West park village group exercise participants in the group exercise room
The West Park 5:30 am crew!

As the New Year unfolds, many individuals embrace the opportunity of starting fresh on day one of the new calendar year. Various resolutions and goals are set, ranging from weight loss, improving one’s finances, being mindful of mental health or losing weight. However, the West Park Village YMCA “5:30 am crew” is not setting new goals.  

As each year closes out and another begins, the crew has one consistent goal – holistic wellness and strengthening friendships.  

The group started 10 years ago as strangers in a fitness class. It quickly grew, and friendships formed thanks to Wellness Instructor, Melinda Lewis. They are now a tight-knit group that still works out together every Monday and Wednesday at 5:30 am.  

A crew member, Julie Martin, shares, “Not many people enjoy early workouts, so I am thankful we found each other through Melinda’s classes. I enjoy her workouts because they are always different and always challenging. Plus, the people make it fun.”  

Toufic Moumne has been a member of the YMCA for roughly eight years and participates in multiple classes Melinda teaches. He aims to work out five to six days a week and plans to run 50 miles and bike 200 miles per month this year. He shares, “The group helps me reach my goals.”  

“I have many memories with this group. I am very motivated when I work out with a group. Additionally, we have many social gatherings together which made us closer friends.”  

Susan Jacobson is one of the newest members of the crew and shares, “Everyone has been great, welcoming, encouraging. They give me grief when I miss a morning boot camp. I do have a lot of fun with Toufic since we are the “Seniors” of the group, but we seem to keep up pretty well.”  

The journey to reaching your New Year’s wellness goals is not just about the destination but also about the growth, resilience and self-discovery that occur along the way. Finding a connected community that will keep you accountable and celebrate each step toward your goal is essential.  

Melinda shares, “Getting up early isn’t the easiest thing to do, but it’s easier if you know your friends will be there."  

You can join Melinda, the crew and the thousands of members throughout our YMCA in becoming a healthier, stronger, and more vibrant you in 2024!

Published Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024.