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Staff and Mission of the YWCA Keep Me Coming Back

By Betty Momanyi, YWCA Member
July 9, 2013
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I grew up as an obese child in a country where obesity was rare, especially in children. It goes without saying that I was highly conscious of my size, thanks to bullies and adults who were unaware of the scars their words caused.

Once I landed in the USA and witnessed that I was not alone in the struggle with obesity and that there were clothes for people my size to exercise in, I began my quest to get fit.

I did not join a gym until I moved to Minneapolis. My husband and I joined the Uptown YWCA in 1996. Three years later, he passed away due to advanced prostate cancer and I canceled the membership.

In 2005, I received a free membership to the YW for participating in a study conducted by the U of M called “Strong, Healthy and Empowered.” The following year, I participated in the Women’s Wellness Program and, from there, began to attend the Y regularly, participating in group fitness classes such as BodyPump with Bonnie, and Spin with Aldrin and Lisa.

I did not make great strides until I joined Timothy Pearson’s Boot Camp. I thought I was somewhat fit, but attending his first class made me realize that I was deluding myself. Under his direction for the past three years, I have lost 50% of my body fat; participated in my first 5K in October 2010, finishing under 34 minutes; participated in the Warrior Dash in July of 2011; participated in the Living History Farms Race in Iowa in the Fall of 2011; participated in Ragnar® in 2011 and 2012; and participated in the Tough Mudder in May 2012. The Body Composition Assessment Tools BioSpace® InBody and the New Leaf Metabolic Testing taught me about my body makeup and the level at which I need to work to achieve positive results.

Exercise and fitness are now a part of my lifestyle. All my friends, family and colleagues know that I work out at least five days a week, eat healthily and often ask if I have tried various exercises or programs such as TRX, KettleBell, Circuit and Zumba. I have, but I concentrate more on strength training and High Intensity Interval Training. I am discovering this type of training to be efficient and most productive for me.

In as much as I can get this type to training at any gym, there is something special about the YW that keeps me coming back. In addition to the friendly staff at the Downtown location, the availability of more equipment at Uptown and free parking at Midtown, the history and mission of the Y earns my loyalty as a conscious investor and consumer. The YW was among the first organizations to have an integrated swimming pool in the late ’40s, actively works to eliminate racism, and to empower women and young girls to be all they can be — physically, emotionally and socially.

There are a lot of fitness facilities in the Twin Cities that anyone interested in fitness can join to accommodate their needs, and that is a wonderful thing. The YW is perfect for those looking for a friendly environment, competent trainers and encouragement from fellow members.


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