By Siobhan DeRemer
I have a confession: Gyms aren’t always my jam. I only started embracing the idea of strength training semi-recently (within the last few years) and though I feel like I read something every day about how good it is, especially for women over 30, it’s not my go-to for a workout.
You see us post all the time on our Instagram about barre and yoga classes, but today, I’m here to throw you a curveball. The Lehigh Valley has some great gyms that are locally owned and when Steel Fitness contacted LWLV to check out their facilities (they've got Steel Fitness Premier in Allentown and Steel Fitness Riverport in Bethlehem), I figured I should bite the bullet and suppress my disdain for grunting bros doing deadlifts (a fitness move I've now come to really love!) in front of a mirror. At least for a few weeks.
I’ve been trying to get in my 30 minutes of daily movement since the beginning of the year, and though I’ve slacked a bit on this promise, I figured a gym membership might keep me motivated and perhaps even more energized. I was a semi-devoted member of Planet Fitness back in the day so I thought I knew what to expect (the bros), but I was given a lesson in full-service gym membership almost immediately.
There are great facilities if you’re a solo fitness enthusiast (weight room, cardio equipment, pool, indoor running track) and some kick-ass group classes and personal training opportunities if you need a little extra push to get on that TRX or pick up a kettlebell. I never had to wait for an elliptical or even a set of weights I needed. The locker rooms were enormous and provided locking storage, hair dryers, and decent shower facilities. Though it wasn’t something I utilized, the childcare facility seemed like it would allow you to focus on your workout while your little one is given a chance to move, too. The steam rooms and sauna don’t hurt either!
What’s great about Steel Fitness Premier is that you have tons of options to choose from. I took a few of the barre classes, and while I’m still a barre3 girl at heart it was great to jump into a slightly less intense barre class with people of all ages and then follow that up with a quick run on the treadmill afterward for some extra cardio. I know the yoga and Pulse X classes are super popular there, too, and would be on my list when I return. (Check out their class schedule here.)
So let’s get to my absolute favorite part of my time at Steel Fitness. Sarah Campbell, my personal trainer for all of 3 sessions, was the best. Not only did she whip me into shape with some killer workout suggestions and take me through them with just the amount of drive and motivation I needed, I wanted her to be my BFF.
In the midst of my squats, kettlebell swings, and my ungodly quest for the ability to do more than 3 push-ups in a row (someday!!), we would chat about local LV weekend activities and how to integrate my workouts into an outdoor setting come summer and how to do things at home. I am no stranger to gyms even though they’re not my favorite, but Sarah really allowed me to feel confident about striding up to the TRX straps and getting a workout in. Of course, it helps that she’s a super confident redheaded female somewhat like me.
I’ve been focusing on my yoga practice, barre classes, and getting outdoors more lately, but hands down, I’d return to Steel Fitness in a heartbeat to have Sarah push a kettlebell back at me.
If you’re looking for a great local gym with a competent staff, fun class opportunities, and some sweet (but kick-ass) personal trainers, and minimal bro sightings, then give Steel Fitness a visit.
They have locations in both Allentown and Bethlehem.
Not in the position to splurge on a membership? We recommend dropping in for the day. A day pass is just $17 and grants you all-day access to their classes, the pool, gym equipment, the track, and more.
Check with Steel Fitness for full membership options. They’re a great local option to help you find your gym confidence (or get it back like I did) and keep you accountable in the process. Lehigh Valley Gym Nerds unite!
Got a favorite Lehigh Valley gym? Tell us why it's worth checking out in the comments below!