew meets at the Pour House in Channelside for a 6:30 pm fun and a 7 pm free yoga class. On Tuesday, they meet at MacDinton’s on Howard ave for a 7 pm run. On Wednesdays, they are back at the Pour House for a 7 pm run, and on Thursdays, off to Yard of Ale on Howard for a 7 pm run. There are other chapters of Running for Brews in different Tampa neighborhoods, so make sure you check out their site to find the club closest to you.

 

This run club meets weekly at the Fit2Run store at Tampa’s International Plaza. They run for about 5K and then return to the store to talk about everyone’s favorite sport! This crew is incredibly knowledgeable and supportive, with most of the participants actively training for an upcoming race. If you are looking for a good pair of running shoes, you can’t do much better than Fit2Run, so why not kill two birds with one stone and grab some new shoes before you hit the pavement?

 

  • Sattva Yoga in Seminole Heights – first class free!

At this studio, your first class is free! So check out the cute little bungalow that has been converted into an intimate and welcoming yoga studio. You’ve got nothing to lose. The owner, Kelly, is welcoming and knowledgeable. This is a great studio to check out if you are new to yoga – no egos here!

 

Orange Theory offers a super intense high-intensity interval workout. At most studios in Tampa (there are several) your first class is free! The class consists of running on a treadmill, rowing on a stationary machine, and various body weight and free weight exercises. So try it out, who knows, you might get hooked!

 

This is another Curtix Hixon Park class! Every Monday at 6 pm, come take this high-energy circuit class that merges strength training with dance that will spike your heart rate while toning your muscles.

 

This free class only comes around once a year…but it is well worth the wait! This upbeat cycle studio hosts classes in a dark roo, lit only by the light from the giant monitors playing the accompanying music videos to the songs you are peddling to. It is like a workout crossed with a party and it should not be missed. Plus, what’s better on your birthday than a free workout?

 

This isn’t technically group fitness, but considering how many people are walking, jogging, biking, and skating up and down Tampa Bay’s famous Bayshore Boulevard all of the time, you will absolutely feel motivated and supported. Bayshore features a waterfront sidewalk that claims to be the longest unbroken sidewalk in the world, measuring an incredible 4.5 miles. If you want to tackle that whole distance, go for it! But if you would rather just jog one or two, feel free to ditch out at any time.

 

If you are interested in water front views, but not too thrilled about the jogging, then check out the Bayshore fitness trail, right outside of downtown. The trail consists of outdoor gym equipment spread over a mile of the Bayshore waterfront. You can do everything from pull-ups to knee-dips to crunches, all on completely free, city equipment! Make your body weight work for you with this fantastic circuit.

 

Al Lopez park is another great place for jogging, and like Bayshore Boulevard, has several pieces of outdoor gym equipment spread throughout the park. There are less stations than on the Bayshore fitness trail, but the stations they have available are sure to keep you toned and feeling strong!

 

Bonus workouts in St. Petersburg & Clearwater

Damon Reio is a personal trainer and owner of Physiques in St. Petersburg, FL (just a short drive from Tampa). Every Saturday morning, he hosts a free outdoor boot camp class, which he says he started to prove to people that you can get fit without hiring and expensive personal trainer. This class is no joke, you will find yourself doing push-ups, squats, and doing resistance training with bands.

 

The Pinellas trail is an amazing linear park created out of an abandoned railway corridor. It stretches from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs, and can be used for walking, running, biking or skating. Much like Bayshore Blvd, this trail is usually full of fitness-minded people, so you will never feel too far away from some motivation! The trail is an astounding 38.2 miles long, and basses through Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Largo, Seminole, South Pasadena, and Gulfport.

 

With this incredible offering of free fitness routines, it will be easy for anyone to save some money while continuing to look their best. Exercise in Tampa is diverse and plentiful. Try following the hypothetical schedule listed below, and see how you look and feel after just 30 days.

 

Week 1:

Sunday: 10am Yoga at Lulu Lemon in Hyde Park. Afterward, maybe grab a cold brew at Buddy Brew, right next door!

