Just because you want to lose some pounds, doesn’t mean should have to lose your dollars.

From the Bronx to Brooklyn, we’ve gone the distance for you and have found free and friendly spaces to exercise.

Tag – you’re it! Now it’s your turn to try before you buy.

Having Bariatric Surgery prepares you to be the star of your own stage. If this is your debut performance in group fitness, don’t worry. Every great artist has to start somewhere and all the classes we’ve recommended are genuinely beginner-friendly.


Just because you want to lose some pounds, doesn’t mean should have to lose your dollars.

Shape Up classes are in all five boroughs.

Shape Up NYC

High five to free group fitness across the five boroughs! Add a bit of color to your routine with Shape Up NYC and their rainbow assortment of classes taught by expert instructors across aerobics, yoga, pilates and Zumba.

You don’t even need to be a member of the NYC Parks’ recreation center you attend – just bring a lock to store your belongings! Check out the Shape Up NYC schedule.

Sign up to The Rise e-newsletter to find out about the different locations.

Sign up to The Rise e-newsletter to find out about the different locations.

The Rise

All they want you to do is “get out of bed and be awesome” – and that’s exactly what The Rise is about! The workouts on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 6:30am welcome beginners into the group like a loved one into a family. Their unconditional love has earned them bragging rights to become what they believe is the most supportive, energetic and encouraging workout group in NYC – inspiring people of all ages, sizes and fitness levels to get active.

Join The Rise today.

One of many free exercise events found on Meetup.

One of many free exercise events found on Meetup.


Fun and free dancing should not be limited to the sofa and “Dancing with the Stars”. Check out this Flatiron dance crew’s free summer offering on Facebook. You may even find some other free fitness gems!

Will you choose Union Square or the Hudson?

Will you choose Union Square or the Hudson?

Yoga in the parks

OM – it’s free weekly yoga! The Om Factory takes over Union Square every Thursday from 7pm on the North Plaza while Bryant Park Yoga presented by Athleta takes place every Thursday at 6pm.

The instructors will guide you through a series of poses synchronized with breathing to keep the body warm and move into deeper postures. With the instructors’ dialogue incorporating alternative poses and sequences to suit all levels, this is a great way to ease your body into exercise if you’ve previously experienced joint or muscle pain when working out.

Find out more about Om Factory at Union Square and Bryant Park Yoga presented by Athleta.

A full fusion of exercise styles are on offer.

A full fusion of exercise styles are on offer.

Whole and healthy on Hudson

With workouts inspired by Pilates and dance, Lolë New York brings together a fusion of techniques to create inspiring and challenging experiences every Tuesday on Pier 25, North Moore St. These popular classes fill up quick so head over to the Lolë New York Facebook page to find out more and RSVP.

On Wednesdays, Yogamaya invites you to flow, sweat, chant and breathe – connecting the energy you have with your peers in Chelsea through to the world. Only 75 spots are available each week so visit the Yogamaya website to RSVP for a calming class to connect mind, body and spirit.

A great family exercise.

A great family exercise.

Beautiful Bronx Body

Join the South Bronx Yoga team at the Target Bronx Community Garden for an outdoor workout and relaxation exercise – fit for the whole family. Make soothing Saturdays a habit for you and your loved ones. Even the mats are provided!

Find out more about the free yoga classes.

This July 4th holiday, plan where you can get the best view – because we’ve got your healthy recipes sorted!

EatingWell has a great selection of low calorie, low carb and diabetes appropriate dishes everyone can enjoy from appetizers through to desserts.

The New You When Eating Red, White and Blue

Patriotic appetizers.

With just some crumbled cotija cheese, blue corn tortilla chips and fresh salsa, you can create your own mini red, white and blue edible flags to get the party started.

For something hearty, prepare a red, white and blue potato salad the night before. While the fireworks may be a feast for the eyes, this dish boasts a pop of natural flavours. Make your own lemon vinaigrette and serve with a dash of peppers, scallions and mint.

Then satisfy the summer sweet tooth with red, white and blue popsicles. You’ll just need limeade, blueberries, raspberries (though cherries and strawberries work too) and a freezer-pop mould to create a cool twist to serving fruits to end a meal.


