By Marissa Willman
Children’s fitness, healthy lifestyle choices, confidence-building and a nurturing, non-competitive environment are the name of the game at My Gym in Palm Desert, a fitness center that caters to children from six weeks to nine years of age.
“Through physical fitness, we teach a lot of skills,” said My Gym Palm Desert owner Nancy Scott. “We lead our children through activities to become more well-rounded individuals who are healthy and make healthy choices.”
My Gym’s classes are separated by targeted age groups, such as the Little Bundles class for newborns from six weeks to six months of age. The facility’s philosophy is to let children show their parents and instructors what they can and can’t do, rather than letting the instructors and parents dictate.
Without imposed limits, children surprise their parents and instructors with what they are able to do, Scott said.
Infant classes focus on skills such as body awareness, core strengthening and social skills. Parents also learn tricks to soothe their babies and gain confidence in physically handling their infants. As children get older, My Gym’s programs begin to focus on physical skills like running and jumping, and social skills like teamwork.
“Many times, a child has never worked as a team before,” Scott said. “In those classes, we’re working on cooperative games and learning to take turns in addition to strengthening and stretching.”
Because the classes focus on allowing the child to lead instructors and parents to show them what they can do, Scott said children on the autism spectrum have been particularly successful at My Gym.
“We work with each child to meet at least a little goal each time they come,” Scott said. “Our goal is to make sure each child feels successful after every class.”
My Gym’s environment is always non-competitive and supportive, and children are rewarded as they progress with a sticker system. The structure is very successful, Scott said.
“Kids who couldn’t do a forward roll are not only doing it a month later, but perfecting it,” Scott said.
All instructors undergo background checks, and Scott maintains a 6:1 ratio of children to instructors to ensure a safe and supervised environment where children get plenty of individual attention without being overwhelmed by a large class.
“Some children get overwhelmed on a soccer field,” Scott said. “Because we maintain a 6-to-1 ratio, they can come to My Gym and learn how to kick or catch a ball in a safer, smaller environment without the fear of competition.”
Each Monday, the facilities modular gym equipment is cleaned and rearranged to create a brand new experience. Children often think the equipment is brand new, Scott added.
“But we’ve never duplicated anything,” Scott said.
The My Gym owner also believes there’s also an important social component to My Gym, where children and families build lifelong friendships.
“I always hear parents say, ‘We met at My Gym when the kids were babies and now they’re in middle school together,” Scott said.
My Gym was located in the Palm Desert Town Center Shopping Center for 15 years before Scott moved to the facility to a new location in an industrial, mixed-use center off of Monterey Ave. and Dinah Shore near I-10.
“As nervous as I was about moving, it was the best thing we ever did,” Scott said. “We’re breaking record numbers, which is a big surprise.”
Rather than charge hefty annual membership fees on top of per class rates, My Gym members pay a one-time lifetime membership fee and a monthly rate for classes. The monthly rate includes one structured class and two free play sessions each week for a total of 12 sessions per month.
Last month, My Gym kicked off its summer camp program. Summer Camp at My Gym is a half-day program that members and non-members alike can attend by the day or by the week. The summer camp program is for potty-trained children, generally between ages 3 and 9. Many of the physical activities from a regular class are incorporated into summer camp, as well as extra physical activities such as relays, gymnastics and tumbling. The physical activities are broken up with sessions for arts and crafts, Fairy Tale Theater and singing.
In keeping with promoting healthy lifestyle choices, camp kids are served healthy snacks, such as fruits and veggies, and water instead of juice.
My Gym’s summer camp program runs through August 24th. Scott said some weeks for camp have already sold out but generally, there is still fairly good availability.
My Gym’s facilities can also be rented out for birthday parties, which Scott said is one of their most popular offerings. My Gym’s staff runs the entire event, from unloading the car to picking the child’s favorite music and games and supervising the party. Families get full use of the facility during birthday parties as only one party is run at a time, and members receive special discounts.
“We make it really easy for the parents to sit back, take pictures and enjoy the party,” Scott said. “The children have an absolute blast, the parents don’t have to host and their birthday child is king for the day. We make the birthday child the star of the show.”
My Gym also offers its Parents’ Night Out program periodically, a 3-hour drop-off babysitting service for children two years of age or older. While parents get three hours to enjoy a date night, My Gym’s staff plays with the children and serves a healthy dinner. Scott said one of the best benefits is that the children are already comfortable with My Gym’s staff and parents know they can trust the facility, allowing them to truly enjoy their night out.
“We usually sell out within 24 hours,” Scott said.
Free introductory classes are also available for new visitors and those who haven’t been to My Gym in a few years.
“We always offer a complementary class for a local child,” Scott said. “Even it’s been a few years since you’ve been to My Gym, we’ll do a complementary class again. We want everyone to be comfortable before signing up.”
The Little Bundles class for newborns is free with a lifetime membership, Scott said. My Gym will also be offering unlimited classes in August, where members can come to as many classes and free play sessions as they want for the regular monthly fee.
To receive special deals and announcements, join My Gym’s mailing list by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit mygym.com/palmdesert or call (760) 346-6307.
My Gym Palm Desert
73-760 Dinah Shore Dr.