These days it’s hard to read the news, or even have a conversation with members of your own family, without being confronted by the many things that separate us. But there is one basic thing we all have in common. We all have a body.

Now, that might sound so obvious as to be hardly worth pointing out. But the fact is, if we don’t take care of our body, and stay fit and healthy, everything else in our life is compromised.


With this basic fact in mind, we’ve turned keeping fit into a major economic component of American life. We may be more or less successful at actually being in shape, but in 2020 we Americans spent almost $40 billion trying to get in shape.

And that was in the throes of a pandemic, when fitness classes and gyms were closed or severely restricted, for months. But, even with 40 billion dollars’ worth of mass enthusiasm, keeping a gym up and running these days is not as easy as it used to be, Before Covid.

Case in point – F45. F45 is one of the fastest growing fitness franchises in the world. The fitness chain has a total of 1,760 studios globally, spread across 50 countries.

Locally, the F45 studio on Magazine Street went from having full membership and multiple classes a day Before Covid, to having no members at all – zero – in the middle of 2020.

Things at F45 have gotten a lot better, but the struggle to stay in business is not over.

Sal Figueroa - turned his back of a career in international diplomacy to open a gym on Magazine Street

Sal Figueroa – turned his back of a career in international diplomacy to open a gym on Magazine Street

The co-owner of F45 in the Garden District is Sal Figueroa.


Working out is not the only path to health and wellness. In recent years we’ve come to embrace other regimens, like yoga, Pilates, and diets. Some of these turn out to be passing fads – remember Sugarbusters? Others become a mainstream method of getting, and staying, healthy.

The latest addition to the list of alternative methods for improving your health is cryotherapy. Cryotherapy is the use of sub-freezing temperatures to make you feel better and look better.

New Orleans’ first cryotherapy clinic is NOLA Chill – Cryotherapy and Wellness.

Walt Marcus - at NOLA Chill "freeze your ass off" is not just a figure of speech, it's a weight loss technique

Walt Marcus – at NOLA Chill “freeze your ass off” is not just a figure of speech, it’s a weight loss technique

The owner of NOLA Chill is Walt Marcus.

We all know that working out and consciously taking care of ourselves is good for us. But, before 2020, most of us assumed that even if we didn’t make it to the gym as often as we intended, if we just went about our normal lives we’d stay healthy.

The emergence of a widespread deadly virus changed all that.

Fit and Frozen

One of the many results of the global Covid 19 pandemic has been to make us aware of the importance of maintaining base-level good health. And so, for our own health and wellness, it’s in all of our interests that the health and wellness industry remains healthy and well.

Within the wellness world, Sal Figueroa and Walt Marcus are both dedicated to doing what they truly believe in. That kind of passion is not only an inspiration to people who need to be inspired to stay healthy, it also strengthens their own resolve and fuels their businesses in the face of challenges.

Peter Ricchiuti takes no prisoners (apart from that guy behind him) on Out to Lunch

Peter Ricchiuti takes no prisoners (apart from that guy behind him) on Out to Lunch. (That’s Eric Murrell, our Technical Director)

Photos by Jill Lafleur. And here’s more lunchtime conversation about NOLA health and fitness.

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