Get Fit and More with St. Pete’s Healthiest Secret 

The average price of a gym membership in St. Pete is $30-50 a month. A local personal trainer can run you up to $90 an hour. But the cost to join Healthy St. Pete programs and workout classes? $0. 

When the city of St. Pete launched Healthy St. Pete in 2015, it was only a small initiative to bring more health programs to Pinellas. Now in 2024, Healthy St. Pete is its own division of the St. Pete Parks and Recreation Department. Every month, the city-funded program holds free workout classes, mental health seminars, inexpensive races, and even sells produce – for cheap – out of 12 locations around the city. 

Meagen Young, health program supervisor for St. Pete’s Parks and Recreation Department, says the program has changed each year depending on public interest. “I don’t know how many other park and recreation departments get such special, specialized programs like this one,” she said. “It speaks a lot of the city.”

Most people know Healthy St. Pete for its free workout classes. At any given time, you can click on the website to find free yoga, kickboxing, aerobics, and more to get folks up and moving in a more active lifestyle. “Every action you take counts – even just trying a program or a class once counts,” Young said. 

The city plans regular races and fitness events. Photo courtesy of the City of St. Petersburg.

However, in the last eight years the program has grown into an umbrella of five focus areas: physical fitness, healthy eating and nutrition, healthy minds, healthy aging, and kids and teens. “Since we started in 2015, health seems to be more of a general topic of focus,” Young said. “We had a lot of data that needed to be addressed.” 

New Year, New You

Picture this: You start your week off with a cardio kickboxing class in Campbell Park. While you’re there, you pick up some inexpensive produce from the park’s recreation center. There’re fruit, vegetables, and other goodies in Healthy St. Pete’s Fresh Rec Stop pantry. Later in the week, you’re signed up for a free kayaking paddle with a Healthy St. Pete instructor. You bring the family out on the water, they love it. On Saturday, you have a yoga class in Crescent Lake Park. You think about skipping but figure you could use a good stretch. Your lower back thanks you. 

Healthy St. Pete classes make fitness more fun. Photo courtesy of the City of St. Petersburg.

Sounds like a healthy, busy week, right? It’s all free – aside from the $6 bag of groceries you picked up on Monday. 

Utilizing Healthy St. Pete in 2024 is a great way to do the whole lifestyle change, New Year’s-resolution-to-be-more-healthy plan while on a budget. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy a whole lineup of local parks you may never have been to before. 

That’s what Susan Rosenbaum did when she moved to St. Pete from New York City in 2021. She’d been living in the area for only a week and a half when she signed up for her first yoga class with Healthy St. Pete. 

“I just went online and keyed in ‘yoga class’ and went to the first one. It was a fabulous class,” Rosenbaum said. “The other women I met there told me about all the other stuff that Healthy St. Pete does.” 

More than two years later and Healthy St. Pete classes have become a regular part of her life. 

The North Bay Trail is just one marked walking or running destination in St. Pete. You can find city-marked trails in many local parks. Photo courtesy of the City of St. Petersburg

“I think it’s the best-kept secret in St. Pete. It’s gotten me to neighborhoods I wouldn’t typically go to, and the support and comradery makes it what it is,” Rosenbaum said. “Some of the classes get pretty full but I always think to myself, ‘Why are there not more people here?’” 

The Programs

In addition to monthly trail runs and neighborhood group walks, Healthy St. Pete installs the mile markers in local parks. It’s part of the physical sector of the city program. But the most popular branch of Healthy St. Pete is the Get Fit St. Pete sector and its free classes. 

Each month, participants can join a plethora of complimentary workout classes offered by the city. It’s free, but you must sign up for a Get Fit St. Pete membership online. Users are also welcome to register at the park, but that can become time consuming for instructors and participants. 

Healthy St. Pete offers fitness options for the mind and body. Photo courtesy of the City of St. Petersburg.

Most Healthy St. Pete coaches are local fitness instructors and personal trainers who teach the city-sponsored classes on an unpaid volunteer basis. However, Coach Tii Wood is a personal trainer and group fitness instructor for Healthy St. Pete who is paid via an AARP grant. 

Wood is also an Army veteran and has been with Healthy St. Pete since May of 2023. She teaches the popular cardio kickboxing class on the first Tuesday of the month at Campbell Park and the AARP-sponsored Fit Lot Training on the second Friday of every month, a class designed for older athletes to stabilize and teach workout techniques in a safe space. Think CrossFit, but for seniors.  

“I want to teach people to move in their bodies so one day they can do it without me,” Wood said. “Every one of the people that show up to my classes bring their own flair and have their own relationships within the class.” 

Coach Tii Wood is an Army veteran, personal trainer, and group fitness instructor for Healthy St. Pete. Photo courtesy of the City of St. Petersburg. Photo courtesy of the City of St. Petersburg.

Wood’s Fit Lot classes are curated for the group and offer a gentle introduction into fitness. Her cardio kickboxing classes are a little more intense, but everyone is welcome. “Show up, give it all that you have,” Wood said. “We like to have fun out here.” 

As for the Healthy Eating and Nutrition program, there’s a real possibility to take advantage and get your hands on clean foods. According to the Healthy St. Pete , the city has allocated $1.179 million using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to improve food access and security in St. Petersburg.” 

Healthy St. Pete offers monthly cooking classes and nutrition seminars. Photo courtesy of the City of St. Petersburg.

For Healthy St. Pete, the program has installed 12 produce stations in local recreation centers all across the city. Anyone can buy produce for extreme discounts, or sometimes it’s given for free in surplus. The list of produce spots includes Child’s Park and Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, but you can find a full location list online, along with recipes and more.

There are also cooking classes and nutrition seminars held monthly. Said Young, “We’re just trying to get produce in people’s hands.” 

Along with promoting food security, Healthy St. Pete also holds mental health seminars and classes as part of the Healthy Minds program. Narcan training, mental health chats, meditation – it’s all a piece in training minds along with bodies. 

Participants at the 2023 Healthy St. Pete Glow in the Park. Photo courtesy of the City of St. Petersburg

If you’re interested in getting started, Healthy St. Pete invites you to jump in with the 2024 Healthy St. Pete Fit City 5K + 1 Mile Walk: Glow in the Park on February 3. You can either take on the 5K or take it easy with a one-mile option. The only requirement is you bring glow sticks and have fun!

Learn more about Health St. Pete, register for programs, Glow in the Park and much more at healthystpetefl.com.

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