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Women in a group fitness class



In February, within the YMCA, we celebrated Group Fitness Week. At both of my YMCAs, I put up “conversational hearts” for each instructor and members plastered the walls with love, praise, and adulation for all of them. It was such a heart swelling moment for me, because sometimes we spend so much of our time “trouble shooting” all the issues. This week gives us the opportunity to stop for a moment and appreciate what Group Fitness brings to our YMCA branches. It is, in my opinion, the heart and soul of Building Strong Communities.

     Group Fitness brings people from all walks of life together. One day before class, we were all talking about where we live, a young stay-at-home mom and a recently widowed older woman realized they lived in the same neighborhood, after class they exchanged numbers and started going for walks together. These two probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to connect, if it hadn’t been for a Dancefit class.

     Group Fitness offers Accountability. Everybody may (or may not) know your name, but they do know where your spot is on the studio floor, how many classes you’ve missed, whether you went out of town, had surgery, or have family visiting from out of town. Long story short, you are missed if you aren’t there! Accountability is foundational for achieving your fitness aspirations and  your Group Fitness buddies have your back.

     Group Fitness offers workout variety.  Do you need to do cardio, strength, or core today, or maybe a little bit of everything? What music are you going to play? What equipment are you going to use? You know what? Don’t worry about it, leave it to the pros, that’s what we are here for! Group Fitness Instructors are trained to know how to offer variety and diversity in their exercise programming. All you have to do is show up, the rest is taken care of for you.

     Group Fitness motivates and is fun. Motivation comes and goes, continuously surrounding yourself with individuals who are also moving their bodies to improve their health helps to keep you going. The team spirit and energy of group exercise can produce an exciting and fun environment, even when you are not exactly feeling it yourself. People often tell me that they didn’t want to come because they were tired, didn’t feel well, or thought they were too busy, but once class starts you get caught up in the energy and by the time it’s over, you are so glad you came!


Michelle Montague – Group Fitness Manager Maple Street YMCA and Butler-Gast YMCA