Local Love · Running

Local Love: My Favorite Places to Sweat

Today I’m doing a round up of my favorite places to sweat around Louisville. While I surely haven’t worked out at every fitness facility – not even close – these are the places I’ve found and loved.

Cherokee Park: When we snatched up the first apartment we visited in Louisville, we had no idea how perfectly located we would be. It’s only about 1/4 mile from our front door to the entrance of Cherokee Park. The park features a hilly, one-way Scenic Loop that has one lane for cars and one lane for recreational traffic. I love running here because I don’t have to worry about stopping for cars often. For longer runs, I like to branch off on Beargrass Road, which runs all the way toward Seneca Park. There is also an extensive trail system that I use for most of my off-road runs.

The Parklands/Beckley Creek Park: This is another of my favorite places to walk, run, and hike. The Louisville Loop runs through Beckley Creek Park, and by going out and back on this stretch I can get in 7 miles; sometimes I’ll double back a bit to get even more miles in. This is another great place to be active and not really worry about cars, as the Loop is just for pedestrians and bikes. There are several nice trails here, too, which I’ll run on if I want something a bit flatter than Cherokee Park. Bonus: if you have a kayak or paddle board, Floyds Fork is a perfect place to paddle.

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502 Power Yoga: This is my home studio, the one where I practice and completed my teacher training. 502 Power Yoga is a warm yoga studio (75-90 degrees, depending on the class.) Power vinysasa classes will challenge you to build strength; if you’re looking for something gentler, try a 502 Basics or Flow with Grace class. My current favorite class (to practice and teach) is Essential Flow, a fast-paced 40 minute class that works in the complete sequence. No matter which class I take, I always leave feeling like I got great workout.

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Climb Nulu: If I hadn’t been asked to teach yoga here, I never would have discovered my love for climbing. Climb Nulu is a bouldering gym, which means the walls are not very tall, there are no harnesses or ropes, and if you fall you land on soft crash pads. Tip: your fingers might feel like they’re going to fall off the first time you come, so give it more than one chance if you’re skeptical; you will build strength!

Highland Fitness: This is my neighborhood gym that I have been a member of for about a year and a half. It’s small, but has everything I need: treadmills, stationary bikes, elliptical machines, free weights and machines. I get the most out of my membership during the winter when it’s too icy to run on the roads. I love that Highland Fitness a local business and just one mile from my apartment.

barre3: Although I’ve only been here a handful of times, I have enjoyed every workout I’ve done. Before my initial visit, I thought a barre workout wouldn’t be challenging for a yoga instructor like me, but I was wrong! The barre3 workouts force me to use muscle groups that I don’t typically use in running or yoga, which makes it a great complement to my usual routine. Bonus: the owner and all the employees are very friendly and welcoming, and I have never felt intimidated.

Orange Theory Fitness: Again, I have only taken a few classes at Orange Theory, but loved the variety within the workouts. Sessions incorporate cardio intervals on the treadmill, stationary bike, and/or rowing machine, as well as a strength training component, utilizing free weights, bodyweight, and/or TRX bands. Throughout class, you wear a heart-rate monitor, which projects data onto a screen so that you can aim to be in your target heart rate zones to get the best workout. Even though the workouts can be intense, there is a place for everyone to work, and the coaches are helpful with creating modifications for those who need it (I can personally attest to this.)

Jefferson Memorial Forest: Although it’s within the edge of Louisville Metro, Jefferson Memorial Forest can seem worlds away. This is a great place to hike and get away from the busyness of every life. Nick and I tackle the entire Siltstone Trail annually around the summer solstice (here and here), but there are plenty of shorter hikes available. There is a welcome center at the entrance if you need a bathroom, water, or snacks.

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This list is by no means exhaustive, but I wanted to give a variety of indoor and outdoor places I love. There are countless other yoga studios, cross fit gyms, running groups, etc. Louisville has something for everyone. If you’re interested in finding a workout that suites you, I’ve found that visiting the local lululemon store is a great place to start. These people have visited almost every place in town and can give you the low down.

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