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A butt-kicking boost at the Blue Hill YMCA

A great workout. A great asset to the community.

1234016_599214096768301_528006466_nI just finished a butt-kicking workout at The Blue Hill YMCA. The one-hour class was called “Fall Fitness Mixup” and included a 15-min warm up, followed by a high-energy cardio circuit training and a cool down stretch. It was my first class at the local YMCA in Maine and it was GREAT!

Sometimes we don’t realize how lucky we are to have opportunities all around us for achieving our health and fitness goals — especially when we’re feeling unmotivated or stuck. The fact is, we all feel this way at times. It’s what we do during those “stuck” times that matters most.

I first discovered The Blue Hill YMCA this early summer upon the referral of a new friend who took the time to introduce me to the lead trainers and managers. I was welcomed immediately. I got a personal tour of the workout space and a meeting with co-managers Annie Grindal and Joy Bragdon. It’s then that I learned the story of how this awesome little YMCA has grown to a full six-day schedule — year round — in a small community that values health and fitness.

I was instantly hooked.

bhyI was impressed first by the great workout space and level of fitness equipment. By the small town, welcoming community feel. By the affinity and enthusiasm expressed by my new friends for “their” Y. And, mostly, by the passion, energy and expertise of Annie and Joy.

In September, I was invited to share my personal transformation story as part of the Blue Hill YMCA Speaker Series. More than 30 people showed up on a Wednesday night to “put themselves in the equation.” And, almost every time I stop into the Y people are working out — even in the heart of the summer. The fitness classes I’ve observed are always high-intensity, high-energy and fairly full of participants. This is not something you see in every small community gym or YMCA.

Well, today, I finally had my first opportunity to attend one of those high-intensity classes, and I discovered yet another asset of the Blue Hill YMCA. The people who attended the class (about 8 of us) were all friendly, supportive and it was totally fun — albeit not easy! It was butt-kicking intense for me as I haven’t done a cardio circuit workout for most of the summer. (Yes, I’ll be a happy sore tomorrow!)

Several of us in the class today were new. Everyone introduced themselves and made us feel welcome. Trainers Joy and Annie showed us the individual exercises and Annie participated in the most intense part of the workout — which I have to admit made me push even harder to try to keep up. The coaching from Joy about using correct form was spot on and her steady encouragement helped me push on to the end, even when I was exhausted.

I’ve had the privilege of working with some great trainers throughout my personal transformation journey where I’ve lost and maintained -200 lbs and nearly -50% body fat. Annie and Joy rank right up there. And so does The Blue Hill YMCA. What it offers is a small town, community feel that is welcoming of new people and totally 100% supportive, and fun. Plus, a great work out space with surprisingly sophisticated equipment and skilled trainers. Yay! I’ve found my new workout home away from home.

I needed this butt-kicking boost today. Thank you Joy and Annie; Laurie who I met in class (she’s lost 100 lbs and has kept it off for 12 years), and all the women who welcomed me enthusiastically.

If you’re feeling stuck and need a little motivation and encouragement, I suggest you look for resources like a YMCA or a small community based fitness center in your area. I’ve been fortunate to find two — Balance for Life Fitness Center in Shoreview, MN, and now The Blue Hill YMCA in Blue Hill, Maine.

For those of us who don’t feel as comfortable in the big box gyms, or who need that personal attention and community, there are great options out there if we are committed and brave enough to explore them. If I’m not mistaken, the YMCA has a slogan: “Join a community, not just a gym.” That pretty much nails it for me and my experience. I feel lucky to have found Annie and Joy and The Blue Hill YMCA, a branch of Downeast Family YMCA.

If you are from the Downeast Maine area, check them out on Facebook here.


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