It’s a new year—a fresh start, full of possibilities.
It’s a time to reflect upon personal goals and make plans for the year ahead. Many of you might be pondering a fitness-related objective. After all, it’s probably the most common New Year’s resolution. And it’s a popular endeavor for a reason.
Maintaining an exercise routine isn’t just about changing one’s physique. It can reduce stress, boost mood, improve focus, better our sleep quality, and prevent future injuries and illness. Gone are the days of singularly focusing on weight loss. The modern approach to wellness is more about fostering a healthy body, mind, and soul, to live more functionally.
While regular exercise seems like an obvious, comprehensive way to become a better version of ourselves in 2023 (and beyond), starting a new habit can be easier said than done. Life is full of time constraints and mustering energy can be a challenge, especially during cold winter months.
Working out can also feel uncomfortable or vulnerable, especially when done in public. That’s why it’s so important to: (a) find a form of exercise that feels good in your body and (b) find a community or space that helps you feel supported, motivated, and empowered. Both will make it easier to sustain your routine over time.
Luckily, Downtown Fort Wayne is full of gyms, studios, and trails, so you can find the right facility, class, or activity that best fits the tempo you’re looking for. Everyone’s fitness goals are going to look different, so get intentional and decide what areas you want to work on (e.g. fat loss, muscle gain, flexibility, speed, endurance, pain relief).
Once you know the type of movement that makes the most sense for your goals, you’ll be able to figure out the best place to start your journey. Here are some options!
Baptiste Power Yoga Fort Wayne
Baptiste Power Yoga’s practice is centered around heated vinyasa—a style of yoga that flows through poses seamlessly, using breath to guide you. Baptiste yoga is a very specific approach to vinyasa created by Walt Baptiste in the 1940s. Think of it like its own curriculum of yoga (you can learn more about Baptiste-style yoga here)!
At Baptiste Power Yoga Fort Wayne you’ll find a mix of classes, from challenging and energetic to slow and restorative—all with a playful spin. And if making it to the studio is tough, they offer livestream classes via Zoom!
It’s worth noting that they provide a free ‘Heroes Yoga’ class for police, firefighters, first responders, military, veterans & healthcare workers. So if you check any of those boxes, and you’d like to deepen your mind-body connection, your sessions are on the house!
Want to learn more about Baptiste Power Yoga Fort Wayne? Check out their website!
The Fort Wayne Dance Collective
Any intentional movement constitutes exercise. So if going to the gym or taking a traditional workout class feels uninspiring, consider taking a dance class! Practicing dance is a great way to get creative with your movement and bring joy and expression to your exercise routine.
If this option sparks your interest, check out the Fort Wayne Dance Collective, where you’ll find dance classes in a variety of styles—hip hop, contemporary, jazz, ballet, tap, belly dancing, you name it! At the Dance Collective, you can also supplement your practice by exploring other forms of movement, like Tai Chi and barre.
Making classes inclusive to all identities, abilities, and stages of life is a key principle of the Dance Collective’s mission. So no matter your age, experience level, or ability, you’ll be made to feel welcome.
Want to learn more about the Fort Wayne Dance Collective? Check out their website!
Another exceptional yoga studio, DIscover Yoga, is located in the historic Bell Mansion. Instructor Chelsea Vona founded Discover Yoga inspired by the term, Muditā (Pāli and Sanskrit: मुदिता), which means joy—especially sympathetic or vicarious joy, or the pleasure that comes from delighting in other people’s well-being.
Harnessing the power of community, Discover Yoga’s classes are approachable to anyone, whether you’re beginning your practice, making a return to the mat, or looking to advance to a more difficult pose or flow. They also offer private sessions, if group yoga feels a bit intimidating or you have specific goals you want to work toward one-on-one.
If you’re a novice, you might want to enroll in Discover’s 4 Week Beginner Yoga Series, designed to teach you the basics so you can start your practice with a stronger foundation. Not sure if you’re ready to commit? Discover Yoga also offers free community yoga at Promenade Park every second Sunday of the month—perfect for a trial, if you’re yoga-curious!
Want to learn more about Discover Yoga? Check out their website!
Pure Movement Pilates Studio
Interested in getting stronger, increasing mobility, and improving coordination? You might want to try your hand at pilates! Pure Movement is an apparatus pilates studio focused on strengthening, stretching, sculpting, endurance, and alignment.
At Pure Movement, you’ll find options for small group classes or private sessions. This intimate setting is intentional, so instructors can offer a personalized experience, with any modifications you might need. They offer drop-ins, in-studio memberships, and virtual memberships, if streaming from home better suits your needs.
New to pilates? No sweat! Pure Movement offers a special one-on-one introductory class, as well as a 3-session introductory package. Their highly trained team will guide you through the fundamentals of pilates, breathwork, and mindful movement.
Want to learn more about Pure Movement? Check out their website!
YMCA — Central Branch and Skyline Branch
The YMCA is your “one-stop shop” for all things fitness, offering fully equipped gymnasiums, a wide-range of classes, sports lessons, courts, tracks and pools. There’s a little bit of everything (actually there’s a lot!), making it a great option for anyone who might want to experiment with different modalities of exercise.
In addition to all the top-notch amenities, the YMCA offers financial assistance and child care—making exercise even more accessible. Bonus: the Y has two state-of-the-art facilities in Downtown Fort Wayne, and a membership buys you access to both. So you can take your pick of scenery!
Want to learn more about the YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne? Check out their website!
Velocity Barbell is a different kind of gym, one that provides an experience that’s truly tailored to your health goals. Owners Brad and Chelsea (a husband-wife duo) offer small group training, personal training, nutrition coaching, and online training for those who travel frequently—all customized to your needs.
At Velocity, everyone starts off with one-on-one coaching to develop a foundation. Once you graduate from their first, individual phase, you’ll begin working out in Velocity’s private gym alongside other members of their supportive, tight-knit community.
This program is for the deeply committed. The Velocity team will work closely with you to achieve whatever goals you have. In addition to working on your physical fitness, they help cultivate a growth mindset in all their clients, so you can create momentum and keep it going. If you’re ready for a serious transformation, check them out!
Want to learn more about Velocity Barbell? Check out their website!
Working out in a gym or studio might not be your thing at all. Maybe fresh air is exactly what you need to motivate you. You might prefer to try cycling, skating, kayaking, or a run! Check out some of Downtown Fort Wayne’s outdoor recreations:
Molly Conner is a Fort Wayne native and freelance writer. Having lived in Downtown Fort Wayne throughout her twenties, she loves watching her stomping grounds grow. With her love of storytelling and community in tow, she’s eager to tell Downtown Fort Wayne’s story piece-by-piece—exploring the people, spaces, and organizations that make it thrive.