Monday: 6:30pm 5K run with Running for Brews at the Pour House in Channelside. Follow it up with a free yoga class at 7pm and a cold beer by 8!

Tuesday: 6pm Zumba at Curtis Hixon. Cool down with a walk up and down Tampa’s gorgeous Riverwalk.

Wednesday: 6pm Boot Camp at Curtis Hixon with Bamboozle Fit Club. You will be too tired to walk the Riverwalk after this, but you should be able to make it across the street to Anise for a craft cocktail to celebrate your survival!

Thursday: Take a rest day! Or, use this opportunity to try a free Orange Theory class. Just make sure you call ahead to let them know it’s your first time. They will set aside a treadmill for you and ask you to arrive early to go through workout safety.

Friday: Leave work early and try the Bayshore Fitness Trail! Finish it off with a healthy dinner at Fresh Kitchen, just up the street on South Howard Ave.

Saturday: 9:30am Yoga in Ybor City. Stick around afterwards and check out the Saturday Market that takes place in the historic district right across the street!

Week 2:

Sunday: 6pm Yoga in Curtis Hixon Park. Once you finish your Shavasana, sit up to watch the sun go down over this historic University of Tampa across the river.

Monday: 6pm VKNG Boot Camp Class in Curtis Hixon. Grab some BBQ at Holy Hog downtown after to celebrate.

Tuesday: 7pm Run for Brews at McDinton’s on South Howard. Stick around for a beer after and enjoy the patio.

Wednesday: 6:30pm run with Fit2Run. The store even features a small food counter where you can get cold pressed juice and healthy meals once you have covered a few miles!

Thursday: It’s been a run-heavy week. Maybe take a night off again, or try the Al Lopez Fitness Trail, maybe stay late for a picnic after?

Friday: Take a walk along Bayshore and keep an eye out for dolphins! They can often be seen out in the bay.

Saturday: 8:45am Boot Camp in North Shore Park in St. Petersburg. This class is worth the drive down. Once you are finished you can spend the rest of the day exploring the fantastic downtown St. Petersburg, which includes the Dalí Museum an unbelievable Saturday morning market. Maybe you can even pick up the supplies for a picnic in Vinoy Park.

Week 3:

Sunday: 10am Yoga at Lulu Lemon in Hyde Park. If 11am isn’t too early for sweets, drop by Hyppo for a fresh fruit popsicle after.

Monday: 6:30pm Run for Brews at Pour House, followed by a 7pm yoga class and obviously, a beer!

Tuesday: 6pm Zumba Class in Curtis Hixon, maybe this time grab a slice at Eddie & Sam’s, some of the absolute best pizza in town.

Wednesday: 7pm Run for Bews at the Pour House. If you are hungry afterwards, walk over to Fabrica for some brick oven pizza!

Thursday: Our standard rest day. Or, an opportunity to check out Sattva yoga? Seminole Heights has a great restaurant scene if you are hungry afterwards. Ichicoro Ramen is right down the block!

Friday: Rest up. At this point, you will need it.

Saturday: 9:30am yoga class in Ybor City. If you want some breakfast once you are finished check out La Creperia Café right down the block.

Week 4:

Sunday: 6pm yoga in Curtis Hixon Park. Maybe head back to a walk on the river walk once you are done?

Monday: 6pm VKNG Boot Camp Class in Curtis Hixon. If there is something good playing, follow it up with a show at the Tampa Theater.

Tuesday: 7pm Run for Brews at McDinton’s on South Howard. If you want something other than beer once you are finished, head down the block to Haven for a fantastic wine selection.

Wednesday: 6pm Boot Camp at Curtis Hixon with Bamboozle Fit Club. If it’s a nice night, take a stroll on the Riverwalk for a stroll.

Thursday: Leisurely jog down Bayshore Boulevard. Enjoy checking out the Bayfront mansions along the route!

Friday: Time to rest!

Saturday: Head over to Pinellas county and check out the trail. Bring your bike and see if you can do the whole thing! You’ve spent a month being fit…you may just be able to handle it.

 

So stay fit, stay frugal, and enjoy the results!