My wife and I originally joined the Indian valley YMCA to use the swimming pool with our children throughout the cold winter months. My wife also signed up for an early morning group aquatics class and in the spring, we signed the children up for swimming lessons.
Around six months after joining the YMCA, I had a doctors appointment during which I reluctantly stepped on a scale for the first time in a few years. I was the heaviest I had ever been. That same week, my youngest sister announced her engagement and she and her future wife asked me to be in their wedding party. I decided then to do myself, and them, a favor and try to lose some weight. The idea of “working out” was not something I was familiar with or thought that I had time for.
I’m an entertainer by profession, performing magic shows on weekends and teaching piano lessons and coaching local sports on the week nights. During the day, I prep for gigs, care for my two youngest kids, try to keep up with housework, and run the occasional errand scheduled around kindergarten drop-off.
Despite going to the Y pretty regularly to swim with the family, I never set foot in the wellness room and didn’t realize all that it had to offer. With a family membership, babysitting is available during the day at the YMCA. I decided to finally venture into the wellness room and see what it was all about. Having had two previous knee surgeries, I didn’t know if there was even anything in there that I could safely use. The Y staff was amazing with helping me find the right equipment to try. With their help, and some trial and error, I found that the elliptical machine worked best for me. The staff helped me learn how to properly use the machine and track my calories.
I started slow, and might not have stuck with it, if I didn’t truly enjoy each visit. My kids absolutely love the babysitting staff. All of them have been so great with my kids and make them feel welcomed every single time. When they were old enough to do fit-kids, they were thrilled to take part in that as well. I can exercise, and better yet – enjoy a quiet shower afterwards, knowing that my son and daughter are being well cared-for.
After one year of going to the YMCA several days a week, and working-out on the elliptical, I lost about 70 pounds and my waist had shrunk about a foot. I felt amazing and had never been in that good of shape. My brother was recently married, and I was proud to accept the role of best man in his wedding. I knew then that I had to keep up the regimen despite my original goal to try it for just a year.
Now that I’m stronger, and leaner, I decided to try some of the other equipment in the wellness center and started taking Fitness Yoga to balance my routine. Adding Fitness Yoga weekly has tremendously increased my core strength and flexibility. A year and a half after I began my goal to “lose a few pounds” I had lost 90 pounds and my waist size was 14 inches smaller than when I started.
Going to the Y a few days a week has been a big part of our lives for the last couple of years. Besides the weight loss, I have been able to listen to countless books on tape while working out, my kids have made close friends within the daytime programs, and I still get to take a quiet shower without worrying about the kids!
Unfortunately, I re-injured my knee participating in a cross country “parents & coach” run. I had to take some time off, but thanks to the helpful staff, have gradually gotten back to where I was and I look forward to losing a total of 100 pounds.
Thanks to the Y, my family and I have felt more a part of this community than ever. We have gotten to know so many people from the various programs and activities that our local Y has to offer. Now, I almost always see a familiar face when I go the the grocery store, at the baseball fields, Wawa, or anywhere else around town.
I am proud to have recently joined a committee at the Y, to help raise money for those community members who may not be able to afford memberships. We are grateful to the many wonderful staff members who make each visit special and we feel fortunate to be part of an amazing community organization.