New Austin-based web series ‘Gym Buddies’ pokes fun at fitness culture

Aparna, played by Nikita Redkar, left, is on a mission to get a “revenge bod” in the first season of “Gym Buddies.” Here she mixes up a smoothie with her friend Quinn, played by Chelsea Lane. Photo courtesy Gym Buddies.


If you’ve spent much time at a strip center gym, you know the type: The determined customer who pops in for a few months in pursuit of the ever-elusive “revenge bod.”

That’s the theme behind the first season of a new web comedy series called “Gym Buddies,” that’s set and filmed at Move weightlifting gym right here in Austin.

RELATED: What do Austin’s fittest folks do to stay in shape?

Austin-based comedy writer Shruti Saran created the show, which follows the exploits of two friends who join a fitness club after one of them is dumped by her boyfriend. As the series progresses, the initial goal of attaining the perfect post-breakup body morphs into something a tad more fulfilling.

Quinn, left, and Aparna, right, attempt to work out at the gym. Photo courtesy “Gym Buddies”


“Think about it. We’re going to work out together, I’m going to get a superhot bod, I’m going to accidentally tag Neil in one of my transformation photos,” Aparna tells her best friend Quinn during the first episode.

RELATED: Keep fitness a priority with these healthy SXSW events

When Quinn protests that her logic might not be so healthy, Aparna fires back, “This isn’t about health, Quinn, this is about getting back at a douche bag who thinks I need to emotionally mature a little, and coming out on top. This is about feminism.”

The second episode of the series, which pokes fun at really easy target – the urban fitness culture – comes out Wednesday. To see a teaser for the series on Youtube, go here.

The cast and crew of Austin-based web comedy series “Gym Buddies.” Photo courtesy Gym Buddies

“We’re passing through a really interesting cultural moment right now for women’s rights and feminism, and as a female writer I obviously have a lot of thoughts on the subject,” Saran said in a press release. “I chose not to create something super on the nose, but it was important to me that ‘Gym Buddies’ be female-focused.”

The five-episode first season stars local stand-up comedian Nikita Redkar, a writer, actress and improviser who performs around Austin with the troupe Y’all We Asia and co-hosts the comedy dating show “Naughty Bits”; and Chelsea Lane, lead singer of Austin cover band Blind Date. It’s directed by Matthew Evan Daniels.

Learn more about the show on Facebook here or go to the show website here.

If you want to visit Hamilton Pool this summer, make a reservation now

Hamilton Pool Preserve is a Travis County Park with a waterfall, pool and creek. Reservations are required to enter the park. LAURA SKELDING/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Want to dip a toe in Hamilton Pool this summer? Better make a reservation soon.

You may recall that Hamilton Pool Preserve, home of one of the state’s most popular natural swimming holes, instituted a reservation system two years ago. Travis County commissioners implemented the system after overcrowding problems at the park and traffic snarls on Ranch Road 12.

Reservations are needed between March 1 and Oct. 31, and on weekends and holidays during November and December.

RELATED: Hamilton Pool to get reservation system

Reservations are open for the rest of the year at Hamilton Pool Preserve. LAURA SKELDING/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Cost is $10 for the reservation plus a $1 service fee, paid online with a credit card, and an additional $15 entrance fee that must be paid at the pool (cash or local check, no credit card). After you make your online reservation, print your receipt or save it on your cell phone and bring it with you to the park.

RELATED: Five refreshing swimming holes that aren’t Barton Creek

Reservation periods are from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and 2-6 p.m. One vehicle is allowed per reservation; no pets allowed. Fees are non-refundable and swimming is not guaranteed.

The hiking trail from the parking area at Hamilton Pool Preserve to the pool is a quarter mile long, steep and rocky.

To make a reservation, go here. For up-t0-date information about the park, call the information line at 512-264-2740 or go here.

The Hays County-owned Jacob’s Well swimming hole near Wimberley adopted a similar reservation system in 2015.

Keep fitness a priority with these healthy SXSW events

SXSW isn’t all about music or technology. Participants enjoyed yoga on the lawn outside the Four Seasons during last year’s festival. HANDOUT


Just because you’re probably going to stay up late, drink too much and ruin your feet standing around at bars next week, your South by Southwest festival experience doesn’t have to mean your fitness gets tossed out with the contents of the nearest ashtray.

For the first time, this year’s festival gets its own Wellness Expo at the Palmer Events Center, where fitness-centric people can watch demonstrations, attend workshops and listen to speakers.

To mark the SXSW World Premiere of “Walk With Me,” Thich Nhat Hanh’s monks and nuns featured in the movie held a series of walking meditations and mindfulness sessions. HANDOUT

The expo, open to badge holders and the general public, is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, March 10-11 at the center, 900 Barton Springs Road. Besides an array of folks eager to talk about supplements, fitness gear, clean eating, exercise and wellness retreats, it will include a bookstore area where authors will sign their works, plus a lounge where attendees can take a break or catch up on emails.

