5 expensive workouts you can do at the Charlotte YMCA on the cheap

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I am the greater Charlotte YMCA’s biggest fan. I like that I can show up whenever I want, I like that I don’t have to talk to anyone, I like that when I’m there (at non-peak times to avoid crowds, of course) it’s just me and the retirees and they remind me fitness is about longevity not vanity, I like that it’s super cheap, and I like that there are tons and tons of class options.

I don’t take as many group fitness classes as I’d like because I struggle to abide by any sort of routine scheduling and I’m more of a free weights kind of girl, but I’ve taken quite a few sporadically and always find them to be high quality workouts.

YMCA Charlotte group class

Fitness is big business in Charlotte and while I freaking love a lot of our expensive boutique fitness concepts (think Hilliard, Flywheel, etc.), paying anywhere from $15 to $27 per class is just not happening. Monthly memberships come at a volume discount and are, of course, a smarter investment but then I feel locked down to one venue.

At the Y, I can have it all (or at least approximations of it all) in one place. There are dozens and dozens of group classes each week, but here are five of the trendier workouts you might not know are available at the YMCA…

Search for specific branch classes and times here.


Three Charlotte YMCAs now offer CrossFit as an add-on to membership: Ballantyne ($90/month), Harris ($70/month) and Gateway Village ($90/month). Compare this to the going rate of $150-$200/month at a stand alone box (CrossFit word for “gym”) and it’s a steal. I’ve heard grumblings from CrossFitters that the Y option isn’t the real deal, but CrossFit itself begs to differ, praising the Charlotte YMCA-CrossFit partnership in this blog on the official site.

YMCA Crossfit

Indoor Cycling

Flywheel took the Charlotte fitness scene by storm, bringing its high-energy, club-like, competitive indoor stadium cycling to the area a few years ago. I love it, but if $21/class or $180/month isn’t in the budget you can hit up indoor cycling classes offered 7 days a week at the Y. I did these back when I was training for my triathlon last year and while it’s not near the full Flywheel experience (think dimmed lights, intense music and monitors tracking your progress and place against other participants), it gets the job done. The thing about cycle is it’s as hard as you want to make it. I can sit in the back row and coast or I can crank up the resistance and kick my own butt. Instructors and overall experience are important motivators, but the participant is the one in the driver’s seat. Literally.

YMCA cycle

Pilates Reformer

Charlotte YMCA offers Pilates Reformer private training sessions at Harris Express, Dowd, Siksey and Morrison branches for about $35-55 per hour for 1-2 people. The price is steep but is cheaper than other studios and it pays for the one-on-one attention and expensive equipment you’re using. (Reformers cost somewhere in the order of thousands.)

YMCA pilates

Hot Yoga

Yoga is offered at most locations but heated classes are only available at Siskey, Gateway Village, Ballantyne Village and Dowd branches. Yoga classes are part of your Y membership so there is no additional charge here. Win.

YMCA yoga


Like yoga, barre classes are included in your regular membership and are available multiple times a week at these branches: Dowd, Lake Norman, Harris, Harris Express, Dowd, Childress Klein, Stratford Richardson, University City, Sally’s, Harris, Morrison Family, Steele Creek, Siskey, Johnston.

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Katie Levans Loveluck
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Co-Founder and Creative Director