Wednesday, May 1 2013 12:00

Modern Day Health Clubs — More than Just Treadmills!

Written by Kelly Strogen

We’ve come a long way since the days when a basic health club was limited to a row of treadmills and perhaps a few aerobics classes in a back room. Now you’ll find health clubs have a long and varied menu of offerings beyond traditional fitness programs, with such services as nutritional counseling, massage and mind/body offerings.

Today’s fitness enthusiasts aren’t looking just for a place to grab a quick workout. They want a well-balanced fitness program, social interaction and perhaps a little pampering. Here’s what you’ll find at local health clubs.

  Workout Variety. Do you hate the mindlessness of treadmills and other cardio machines that don’t motivate you to keep going to the gym? Fear not! There are so many new fitness classes and options in our area that feed the interests and abilities of people of all ages and motivation levels.

From Zumba to spin to aqua aerobics, there’s the right fit for everyone. For those looking for something more individualized, try Small Group Training (SGT). Limited to about six participants, these classes give you individualized interaction with a personal trainer, camaraderie of working with others, and a much lower price tag than traditional personal training. And they’re particularly helpful for learning new skills that requires trainer expertise to perform correctly—such as kettlebell and TRX (Total Resistance Training).

  Mind & Body. Mind/Body studios, offering Pilates and yoga, are popping up everywhere. These classes are a great supplement to a typical cardio and strength training regime, allowing you to work on flexibility, core strength and stress management.

Another great option is BarreAmped, which combines strength training with grace and uses dance, yoga and Pilates for a killer workout. Prepare to leave feeling calmly energized with this hands-on personal group training session.

  Spa Life. After a hard workout, who wouldn’t love a massage? At many health clubs, massage therapists are available in-house, and the whirlpool, sauna, and steam rooms are just steps away. No need to schedule a special spa getaway when you can have spa treatments everyday at your own club or gym. Some area clubs even offer treatments like waxing and pedicures, all in one place!

  Nutrition Knowledge. Many health clubs now offer nutrition counseling as a way to help members meet both their fitness and overall health goals. And luckily, many insurance plans (such as Aetna and IBX) reimburse 100% of the cost for people meeting with a Registered Dietitian.

Proper nutrition is the key to reaching your weight loss and fitness goals and will provide you with other benefits, such as better digestion, more energy and focus. Chances are, if you’re working out like crazy and not seeing the results you want, you’re not following a proper diet.

   For Kids. Some clubs and local YMCAs offer discounted babysitting services for members. And many also offer children’s program such as Pinkarate (karate for girls), birthday parties, swim and tennis lessons, movie nights and day camps. All are great ways for your kids to make friends, get active and build self-confidence.

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Nowadays, health clubs continue to expand their fitness and holistic offerings. Most area clubs are no longer just gyms, but also combine services of spas, physical therapy and nutrition offices, mind/body studios and more. For example, Club La Maison in Wayne offers in-house Physical Therapy at Bounce Back PT, a dietitian, pools, racquetball, an indoor track, personal training and Silver Sneakers programs, to name a few.

So, if you don’t think you’re a “gym” person, think again! If you join the right club, you’ll enhance your fitness level and your overall quality of life!


Kelly Strogen, MS, RD, LDN, is the dietitian for Club La Maison and is a provider with IBX, Aetna and AmeriHealth. Kelly works with members and non-members on a range of topics, including weight loss, sports nutrition, allergies and general healthy eating. To learn more, 610-964-8800;