Forget the Gym -- Here Are Philly's Fitness Classes You Won't Hate Doing

We know -- working out sucks. It usually conflicts with valuable eating/drinking time, you're pretty much always disgustingly sweaty and red-faced afterwards, and you can't even shower right away, because it won't take! If you're at your rope's end with your typical gym routine and fitness classes, we've found just the studios to hit and courses to take so that you're not tempted to skip for another episode of Stranger Things. These will have you roaming Philly on a bike, spinning on poles, and balancing on paddleboards. Who knows, maybe some will even end with a boozy reward.

Philadelphia School of Circus Arts

It might have be a while since you last went to the circus (if ever), but don’t let that stop you from pretending you’re the high-flying star in one. From beginners' workshops to advanced classes, ages and fitness levels of all kinds are welcome to try courses in aerials, trapezing, handstands, and rope leveling at the School of Circus Arts. The classes are so popular you can book them for a group of your friends -- keep that in mind the next time there’s a bachelor(ette) party in the works.


Practically every Philly montage ever recreates the infamous Rocky running scene, and the trainers at WeTrain can help you make your very own dramatic fitness montage throughout the city. The on-demand personal training comes to you and creates sessions anywhere -- meaning you’ll be working out in parks or anywhere in the city if you don’t have a home gym or fancy equipment. Sessions start at $30.


University City
If you need an extra incentive to get you through your workout, what better than a free mimosa or Bloody Mary at the end? SWEAT Fitness is rolling out a different Sunday routine at its U-City location: after classes like barre and yoga, you'll be treated to a little Sunday Funday action with a free brunch drink, courtesy of City Tap House.

Flaunt Fitness

Flaunt holds an Athleta catalogue's worth of acrobatic classes, including acroyoga and contortion (and one called "Butts N Gutts"), but its premier offerings are in different pole-based workouts. Even beginners can reap the benefits of learning how to work the pole with different dance techniques. If you’re still on the fence, start off with something like kick boxing, hip-hop cardio, or beginner-level aerial for the same fresh change from regular fitness classes.

Bikes and Beers

Every October, take in 15 miles of the city by bike while sampling some of the city’s best beer along the way (responsibly, of course). Yards Brewing Co., McGillin’s, and Dock Street Brewery are all staples in the bike crawl. Once you've circled back to your final stop, you’ll be greeted with celebratory food trucks, games, and live music. It's exercise, yes, but you'll barely mind.

Flywheel Sports

Center City & Bryn Mawr
Cycling classes have become staggeringly popular over the last few years, and Flywheel is one option that works great for beginners and others looking for a steeper challenge. Advanced riders can opt to have their stats on the screen during a class. And despite the strong community atmosphere, the instructors are at once encouraging and fairly hands-off -- nobody is going to come up to you in the midst of a workout and tell you you’re not going fast enough. Instead, Flywheel is all about setting your own pace.

Aqua Vida

Spruce Street Harbor Park
Aqua Vida infuses much-needed breezy energy into standby workouts like yoga by bringing them to the water. Your balance is really tested during floating yoga, when the goal is to do all the usual poses that kick your butt, only on a paddleboard. Classes aren’t limited to yoga, either -- floating boot camp, meditation, and stand-up paddleboarding are a few other options.

Go Vertical

Northern Liberties
You can go rock climbing right in the heart of NoLibs thanks to Go Vertical, Philly’s own rock climbing gym, and one of the largest of its kind on the East Coast, with nearly 14,000sqft of climbing space. Beginners are welcome at Climbing School, which gives an introduction to belay, sport leading, and other general introductory courses, but if you know your way around a climbing wall, there are advanced classes, too. The gym keeps things interesting by introducing new climbing routes every week, already encompassing 250 routes.

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Marielle Mondon is a writer from Philly who is a fan of gentle yoga. Follow her @MarielleMondon on Twitter and Instagram.