Shape Up: Israeli-style

Written by
Elie Bleier

New year, new goals, new body, new you. Less talk, more do. Eat, pray, love. Yalla yalla, enough already, get going; we all know the yearly drill, rinsed and repeated. But do we know what’s the right way to get going here in Israel?

Here are the best ways to tighten up your holy tush in the holy land:

Beach Workouts

Intrigued by the innumerable shirtless studs strutting their stuff? Don’t get left in their (often sparkly) dust. Check out one of the numerous bodyweight exercise stations spanning the boardwalk. Pull-ups, squats, and sit-ups will challenge you, while those stations where you swing your hips back and forth will...well, they’ll just confuse you. Once you break a sweat, cooling off is literally a stone's throw away.


Tel Aviv is as flat as your behind. Start toning it by exploring it. Walk from north to south in about an hour. Bike the boardwalk or, if you’re feeling brave, the streets. Just remember: electric scooters don’t burn cals. Neither does GetTaxi, for that matter. And that baklava you snarfed mid-way through your stroll? Yeah, that means you’ve gotta walk back north again.

Tel Aviv Port © Shutterstock

Martial Arts

Toss those infomercial self-defense VHS’s your savta saved for you. Turns out Jews have developed some of the world’s most renowned martial arts. Go for a Krav Maga class to engage your inner IDF soldier. Get Samson strong with Abir Qesheth, purportedly developed in biblical times. Or check out an MMA class if you want something that actually works.

Get Weird

Wanna get weird? Israel’s hippie fitness scene is on the map, where Circus Arts, Acroyoga, Gaga, contact dancing and “movement” classes have proliferated. One place to catch them all: Yaffa beach at sunset. Flail your arms aimlessly to fit in; Handstand to gain admission to the cool kids club.

Acroyoga, Tel Aviv © Shutterstock


While it might not be Santa Monica, the West Village or Marleybone, Tel Aviv offers a wide range of boutique fitness experiences. Yoga? Check. Pilates? Of course. HIIT. Please. But the real Israel boutique fitness experience: TRX classes at every public park imaginable. Hey - you can’t say it’s not brand name.


Here in the White City, partying isn’t just for hedonists. Dance the night away, fueled on soda water, Turkish coffee and whatever else floats your boat (but not your calorie count), all just to get a sweat in. And if you’re male, interested in males and also looking for some more intense glute activation, the city is host to numerous parties of this intriguing sort where you can break a sweat.

Teder © Ariel Efron

Paying Rent

The rent’s too damn high! While technically not a workout, stressing out over how you’re gonna cover the month and then literally not having enough shekels to buy groceries is a surefire way to drop some extra pounds. 


The through-the-crowd sprint straight into the pomello toss. The tourist-shoving match. The double over-the-shoulder bag hold combined with weighted grandma-cart tow. And don’t forget the intensive hand signal negotiation with Shlomo (or was it Itzik?). Forget the Crossfit Games. Israel’s got a better competition: the Pre-Shabbat Super Shuk Shuffle.

Carmel Market © Shutterstock

Yelling Match

Of course, we have to include the most authentic Israeli exercise routine: the top-of-your-lungs yelling match. A domestic mainstay, you can find opportunities to do so around the city: standing in lines, crossing the street, and even minding your own business! Free, easy to do and loads of fun, it’s sure to get your heart rate up. Or to cause you a heart attack. Whichever comes first.

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