Let’s face it. Even the most diehard athletes are going to take a break from their rigid workout routines and nutritious diet regimens when visiting New Orleans, especially if they’ve come for any of our many festivals. And if you are local and Lent has gotten you “back on track” from the sordid sins of Carnival, you will slip. So just go with it.
If you are coming to New Orleans for the weekend, there is a bountiful range of activities to choose from including aerobics, weight training, nautilus, and endurance training. You had better catch an early mass at St. Louis Cathedral to preempt your sins before they occur and make up for the ones committed the night before. You must realize that anything is possible here in the Crescent City. After mass, I suggest you start your warm-up at Jackson Square with some good stretches. Spend at least ten minutes stretching your legs, arms, back, and neck in preparation for the upcoming torturous workout. We will focus on arms, deltoids, and legs.
If you are a beginner, then start out at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop with 12-ounce curls. Be sure to use control on the up and downward actions. Take your time and concentrate on using serious control. The more robust athlete might want to hedge a little further up on Bourbon Street to Razoo’s for more serious lifting: 32-ounce curls. Take your time and focus on each lift. The key again here is control.
Your next assignment is a challenge. The only good deltoid workout in the French Quarter is bead throwing. You must not only use strength but also precision. This may be harder than you think, especially after those grueling curls. Step 1: Find your target on nearly any nearby third-floor balcony. If you are a beginner, you can modify this portion of the workout to a first or second-floor balcony. Step 2: Toss beads to target. Do five to seven repetitions with each arm. Vary your targets, as you will have more success and add variety to your workout. To reduce the risk of injury, move at your own pace.
If you do it right, you can incorporate the leg segment of the workout with the deltoid workout as you walk up and down Bourbon Street looking for bead-throwing opportunities. If you choose, you can pump up your workout with more curls, making sure you hike up and down Bourbon Street several times. However, the more advanced athlete may want to take the initiative and make their way down to Decatur Street. There you will find even more opportunities for exercise with a local edge (and less of a workout on your wallet). But be careful, you don’t want to overexert yourself.
When you feel you’ve had enough, then cool down with an ice-cold daiquiri at any of the daiquiri shops in the area.
For the perfect recovery, protein is the key and a dressed shrimp po-boy is the answer. If you look hard enough, you can find them 24 hours a day in the French Quarter. If you are looking for a convenience-only recovery, then hit the Lucky Dog stand, but don’t overindulge, trust me. If you eat more than one Lucky Dog, you will pay.
For The Sickly Obsessed
If you are one of those crazy athletes who can’t miss a workout, even when in New Orleans, then you are sickly obsessed. However, we have something for you, too.
One word of caution to you: START EARLY or you will literally run into crowds, traffic, mules, and the like. And if you do start early you will be enchanted by the early morning glow that spills over some of the country’s oldest architecture. Why not warm up with stretches in Jackson Square and then go for a run around the Quarter? I would head down Decatur to Esplanade Avenue passing the Old U.S. Mint. Hang a left onto Esplanade past Jean Lafitte’s House. Take another left down Burgundy Street. You are now in the beautiful, quieter, upper French Quarter. Cut a left at Iberville Street and another at Dauphine for more upper French Quarter beauty. When you hit Barracks Street head right two blocks, skipping Bourbon Street to Royal, and slow your pace as you pass the art galleries. But don’t stop, you can come back after your workout. When you hit Toulouse Street, hang a left and sprint toward the mighty Mississippi River. Before you get wet, hang a right onto the beautiful Riverwalk and heads towards the Aquarium and the lovely beautiful Spanish Plaza. Your turnaround point is the fountain. Now, make your way back down the Riverwalk, back onto Toulouse, hang a right on Decatur and voila, you are back at Jackson Square. Cool down by walking around the Square a couple of times. Congratulate yourself, get cleaned up, and go meet your friends for some of the best food you’ll ever have.
Whatever your fancy, the French Quarter is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Whether you choose to exercise your right to exercise or not, it is certain that you will have fun. So if you take a break from your workouts, then eat lots of fabulous food and drink ‘til you are merry, and go home knowing that you will be back soon.