Wellness innovators will give talks and participate in panel discussions at the SXSW Wellness Expo Stage. Fitness and healthy living companies will showcase their brands and host demos and workshops on the expo floor. And outside at the Fitness Stage, attendees can join in all kinds of classes, from yoga to high intensity interval training, dance and strength training. (Look for Lauren Ash of Black Girl in Om, Derek Flanzraich of Greatist, former Longhorn football players Vince Young and Jeremy Hills, and Youtube influencer Adriene Mishler of Yoga With Adriene.)

This year’s SXSW Festival includes a Fitness Expo at the Long Center. HANDOUT

The expo is free to the public, but you’ll need a guest pass to get in. Register for a free pass here or sign up for a newsletter here.

A few other South by Southwest tidbits of note to fitness junkies…

  • The Trail Foundation, a non-profit organization that works to maintain and enhance the Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail around Lady Bird Lake, will receive all the proceeds from this year’s KUTX Live at The Four Seasons, 98 San Jacinto Boulevard. Entry to the early morning broadcasts are scheduled for 7-11 a.m. March 14-16 and 8 a.m.-noon March 17. Admission is $15 for adults and $5 for children under 12 and includes coffee and breakfast tacos. All donations will be used to beautify the portion of the trail in front of the Four Seasons hotel.
  • Cyclists and foodies Lentine Alexis, Kate Powlison, Alaina Sullivan and Tom Vanderbilt will talk about how motion impacts the way we crave what we crave, how it shapes our sense of taste, and how using a bike to get around or exercise impacts what we choose to eat at the “Pedaler’s Palate: Food, Cycling + How They Collide” session from 11 a.m. to noon March 13 at the JW Marriott, Salon C. Entry with music badge, platinum badge, film badge or interactive badge.
  • Head to the Clive Bar, 609 Davis Street, for plenty of workout options. On Friday, HEAT Bootcamp will lead sessions at noon and 2 p.m.; and Wanderlust yoga will lead a class at 3:30 p.m. On Saturday, Wanderlust will lead a yoga session at 8 a.m., Ro Fitness and ThriveOnLife will lead sessions at 9:30 and 10:30, 45 (POWA’d by Sphere) with ThriveOnLife will hold sessions at noon and 2 p.m. DJs will spin music both nights.

Austin girl aims to become youngest to climb Kilimanjaro

Montannah Kenney of Austin hopes to become the youngest girl to climb Mount Kilimanjaro this month. Photo by Georges Schemagin


An Austin 7-year-old is angling to become the youngest girl to summit Mount Kilimanjaro.

Montannah Kenney, a second-grader at River Ridge Elementary School, has been hiking up and down hills around Austin in preparation for her trek, which is set to begin March 10. If all goes as planned, she’ll reach the top of the tallest free-standing mountain in the world on March 17 or 18.

The two are heading to Tanzania in memory of Montannah’s dad, who died a week after Montannah’s third birthday in 2013.

Montannah will begin her trek on March 10 and hopes to summit on March 17 or 18. Photo by Georges Schemagin

“The higher I go, the closer I am to him in heaven,” Montannah says.

Don’t worry, she’s pretty tough. A triathlete, swimmer and runner who plays basketball and soccer, she’s always followed the lead of her mother, Hollie Kenney, 45, a former professional triathlete who now runs a swim coaching business and leads the volunteer program for Team Beef. Together, they have been hiking the Hill of Life and Riverplace to strengthen their legs for their adventure.

Montannah describes her training as “really long.”

“Sometimes my friends come with us and sometimes my mom makes me do math problems when we see signs of how far we have gone, and how far we have to go,” Montannah says.

Montannah Kenney

An estimated 25,000 people set out to climb the 19,341-foot mountain each year; about two-thirds make it to the top. Park rules require that climbers be 10 years old, but officials also issue special permits for younger climbers, which Montannah has obtained.

Currently, Roxy Getter of Florida, who was 8 when she made the climb, holds the record for the youngest female; Keats Boyd of Los Angeles was 7 when he climbed. The oldest climber to date was 88 when he slogged his way up. (You can check all the records, including records for the fastest ascent and descent, here.)

Conditions vary along the route, but the Kenneys will probably face temperature extremes from 90 degrees down to well below freezing – and winds like freight trains. They say they are prepared for very non-Texas conditions of snow or sleet.

“I want to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro because it would be a fun adventure with my mom, and because it would be really cool to try to break the world record, but I would want to climb it anyway because I don’t care if I break it,” Montannah says.

If she is successful, it will mark her first world record.

It will also mark the first time she’s ever camped.