Choosing Your Next Local Workout
By Taylor Smith
Princeton residents take in pride in their health and many are avid gym members, cross-fitters, and weight lifters. Just like people in various parts of the world who might resort to finding personal trainers from websites like Gymset, the people in this part of the world too, have kept up with their health, maintaining it regularly. In that light, if you are new to the workout scene, Princeton Magazine has gathered together a list of our favorite local spots. Time to sweat!
Princeton YMCA (princetonymca.org) is community oriented. You will see people of all ages taking swim classes, dance classes, and other group activities. The basketball court is great fun for pick-up games when the weather turns cold. There is also a brand-new health and wellness facility known as The Jim & Nancye Fitzpatrick Wellness Center. A full-facility membership allows for access to all of these separate amenities.
CrossFit Nassau (crossfitnassau.com) backs onto the Princeton University Engineering School and is accessible from Nassau Street. CrossFit is a style of workout that incorporates high-intensity interval training, weightlifting, and calisthenics. This particular club offers several unique programs like an Olympic weightlifting club and a running club on Monday and Wednesday nights. All newcomers will be required to complete an “On Ramp” program that serves as an introduction to CrossFit techniques and movements. Squats, deadlifts, and presses are the name of the game.
Princeton Fitness & Wellness Center (princetonfitnessandwellness.com), located off of Route 206, has been a favorite of locals for many years. The facilities are spotless and there always seems to be a plethora of trainers to help out anyone who asks. At this gym more than any other, you will notice a lot of personal training. As a member, the wellness center makes it easy to format a workout regime with a personal trainer or to visit with the onstaff nutritionist (Second location at 7 Plainsboro Road, Plainsboro).
New York Sports Club (mysportsclubs.com) is a tiny studio at the Princeton Shopping Center. For such a small space, they pack a lot in. Machines are of high-quality and well-maintained. There is a very comfortable weight room that is female friendly and not at all intimidating. Class offerings are minimal but they are popular nonetheless. Due to their location, there is always parking and you can easily swing by one of the many food markets and restaurants for a postworkout pick-me-up.
Can Do Fitness Club (candofitness.com) at Princeton Forrestal Village feels luxurious. Besides the indoor lap pool, there are over 100 pieces of cardio equipment and strength training stations. They offer daily fitness classes and personal training. Receive a post-workout massage at the Koi Spa Salon. The café, atrium, and lounge area are perfect for unwinding. You might even want to just hang out here.
Pennington-Ewing Athletic Club (PEAC) (www.peachealthfitness.com) boasts two indoor international squash courts, racquetball courts, tennis courts, basketball courts and an indoor track. Their fitness equipment, three exercise studios, wireless entertainment systems, and private stretching areas are first class. Another added bonus is the recently expanded Kid Space, which offers an infant crib room, toddler area, and computer/ gaming stations for older children. 2014 marks their 17th anniversary.
Pedal Stroke (pedalstrokestudio.liveeditaurora.com) is an indoor spin studio in West Windsor. If you are familiar with the Flywheel or Soul Cycle chains, you will be pleasantly surprised by the similarities. Pedal Stroke is all spin, all the time. The staff is very dedicated and extremely fit. Take a class with any one of the spin instructors and you will find yourself being physically challenged every single time. During each class, the lights go off and the music comes on. Riders can track their “stats” on the viewing board or on the screen of each bike. Classes last 60 minutes, so remember to bring plenty of water. Towels are provided. New barre classes will begin this fall to complement the cycling.
Bikram Yoga Plainsboro (www.bikramyogaplainsboro.com) is located at Plainsboro Village Center, only 2 miles from Route 1. Classes are offered throughout the week and are all 90-minutes in length. Conducted in a heated room, Bikram Yoga is designed to work deep into your muscles and tendons. The heat also increases flexibility, improves circulation, and is a great form of stress release. In terms of pricing, the studio offers a New Student Intro Week Special. Guests can also drop-in for a single session or purchase class packages. Locker rooms and showers are available for men and women.
RWJ Fitness & Wellness Center (rwjhamiltonwellness.com) on Quakerbridge Road in Mercerville is an affiliate of the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick. Besides workout classes, RWJ offers frequent free health seminars and screenings. These educational lectures and programs are unique among gyms. There is also an impressive selection of cardio equipment with top name-brands like Woodway, TechnoGym, Cybex, and Nautilus.
Newtown Athletic Club (NAC) (newtownathletic.com) is located just off the highway (95 South) in Newtown, Pa. The gym resembles a campus and the first thing you will notice is the sheer size of the place. There is an outdoor pool, indoor pool, outdoor and indoor tracks and green spaces. Inside the main building is a basketball court and several studios where their many classes take place. In fact, there is a class for every taste and they occur all day long (from 5:30AM to 8PM). If you need structure to your workouts, NAC is the place to go. The number of classes will keep you busy all year long. Weight areas are light-filled and open. The main cardio room features extra-large TV screens and a multitude of machines. One of the advantages of belonging to such a large gym is that there are always available machines.