Setting aside time and money for my own personal health has always taken a backseat to just about everything else. I have both good excuses and pathetic ones, but as I was speaking with Ellen Cleary, Senior Development Officer at the YWCA, I realized what was really behind all my rationalizing. The last time I was at a gym, I felt lost, intimidated, and out of place. I can’t be the only one instinctively to shy away from gyms where you are more likely to get picked up than a kettle bell.
At the YWCA, the focus has always been very different.
Cleary states, “We strive to be an inclusive facility. We strive to be a place where everyone feels welcome, and it’s kind of ‘come as you are.’” Furthermore, all new members get a full orientation, including a session with a personal trainer who can explain the various machines and classes available. If more help is needed, the Y also offers Coach Approach: a longer period of guidance that helps clients set goals, and stay focused on achieving them.
While the YWCA is perfect for clients who are new to the gym experience, it also offers cutting-edge classes for the seasoned athlete.
“We’ve got incredible aquatic facilities. We’re a licensed provider of Total Immersion—the only one in Minnesota,” Cleary adds.
Total Immersion benefits swimmers who wish to maximize their efficiency in the water, and perfect their technique.
It would be impossible even to touch on all the classes the Y offers—a full listing is available online, and many are available with no additional fee to members.
Perhaps the best thing about taking a class at the YWCA is the supportive environment it can offer.
Cleary explains, “This is the place where you can find people who want to get healthy, stay well, and do it in a community.”
The Twin Cities is an active community, and many top-notch gyms are competing for a new member’s dollars. Aside from the excellent facilities, the environment, and the wide range of available classes, one more reason to choose the YWCA is that the organization uses its funds to advocate for the empowerment of women and girls, and to address racial injustice.
Each YWCA—though affiliated with the national organization—operates locally, so your membership dollars support your community. In the Twin Cities, the YWCA provides a wealth of community services including early-childhood education, women’s wellness activities, and after-school programs for inner-city youth.
So, if you’re like me, and you’ve exhausted your list of excuses and are looking to make a change, check out the YWCA.
YWCA of Minneapolis