Where to Get Fit in Delaware
With more than 100 gyms and fitness programs throughout The First State, there are options for everyone no matter your fitness level.
Donna Palento trains with Nancy Hawkins Rigg, who owns Forever Fit Foundation.//Photography by Maria Deforrest
Gigi Boyd owns a gym in Dover called Lady Lifters. She started it after going through her own weight-loss and fitness journey, losing 100 pounds in 2014. She was intimidated by weight rooms in gyms and knew her feelings weren't unique.
Getting in shape and even becoming a weightlifter built her confidence so much that she wanted others to have that same empowering experience. Lady Lifters, her female-only gym, was born to give intimidated women a safe place to, well, really kick butt.
Helping people be their best, most fit selves is a common thread among gyms in Delaware, and there is no shortage of them. In fact, with more than 100 gyms and fitness programs throughout the First State, there should be a place for everyone to get his or her sweat on.
Kids can exercise with their moms at MOMentum.// Photography by Maria Deforrest
Some of the programs are statewide, like the YMCA of Delaware with nine locations, plus its Hanby Outdoor Center in North Wilmington. These nonprofit community centers offer martial arts, swimming, weight rooms and trainers, basketball and fitness classes. They are always looking for ways to add more value for their members, such as a newly upgraded fitness center at the Brandywine Y and the expansion of the adaptive fitness campaign at a number of its locations, which allows senior citizens with mobility difficulties and individuals with disabilities to take part in fitness programs.
The Y isn't the only statewide fitness program. Large chain fitness centers such as Planet Fitness, Anytime Fitness and Snap Fitness can be found with a quick online search.
Looking for something comprehensive? Try a gym like Fusion Fitness Center in Newark that offers meals and smoothies along with personal and team training, all with a 30-day risk-free trial membership. Breaking Barriers Fitness in Wilmington offers nutrition programs along with its training and conditioning and its indoor and outdoor rowing programs.
Forever Fit Foundation—with three locations—offers basic workouts and personal training, but also body-rolling, a method that helps people with fibromyalgia, and Graston and HawkGrips, which are techniques used to detect and release scar tissue.
Then there are places that offer more than just rows and rows of cardio equipment, like the HydroMassage bed at RACC Fitness in Frankford that provides a dry full-body massage with the use of pressurized water. MOMentum in Dover lets mothers bring their children on to the exercise floor with them. Kids play, or work out too, with mom-watching by their sides. Owner Ali Bednarik recommends people come in for a free trial class to help them decide what the best program would be for them.
Melanie Utley shows off her muscles (and pearly whites) during her workout at MOMentum.//
There's no reason fitness has to be the same old thing either. People can hang from the ceiling at High Power Yoga and Fitness. Check out one of the aerial yoga classes, which is yoga practiced in a hammock suspended from the ceiling.
If hanging from the ceiling isn't your thing, perhaps climbing to it is. There are rock walls for climbing at RISE Fitness + Adventure in Rehoboth Beach and at the Delaware Rock Gym in Bear. The Rock Gym features 11,300 square feet of climbing surface and introduction classes for newbies on Saturdays.
Squash—the indoor game that's a mashup between tennis and racquetball—is back on people's radar after recently being rated the healthiest sport in a Forbes Lifestyle article. Reflex Squash & Fitness in Wilmington is the place to go for that. If playing racquetball is pleasing, then just head straight to Midway Fitness and Racquetball in Rehoboth.
If hitting a little ball against a wall isn't enough to get rid of your aggression, Jack’s Kickboxing Gym in Newark might be the place for you. It's described as having the feel of an old-time gym with a boxing ring and heavy bags to hit. Or go head-to-head (actually punch a pad held by another person) at ILoveKickboxing in Wilmington.
Go head-to-head (actually punch a pad held by another person) at ILoveKickboxing in Wilmington//
There are gyms for all fitness levels and goals. Nearly all of them welcome newcomers, but some have special programs for people who want a little more intensity. The Training Center in New Castle specializes in powerlifting, while The Village Gym in Middletown offers extra challenges like the Memorial Day "Murph" workout that included 100 pullups, 200 pushups, 300 squats and two 1-mile runs, all while wearing a 20-pound weighted vest. RIV Athletics in Wilmington offers motivational spin classes like Bon Jovi Plus, where participants can use special wireless noise-canceling headphones dialed into the instructor’s audio channel allowing them to crank it up as much as they want. Orangetheory Fitness in Talleyville allows people to strap on monitors that measure heart rate and calories burned so they know they are getting their money's worth.
Many gym owners can tout transformation stories, says Lady Lifters' Boyd, who enjoys watching people gain strength and presence as they build their fitness. "It's empowering, I love to see the confidence they get."
Alyssa Arnold is a mom of three (above) and often brings her kids with her to MOMentum in Dover.//