I recently joined the YMCA and had previously belonged to a gym that was open 24/7. I got bored just doing weights, the elliptical, treadmill or bike. I challenged myself more by taking local rec department classes like Yoga and Boot Camp, but I had to pay around $30 for each of those classes for two months/one day a week classes.
Luckily, due to a new wellness program at work, I was able to join the YMCA for a discount. As long as I go 12 times a month, that discount is still reflected. I have had no problems going more than 12 times a month and you will see why.
Here is what I love about the YMCA as a gym:
“It’s fun to stay at the YMCA!”
Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
- I never get bored with my workout–There are many machines to choose from (weight and cardio), swiss and medicine balls, an indoor track and a swimming pool. If I get tired of lifting weights on my own and doing the cardio machines, I can always attend a group exercise class and they are included in my membership.
- Thus, I am motivated to keep going back to the gym. Boredom = not wanting to go. When I lack motivation (this happens in the winter the most or if I am really tired), I picture myself at the YMCA and instantly pump myself up to go.
- Great classes and teachers–I have taken Yoga with two different teachers (who offer completely unique styles), Body Pump and Body Pump/Flow. All have been excellent so far and if you find you don’t like a particular teacher’s style, you can always find another class with the same focus at a different time, etc. I haven’t tried them yet, but there are many other classes offered such as Zumba, Spinning, Water Aerobics, Bodyblast Boot Camp, Step Aerobics. My goal is try every type of class offered at some point, even if I think certain classes aren’t going to be my thing in the end. At least I will know they aren’t for me!
- Friendly staff–the people who work at the YMCA, whether at the front desk, membership desk or the fitness staff who teach the classes all seem to love their jobs because they are so friendly and welcoming. I think other companies could learn from how friendly and customer service oriented the YMCA staff are.
- Great for families–The YMCA seems to cater to children and families. They offer swim lessons, day care, children’s classes, a teen room, Breakfast with Santa, etc.
- Fitlinxx—Fitlinxx is a program and small computer screen that is connected to the weight machines. You have to get a unique ID from a staff member and complete an orientation to get your weight machine settings in place. You sign in at a kiosk before starting your weightlifting workout. There are little computer screens on each weight machine that has been hooked up to the program, which includes 10 machines at my gym. You enter your number at each machine to start your workout. Cardio machines do not have these computers, so you enter cardio workouts manually. If I was entering an hour long yoga class, it prompts me for the day I took class (if it was in the past, you can go back to that date), how long I exercised for, how many calories burned (this works with cardio machines) and how strong you felt in that particular workout. I wrote about Fitlinxx and my YMCA orientation here on 10/3. That offers more details into how Fitlinxx works.
- Friendly competitions–if you like friendly competitions, the YMCA offers them for a small fee. You can join a weight loss incentive program to keep off the holiday pounds. There is also a mini-triathlon I saw signs for recently. You compete by paying $25 and take a water aerobics class, spinning class or bike on your own and run for a certain amount of time on the track or treadmill. Kind of cool and I may do it sometime.
- Lockers–my old gym didn’t have lockers and I was kind of paranoid about leaving anything in my cubby. I feel much safer now that I can use a locker for free.
- Free classes— I am not sure how many classes like these are offered through the Y each year, but I attended a free Portion Distortion class there a couple of weeks ago. The YMCA hosted and the class was taught by a Registered Dietitian who works at a local hospital. I wish there were even more nutrition programs linked to the YMCA, but that’s just the nutrition enthusiast in me speaking.
- Personal Training–My YMCA offers personal training for a fee, but if you need motivation, I am sure this would jump start your love of fitness.
- Whirlpool–I have only used the whirlpool at my gym once, but have to take advantage of this more often to ease my achy muscles!
I am sure I missed something, but these are the factors that make me love my new gym.
If you live in the Milwaukee area, be sure to sign up for a free trial at the YMCA from November 28-December 4, 2010. You won’t be disappointed!