YMCA opens personal training room

Nov 15, 2020

During the pandemic, the YMCA has unveiled a new feature: a room dedicated to personal training.

Because covid-19 has made the Y’s usual group exercise classes in smaller rooms impossible, the former spin room has been converted into a new personal training room with all the equipment members and trainers need.

“If you are hesitant about being around other people, we have personal training in a controlled environment,” said senior program director Lu Brito.

Each piece of equipment from stationary bikes to hand weights is meticulously cleaned between clients, and the room is locked when not in use.

That focus on cleanliness makes the room especially appealing to the personal training clients, many of whom are older. And because the space is private, the clients have full control of the stereo system.

“I was playing Franz Liszt the other day for two 80-year-olds,” Steve Valero, personal trainer, said.

The personal training room also opens up additional capacity for members in the gym’s main room full of equipment. Especially because personal training sessions are scheduled back-to-back, there would often be three valuable spots taken up on the floor before the new room was created.

Valero said that many of his clients are people with unique needs. 

“We can tailor workouts to what their personal needs or restrictions are,” Valero said. Many of the people he works with are preparing for or recovering from surgeries like knee or hip replacements. 

And regardless of one’s fitness level, just getting to the gym can be difficult.

“Even if you’re a die-hard workout person, it can be hard to motivate yourself,” Brito said. For many who use personal trainers, the accountability of a scheduled session is especially valuable as a tool to keep them motivated.

Valero is good company, too. He became a personal trainer after retiring from decades working as a lawyer advocating for housing issues and working with the homeless. And before that, he was an academic who spent years studying political science.

“I have a thing for the underdog,” Valero said. 

Brito said that Valero is particularly skilled at working with people with varying physical challenges — and his client roster includes many people who have been working with him for years, which Brito said is the ultimate marker of a good trainer.

While personal training is an additional cost on top of the cost of a YMCA membership, Brito said that it’s far cheaper than the cost at many private gyms.