My Gym: A place for children where fitness = fun
In the past 30 years, childhood obesity has more than doubled in America, making it very important for children to become more active during their time of play. Over 25 years ago, My Gym, a children’s fitness center, was created to help children develop physically, cognitively, and emotionally through fitness activities.
We spoke with Jason Manzanares, Manager of My Gym’s Temecula site, located at Kimco’s Palomar Village Shopping Center, to learn more about My Gym Children’s Fitness Center.
Can you tell us a little about My Gym? When was it founded? How many locations are there currently?
Manzanares: My Gym was founded in 1983 and there are over 325 locations worldwide. The Temecula Valley location was founded in 2007 and since then we’ve built children’s self-esteem and confidence by giving them the thrill of accomplishment from achieving a physical task. Interaction with our highly trained staff provides children the opportunity to establish warm relationships with compassionate adults, thus raising their level of comfort as they begin preschool/kindergarten. Our My Gym kids learn more about themselves as they develop independence, self-discipline, social skills, and even a sense of humor, all of which lead to an increased feeling of self-worth. A child who feels good about him/herself has a jumpstart on the path to success.
How many employees are there?
Manzanares: We have six employees at our Temecula location.
What types of classes do you offer? How many children are typically in a class?
Manzanares: We have classes that are broken up into eight separate age groups to target specific needs and abilities for children of all ages. Our younger classes are “parent and me” classes that include music, dance, games, special rides, and other original activities. As children get older and move up an age group, they become more independent to a level where they are following directions and participating in gymnastics, relays, team games, and sports without the assistance of a parent. Our oldest age classes are fast-paced and high energy to increase a child’s heart rate as they learn about their bodies and muscle groups. We typically maintain a six-to-one student-to-teacher ratio.
What other services do you offer?
Manzanares: We offer birthday parties customized for all age groups, where the birthday child is always the big star of the event. We do other events such as Parents’ Night Out where children can play, eat pizza, and have fun with their favorite My Gym teachers on a selected Friday night, while parents can have an evening to themselves.
Can you tell us a little about the Building Blocks program?
Manzanares: We just started working on getting the Building Blocks program off the ground in Temecula. This program will be starting sometime next year. The Building Blocks program is an interactive skill and development tracking system that helps to celebrate key milestones between kids, parents, and My Gym teachers.
At My Gym, you don’t only focus on the fitness aspect but also the physiological, psychological, and sociological aspects to ensure that each program is safe and age appropriate for all age ranges. Can you give us some insight on how you accomplish this?
Manzanares: We keep our age groups very narrow. This allows us to target very specific needs and abilities at every age. We have 11 separate classes, segmented by age group: Little Bundles, ages six weeks through six months; Tiny Tykes, ages seven to 13 months; Waddlers, ages 14 to 22 months; Gymsters, 23 months to 2 ½ years; Terrific Tots, 2 ½ years to 3 ¼ years; Art Explorers; three to eight years; Mighty Mites, 3 ¼ to 4 ½ years; Whiz Kids, 4 ½ years to six years; All Star Sports, four to seven years; Champions, six to eight years; and Cardio Kids, seven to 13 years old.
How do you promote your services?
Why did you choose a location at Palomar Village Shopping Center?
Manzanares: We picked this center primarily because of the location and we heard good things about Kimco.
Fitness centers continuing to flourish
Due to the childhood obesity issue mentioned in the beginning of the post, the importance of physical fitness for children has grown in popularity in communities across the country. Last year, there were 460,000 children under 13 using personal trainers, according to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, an industry trade group serving the global health club and fitness industry. This number is triple the amount of children using personal trainers just five years ago. Child-oriented fitness centers like My Gym should continue to rise in popularity to help children grow developmentally and physically through play-oriented exercise. Thank you for speaking with us Jason.
This has been an installment of StoreFront, an interview series with leaders of successful retail businesses. For more interviews, visit the StoreFront page. To learn how you can be featured, email us. We’d love to hear from you.