A few ingredients and even less minutes.

A few ingredients and even less minutes.

PopSugar has a different take on things and we’ve found an easy-to-share watermelon and feta skewers recipe that’s quick to shop for and even faster to make. Simply stack chopped watermelon, feta cheese and Kalamata olives on the skewers and drizzle with basil oil.

Unlike jokes, your entrée can be cheesy and still enjoyable. This patriotic frittata is made with sweet cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, black beans and purple basil. It’ll pack a protein punch with less than 200 calories per piece.

Finally, you can thank us later when you’re singing the praises of these frozen yogurt cupcakes. Made with Greek yogurt, fresh strawberries, and bananas, these sweet treats are low in calories, fat, and cholesterol yet are still lusciously sweet and smooth. At just 30 calories per cupcake, you still get three grams of protein!

In The News

What’s the impact of race on Bariatric Surgery?

A racy issue

A new study has found that non-Hispanic white patients who underwent gastric bypass typically lost more weight over a three-year period than Hispanic or black patients. Throughout the three-year study period, findings following gastric bypass surgery showed that non-Hispanic white patients lost an average of 63 percent of their excess weight, Hispanic counterparts lost around 59 percent and black patients lost a bit less at around 56 percent (which still reflects a lot of hard work and amazing results!).

While there is little research that explores the impact of bariatric surgery on people of different races and ethnicities, especially in the long term, evidence like this encourages health care professionals to develop culturally sensitive post-op programs to improve success and minimize weight gain.

Click here for more information on Weight Zen post-op support groups.

The weight stigma: it stays and it scars

The obesity stigma continues to grow.

The obesity stigma continues to grow.

A new study by Western New England University is the first of its kind to use a daily diary assessment of weight stigmatization among 50 overweight and obese women. 1077 stigmatizing events were reported over a week period for a daily average of 3.08 events per individual. Participants most frequently experienced “physical barriers” (84 percent), “nasty comments from others” (74 percent), “being stared at” (72 percent) and “others making negative assumptions” (72 percent).

At Weight Zen our goal is to help you overcome this stigma. That’s why we don’t believe obesity is anyone’s “fault” and that it’s a failure if you don’t simply “try harder”. Find out more about our free Bariatric Surgery seminars for more information and let us know what you think about the obesity stigma on our Facebook page.

Weight management VS Bariatric Surgery: Not an “either/or” solution

Both of these paths require intense and strict lifestyle changes. Both of these paths improve obese diabetic patients’ physical and mental health. But Bariatric Surgery leads to a greater reduction in adverse effects of obesity on quality of life when compared to dieting and exercising alone. That said, significant lifestyle changes need to me upheld for all post-operative Bariatric Surgery patients.

In a meeting at the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society, researchers presented results showing that up to two years after treatment, patients who underwent gastric bypass surgery had nearly twice the improvement (reduction) in the adverse effects of weight on their quality of life, which correlated with the greater amount of weight they lost. Two years after treatment, the surgical patients lost an average of 64.4 pounds versus 11 pounds in the weight management group (which consisted of exercise, diet with meal replacements, 12 initial weekly group sessions and nine additional months of individual counselling).

Is Melissa McCarthy setting the right example?

McCarthy on the cover of July's Rolling Stone.

McCarthy on the cover of July’s Rolling Stone.

She’s funny, fearless and can demand millions at the Box Office. For many, she’s an inspiration to live a confident and fulfilled life that goes against the grain. But do you agree with what the Rolling Stones July cover girl has said about her self-destructive habits? “I could eat healthier, I could drink less,” she says. “I should be learning another language and working out more, but I’m just always saying, ‘Ah, I could get hit by a bus tomorrow.’”

Do you agree? Many of you have come to us with concerns about your health and how it affects your time with your children, grandchildren and what it means for your future. Tell us what you think on our Facebook page.

Picture perfect for Presidency?

For better or worse, the jury's still out on Christie's weight.

For better or worse, the jury’s still out on Christie’s weight.

While mum’s the word on Chris Christie’s actual weight loss, media speculation has been strong since his admission of having Lap Band Surgery last year.

