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The LGBTQ Traveler’s Guide to Fitness

Hoping to stay in shape while visiting the Crescent City? Here, a tour of NOLA’s hottest workout spots for the LGBT traveler.

Author Jeff Schiffman side-planks it out at Reyn Yoga Studios on Magazine Street. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Schiffman)

In a city better known for bars rather than barbells, New Orleans has some great fitness options. New fitness centers and group exercise classes are popping up all over town, and health-conscious LGBTQ traveler will be delighted to know that before they bop around on Bourbon or funk down on Frenchmen street, they can get their sweat on in a number of innovative, fun, and challenging fitness classes here in town. I spent a week kicking my own butt and finding some of the most fun and gay-friendly fitness fads around town. Take a look:

LGBTQ Fitness Classes in New Orleans

Hour Blast

LGBT Fitness Studios In New Orleans
Be prepared burn some serious calories at Hour Blast. (Photo By: Rebecca Todd)

Pretty accurate name here: one hour, and it’s a blast. This class is composed of two zones: your cardio zone on the treadmill and your TRX zone on the floor. We alternated back and forth a few times- it’s set up such that you get your heart rate up on the treadmills and then bring it back down a bit while blasting it out on the TXR bands. I was fully engaged throughout the whole class, thanks in large part to my killer instructor, who kept her instructions clear and motivational. The studio has a smaller, boutique feel to it that almost felt like a less intimidating version of Orange Theory. Hour Blast has two locations, Uptown and Downtown.

  • Challenge Level: 9
  • LGBTQ Factor: 8 My instructor was Queer and this felt like a super comfortable, safe space
  • Number of Espressos I had at Mammoth Espresso, right next door, when I was done: 1 (Although, 2 if you’re counting it as a double.)

Romney RIDE

Someone once told me that RIDE had the most handsome spin instructors in town. (I suppose now would be a good time to disclose that I am, in fact, an instructor at Romney RIDE.) With indoor cycling studios opening up all over NOLA, Romney RIDE remains the original and gold standard.

Romney RIDE is a 45-minute full body class, nay, experience, that focuses on beat-driven choreography on a stationary bike. What gay man doesn’t love to dance — and given the option to do it on a bike, why not? The classes are a high-energy cardio party. Specialty spin shoes and towels are provided.

  • Challenge Level: 9
  • LGBTQ Factor: 10 (There’s a very high probability that your male instructor here is gay, and the class has a real dance party feel to it. If you’re lucky, you may even catch one of the PrideRides, held frequently in June — New Orleans Pride 2020 is June 12-14!)
  • Times a disco ball lights up in a typical class: 3-4

Higher Power

LGBT Fitness Studios In New Orleans
Higher Power has long been an LGBTQ ally in New Orleans. (Photo By: Rebecca Todd)

I dropped in for a morning yoga class and later an afternoon spin class. The studio is state-of-the-art and I loved both classes I took. The yoga studio doubles as a TRX class as well, so technically you’ve got three studios in one. HigherPower MidCity is located a few short blocks away from City Park, so consider a stroll through the park for a post-workout cool down. 

  • Challenge Level: 9
  • LGBTQ Factor: 10 (Owner Mark Berger is one of the best allies in the city, and there are few studios in town that are more gay-friendly than Higher Power.)
  • Number of times my yoga instructor said “yaaas,” (the true sign of a great gay workout): 4
Big Easy Boot Camp - Photo courtesy of Jeff Schiffman
Jon Sloan instructing his boot-campers at Big Easy Boot Camp. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Schiffman)

Big Easy Bootcamp

If heading outside for your daily workout fix is more your bag, head to Audubon Park for Big Easy Bootcamp, a popular group exercise class. Largely recognized as the gayest bootcamp in town, Big Easy Bootcamp clients are often members or allies in the LGBTQ community. Classes are different every day of the week and provide a fun and challenging way to get your sweat on with a group of like-minded individuals. The classes are traditional bootcamp style, with a focus on core strength and cardio endurance. Classes can easily be modified for beginning or advanced boot-campers.

  • Challenge Level: 7
  • LGBTQ Factor: 11 (It doesn’t get much gayer than this)
  • Burpies per class: At least 200

Megaformer at Romney Pilates Center

This was possibly the most challenging one hour workout I have ever experienced. From legs, to core, to arms, the Megaformer class works it all. Your body will feel like JELL-O for a full week after.

  • Challenge Level: 11
  • LGBTQ Factor: 8 (Romney is one of the premier fitness centers in NOLA with a great relationship with the LGBT community)
  • Times I tried to quit mid-class: 3

Reyn Studios

The gorgeous Reyn Studios
The gorgeous Reyn Studios. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Schiffman)

I’ve done yoga all over the country, and there are few studios that offer the balance of tranquility and beauty with a challenging full body yoga practice. Reyn has got to be one of the most beautiful workout spaces in New Orleans.

Reyn has a long history of working with the LGBTQ community, and classes are often populated by members of this group. Reyn’s classes run from beginner to the most advanced, R3. Wanna get really gay with it? Check out Make it Reyn –– a fusion movement class with a real dance vibe to it.

  •  Challenge Level: 7-10 (Depends on the class)
  • LGBTQ Factor: 9 (Where gays and yoga become one)
  • Minutes I fell asleep after cold eucalyptus towel was placed on forehead after class: 6

There you have it! The benefit for all six of these classes is that they offer drop-in rates and single-class passes for travelers visiting New Orleans for just a few days. So whether you want to create a bike, surf, or yoga break during your next visit to town, we have you covered.

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