It’s Fun to Play at the YMCA


For the past nine months I’ve been a member of the YMCA of Greater Des Moines. Having worked in a fitness facility for eight years and having managed a group exercise program, there had been no need for me to belong to any fitness center but once I got my job with Employee and Family Resources I knew the YMCA would be the place I could rely on for fun and fitness.

When I left Drake I was really concerned about maintaining the level of fitness I worked so hard to achieve in my late 20s and early 30s. I knew that the transition from an active job where I was barely on my feet to a desk job that involved sporadic travel would be a tough transition and I was right. Slowly but surely I was able to find a rhythm and get into a new routine all while accepting that in my current role at EFR I was unlikely to maintain the levels of activity I once had at Drake. This is also known as working in the real world.

Even though I don’t enjoy how sedentary my current role is, I can’t begin to explain how much I love being just a member at a fitness facility! I have no responsibilities when I walk into the Y (other than being a courteous member). When I go to a fitness class and see a Resist-a-Ball that needs to be inflated it’s not my responsibility to begrudgingly get the air pump out. When they’re running an incentive program I’m getting my card stamped, not stamping someone else’s card. When I show up at 5:15 AM to a fitness class and the instructor overslept or called in sick, I walk away feeling both disappointed and elated that it’s not my responsibility to take care of the situation. When I see some weight plates that are out of order I stop, look at them, and then go ahead and organize them because I might have a little OCD when it comes to group exercise studios.

I have favorite classes (Wednesday 12:10 Cardio Strength and Conditioning) and favorite instructors (Drew or Deniece for yoga) and favorite times times of the day to workout (5:50 AM or 12:10 PM). Sometimes on Mondays I go to the YMCA three times and no, I don’t have an exercise addiction it’s just that they have three classes (Body Pump, Yoga, and Insanity) at three different times (early AM, lunch hour, and after work) that I love and sometimes my life is boring and I have nothing better to do.

Slowly but surely I’m feeling like the Y is a community that I belong to. I have friends whose names I don’t know but we see each other and high five during or after workouts. When I miss a class a few weeks in a row an instructor will say “nice to see you back” and that makes me smile. I’ve even had opportunities where I leave my fitness comfort zone when trying new classes (Duathlon on Tuesdays at 12:10), which is good because sometimes I get so used to being in a fitness center I forget what it’s like for the people who I coach and programs I run in my professional life.

There are so many options when it comes to choosing a place to workout in Des Moines. I primarily chose the Y because of its proximity to my office (just a short jaunt across the skywalk above 5th) and home. But I also chose the Y because once, a very long time ago, I was a wellness coach at Walnut Creek and I always knew it was the best place to work and play in the metro. If you’re looking for a place to call home, fitness-wise, stop by for a visit!

P.S. Drake friends – double stamps really do make a difference! IMG_6892