All too often, we survive the holidays on cookies, leftover stocking candy and party foods. However, come the new year, we often find that our pants aren’t fitting quite as well as they did back in October. When that includes our sweat pants, we might start to panic a bit. This is the time of year that we start to make promises to ourselves. And, of course, not everyone is inspired by the same things. Some people simply want to start living a healthier lifestyle. Others want to reach a fitness or weight goal that they’ve had set for a long time. Regardless of the reasons, studies show that weight loss and fitness related goals are the most popular among those who make New Year resolutions.
It’s also true that we tend to start with plenty of vigor and gusto, but that enthusiasm dwindles after the first few months – or even weeks.
Our goal, however, is to help you reach your goals. That’s why we’ve taken a look at some of the best ways to stay fit throughout the year and found places in the Richmond area that will help you stay on track.
But just as our goals vary, so do our needs, schedules and activity preferences. To determine the best places in Richmond to keep your fitness goals in 2017, we took into account this wide range of factors and based our ranking on the following:
- Hours of operation
- Variety of physical activities
- Childcare and/or activities for the whole family
The following activities and and places met our goals for maintaining fitness and we hope that they will help you to meet your goals, as well.
ACAC Short Pump / Facebook
While you might be paying a bit more than you would for a run-of-the-mill gym, at ACAC you get what you pay for – and it’s anything but run-of-the-mill. The facilities at ACAC are comprehensive to say the least and are designed to accommodate an individual or the whole family. ACAC offers special kids’ classes and summer camps, “Kids’ Zone” childcare (free with a family membership), indoor and outdoor pools (with swim lessons and aquatic classes), group fitness classes, a full-range of cardio and weight equipment and much more. To top it all off (no pun intended), the Short Pump location offers a rooftop bar and café complete with a fire pit and pool. At the Midlothian location, you’ll also find an outdoor waterpark, indoor water play areas and tennis courts. With state-of-the-art facilities and a seemingly endless array of events activities at both locations, ACAC is more than a gym, it’s a family destination.
Why we love it: At ACAC, staying active is designed to include the whole family. Plus, your membership includes classes, lessons and childcare costs that you usually end up having to pay for outside of a standard gym membership.
Rates: Visit ACAC to learn about individual, couple and family rates, or take advantage of their special January introductory rates and receive your first month at $30 for an individual, $60 for a couple and $90 for a family of three – all with a 30-day risk-free guarantee.
Monday – Thursday: 5am – 10pm
Friday: 5am – 9pm
Saturday & Sunday: 7am – 8pm
SOUL Aerial and Performing Arts Center / Facebook
For many of us, the inspiration to work out disappears as soon as we remember just how boring routine workouts are. Enter SOUL Aerial and Performing Arts. This innovative fitness facility is anything but boring with classes that include circus arts (yes, I said circus arts!), aerial hammock, acro yoga, hula hoop dance, jazz and hip hop, aerial arts, performing arts, bellydancing, tap, Capoeira Angola (an Afro-Brazilian martial art that blends dance, acrobatics, music, singing, historical traditions and philosophy) and the latest craze in fitness, poledancing. Now before that last one throws you off, let me just say that SOUL offers classes for every age, from 8 months to adult. Some classes are available on a semester basis while others offer the flexibility of a drop-in schedule, so you’ll always have something that works with your schedule. And before you panic, you don’t need to be a circus performer to join the talented team at SOUL. They offer everything from beginner to advanced and even provide parent/child classes to make fitness a family activity.
Why we love them: SOUL gets a spot on our list merely for their unique offerings. But, they get extra love for their structure, which includes semester-by-semester classes. Open-ended gym schedules require motivation on your part, but knowing that you have a class at a set time every week provides a sense of involvement and accountability that helps keep you committed to your fitness goals.
Rates: Classes are typically $300/semester, with a semester usually running around five months. However, some classes can be as high as $375, but there are sibling and family discounts available. Drop-in classes are $20.
Location, Contact and Hours:
1632 Ownby Lane
Richmond, Virginia 23220
CLICK HERE to see a complete list of classes and download adult and children’s class schedules
Peak Experiences / Facebook
Rock climbing has long been considered one of the more “extreme” sports. And if you’re like me, you see images of adventurous climbers scaling sheer cliff faces and think, “Oh, heck no.” But rock climbing is actually an incredible way to stay fit – and it doesn’t have to be death-defying. At Peak Experiences, rock climbing becomes a fun, exciting activity for the whole family and allows for a wide range of skill levels. Peak Experiences is one of the largest indoor rock climbing centers in the United States, featuring world-class facilities, more than 125 top-rope routes, lead-climbing, and bouldering. If you don’t know what any of that means, don’t worry. Their highly-trained staff will work with everyone in your family to ensure an enjoyable, safe climb every time. Still don’t want to climb? That’s ok, let the kids be daredevils with youth programs, summer camps and more, while you take advantage of yoga or other fitness classes. Best of all, you can choose from day rates or memberships, so that you have the flexibility to make it your primary fitness activity or add it on as a way to keep the whole family moving.
