Tag Archives: exercise

Member Spotlight: Susan McBride

9 Aug
Susan has lived in Asheville for 16 years and has been a YWCA member on and off much of that time. With a little motivation and support from our LiveFit pilot program – Susan is back!
What brought you to YW originally? I wanted a quiet, clean work out space. I had joined the YMCA when I first moved here. Honestly, the YMCA had too much “M” for me. Guys would be working out on the weights, letting them drop, lots of grunting and groaning. Macho peacock displays of toughness weren’t something I was craving. Also, there would be folks waiting for the machines with impatience. I’m not sure if it’s still like that now. The YWCA health and Fitness Center was more appealing to me. The gym is clean and I rarely have to wait for a machine. The staff is kind, welcoming and helpful. There’s a broad range of people who use the gym and lots of little kids coming and going. It’s a lively, happy place. The group fitness studio used for yoga and other classes is also very nice.
How did you get involved with LiveFit? Out of the blue, I was contacted to be part of the pilot program. At first, I thought it was a promotional call, but it was a real offer to be part of something I was greatly in need of doing.
Tell us a little about your LiveFit experience:  I was looking to get back into a healthful routine after years of stressful work and family situations involving caregiving. I had fallen away from taking good care of myself, stress was ruling my world. Working out for me was a walk to the grocery store to get ice cream or wine. I was demoralized at being out of shape and overweight again – and the only person who could change that was exhausted, depressed me. Being part of this group was a gentle way to motivate into a more healthy routine, including good nutrition advice and support in exercising in many different ways.
Have you met any health & fitness goals yet? I have committed to working out 3 times a week and I’m sticking with that for the most part. I am also eating more healthy food. I’m a work in progress. (Aren’t we all?!)
What are your future goals? I want to do strength training and get comfortable with more equipment in the gym by working with a YW personal trainer – hopefully with Fran [who was an instructor with the LiveFit program.]
Who inspires you? People who are older than me, who are in great shape, quietly and humbly doing their thing in the gym. People who are ill, but continue to come to the gym and do their workouts. I am inspired by the staff as well. It’s good to see them working out too.
Favorite workout/class/machine:  The elliptical is a good cardio workout and easy on the knees. I also like the rowing machine and free weights.
What else do you like most about the YW? I love the childcare program. My daughter did an internship when she was a junior in high school and had an amazing experience caring for infants and learning about community outreach. I like to stop by and see the babies sometimes. They are so loved at the YWCA childcare center. I also love the officer who takes care of everybody at the YW. (That would be the one and only, Charlton Owens!) He tells folks to “get the car in gear and drive it like they stole it!” Then gives a military salute. He makes me laugh, he’s a great person.
Anything else you would like to share? Thank you for reaching out to me. The personal phone call to be part of the LiveFit pilot program was out of the ordinary and got my attention. Talking to real people about taking care of myself has been a gift!

Meet Our New Club W & Aquatics Staff!

21 Jul

Natalie AnneNatalie Anne, Yoga Instructor

Class or Classes do you teach?

I teach Gentle Yoga and Back Care Yoga.

Why should people come to your class?

People should come to my class because I offer a style of yoga that is truly effective. I call it vibrant breath yoga, because it is a moving meditation in which the breath inspires the physical practice. Each class is sequenced intelligently and we use PNF, or proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, to move in and out of poses before we hold them. This maximizes the stretching potential, but in the safest way possible.

Who should come to your class?

Come to my class if you want a gentle physical practice that mobilizes breath awareness to increase strength and flexibility.  The class is designed to leave you feeling relaxed and renewed. It for all ages and skill levels, and is beginner friendly as well.

Certifications/ Trainings/ Passions

I have my Asheville Yoga Center teacher training; Forrest Yoga teacher training; NC Licensed Massage & Bodywork Therapist; and I’m currently pursuing a certification in Yoga Therapy with Gary Kraftsow. My passions include biking, soccer, good food, nature walks and live music.

Tell us one thing our members may like to know about you.

I try not to take myself too seriously. As the saying goes, ‘laughter is the best medicine’.


Tiffany CopelandTiffany Copeland, Zumba® Instructor

What class (or classes) do you teach at the YWCA?

Zumba® Fitness

Why should people come to your class?

People should come to my class for a fun, and engaging party-like atmosphere while they workout. The camaraderie is encouraging and keeps you motivated.

Who should come to your class?

Everyone is welcome!


I am a Certified Group Fitness Instructor with a license to teach Zumba®  Fitness. I love people, music and dance. My favorite dance styles are salsa, merengue, soca, reggae, cumbia and hip-hop. I teach a variety of these dance styles in every Zumba®  class with easy to follow movements.

Tell us one thing our members may like to know about you.

I’ve lost over 40 pounds during my weight-loss journey!



Tara EdwardsTara Edwards, Fitness Associate

What brought you to the YWCA?

