Rupa Mohan worked on Wall Street for a decade before quitting to spend a year traveling with her husband. Both fitness buffs, they tried to find ways to exercise while circling the world, but were often disheartened by lousy hotel gyms. “We saw a need for a fun exercise alternative while traveling. So we came up with idea of Sweat Social,” Rupa told me after I took my first Sweat Social class. We’d just done about 40 minutes of Pilates and yoga under an open air pavilion on the banks of the Mississippi River in New Orleans. That’s where the New York transplants wound up after their travels.
“We landed here on a one-way ticket from Asia,” Rupa said. They already had their business plan in mind.
The Sweat Social provides New Orleans visitors with fitness activities. Aside from a weekly Tuesday morning slot at the Loews New Orleans, classes are on-demand. “When you come to New Orleans,” Rupa said, “you want to do what you want to do, when you want to do it.”
In addition to Pilates yoga, the Sweat Social offers kickboxing, plyometrics, high intensity interval training, tabata, bodyweight strength and custom events. They also lead runs and scavenger hunts. One option is a running tour, where the group stops every five to ten minutes and catches their breath while a guide tells New Orleans stories. “We get you into fun city locations as much as possible,” Rupa said. Many of her clients are in town for meetings and conventions, such as workers in small banks and big pharma. But individual travelers are also welcome to contact Sweat Social.
Jessica Tzur led the class I attended. Our group of six did a little yoga, a lot of core and butt exercises. It was pleasantly challenging, but not too intense. Jessica encouraged us to speak up if we wanted a harder or easier workout, but we all seemed to feel it was about right.
The “social” part of the name Sweat Social comes from an icebreaker at the beginning of class. In this case, Jessica asked us to go around and introduce ourselves by name and favorite Christmas cocktail. As an ex-drinker, I said I was looking forward to drinking some chocolate peppermint soy milk. Many folks would construe this as a lame answer, but this group seemed receptive to my chosen drink.
The Sweat Social is a fun way for travelers to maintain their commitment to fitness even in a city with as many distractions and temptations as New Orleans. Rupa is enthusiastic about the company’s future. “Wellness is top of mind. Wellness tourism is on the rise. It’s not a trend. It’s here to stay. It’s something we believe in.”