Experts from Yale University’s School of Medicine, estimated that, based on the photos, in 2011 Christie weighed about 322 pounds, giving him a BMI of 45 and therefore making him morbidly obese. In the photos taken in 2014, the doctors said Christie appears to be roughly 236 pounds, giving him a BMI of 33.

With Christie now climbing in the polls and catching up to Hillary Clinton, do you think this is a case of public double standards on weight or is Christie a prime example of shaking off the weight stigma? Tell us what you think on Facebook.

In The News

You keep your smartphone fully charged and your Facebook constantly updated for successful pantry planning – now it’s time to keep your pantry roaring and ready to go too, no matter the situation. Choosing to have Bariatric Surgery is a commitment to making permanent lifestyle changes and includes a new approach to breakfast, lunch, dinner and all the sneaky snacks in between. Don’t get caught between a trans-fat and a hard place!

Tofu scramble

Tofu scramble


Ditch the greasy burritos and syrup-stacked pancakes and dive into a breakfast that gives you a nutritional boost to start your day. Go for lettuce wraps, tofu scrambles, egg whites and oatmeal pancakes for healthier choices. Compare the 450 calories and 31 grams of fat in a fast-food biscuit with egg and bacon to the 130 calories and 5 grams of fat in a scramble with four egg whites and 1 ounce of cooked turkey bacon. Fill a lettuce wrap with black beans, egg whites and chopped bell peppers or energize your juice with beets, carrots apples and mint sprigs.

Tip: Keep your pantry stocked with oatmeal as a go-to breakfast option if all else fails. It’ll help you manage cholesterol, prevent heart disease and the high fiber will keep you fuller for longer.

Chicken breast lettuce wrap


A fast food lunch of burgers, fries or fish ‘n’ chips might be convenient and ‘save time’, but you’ll end up feeling more drained and

tired just after eating it! A fast food double burger has more than 942 calories and 58 grams of fat; to compare, a 3-ounce turkey burger on a whole-wheat pita has 169 calories and 2 grams of fat. Opt for tomato soup, steamed fish with spinach or a chicken breast lettuce wrap with avocado instead. If you have time to prepare your lunch meals from home, keep it in an insulated lunch box with ice packs to keep your food cold or a thermos to keep soup warm.

Tip: Everyone ‘can’ be healthy! Canned tuna is a cheap and convenient way to keep up with your protein, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acid levels. Canned tomatoes are not only rich in flavor, but they’re packed with cancer-fighting antioxidant lycopene. Just make sure you go for the low-salt or low-sodium options.

Oven-baked chicken

Oven-baked chicken


Instead of greasy pizza, create a homemade Margherita pizza, swap fried chicken for oven-baked chicken and have a salad with whole-grain bread instead of a deli sandwich.  Otherwise, grab your favorite veggies and make your own hearty soup or stir-fry and pair it with whole-wheat pasta. Replacing two pieces of fast food fried chicken, which has more than 431 calories and 26 grams of fat, with 3 ounces of chicken breast for less than 100 calories and around 2 grams of fat instantly makes dinner healthier. If you’re strapped for time, put it all in a slow cooker before you leave for work and you’ll have your dinner ready as soon as you’re home!

Tip: Whole-wheat pasta has three times as much fiber as regular spaghetti while brown rice is a healthier alternative to its white counterpart because it retains the bran and the germ, which have an abundance of nutrients. For more sides to accompany your veggies and lean meats, keep quinoa and lentils in your panty too. Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids, it provides a boost of energy and will satisfy hunger the same way meat would, without the fat or cholesterol. A lentil is a healthy legume low in fat and packed with protein and fiber.




Put down the chips, French fries and popcorn with confidence. Nuts not only give you protein, fiber and calcium – they’re an energizing snack. Look out for walnuts which have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. All natural peanut butter is filled with protein and monosaturated (the good!) fats. Look out for those with just two ingredients (nuts and salt) and pair it up with a slice of wholemeal bread. If you’re out and about when hunger strikes, satisfy your sweet tooth with fresh fruit and fat-free and low-sugar yogurt.