I can’t think of a better place to learn to be a trainer than where I have spent the first 15 years of my fitness career. The Y has given me the opportunity to work with just about every kind of individual from a young kid just learning to exercise to the elderly. From the healthy, looking to get that extra boost to those recovering from a stroke. This is what separates the Y from any other facility.
A couple of my days start in the weight room where there is usually the same core group of individuals. There is a TV down there but it is turned off. No one is flexing their muscles in the mirror. No grunting or slamming the weights. There is simply people down there exercising. A number of us are lifting weights…bench press, rows and so forth. Someone is working on a stability ball. Another stretching out the hamstring that is giving them trouble. Yes, it is a dungeon at my Y but it has all that we need to be healthier. Then the door opens and in walks an 80 year old woman to get her weight work in and a 75 year old man to get on the assisted dip/pullup machine.
Everyone here is from the same community. They are all doing business together, sometimes during the workout time. They plan happy hours periodically and have Christmas get togethers. Their kids play sports together and they go to the same churches. I am the token Y employee down there in the early morning so I get to take the good natured “heat” as to what needs to be changed and what these members really think about the job we are doing with running the Y…some of it good and some of it bad.
As I go upstairs to get cleaned up, the Bodies by Ben class is gathered in the lobby, taking a break from their exercise to have a cup of coffee. They are to the point where they actually make their own coffee when the pot runs out. It is almost as if they are meeting at someone’s house instead of a lobby of the Y. Just past them is the pool where all the lap swimmers and water aerobics classes are. Down the hall is the group exercise room and cardio room. A little farther is the basketball court where the early morning and noon pickup games are. Overlooking the gym is the indoor track. The best time of year is the summertime when the gym is full of kids getting ready for the camps!
The Y has taught me so much and I have made MANY wonderful lifelong friends. It will always have a special place in my heart for what they do for those with special needs or those who are struggling. As I said at the beginning here, I spent the first 15 years of my fitness career here. It has been an amazing 15 year ride full of ups and downs, both professionally and personally. All I can say is I can’t wait to see what the next 15 years of my fitness career has planned for me.
Until next time…