Program and equipment information

The YMCA's goal is to help members become regular exercisers by focusing on the quality of the exercise experience. We believe that encouragement and guidance built into your exercise experience will support you to develop positive behaviours and a healthy lifestyle.

Fitness Centre

State-of-the-Art Equipment At each YMCA Branch, our fitness centres feature the latest in strength training and aerobic conditioning equipment including treadmills, bikes, stair climbers, rowing machines and cross trainers.

Expert Staff YMCA fitness centre staff have a university degree in physical education and/or national YMCA certification in strength training. These qualified staff can develop an exercise program tailored to your individual needs and can assist to set goals, identify barriers and strategies and evaluate your progress.

A Shared Experience During peak times, a 30 minute time limit per person is applied to the use of the cardio equipment. This ensures that all members have fair access to equipment. A sign-up board is provided and monitored by YMCA staff.

To maintain a high standard of cleanliness and safety for everyone, members are asked to use towels provided to wipe down equipment after each use. Free Weights should be returned to their stands after each use. When others are waiting to use strength conditioning equipment, consider offering to let them "work in." This means that both you and the waiting member use the equipment, alternating sets. Rather than resting on equipment between sets, sharing equipment in this way allows everyone better access to equipment. For a complete list of equipment and services, visit one of our membership branches. Please note that equipment types and styles may vary from Branch to Branch. St. Catharines | Welland/Pelham | Niagara Falls | Fort Erie | Grimsby/West Lincoln | Port Colborne Return To Top

Starting your Fitness Journey

Adopting physical activity into your lifestyle will make you feel better, give you more energy, and greatly reduce your risk for developing many chronic diseases. YMCA programs and staff offer guidance, motivation, and structure to help members start and stick with a fitness routine that suites your lifestyle.

YMCA Fitness Coaches hold national YMCA Fitness Certification in strength training and have a wide variety of experiences and education in the fitness industry. Our qualified staff can develop an exercise program tailored to your individual needs and can assist to set goals, identify barriers and strategies and monitor your progress.

Fitness Coaching

The YMCA Fitness Orientations are what set us apart. Orientations are available to all youth and adult members for no additional fee, and are specially designed to support you in achieving your goals, by providing you with the tools, information and confidence you need to be successful.

Session 1: Cardio (small group); Session 2: Strength (small group); Session 3: Individual; Session 4: 12 –Week Check-in (individual)

Youth Orientations

Members 10 to 15 years of age are required to attend a Youth Fitness Centre Orientation that will provide them with necessary safety and etiquette information before they are permitted to use the Fitness Centre or attend a Group Fitness Class. Tweens 10 to 12 are required to have their parent or guardian who is also a YMCA member that will be attending the YMCA regularly with them also attend the orientation. Upon completion of the orientation, the youth will receive a card sticker. Membership cards must be worn while in the Fitness Centre.

Fitness Classes

YMCA Group Fitness classes give you a chance to meet people, improve you fitness level, and have fun! Members are encouraged to work at their own pace. Ask your fitness instructor for assistance or exercise information at any time. Most of our classes include cardiovascular, muscular strength/endurance, and stretching components. YMCA fitness volunteers and staff are trained and certified as YMCA Fitness instructors.

Who Can Participate?
All members 16 years of age and older are invited to join any fitness classes. Members need not register for a class. Youth members 13 - 15 years of age can attend fitness classes after completing a Youth Fitness Orientation and receiving a shoe tag.

Class Types*

Classes may vary at each Centre - please refer to the fitness schedule for specific times.

Learn to... Classes will teach you the basics of different group fitness classes. Please check the program event board each week to see which style of class is being featured. A great way to try something new.

Abs Blast This class concentrates on sculpting the abdominal muscles and focusing on core stability.

Athletic Hour A sports conditioning circuit class, without choreography, is designed to help you develop muscular strength, endurance, flexibility and balance.

Strength or Express Strength These classes provide overall body toning and conditioning using free weights, stability balls and other fitness equipment, with emphasis on muscular strength and endurance, postural awareness and stretching.

Box Fit This is a challenging workout, shaping shoulders, upper back, abs and legs with a series of jabs, hooks, punches and kicks. You can achieve endurance, balance, strength and stability.

Cardio Blast This class will take you through a cardio workout that will elevate your heart rate to burn fat and blast away calories.

Cardio Mix This blend of hi-lo impact aerobics, step, athletic moves, boxfit and more gives you something different all the time.

Core Fusion This mind-body class incorporates Yoga and Pilates inspired moves to promote core conditioning.

Gentle Fit This class is designed to improve cardiovascular flow, range of motion and strength levels. Great for those new to exercise or with joint problems.

Hi-Lo Classes put your entire favourite high and low impact aerobics together giving you lots of choice and variety in your workout.

On the Ball Adding the ball into your workout increases your mind/body awareness, core strength, balance and flexibility as you perform the work on an unstable base of support.

Power Circuit This is a 45 minute dynamic class that alternates cardiovascular with muscular endurance stations.

Power Mix A blend of hi-lo, step and box fit cardio to move and energize you.

Step involves stepping up and down in different combinations on a step. The step height can be adjusted for your fitness level and promotes cardiovascular training with variety.

Yoga Fitness Based on traditional yoga postures, this class focuses on strength, flexibility, breathing and relaxation techniques.

Zumba® Fuse Latin rhythms and easy to follow moves to create a dynamic, dance-based class.


Group Power® is now in all YMCA Membership Centres!

