When joining a gym, it's important to find a good fit. The right gym will meet your needs, and motivate you to come back to exercise on a regular basis. Joining a gym is a big commitment, so it's important to research your options before signing on the dotted line. When considering a particular gym, set up a tour to get a feel for the place. Try to set up this tour during the time you usually exercise. Most local gyms offer trial passes before you join ranging from a day to two weeks, so definitely take advantage of that to see if it's a good fit for you. The Wilmington area offers a number of different options from the very basic, to small boutique fitness clubs to large facilities with tons of amenities.
The Wilmington Athletic Club is the area's most complete fitness facility. With over 35,000 square feet, they offer indoor basketball and racquetball courts, a Pilates studio, yoga and group exercise classes, weights and cardio equipment, personal training, a smoothie bar and café, a spa, locker rooms complete with steam and sauna, and childcare. In addition, the WAC has an outdoor pool that is open year round, and also offers swim lessons and swim team for the kids. Also outdoors is a large climbing wall and running trails. The WAC offers a corporate discount for many local employers, as well as student and senior rates.
Gold's Gym has three locations in the area: Wilmington (at the corner of Shipyard and College), North Wilmington, and Porter's Neck. There are also locations in Shalotte and Jacksonville. Gold's Gym offers weights and cardio equipment, personal training, group fitness classes and childcare. Some locations also feature Gold's Beach spray tanning as well as nutrition coaching. Gold's also offers corporate discounts and a military discount.
O2Fitness, located in Mayfaire Town Center, offers a beautiful, upscale facility filled with natural light. Group exercise classes, yoga, weights and cardio equipment, personal training, locker rooms with sauna, and childcare are all part of the O2 experience. Unique features include a quiet Cardio Getaway Theater, outdoor turf training, and an O2 Express Room offering easy-to-follow cardio and strength building programs in one efficient 30-minute workout. Corporate discount program is also available.
While the Wilmington YMCA is an older facility, it is still a popular option. The cardio and weight training options are more limited, and the locker rooms favor function over appearance, but the class offerings and children's programming are favorites among local moms. In particular, the Zumba craze that has swept the nation is attracting people to the Y, featuring favorite local instructor, Karson Reed. The Y offers 10 Zumba classes each week and even offers Kids Zumba after school two days a week. The Y features an indoor pool with swim lessons, as well as seasonal outdoor sports leagues, after school care and summer camps. Childcare while parents exercise is also available. The Y offers student, senior and corporate discounts, as well as free or discounted military memberships.
The Crest Fitness Club, located in the Galleria Mall, offers a boutique style, personalized experience by limiting the number of members to ensure there's never a crowd. The Crest offers cardio and weight training equipment, group exercise classes, personal training, tanning and childcare. There are different levels of membership to suit members' preferences and needs.
Planet Fitness has several Wilmington franchises, and offers the flexibility of month to month plans. A much smaller and more basic facility than most of the others, Planet Fitness offers cardio and weight training equipment and personal training. Some levels of membership also offer tanning and unlimited guests. Childcare and group fitness classes are not available. However, memberships start at just $19.99 per month.
The Open Studio is a brand new facility in The Forum on Military Cutoff Road in Wilmington. This studio has a different vision for a fitness center, combining yoga and barre classes with fitness, dance, art, and theater. They have a beautiful retail space that includes health and beauty products, books, props, and unique clothing for yoga, fitness, dance, and leisure. In addition to traditional yoga and fitness, they will also offer a Yoga Fusion class combining yoga with weights as well as a Run/Yoga class that shows how the two practices can work together to form a strong and balanced mid/body workout. The mission of the Open Studio is to promote a mind/body connection through the arts + wellness in an intimate and comfortable environment.
Kate Mejaski has a background in travel writing and photography, as well as destination marketing. She also owns This Little Light Photography, and has enjoyed photographing weddings and families for the past ten years. She lives in Wilmington with her husband and two sons. Her family loves to be outdoors - hiking, camping, boating and exploring!