Three Reasons I’m Keeping My Gym Membership

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I seriously love summer.  I’m spending every minute, (even the ones where I truly feel hot and gross) being thankful that I’m not hunched against the stupid winter wind trying to get indoors as quickly as possible.


I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.  Summer brings out more and more runners, bikers, circuit trainers and yoga classes in the park, and I love seeing this when I take my kids out into the long summer weekends.  And I sometimes think about maybe giving up my gym membership in the summer and just spending all my fitness time outside.  But then I think about it again and realize that I really want to keep it.  And here’s why.


I like lifting heavy things. I always thought that being a smaller and rounder female body type I shouldn’t lift heavy things, but rather lighter things, and do many repetitions.  And that’s okay.  But lately, I’ve been lifting HEAVY weights with less repetition.  I’m training more like a superhero and getting stronger than I’ve ever been.  I’ve been inspired by Jeannine Trimboli, someone of my own age and body type who’s training for a powerlifting competition and her results are amazing.  Check her out, get inspired, and come attack the max rack after I do.



Routine.  In the past year I’ve finally got back into a healthy way of living.  The way I did it was by slowly establishing healthy habits that are now…habitual.  For me, that means working out at least 30 minutes a day, 4 days per week, and an hour or more on Saturday and Sunday.  Sound lofty?  It did to me too before it became my life, something I enjoy, and a way to set and challenge new goals for myself.  Part of my routine is walking into the gym, seeing the same people, using the same equipment, and having an iced coffee on the way home at the same place.  I don’t want to lose that.  I like it.


A cool place to be. No matter how much I love summer I have to admit that one of the sweetest things is walking into air-conditioned comfort when the sun is especially….friendly.  I get a lot more out of my workout when I can begin the elliptical warm up from a neutral temperature and work my way up to sweating through the rest of it.  Plus the pool is amazing.  As a parent, I really appreciate family swim as an option.  As I swim with my kids, we cool off and burn off just enough energy to have a restful summer evening.


Stone cold fear.   Okay, that’s a little dramatic, but I find the best way to avoid living in fear of suddenly gaining back 15 pounds overnight is to keep doing what I’m doing.  Going to the gym makes me feel happy because I’m doing something selfishly, beautifully for myself that just happens to positively affect those around me.  I am SO MUCH HAPPIER when I get dressed in the morning without worrying about which pants will give me the muffin top.   And though most people around me couldn’t care less about if I have a muffin top or not, a happier me makes those around me happier too.   That’s probably the best reason of all!


-Camille Diamond; Director of Community Engagement and Communications, and 14th Street Y Member




Tonight: Community-Wide Memorial Service for the Three Israeli Teens.

Rabbi Shira Koch Epstein
Rabbi Shira Koch Epstein

Today is a day of national tragedy in Israel, as three murdered teenagers were laid to rest.


For the last few days, I have been in Jerusalem studying in a leadership cohort called the Hartman Rabbinic Leadership Initiative.  As I sit with a diverse cadre of Jewish leaders, focusing our studies on Jewish texts on the ethics of war and the value of peace, it is surreal to hear military helicopters overhead.


It is even more surreal to write to 14th Street Y Members and friends at home in New York City from where I sit, in a country in mourning, an atmosphere saturated with sadness and also despair over the ongoing conflict.



It is hard to explain the national mood and solidarity here in a way that resonates for Americans, because our country is so large. The closest things that I can compare it to in national attention was baby Jessica in the well (which had a good resolution) and Etan Patz (which made it impossible to let our children out of sight for a generation). Then, everyone had eyes glued, hoping for a positive resolution, identifying with those children as if they were our own. In Israel, a nation awaited the return of three kidnapped boys. And now, a nation cries as three sets of bereaved parents and siblings and grandparents and friends today buried their murdered children.


I know that this moment brings up many different feelings. For some, feelings of injustice, for others unbelievable sadness, or anger, or frustration at an ongoing cycle of violence.

I invite everyone who is moved to do so to join our friends at 7:30PM tonight at the Jewish Center on West 86th Street for a community wide memorial service for Eyal, Gilad and Naftali, hosted by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, UJA-Federation of New York, New York Board of Rabbis, and Council of Young Jewish Presidents.
I also want everyone to know that although I am out of the country, everyone at the 14th Street Y is very much on my mind.   I am interested in any thoughts or feelings you have.  Please email me directly at with anything that you might wish to say or share.
Shira Koch Epstein
Executive Director