Top FIVE Reasons to join a Gym

Hi, I am Jennifer and I work here at the 14th Street Y as the Membership Sales Coordinator.

I basically introduce people to the Y and get them started on membership.  In this role, I am often called upon to be a motivator and an ear for people who have hit a wall in their health and wellness and don’t know how to move forward.  I feel like I have gotten pretty good at motivating, and I think it is because I am, in a way, talking to myself.

I am a normal woman who skips workouts, indulges from time to time, guilts myself for not fitting into a mold and throws a nasty side eye at fashion magazines with unreachable images of beauty.  Most mornings, my alarm goes off, my eyes crack and with a sigh of sadness I dramatically heave myself off of my bed to begin another day.   I make a mental list of everything I have to accomplish that day and working out is always on that list.  And every day, almost immediately, I start scheming ways to get out of it.  Is that a headache?  A cramp?  Wasn’t I supposed to call my best friend and talk her through a crisis?

How do I motivate myself and how do I talk to people about fitness when they come to the Y?  I begin with honesty.  I don’t like to work out.  More precisely, I hate it…for the first 10 to 15 minutes.  Once I have passed that initial hatred and my heart rate really starts going and I realize that it is too late for me to leave, then I feel GLORIOUS!  Like everything in life, the key to success is getting past all the negative stuff we allow to hold us back and move into the “I deserve to feel good and live a good life” phaseBelow are the all the things I tick off in my head when I talk to people about fitness and the very things that form my health and wellness philosophy.

1.  Support from your peers.
Your peers are the people who are around your age and share the same ideas and goals as yourself.  I will broaden that definition when speaking about the support network you get when you join a gym:  You have a building full of people who are working hard to achieve the same goals that you have!  You want to succeed, they want to succeed, you want them to succeed and vice versa!  It is a virtual love fest of the best kind of people feeding off each other’s best energy.  If you stick with exercising and make it a regular part of your life, you actually have an endless supply of support and help as often as you walk through the door!

2.  It’s Social.  But not in that way.
I am just going to say it-sometimes it is nice to get away from your friends and family and the people you work with.  Sometimes it is nice to be surrounded by people who you don’t know very well.  Gym friends are sharing the same goals as you and can be an awesome support system but beyond that, joining your community and being present in your life outside of work and family obligations is good for the soul. Some of the best conversations I have had about books and music have happened in the locker room after an intense workout when I was feeling relaxed and quite pleased with myself for working out hard.  Try putting the incline all the way up on the treadmill and chatting with the woman next to you about Game of Thrones (this usually turns into ten people gathered around a treadmill nerding out in all the right ways).  You don’t have to talk about working out while you are at the gym, you can actually just BE at the gym in a way that you cannot BE at work when you are filling deadlines and answering endless emails.  Trust me, it is magical.

3.  Addressing Stress Relief, Seasonal Depression, Energy Levels, or a combo of all three.
Instead of sitting at home and watching The Bachelor (seriously, don’t watch The Bachelor, it is bad for your brain) and sinking deeper into seasonal depression, GET MOVING.  When you are exercising and burning fat and building muscle, you have all kinds of endorphins running around like crazy in your body telling you how very awesome you are.  And you are awesome, you just didn’t realize it when you were drinking your third glass of wine last night and wondering if you will get four or five hours of sleep before you have to go to work the next morning.  If you work out regularly you WILL sleep better, have more energy during the day, be more motivated to achieve goals and cut WAY down on your stress levels.  I like you better already!

4.  Being the person you are meant to be!  (treat Yo’self!)
Not much to say about this other than the fact that being your best self is the truest of love stories.  Looking good, feeling good and surrounding yourself with people who support you being happy leads to a great life.  And who does not want a great life?  You deserve it and so do the people you love.  Stop looking at working out as something that you have to do and look at it as time spent taking care of yourself.  If you can put it on the same level as getting a pedicure or taking yourself to the movies then you are one step closer to making exercise a regular part of your life.