Group Power® is a weight training class that blasts your muscles with high-rep training. The class uses an adjustable barbell, weight plates and body weight. It combines squats, lunges, presses and curls with functional integrated exercises. Dynamic music and a motivating group atmosphere will get your heart rate up, make you sweat, and push you to a personal best!

During a Group Power® class you will perform the same routine for 4-6 weeks, then perform a varied routine from previous releases before we introduce a new release for the next 4-6 weeks. Like training on the fitness floor – Group Power® is meant to be a progressive workout which gives the participants time to learn, master and take it to the next level. It is your Hour of Power!


CycleFit Now available at all YMCA of Niagara Membership Centres

CycleFit is a cardiovascular fitness class held on indoor stationary bikes. It is conducted in a group setting and everyone controls his/her own intensity. Certified instructors guide and motivate particpants of all ages and fitness levels alike to work at their own pace while pushing their limits. The instructor uses music and instructional cycling techniques to guide participants through all types of terrain, flat roads, hills, rough trails, interval drills and more. The movements are fun, simple and easy to learn.

To ensure all members have a fair opportunity to participate, members are asked to sign up online. Class booking will open 60 minutes prior to the start of class, and the system will remain open until the class is full.

We ask members to arrive for classes 10 minutes early to make the bike adjustments necessary to fit your leg and torso length. Injury prevention and a proper workout are dependent upon proper fitting of the bike.

Everyone is in control or their own resistance level on the bike so each member works out at their own pace. Be sure shoelaces are tucked into shoes and wear shorts or pants that are tight at the ankle to prevent loose items getting caught in the crank arm of the bike.

For a complete listing of current aerobic and step classes available, visit one of our membership branches or download a current schedule. Please note that class types and styles may vary from Branch to Branch.

Water Fitness

Aquafit Aqua Fitness includes a cardio, stretching and strength component in the swimming pool. Since exercise in the water reduces the impact on joints, it is a gentle yet effective way to achieve fitness. Members may choose between shallow water aquafit or deep water aquafit, which requires some swimming ability.

Shallow Aquafit allows participants to perform many high impact cardio movements that can still be low impact with less chance of injury. The floor of the pool gives participants a sense of security and familiarity, especially those with weak swimming skills.

Deep Aquafit The focus of this class is on cardiovascular movements incorporating core stability and actively using abdominals. By having a class that depends on buoyancy eliminates the impact forces but still creates a challenge. Participants will struggle to stabilize their centre of buoyancy and maintain a vertical alignment.

Aquafit in Moderation Ideal for adults looking for a more subdued or moderate class. This class is shallow specific, combining moderate cardiovascular conditioning while increasing range of motion. Many movements used in a shallow aquafit class are adapted to meet the needs of participants with less intensity.

For a complete listing of current Aquafit classes available, visit one of our membership branches or download a current pool schedule. Please note that class types and styles may vary from Branch to Branch.

Senior Fitness

For many older adults, even the simplest daily tasks become a chore. Climbing stairs, reaching up to a top shelf, getting out of a chair or lifting a bag of groceries can be almost impossible for some older adults who have experienced a loss of strength, flexibility and endurance. The good news is that seniors can improve their health and do those daily tasks with greater ease by participating in a regular exercise program. This increase in physical ability also increases their independence.

Gentle Fit This exercise class is designed to increase flexibility, functional strength and endurance. Qualified instructors will lead participants through a variety of exercises using music and equipment for inspiration, motivation and assistance. Classes available at all branches and vary according to participants needs.

Aquafit includes a cardio, stretching and strength component in the swimming pool. Since exercise in the water reduces the impact on joints, it is a gentle yet effective way to achieve fitness. Members may choose between shallow water Aquafit or deep water Aquafit, which requires some swimming ability, and Aquafit in Moderation.

For a complete listing of current senior classes available, visit one of our membership branches or download a current schedule. Please note that class types and styles may vary from branch to branch.

Walk'n Run Available at all YMCA of Niagara Branches

Track Etiquette and Safety

Adults, students and youth aged 13-15 who have completed a Youth Fitness Centre Orientation have track privileges. On Sundays child members aged 6+ years may use the track when supervised within arm's reach of a parent/guardian who is also a member. Check the specific times at each branch.

There are lanes to suit your needs: walking, running and passing. (The Niagara Centre YMCA does not have a running lane due to the configuration of the track around the gym.) The outside lane has been designated as the walking lane as it includes a hand guide rail. Please use the lanes as designated above the track. The running/walking direction on the track changes every day, so be certain to check the direction arrow before stepping onto the track. You are also asked to signal your intention to pass, change lanes or leave the track by raising your hand and checking behind you before proceeding. As a courtesy to other members, when using the track with a partner, run/walk one behind the other rather than side by side.

What to Wear

Clean, non-marking running shoes are required to protect the specialized flooring. The YMCA also requires members to wear a t-shirt and tights, shorts or sweat pants. Running Outside The YMCA makes a great beginning and ending place for runners and walkers. Please remember to wear your locker key.

YMCA Fitness Leadership Training Program

The YMCA has a long history of encouraging individuals to assume responsibility for themselves and the welfare of others. The YMCA developed the first nationally recognized fitness leadership program and continues to train fitness leaders around the world. This certification training program will teach you how to design and lead an effective group fitness class and personal exercise programs.

Prerequisites: 16+years Notes: 100% attendance and participation required. Apprenticeship and Practicum hours completed outside of course time and are individually scheduled. Course end date for group fitness instructor specialization is dependent on chosen stream.

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