There are three types of people who exist in the middle of January:
(1) Those who are staying true to their new years resolution of working out
(2) Those who stopped having a workout schedule after week 1 and are consumed with work
(3) Those who never made a resolution to work out so joke’s on you
If there’s one habit that’s rarely wavered for me, it’s working out. This is mostly due to personal history. 7 years ago, I became chronically anemic. A normal ferritin level is 100+ and I was a 4. I felt perpetually exhausted no matter how many hours of sleep I got. I struggled walking up an SF hill. and I started chewing ice, a symptom of severe iron deficiency.
I monitored my diet seriously and began working out as a way to combat the anemia and stop my hospital visits. Over the years, once-a-week visits became once-a-month visits became what is now two or three times a year max. Exercise gave me the ability to enjoy the city and have so much more energy for work, play, and cooking.
Now, I still love desserts. I make desserts every week and I eat desserts multiple times a week. But I’ve learned how to balance indulgent eating with healthy habits like exercising. I don’t weigh myself, and I don’t diet. I just eat what makes me feel good, and I move my body a lot to keep feeling good.
In San Francisco, the explosion of gyms and exercise classes means there’s no excuse not to work out. There is something for everyone no matter the weather or neighborhood. And if you’re like me, you can drag your friends or coworkers to a class and make it a social event with the added benefit of a good sweat.
Here are some of my favorite workouts to do in the city (and if you ever want to join, holler at yo girl):
Barry’s Bootcamp: They came to SF in 2014 and my life has never been the same. The instructors all have vivid online and IRL personalities and create the best #fitfam to work out with. The interval training workouts are fun and sweaty and anyone can do them, I swear! Just go at your own pace and weights.
Rumble: I recently tried this boxing x HIIT class and I liked it! I was pretty nervous since I have done zero boxing and my arms are small, but the class is for all levels. And it’s true what they say—punching something really does feel pretty good.
Yoga to the People: I do yoga 1-2x a week and then stretch on my own nearly everyday. My schedule varies, so I love YTTP for an easy-access, all-levels class. The instructors are helpful, the class is steamy, and I leave refreshed and relaxed.
Running outside: My workout routine started with running and hasn’t stopped. It’s the best no-excuses workout since you can do it literally anywhere, and it’s been a great way to explore SF and other cities. West SF is the best area to run since it’s less touristy—you can catch me in Golden Gate Park or else running through Duboce Park to spy on doggos.
Resistance bands: I picked this up last year when I was going to India and didn’t know how I was going to exercise during the trip. A band was a great way to get a simple and effective workout without taking space in your luggage. It won’t help with building muscle, but it’ll definitely make sure you don’t lose it. I own this set.
Swimming: My one true love will always be swimming. I started when I was a kid and swam competitively in high school. It’s the best cardio workout since it has the least impact on your joints, and it works out your entire body. In season, I love swimming at Aquatic Park in Ghirardelli Square. It’s designated for swimmers, so you don’t have to worry about boat traffic or tides sweeping you out. The water is cold, so make sure to have at least a 3mm wetsuit (or if you’re one of those crazy types, go wetsuit-free, as many of the elderly swimmers do and I have no idea how they do it).
All photos by Ashley Beschell.