Break a Sweat - Guide to Greater Tampa Bay
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Break a Sweat

Break a Sweat

Florida is the Sunshine State for a reason, so, whether you are in Hollywood East, Sunshine City or the Lightning Capital of the World, rest assured there is no better place to get out and get active.  

With its warm temperatures and numerous opportunities for having fun while staying fit, Greater Tampa Bay is a top spot for pursuing a well-rounded, healthy lifestyle.  

Of course, working out is an umbrella term for lots of physical activities. The gym can take on many different forms for a variety of fitness goals or methods, including CrossFit gyms, martial arts studios, yoga centers, athletic clubs or even rock-climbing. GTB’s array of fitness centers cater to the workout regimen of anyone looking for their personal brand of pump. 

“Fitness allows you to enjoy a healthy life,” said Run Tampa founder Debbie Voiles. “The most important key to staying healthy is exercise.” 

Voiles, a runner for more than 45 years, credits this activity for her impeccable health. However, for her, fitness is more than just physical. An avid fan of the outdoors, Voiles cites the beauty of nature and the camaraderie of running in groups as contributors to her wellbeing. She calls the experience spiritual. 

“All I do is work out. Oh my God! Half my life is spent in a gym somewhere, sweating.” Seven-time Super Bowl Champion and Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, now retired, famous for his strict diet and rigorous exercise routine. 

While there are hundreds of gyms and fitness centers throughout the region, there are many additional ways to be active and have fun doing it.  

Miles upon miles of nature trails, pedestrian-friendly bridges, causeways and stretches of smooth shorelines provide runners, walkers and cyclists with views they will never grow bored of and plenty of distance to really get the heart pumping. There is not much better for the mind and body than doing yoga or going for a walk on the beach at sunrise, in those early morning hours when it is the most peaceful and relaxing, or taking in sunset views over the bay while going for a run. 

Several local runner’s groups and annual events bring like-minded joggers together. Runners can partake in the various races held across the area, including the Dunedin Oktoberfest 5K, the St. Pete Run Fest 5k/10k/Half Marathon through downtown St. Petersburg in November, the Gasparilla Distance Classic in Tampa in February and the Savage Race obstacle run in Dade City in March.    

Run Tampa, which consists of more than 500 members, ventures through some of the area’s most scenic locales. The Safety Harbor shoreline, Courtney Campbell Causeway and the Upper Tampa Bay Trail are just a few of the spots the club traverses.  

Municipal parks such as Brown Park in Clearwater Beach, North Shore Park in St. Petersburg, Glencliff Park in Westchase and Wesley Chapel District Park, to name a few, house basketball hoops, tennis courts and baseball diamonds. These facilities are perfect for more recreational workouts that not only keep the body in good shape but are a great time with friends as well. 

Many gyms and fitness centers in the area often host drop-in classes to sample the kinds of workouts offered. A budding passion for kickboxing, Taekwondo or even goat yoga can be nurtured and explored with only an introductory lesson. The variety is limitless. 

Healthy lifestyles and fitness routines are no longer a niche subculture, but a dominant, driving force in the lives of many. No matter how you choose to exercise, GTB’s temperate weather, accessible parks and regular active events foster a fitness environment unlike any other. Feeling the burn yet?  

Healthy is a way of life 

Greater Tampa Bay is frequently named one of the healthiest places to live, with many residents prioritizing self-care, mental and spiritual wellness and staying active: 

America’s Healthiest Cities — Tampa 

The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area frequently makes an appearance on Mindbody’s annual Wellness Index, which recognizes the 50 healthiest cities in America. Tampa, specifically, has been in the top 20 on this index for the past three years in a row, peaking at No. 8 in 2020. It took the No. 16 spot for 2022. 

Mindbody surveys approximately 20,000 residents in each major city about several aspects of wellness, including connection to community, stress levels, workout habits, alcohol consumption, spirituality, self-care practices and more, to determine rankings in the index. 

American Fitness Index — St. Petersburg, Tampa 

St. Petersburg and Tampa often compare favorably to the national average in the American Fitness Index, a ranking of America’s 100 largest cities.  

According to the index’s criteria, “cities that rank near the top of the Fitness Index have more strengths and resources that support healthy living and fewer challenges that hinder it.”  

The American College of Sports Medicine gathers data from a variety of sources to determine rankings in the index, including the U.S. Census Bureau, Environmental Protection Agency, Feeding America, Center for Disease Control and Prevention and others. 

Here is how Tampa and St. Petersburg compare in the 2022 index: 


  • No. 25 — overall rank 
  • No. 33 — personal health rank 
  • No. 34 — community and environment rank 

St. Petersburg

  • No. 39 — overall rank  
  • No. 1 — meeting aerobic activity guidelines 
  • No. 19 — community and environment rank  
  • No. 63 — personal health rank 
Specialty Gyms & Clubs 

Want to try something unique? Greater Tampa Bay is home to many specialized gyms and clubs with focuses on specific kinds of workouts. Check out a few of these notable exercise venues. 

Fit Method 4:13 

  • With expertise in circuit training, this Tampa-based gym includes nutrition coaching and small-group classes. Their six-week challenge and results-driven mentality help their clients meet their health and exercise goals.  

Tampa City Boxing

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For a knockout of a workout, TCB is the boxing gym of choice. From the fundamentals of boxing to self-defense lessons, for trainees of all skill levels, the trainers at TCB do not pull any punches. 

Cigar City CrossFit 

  • Group classes and personal training couple with personalized nutritional coaching. This Ybor City-based gym works with members throughout their entire fitness journey.  

Vertical Ventures

  • For more than 25 years, Vertical Ventures has offered rock climbing adventures in GTB. Featuring more than 150 climbing routes, as well as fitness and yoga classes, this gym is always reaching for new heights.  


  • Functioning as both an exercise class and a social meetup, iStroll is the ultimate workout designed for parents with babies. With equipment specially designed around a jogging stroller, these one-hour routines aim to promote health and create bonds. 

Suncoast Striders Runners Club

  • The perfect mix of run and fun, the New Port Richey based running club is a group made for runners of all abilities, to meet, socialize and encourage one another. They meet four times a week, and afterwards, host “social hour,” to cool down with coffee and conversation.  

Tampa Bay Club Sport 

  • Looking for an organized pickup game? Tampa Bay Club Sport hosts and organizes leagues from everything ranging from baseball to tennis to kickball to cornhole. With social events and tournaments held year-round, joining the team has never been easier.  

Goat Yoga Tampa

  • The combination animal therapy and yoga class host classes and happy hours all across GTB. Be prepared to be nibbled and jumped on by the very friendly goats (yes, real goats) while enjoying a relaxing and unique yoga experience.  


  • The heat is on at this workout chain, where virtual instructors lead a variety of exercises in infrared saunas. With locations in Tampa, Clearwater and St. Petersburg, at Hotworx, it is okay to sweat it.  

Tampa Rowing Club

  • There is no shortage of water to exercise on in GTB, and the Tampa Rowing Club has made good use of them since the 1960s. The club members typically traverse the Hillsborough River, sculling over smooth, pristine water.  

Run Tampa Bay

  • Holding group outdoor running sessions every Saturday and Sunday, as well as light jogs to a brewery on every third Thursday, this club is all about staying fit and making friends.  

By Ryan Walsh.

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