5 ways to get fit for free in Cape Town

There’s no need to spend money on joining a gym when you’re living in or visiting Cape Town – the city is home to more free fitness facilities, places, groups and classes than you can count! We name five of the best.

If you’ve stayed in Cape Town more than a few days, you’ll soon realise a steady line-up of world-class cuisine and bottomless wine tours can tickle the taste buds but tack-on some unwanted kilos. Lucky for you, there are many ways to get fit for little more than the cost of transportation to some of the city’s most breathtaking destinations.

1. Free Summer Fitness Classes at V&A Waterfront

The V&A Waterfront, Africa’s most popular tourist destination, has teamed up with Virgin Active, Adventure Boot Camp and Kranking Fitness Studio to offer free exercise classes until Saturday, 30 April 2016. Just enough time left to shake off those Easter extras…

2. Lion’s Head Sunset Hike

If waking up early to exercise isn’t for you, lace up your shoes and hike Lion’s Head at sunset when the full moon displays its glory. The one- to two-hour hike is a local favourite and not too difficult. You’ll be in good company if you also pack a (healthy) picnic and lots of water. Just remember your safety: hike in groups, wear proper footwear, bring a torch for the dark way down and layers in case the weather takes a turn for the worse.

3. Running Clubs & Free Outdoor Gyms

There are plenty of student, intern and adult running clubs to join in any area of Cape Town, many operating from popular fitness hubs such as the 2.5-km Rondebosch Common jogging loop, Newlands Forest Contour Path or the fitness circuit at Green Point Park. And don’t forget the almost 50 free outdoor gyms rolled out by the folks from the City of Cape Town’s Parks Department. There’s one in Sea Point, another in Muizenberg and lots more in-between. Let your fingers do the Googling to find your closest outdoor gym.

4. Stroll the Sea Point Promenade

Sea Point Promenade is free and open to the public all year round. The best part? It’s accessible to everyone, from body builders to baby-toting mothers to senior citizens – and you can finish off your workout with an (inexpensive) swim at the Sea Point outdoor pool.

5. Gardens Skate Park

If you’ve got a skateboard or longboard and want to practice your tricks without worrying about fist-shaking neighbours, head to Cape Town’s skate park in Gardens (next to the MyCiti bus station under the Mill Street Bridge). It’s free and open to novice and experienced skaters during daylight hours.

Stay in shape with CrossFit training

CrossFit is a strength and conditioning brand that includes Olympic weightlifting, gymnastics, bodyweight exercises, powerlifting, rowing, kettlebells and medicine balls among other fitness tools and methods.

Visit Camps Bay or Clifton beaches on the weekend, and you’ll see these fitness warriors doing workouts on the sand and in the water. Just by watching these athletes lift weights, do handstand walks and sand sprints, you’re able to see the effects of this kind of training, as these athletes are in the best shape of their lives.

CrossFit has grown very quickly in the last few years, and that’s easy to see in Cape Town. It has grown from only three ‘boxes’ (the name for a CrossFit gym) three years ago to over a hundred around South Africa today. Just in and around Cape Town there are eight boxes, each with their own particular identity and offering – but still using the trademark CrossFit way of getting fit.

Every year there’s a worldwide event called the CrossFit Games, where over 180 000 athletes sign up around the world to do an international set of qualifying workouts called the ‘Open’. These five tests are spread over five weeks, and athletes aim to qualify so that they can get a chance to compete at the African Regionals. These Regionals have been held twice at the sprawling Camps Bay High School, which is found high up on the coastal side of Table Mountain, with arguably the best view of any place of learning. It overlooks the blue waters of Camps Bay and Clifton, and you can see the breathtaking profile of the Twelve Apostles mountain range in the distance. This is where the fittest man, woman and team in Africa are defined, and then those talented few are sent to the finals in Carson City in California to represent Africa in the CrossFit Games. Other CrossFit competitions have been held at this incredible venue, namely the two-day Fittest In Cape Town (FICT) contest – where athletes compete to be the fittest man, woman and team in the fair city of Cape Town. It included tug-of-war, trail runs with weights and more intense challenges.

These competitions equire the athletes to do super-tough, time-based workouts where everything has to be recorded and then compared against the other competitors. Even if you don’t want to compete at this high level, you can still sign up for CrossFit classes at one of the eight boxes in the city so that you too can train and get fitter while on the white beaches of Camps Bay and Clifton. Consider it an essential investment if you want to build a beach-ready body. For more info on this, check out Capecrossfit.com or BlackRiverCrossFit.co.za.