I’m not one of those fit moms. I don’t choose a salad over cookies. I don’t wake up at 4am to run a few miles before Gray Baby wakes up. In reality, I am a 5-month pregnant, full-time working mama to a 16 month old wild child. I am currently in survival mode when it comes to all aspects of my life. When I was offered a year’s membership to Gold’s Gym I immediately said yes.
I needed an excuse to take time for myself even if it was a few hours a week.
A little history about me and my health/fitness journey: I was always chubby growing up, but played soccer every season from kindergarten to 8th grade. In high school I didn’t worry much about my eating, worked out every now and then, and stayed around a size 11. College involved working out at the university gym depending on the season and slowly gaining weight over the four years. Marriage brought on a few more pounds. That’s what comfort does to you. I then got more serious my second year of grad school and started to focus more on my health and the weight-loss that was a side effect. I started using AdvoCare products, eating clean, and working out. I went from the 230s to close to around 200 pounds. I continued to lose weight and then BAM, I got pregnant with Gray.
My pregnancy was an easy one. I worked and stayed involved in multiple organizations literally until the day they induced me. I gained around 12 pounds the entire pregnancy, dropped to pre-pregnancy weight as soon as I gave birth, and recovered quickly. We were done nursing when she was around seven months, so I tried something new to lose weight. I researched and tried the keto diet, continued taking AdvoCare products, and starting working out again. The weight began to fall off again. Guess what? I got pregnant again! So here I am; growing a baby boy who makes me nauseous and exhausted.
I’ve never been bothered by my weight and actually love celebrating my mom bod.
It might seem strange to some people that I would want to try a new gym halfway through my pregnancy. However, I knew it was what I needed to keep my sanity and strengthen my health. I have three goals for working out during this pregnancy: help manage my stress, enhance my daily activity, and prepare for childbirth.
This review and my future reviews are my honest opinion. Also, I was cleared by my OB to start a new exercise regime while pregnant.
Gold’s Gym acquired The Rush Fitness Complex back in 2014. Chattanoogans will now notice any former Rush location is a Gold’s Gym. I chose the Lee Highway location, a former Rush complex, due to its proximity to my home and the childcare option. Oh yes, child care. I will explain more about that later. The facility is large and well spread out on the inside. There is plenty of free parking and the new Champy’s is located right in front of it. Thankfully, I have not had a craving for their fried chicken salad after working out…yet.
Gold’s Gym is open 24/7. I’ve been going around 5:30pm on the weekdays which is one of the busiest times. However, due to its large size and amount of equipment, I haven’t had to wait to use anything. Regular memberships include group exercise classes like high intensity interval training, kickboxing, Zumba, and more, a cycle studio for spin classes, use of the lap pool, and just about any kind of exercise equipment you could dream of. The gym is divided up in sections: cardio machines, free weights area, resistance machines, a functional training area that includes things like kettlebells and resistance bands, and a semi-intimidating middle area equipped with battles ropes, TRX suspension equipment, and more. The full basketball court, cycle studio, class room, and pool with sauna and steam rooms are all in separate areas with doors for access.
Compared to other chains I have used in the past, Gold’s Gym has a larger variety of equipment and classes. I wish I could include photos of all the areas and equipment, but Gold’s Gym has a policy of no photographs of gym patrons unless a waiver is signed.
Despite the abundance of equipment and possibilities, I haven’t felt overwhelmed with the choices. I suggest no matter where you are working out, to have a plan. It’s easy to walk into a gym or step outside the house and get distracted if you don’t have a plan written out on paper or in your head.
Obviously, there are bathrooms and changing areas with lockers and showers for men and women. The locker room and separate bathroom area was very clean and tidy.
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting multiple Gold’s Gym employees since starting my membership. Christian, the general manager of the Lee Highway location, gave me my initial tour and got me set-up with Aren, a certified personal trainer, for an initial assessment. Christian answered all of my questions, asked about my goals and gave me suggestions of what areas I might be interested in using at the gym, and got me all set-up. All of the front desk workers have been friendly and happy. That tells me a lot about a work environment; they enjoy what they do and are always willing to help each guest.
I know some people instantly think of tank top wearing, gallon jug of water toting muscle dudes. I can’t lie, I have seen my fair share of those gym-goers since joining. I’ve also seen young college students, men and women my parents’ ages, and a good amount of those past retirement age. I’ve witnessed a woman walking as long as she could slowly on a treadmill beside a man who ran like he was training for the Olympics. No one is competing with one another other than the guys playing a game of basketball on the court. The first day I was there I realized I am back to where I first started, huffing and puffing like I’ve never worked out before. I was slightly embarrassed when I could only do five minutes on the Stairmaster when I used to could do 30 before I got pregnant. To add insult to my ego, I don’t have a baby bump, so I look like an overweight woman who can’t catch her breath. Then I realized that literally no one was looking at me while I moved to the treadmill and began to walk at a snail’s pace. Not a single glance.
The main reason I chose the Lee Highway location was for their Kids Club. I have free use of a smaller gym through the City that I tend to use every now and then, but don’t use it often because there isn’t anyone one to watch Gray while I work out. I didn’t know what to expect with childcare at a gym. I was very nervous the first time I visited with Gray because I was afraid I would find too many things wrong and decide not to let her stay. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case.
The Kids Club allows children ages 11 and under in the Kids Club room located inside of the gym. There is a sign-in/sign-out system similar to a daycare. The large room includes different toys, crafts, and books and an inside jungle gym similar to those you would find at a fast-food restaurant. The same attendants have been there both times I have brought Gray. The first time I visited they explained the sign-in and sign-out process, ground rules like parents have two hours maximum (1.5 hours for smaller children like Gray) to work out, and they will come get the parent if they child is sick, crying for more than 10 minutes, or needs a diaper change. There is a maximum amount of 15 children in the Kids Club at one time. Attendants are not allowed to change diapers. Instead, they will come get the parent and allow them to change their child in the bathroom located inside of the Kids Club. Outside food and drinks are not allowed.
Gray was excited as soon as we walked in. She has been in daycare since she was three months old, but I was still nervous she would cry in a new place. The joke was on me. She instantly reached out to the female attendant and went to play! There were children of all ages running around, but no crying or screaming. Katelyn and Brian assured me that they would get me if needed, but encouraged me to enjoy my workout. When I came to pick her up she didn’t want to leave. We came back a week later to find Katelyn and Brian both there again. They instantly got happy when they saw Gray and gushed about how great she was last time and told me about how quiet and well-behaved she was. It was nice that they remembered her and that put me at ease. Again, I didn’t see any crying or screaming from other kids except from a new friend of Gray’s who cried when she left. How sweet is that?
I understand some moms might be more wary of the Kids Club. I would urge any mother who needs a break (don’t we all) and wants to work out, to visit with their child or children. Walk around the room, observe how the children are acting, and ask tons of questions. They do not mind one bit. In my experience, their focus has been the children and making sure the parents enjoy their time alone.
The Kids Club is an extra charge in addition to a regular membership and has limited hours. A quick call to their location or a drop-in visit can answers questions regarding payment, policies, or ages accepted.
Since I’m not working out to lose weight, I plan on doing my best to work out at least four times a week to achieve my three goals managing my stress, enhancing my daily activity, and preparing for childbirth. Thirty minutes to an hour of just me and my headphones blaring gangster rap while working out has already helped me feel better physically and mentally. I can’t wait to see what the next three to four months does to my body and how it helps me throughout the remainder of my pregnancy.