Work It Out

Finding the perfect fitness facility


Joining a gym is serious business, even if you are committed to fitness. It’s an investment of time, money, sweat equity... and that’s not even considering all of the cute workout outfits you have to buy. I’ve discovered a newfound enjoyment of working out this year, taking drop in classes a couple of times a week and supplementing with at-home cardio, but I still haven’t pulled the trigger on joining a real gym. Maybe I’m a commitment-phobe, but I’m waiting for perfection. I’ve determined to hold out until I find a place I can afford, that has classes that work with my overfull schedule, that has fancy equipment, where I don’t feel judged for not having abs of steel.

When I learned about Luxe Fitness in South County Commons, I was willing to give it a shot... for a trial, anyway. The gym, manager Melissa explained to me, has recently had a complete renovation; after I told her about my current exercise regimen, she promised a roster of classes I would love. But before I tried any of them, we went on a facility tour: through the state of the art, black-lit spin room and the gleaming upstairs group exercise room, past the 7,000 pound weights and the men who could actually lift them, into the cardio machines where I knew I’d sweat out more than a few calories.

More than anything, what I want from a gym is really great classes. I’ve taken way too many too-easy classes, and live in fear of finding myself completely out of my depth in one that’s too challenging. I started with Ab Attack, an intense 30-minute core workout with Jaime. I was sure it was going to be too tough, but the friendly people at the front desk assured me that despite its name, you didn’t want to die afterwards. I was surprised to discover that though the class was challenging, there were plenty of modifications available for a first timer. The 30 minutes went by quickly. I felt it the next day, but in a good way.

On Sunday morning, I found myself with a room of people energized to start a 9am Pilates class with Debbie. Normally all I want to do at 9am on Sunday morning is scowl at the world, but Debbie’s irrepressible enthusiasm and her music (all the instructors plug their own iPods into the sound system at Luxe) got me going. I loved her blend of Pilates and yoga. She made it impossible to skip anything, simply by being so positive and motivational. I even modified some poses to make them harder (but more to make them easier, if we’re being honest).

Feeling pretty great about my workouts so far (it’s hard to leave the group x room and not jump on an elliptical), I was ready for a huge challenge: spin. I had heard it was tough, but I was up for it. Monica fit my bike height to me, and showed me the levels of intensity I’d be changing throughout. It was a lot, but something I’d try again (in a while, after my glutes have a chance to rest).

Am I ready? Maybe. The positive energy that radiates out of Luxe is enticing. The really nice part is that they offer a free week trial to try out their Westerly or Wakefield locations. Commitment-phobe or not, it’s worth a look.