Nevarez Finds Belonging, Support in Group Exercise

Melissa Nevarez

That first brave step into the YMCA group exercise room launched a journey to a healthier lifestyle for Melissa Nevarez of Bertrand.

After the birth of her second child, Melissa decided it was time to take care of herself, too. Her boyfriend, Brandon, lifted weights and had a consistent workout routine at the Y. Her daughter, Aspen, participated in Y youth sports and programs. But, Melissa hadn’t yet found her exercise groove.

Melissa decided to start exercising in the wellness center on various cardio machines. Although the cardio machines are great, Melissa wasn’t motivated and exercised sporadically for about three months.

“It’s very nice equipment, but for me, I liked exercising in a group,” Melissa said.

Trying A Class

After working up some confidence, she decided to try out a new group exercise class. Her boyfriend attended with her for moral support.

“He went in with me just because he knew I was afraid,” Melissa said.

She met Y group exercise instructor Holly Johnson, who made her feel welcome, and she was hooked on the class.

“As soon as I took a class, I knew it was for me,” she said.

She tried other classes and continued to attend her favorites: PiYo, Rip & Row, TRX, Shape Up, Row and Kickboxing.

“I just feel comfortable in there,” Melissa said. “No one is judging me. Everybody works at their own pace.”

And, after a few months of exercising five days a week, Melissa lost 20 pounds!

“I feel better about myself,” she said. “I feel like I have more energy. I feel like I get stuff done. My day just flows so much better.”

Child Watch

Melissa said she is grateful that the Y offers Child Watch so she can carve out this time to exercise, while her 1-year-old son, Lincoln, socializes with other infants and toddlers.

“We were really hesitant to take him, but the girls in there are amazing,” she said. “It’s really nice to have the Child Watch so I can get my hour-and-a-half workout in. I would never be able to do that at home.”

Besides living healthier and having more energy, Melissa said another benefit to her new exercise routine is the new friends she has made at the Y.

“I just feel like I have made lifelong friends in there,” she said.

She encourages anyone who is looking for new motivation to their exercise routine to try YMCA group exercise classes.

“I just tell everyone to give it a week or two,” Melissa said. “Don’t just try one and say this is not for me. Every class is different.”

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