My passion for working with those who want to implement a healthier lifestyle. I wanted to train at a gym that is filled with positive energy and passionate members. The YWCA is just that! I have only lived in Asheville for a few weeks, but the YWCA already feels like home with its supportive and family-like community.

What suggestions do you have for people just beginning their workouts?

Do not compare yourself with those around you. Instead, focus on bettering yourself day by day. We all have to start somewhere, so never forget to keep pushing yourself each day and never give up. The transition from a sedentary lifestyle to an active and healthy lifestyle can be daunting, but the YWCA offers a supportive community to make that transition. You got this!!!

What is your workout like and your “go-to” healthy snack?

My workouts vary each week, which I believe is important. Keeping your body guessing all while working various muscle groups will increase your fitness level and push you out of your comfort zone. My cardiovascular workouts vary from swimming to kickboxing to hiking while my resistance training exercises implement my own bowy weight, machines, free weights and even tire flipping, and so much more! My “go-to” healthy snack is a banana, which is packed with nutrients and energy I need to keep myself going.


I’m an ACSM certified personal trainer, AHA CPR and AED “heart saver” (for health professionals) certified, Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Georgia with a major in Exercise Sports Science. My passions include: health, fitness, and helping others achieve their goals through personal training.

Tell us one thing our members may not know about you.

I am truly excited to continue to meet and get to know members here. Don’t hesitate to say hello or ask anything you would like to know about health and fitness. If you desire to make a positive, healthy change in your life, you are at just the place!


Emily RichterEmily Richter, Aquatics

What class (or classes) do you teach at the YWCA?

I will be teaching swimming lessons as a Water Safety Instructor (WSI). I am not sure exactly what classes I will teach yet, but it will likely be babies and young kids.

Why should people come to your class?

I have loved swimming and being in the water ever since I can remember. My mom has told me stories of my first swimming lessons as a baby and I think that it’s very important to introduce kids to the water as soon as possible. There is so much to enjoy and the sooner you get started the more comfortable you will be.

Who should come to your class?

Anyone who would like to learn to swim. While it’s great to start early, it’s never too late to learn. You should come to my class if you are interested in having fun and learning to love the water!


I have my Water Safety Instructor (WSI) certification, and am an avid swimmer and whitewater kayaker. I am currently training for a half Iron distance triathlon, which requires a 1.2 mile swim. I am passionate about the outdoors and enjoying life to the fullest!

Tell us one thing our Members may like to know about you.

I am an interior designer, graphic designer, and artist when I’m not teaching swimming lessons!



Club W Open House Monday, September 9

5 Sep

The public is invited to an Open House at Club W: The YWCA Health & Fitness Center on Monday, September 9.

Stop by 185 S. French Broad Avenue any time that day to try out classes, equipment, and the pool for free. There will be pump, Zumba, yoga, aerobics, Pilates, and cycle classes. Lap swim and water aerobics will be offered in the YWCA’s solar-heated pool.

In addition, the enrollment fee will be waived for anyone who joins Club W.

For more information, call 254-7206 x 213 or go to www.ywcaofavl.org.
club w

photo by sandra stambaugh

Have You Tried Tabata?

18 Apr

One of our new classes in Club W: the YWCA Health & Fitness Center is Tabata, which meets Mondays and Wednesdays at 11:30 am. This high intensity class is 30 minutes, allowing a members to fit a great workout into their busy days.

tabata-training-stop-watchNot sure what Tabata is? Tabata was founded in Japan by Izumi Tabata. He conducted tests on two groups of athletes; comparing moderate high intensity training with high intensity interval training. The results were that the athletes training in high intensity interval training improved their aerobic systems as well as their anaerobic system. The athletes who did the moderate high intensity training only improved their aerobic system and had little to no increase in their anaerobic system. Tabata is fun, blasts calories, and moves so quickly it’s hard to get bored. You do 20 seconds hard work, with 10 second rest then repeat for a series of cycles with a 30 second rest in between.

 The Wednesday class is taught by Ashleigh Shuford, a AFAA Certified Group Fitness Instructor, Personal Trainer, TurboKick and PiYo Strength Certified Instructor. She’s instructing classes for over 6 years (with a small break to focus on her little one). Says Ashleigh, “My favorite part of being a fitness instructor is motivating people to have a great time while working hard. I think exercise should be fun and a reward to yourself, not a chore! It’s awesome and super-rewarding to see people feel proud of themselves after a tough workout…that’s what makes them come back for more week after week!”

We encourage you to give Tabata a try! You can find a schedule of all of our Club W classes on our website. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact our Director of Health & Fitness Susan Macdonald at 254-7206 x 113 or smacdonald@ywcaofavl.org.

Resolve to be YOU

8 Jan

Resolutions might be about change, but successful resolutions start with acceptance – accepting who we are, what we want, and how we need to grow.

