- October 15, 2014

15 Low-Effort Ways to Get Healthy in Austin

Staying fit in Austin can be a challenge. An endless supply of queso, craft beer, and breakfast tacos doesn’t bode well for your waistline. Throw in four months of 90+ degree heat, which makes exercising outside pure torture, and you’ve got a surefire recipe for love handles.

But you don’t have to resign yourself to a life of high cholesterol and elastic-waistband shorts just yet! I lost 20 pounds this past year by making different choices. Here are 15 of the least painful ways to get (or stay) healthy in Austin.

3 Tasty Low-Carb Meals in Austin

Cutting carbohydrates is a great way to slim down, but after a while you get tired of eating sandwiches sans bread. Here are three of my favorite meat and vegetable dishes in town.

1. Galbi at Korea House: If you’ve never had galbi, it’s a popular Korean dish of marinated beef short ribs. It’s a little expensive, but worth every penny. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

2. Barbecue at Stiles Switch: I love going to barbecue joints because basically everything is low-carb. The beef ribs at Stiles Switch are phenomenal, but you can’t really go wrong with any of their meats.

3. Bun Thit Nuong at Pho Saigon: Order #62 without the noodles and you’ll get a giant bowl of chargrilled pork and vegetables. It’s life-changing.

3 Unconventional Workouts

If I’m going to exercise, I don’t want to be dreading it all day. These three workouts are not only fun, but also involve mankind’s greatest invention—air-conditioning.

1. Roller Skating at Playland: Lace up some rented skates and enjoy this roller skating rink transported straight from the ’80s. To burn extra calories, make sure to participate in the limbo competition!

2. Laser Tag at Blazer Tag: Battle middle schoolers at the largest laser tag arena in Texas. It’s three floors high, so wear your most comfortable shoes and be prepared to get lost at some point.

3. Hot Lava Obstacle Course
: Climb a rope wall, vault over obstacles, avoid touching the ground, and fall into a volcano filled with red foam. Recommended for those with upper body strength.

3 Low-Calorie Late Night Meals

It’s late and you’re starving. This is prime time for poor dietary choices, people! Be strong and order one of these dishes instead. 

1. Greek Chicken at Kerbey Lane: If I had discovered this dish while I was at UT, the dreaded “Freshman 15” might not have happened. It’s chicken, tomato, spinach, olives, and feta cheese PLUS hummus, tzatziki, and tabbouleh.

2. Bibimbap at Rockin’ Rice
: Nothing hits the spot like a bowl of eggs, meat, vegetables, and rice. Delicious! Don’t forget the spicy sauce. Rockin’ Rice is open until 2:00 a.m. every day except Sunday.

3. Goat Cheese Frittata at 24 Diner
: 24 Diner is the place to go after hitting the bars on West 6th Street. Skip the Belgian waffles, as tempting as they may be, and go for this frittata instead. It’s got goat cheese, cherry tomatoes, and 

3 Scenic Walks Around Austin

Even though walking is probably the least appreciated form of exercise, you ca
n burn some serious calories strolling around town. Here are three of my favorite places to walk. 

1. The Boardwalk on Lady Bird Lake: If you’ve been walking the old section of the trail for years and want a change of scenery, the new Boardwalk is the place to go. It’s also an excellent choice if you want to take family photos or engagement photos. So scenic it hurts!

2. Congress Avenue: Start by admiring the Texas State Capitol and head south until you hit the shops on South Congress. (It’s exactly two miles from the Capitol grounds to Big Top Candy Shop. Just don’t stop for candy.) This route is great for people-watching.

3. Mueller Lake Park: This place is a gem. Mueller Lake Park has a lake, a fountain, big steps to sit on, trees, flowers, and a wide curved trellis along one side. In short, it’s utterly picturesque. Highly recommended!

3 Salads That Won’t Leave You Hungry

There’s nothing more infuriating than ordering a salad and realizing you’re still starving after eating it. (Well, maybe rush-hour traffic on Mopac.) Here are three healthy salads that don’t skimp on the toppings.

1. The Greek Salad at Little Deli: Little Deli specializes in wholesome food that tastes like your mom made it. (Assuming your mom was an awesome cook, that is.) The Greek salad is no exception. It’s romaine, feta cheese, olives, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, peppers, and their homemade dressing.

2. The Gyro Salad at Tino’s: I’m a big fan of salads that come with a heaping portion of meat. Tino’s gyro meat is very tasty, and the cucumbers and olives in this salad make it a great meal option when it’s 100 degrees outside.

3. The Wedge Salad at Black Star Co-op: This salad is essentially half a head of lettuce covered in bleu cheese dressing, with tomatoes, onions, and chunks of bacon. It’s a little challenging to eat, but worth the effort.

Try out some of these restaurants/activities in the next month. Who knows, maybe you’ll soon be one of those hot show-offs who jogs around Lady Bird Lake shirtless!


Laura Arnold lives in Central Austin and works for a local tech company. She spends her free time reviewing activities for her blog Austinite Tips. Recent posts for Free Fun in Austin include 4 Reasons to Check Out the “Paper Cuts” Concert Series and Jazz Up Your Date Night at Brass House.