5.  Your Basic, Overall health
There is a ton of science out there about what to eat and how to work out.  I won’t try and sell you any of that.  I am just saying to move.  Walking on a treadmill, stretching on a mat, jumping in the pool and doggy paddling in a circle-these all lead to immediate health benefits.  A long life sounds wonderful but imagine if you could live a long life where you also FELT great?  Doesn’t that sound like something you would want for yourself?

jennier in snow

Jennifer Cutillo is the Membership Coordinator of the 14th Street Y with over 10 years experience in the fitness industry.

Winter is her favorite Season.

AfterWork Theater Project’s Premiere show, “Hair” at the 14th Street Y’s Theater

Remember the feeling of being in a high school show? Whether you are in the ensemble or receive a main part, everyone gets into the show.

After high school, this idea of being in a show for the experience and just for fun is hard to find. Especially in NYC, where theater is a huge part of the city’s culture, there are minimal opportunities to be a part of theater recreationally. Evan Greenberg, Artistic Director of the AfterWork Theater Project, created a company where non-actors – i.e. teachers, lawyers, college students – for a small fee, can enjoy the fun of theater that many of us remember fondly from our high school years. AfterWork Theater Project’s first show, the musical, HAIR is premiering at the theater at the 14th street Y and Evan has offered to tell us a little bit more about the company and the show to come!


So tell us a little bit more about the AfterWork Theater Project, How did it begin?

A year ago, I discovered a void in life after graduating high school drama. I realized there are few theater opportunities in the city that offer that sense of community. After sharing this thought with peers, I learned I was not alone in this realization. There is really no opportunity in NY to be in a cast just for the fun!

Once I decided to start my own recreational theater company, I created a youtube video to spread the word and it really got the ball rolling on this new idea. I began receiving emails and hearing from many people who had an interest in helping me with the company. At the time, I called my company the “Untitled Theatre Project.” Below is a link to the youtube video that started it all, but please be aware that the name is now changed to “AfterWork Theater Project.”

Getting ready to begin your premiere show as AfterWork Theater Project, how would you describe the company now and what it stands for?

Afterwork Theater Project creates theater to foster community and as recreational activity. It is a recreational theater company committed to providing everyday professionals opportunities to be in performances in NYC. Participants pay a tuition and are a part of the production. Parts are decided on what we call, “Launch Day”, a day in which the cast shares skills in order to see where individual’s strengths are. We ask for non-professional actors only and we see the program as simply for fun and make no claims to further the acting careers of our cast members.

The AfterWork Theater Project’s Mission is to foster fun, community, and creative self-expression.

Tell us a little bit more about your premiere show, Hair.

We chose Hair because we definitely wanted to choose an ensemble show and it was number 2 on our list. After focus groups and roundtable discussion, we decided on this play and got down to work. The cast consists of 35 members ranging from age 18 to 65, and consists of everything from a high school graduate to a senior level attorney. We have many teachers involved, lawyers, and college students. We try to keep it at a reasonable time commitment to work with the diversity of our cast’s schedules.

As for the production itself, the quality has far exceeded my expectations. I expected community theater but with the help of director/choreographer, Alex Perez, who has many credits directing off and off-off Broadway, and Musical Director, Julian Reeve, who has worked as a music director in London’s West End, we were able to set a really high standard for professionalism in our work.

We’ve been rehearsing this production for 2 and a half months. The cast has bonded together in a beautiful way and the whole process is sort of taking people back to their youth, not to mention helping release the stresses of their working lives. The spirit of hair is all about breaking down walls and freeing the human spirit and that’s what the project is all about.

Why did you decide to bring it to the Theater at the 14th street Y?

 It is easily the most beautiful theatre I visited. It was also important to me that the production was in downtown Manhattan. The facilities are absolutely beautiful and Becky Skoff’s been awesome.

I even could see in the future a partnership with Afterwork Theater and the Y because I feel our mission is so inline with theirs.

How can we learn more?

Visit the website at:

Also, we are currently open for enrollment for our next show RENT which you can learn about here.

For tickets to Hair, click here or call 1-800-838-3006