Get Fit for a Cause in NEO

By Elise Yahner and Erin Murphy


Working out makes your body feel good. Helping out makes your soul feel good. Combine the two, and you’ll be riding a wave of super good feelings.

Northeast Ohio offers many ways to fit your charitable side into your sweat schedule.


Run Wild CLE

run wild cle

This group coordinates free, public workouts each week, with the goal of engaging the community and inspiring people to do good. The workout times/days/locations vary, but most involve a short run and quick bodyweight workout. Each workout is dedicated to a different cause, and participants are asked to donate money or needed items. Bonus – most workout events end with drinks at a local bar. The best way to keep up with their workout schedule is to follow them on Facebook.


East 4th Yoga


There are a lot of free yoga classes around Cleveland, but this weekly flow is organized by ZENworks Yoga, which uses yoga to combat obesity, poverty and mental health issues in underserved schools and community organizations. Every Saturday at 10am in the House of Blues, all are invited to enjoy a one-hour yoga class, taught by yoga instructors from studios all over Northeast Ohio. The class is technically free, but a $5 donation to ZENworks is encouraged. Follow East 4th Yoga on Facebook to get a heads up on who will be teaching the class each week.


Meowmaste Cat Yoga


Practicing yoga while cute animals run around is pretty much the dream. Being able to help those animals while you get your sweat on is an even better dream. The Cleveland APL offers cat yoga at different times throughout the year. The cost is usually a $10 donation to the APL, but you can always donate more. All of the kitties in class are adoptable, so if your Vinyasa flow really melds with the tabby on your mat, she can be your furrever friend. The yoga classes are taught by instructors from yoga studios in the area, but it might not be your best workout since you’ll be distracted by the fluffy cuteness. This is one charity workout that’s much more about the charity than the workout, but that doesn’t make it any less of a wonderful experience. Follow Meowmaste on Facebook to keep up with their class schedule – the classes sell out fast!




Each Runiversity event supports a different charity, and is in a different location. The name “Runiversity” is kind of deceiving, because many of their events aren’t races but are more crossfit or bootcamp inspired, which is great for the running-averse. For example, their November “Pints for Patriots” challenge was a team-based bootcamp style competition that involved running, shoulder presses, burpees, squats, and more. The event was co-hosted by Masthead Brewery and supported Cleveland’s chapter of Team RWB. All of that combined sounds like the perfect storm for fitness fun!




Hermes is a Northeast Ohio institution, coordinating everything from your local kickball league to the annual Corporate Challenge. If you participate in a charity run in the area, chances are it was put on by Hermes. Their events are well-organized, diverse, and fun. A local favorite is the annual Santas in Tremont run (more of stumble after all the pre-race Christmas Ale) that benefits the Tremont West Development Corporation’s community events. Another popular Hermes event is the Tackle the Tower race, where participants run up all 37 floors of Terminal Tower, benefitting the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland. With so many races and fun runs throughout the year benefitting an array of causes, you’ll be sure to find a Hermes event that suits your style.


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Erin and Elise are the founders of, a blog that explores gyms and fitness classes in Northeast Ohio and beyond. Our goals are more about burning off taco Tuesday than reaching a target weight. If we inspire you to get out of your comfort zone, help you discover a new passion, or just make you laugh at our fitness follies, we’ll have done our jobs.
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