That’s what you’ll find at the heart of Club W, the YWCA’s premier health and fitness center. The facility itself has a spacious, fully equipped gym….a 75-foot-long solar-heated pool…a wide range of fitness and water exercise classes…a fitness studio with ergonomically designed floors…and FREE drop-in child care. But Club W is first of all about people.

It’s a place where everyone’s welcome. A place where people are building spirits as well as bodies. A place where change happens, and people are making a real difference in their lives.

Club W. Where you can be YOU.

Stop by for a tour any time – we are waiving our enrollment fee for the whole month of January.

Find out more on our website, www.ywcaofasheville.org or by calling Director of Health & Fitness Susan Macdonald at 254-7026 x 213.

cllub w free enroll

Health & Fitness Staff Spotlight

11 Dec

We have been honoring employees for their 5, 10 and 15 years of service to the YWCA. We are featuring those employees on this blog by department. Today we’ll celebrate  Health & Fitness staff.

Susan Macdonald – 10 Years of Service
Ten years ago the staff and board of the YWCA had a bright idea. “Let’s start a Fitness Center!” But, of course, no one had the least idea about how to go about doing that, and so the YW hired Susan Macdonald to make it happen. As director of the brand new Health and Fitness department, Susan purchased the machinery to furnish the gym and the studio, set up financial structures to ensure profitability, scheduled class, hired staff, and started spreading the word that Club W: The YWCA Health & Fitness Center was open for business. Since then, Club W has brought thousands of people into the YW to get healthy, and it makes money to support all of our other programs.

Clare Cook  5 Years of Serviceclare
Clare Loves the YWCA! In and out of the YWCA, Clare is always working to promote the YWCA and its mission to her friends, groups, co-workers, social media contacts and everyone she meets. She can be counted on not just to work hard, but represent the YWCA in a positive light. Members and staff comment what a joy it is to work with Clare. She is talented with excellent communication skills. We are proud to have her on our team.

Faces of Diabetes

14 Nov

November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and today is World Diabetes Day. To help raise awareness, we want to share the stories of people in our Diabetes Wellness program who have been impacted by this disease, and to celebrate how they manage (or prevent) it with exercise and nutrition.

Punkin Hoyt – Type 2 Diabetes

Wanting to lose weight and get her diabetes under control and with the recommendation from the Buncombe County Health Department, Punkin joined the YW Diabetes Wellness program. She has really appreciated learning lots of different ways to lose weight, and even better; keeping her weight down.  She really enjoys all the people she has met at the YW. “Everyone is so nice and considerate of others. There is always someone to help you along the way if you stumble or fall down – I had a few stumbles along the way but with the support of everyone, I got back on track.”

Cindy Anderson – Type 2 Diabetes

Cindy is 1 of 9 mentors to the YWCA Diabetes Wellness and Prevention program. Her successes are many: the loss of weight – 63#s, her A1C count at the start was over 13 and is now 6.2. But even better, she no longer is on insulin medication. Cindy credits the program “I totally believe in this program. It has made such a positive change in my life; mainly by integrating exercise into my daily routine. I started out struggling to even walk from the car to the front door of the YW and now I am an instructor here teaching various classes on land and in the water!” A true believer in weighing proper portions, she also credits healthy eating of lean protein, whole grains and lots of fruits and vegetables.

Robert Jones – Type 2 Diabetes

Depression and weight gain were the two main factors as to why Robert sought out the YWCA for help with his diabetes. He has lost both in weight and inches. Robert said that in the past he would just let life happen but now he has become more proactive and has developed a take charge attitude!  Way to go Robert!

Famia Carson – Pre-diabetes

Famia credits the skills she has learned through the Diabetes Prevention Program with helping her take better control of her life. “I was in a bad place and probably would not have left my house for fear of what other people would say about me.” Famia is a changed woman. She loves to cook so learning better ways preparing food and remembering to measure proper food portions are two key areas she emphasizes. Finding ways to stay motivated has made all the difference and Famia thanks her trainer Charley for that.

Jeff “JJ” McMikens – Type 2 Diabetes

“Don’t Quit!” and “build on your small successes.” These are just two affirmations JJ likes to quote when talking about his life and living with diabetes.  JJ will tell you that he struggled in the beginning. He began with walking on the treadmill eventually adding weight resistance work to his routine. He credits his involvement with Mission Hospital’s diabetes self-care course and the time spent with the pharmacist as extremely helpful.  JJ likes to point out that he has gone from taking 13 pills daily to 2. He feels the cooking classes and support group taught him the skills to become better at meal planning and with portion control. “I am an active participant in my own life.”  By participating in this program, his confidence level has grown. He has participated in walk-a-thons and on average, walks 2-3 miles a day. In fact, his success has motivated his daughter to take action and she has reported a drop of 6 sizes in her clothes! Congrats to you both!

For more information about the YWCA Diabetes Wellness and Prevention program, contact Director of Preventive Health Susan Kettren at 254-7206 x 212 or susan.kettren@ywcaofasheville.org.