Why we love it: Like some of our other activities, Peak Experiences offers an alternative to standard gym workouts. But what we love the most is that this indoor facility allows for activity and training all year, regardless of the weather, while teaching you skills that are easily transferrable to the great outdoors when the season is right.
Day Passes (come and go as you please all day)
$19 / adult
$16 / student
$12 / children 12 and under
$12 / bouldering only
$66 / individual
$96 / couple
$96 + $20 for each additional member / family
$792 / individual
$1,152 / couple
$1,152 + $240 for each additional member / family
See a complete list of membership benefits here.
Location, Contact and Hours:
11421 Polo Circle
Midlothian, VA 23113
Monday – Friday: 1pm – 10pm
Saturday: 10am – 10pm
Sunday: 11am – 5pm
Members Only Hours
Monday – Friday: 9am – 1pm
Tuesday and Thursday: 6am – 9am
Sunday: 5pm – 7pm
This family-oriented center kind of has it all. From fitness classes and facilities to summer camps and ongoing events, the Weinstein JCC caters to the entire community. With extremely affordable rates (and financial assistance available), Weinstein JCC is a bargain considering all that it offers. Full membership includes access to their cutting-edge cardio equipment and weight room, heated saltwater pools (including a lap pool and family pool), basketball gyms, multipurpose gyms, adult locker rooms with saunas, steam rooms, a whirlpool, youth locker rooms, family locker rooms and dance, cycling, and group fitness studios. And that’s just the facilities. Other benefits include free fitness assessments, free personalized training, free babysitting and an onsite café. While Weinstein JCC is a Jewish-based center and observes Kashruth (kosher), it is open to people of all faiths and backgrounds. As a member at Weinstein JCC, you can enjoy a wide array of fitness activities for yourself and your family, including summer camps and special youth and adult programs.
Why we love them: It’s hard to narrow down a single reason to love the Weinstein JCC. But their affordability is certainly a winning factor for us. With full membership or general membership options available, you can easily meet your family’s fitness goals, while staying within your budget.
$99 / family
$97 / couple
$71 / individual (35+)
$35 / young adult (16-34)
(click here for general membership benefits)
$63 / family
$61 / couple
$53 / individual
Location, Contact and Hours:
5403 Monument Avenue
Richmond, VA 23226
Monday – Thursday: 5am – 10pm
Friday: 5am – 6pm
Saturday: 7am – 7pm
Sunday: 7am – 7pm
Master Cho’s Tae Kwon Do and Martial Arts Center / Facebook
Over the years, Tae Kwon Do has gained increasing popularity for its fitness and confidence building benefits, as well as its obvious value as a means of self-defense. And at Master Cho’s Tae Kwon Do and Martial Arts Center, you’ll find all of these benefits and more. This top-rated martial arts studio offers classes for every age and ability. But what really stands out for us is that they offer family classes that allows everyone to train together. With reasonable rates and two locations (in Short Pump and Glen Allen), it’s easy to get the whole family moving, while instilling values of self-confidence, control and respect at the same time. Master Cho’s doesn’t offer the same variety of classes as some of the other places on our list, but because Tae Kwon Do is a full body sport that focuses more on kicking (compared to other martial arts), you will see results in improved balance, flexibility and endurance. Most importantly, you’ll have fun. And really, what’s the point of working out if it’s not fun?
Why we love it: Our favorite thing about Master Cho’s is the family classes. Of course, adult and kids-only classes are available, as well. But when the whole family can be part of something, motivation takes on a whole new level.
Quick Start Trial Program: (perfect for beginners)
$19.95 / person
Includes both private and group instruction and one free uniform.
Locations, Contacts and Hours:
Short Pump (next to Bowl America and Skate Nation)
4386 Pouncey Tract Road
Glen Allen, VA 23060
The Creeks at Virginia Centre (Glen Allen)
9964 Brook Road
Glen Allen, VA 23059
Monday and Wednesday: 11am – 8:30pm
Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 11am – 8pm
Saturday: 8:30am – 3pm
Whatever your fitness goals are for yourself or your entire family, we hope that you’ll find exciting, innovative ways to reach them. With so many options in the Richmond, these five top spots will help you narrow down the options and get your on track to a healthy, happy 2017.
Do you have a favorite gym, sports center or family fitness activity? We would love to hear about it in the comments below!