Find Your Fitness Fun with South Sound YMCA Instructors


Now is the perfect time to add in, change up or engage in fitness that fits your style. Let the South Sound YMCA be your place to find the instructor and the exercise class that suits your needs. “Find your way at the YMCA,” suggests Betsy Winter, Nia Black Belt and fitness instructor. You’ll meet people while you tend to your well-being. There’s variety from A to Z, aqua exercises to Zumba. “There are so many great instructors that I go to other classes,” says Rachel Hofmeister, another of the YMCA’s popular instructors.

Rachel Hofmeister doing a squat with a resistance loop
YMCA Fitness Instructor Rachel Hofmeister (pictured) uses resistance bands during her Wonderful Wednesday Walkers, an outside fitness group. Photo credit: Mary Ellen Psaltis

Meet Rachel Hofmeister, Leads Senior Fitness and Walking

Arrive by 10 a.m. on Wednesdays to join the Wonderful Walkers. Rachel guides the group for a 3.5-mile loop that gets people’s blood and feet moving. “Walking is a great exercise,” she says.

It’s a bit of follow-the-leader, as Rachel may walk sideways or backwards. You’ll go up and down hills while you engage your body and your brain. Participants have a chance to chat along the way.

The group walks rain or shine, unless it’s pouring. “I mix it up,” explains Rachel. Sometimes the walk ends at nearby Kettle Park when her bag of elastic bands is opened. The poles that hold up the covered structure are perfect for engaging arms, legs and torsos in exercises. The shelter provides cover when it’s misty.

Rachel taught at the former downtown YMCA location years ago when her two boys were young and wanted to learn to swim. It’s where their dad learned to swim. Being married to a man in Special Services, life took the Hofmeisters to other parts of the US and Germany for 12 years.

Retirement from the military allowed the family to settle again in Olympia. The boys are now 18 and 20, but still enjoy being active with the family. The three males are planning a trip to the Appalachian Trail. “We do stuff!” laughs Rachel. It’s important to her to assist people in gaining confidence to move. “People are capable of more than they realize,” she adds.

One walker comes to stay in condition for all the hiking that he and his wife do in Thurston County and overseas. “I come because of the instructor,” chimed in another walker.

“We really have a good time. I love seeing my students,” says Rachel. People can be found talking before class or heading for coffee afterwards. Rachel is planning to add other fitness certifications to expand her class offerings.

Betsy Winter in a tank top against a black background
Betsy Winter (pictured) is a Nia Blackbelt and instructor at the YMCA. She invites you to attend this engaging fitness class. Photo courtesy: Betsy Winter

Meet Betsy Winter, Nia Instructor and Nia Black Belt

An excellent way to get to know Betsy is to take one of her Nia classes. The session integrates movement to connect the mind, body, spirit, heart and brain. Nia blends the joy of dance and mindfulness in ways that support creating new neuropathways and overall well-being. It is truly a class for all ages and abilities. It’s even possible to do it while sitting in a chair. Two people in their 90s attend the class. The low-impact aspect gives a full body workout without the pounding stress. However, don’t think your body and brain don’t work.

Betsy curates each class to match the needs of the participants that day. “I love my people!” she says, and it shows. She calls people by their names, and people interact with her before and afterwards. “Every body is different and everybody is respected,” assures Betsy.

The Nia classes are offered three times a week.  Outside of the YMCA, Betsy is the director of community support for Return to Zero: H.O.P.E. It is an organization that provides holistic and compassionate support for people who have experienced loss from miscarriage, still birth, loss of surrogacy, failed adoption and other grievous parental experiences. She is a Perinatal Grief and Trauma Somatic Specialist. Additionally, Betsy is certified as a Mind Body Coach with her own practice. With two children at home and a husband, Betsy keeps a full schedule.

Olympia Fitness at the YMCA: Plentiful Selection

“The classes at the YMCA have high-quality instructors, and they are sensitive to the varying levels of ability in their classes,” says Betty Baily, who used to go to the YMCA, took a break and now is back. “I’ve enjoyed Zumba, Nia and yoga classes over the years,”

What are you waiting for? The possibilities are amazing:

Barre: You need not be a ballerina to improve your muscles and strength

BodyAttack: High energy, interval training

BodyPump: Light weights, many reps for lean, fit bodies

BodyFlow: a mix of yoga, tai chi and Pilates

BodyStep: Choreographed step for stamina and coordination

Boot Camp: Get support to increase endurance and over all power

Chair Yoga, Gentle Yoga and others: Develop flexibility, strength and balance

Commit Dance Fitness: HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) dance work out

Core & Conditioning: just right for core and lower back

Cycling “Outdoors” or indoors: Peddle your way to fitness

Mixxed Fit: Hip-hop dance inspired

Nia: transformative body movement

Pickleball: Whatever your level, join the popular action on the court

Pilates: Core is central to improving stability, muscle control and resilience

Rizzmic: High intensity dance/fitness experience with music from the last century of American culture

Senior Fitness and Strength & Balance

Strength Sculpt & Stretch: use light hand weights and body weight to gain strength

Tia Chi: varied levels: focus through deep breathing and focused movements

Torch & Tone: HIIT with strength training plus fun

TRX: with a special tool, you can improve lean muscle and build muscle

people with their hands wrapped around poles, stretching away from it with their feet up against them.
The YMCA offers many fun, engaging fitness classes for Thurston County. Rachel Hofmeister leads an outdoor walking class for all ages. Photo credit: Mary Ellen Psaltis

Wonderful Wednesday Walkers

Various Zumba: Latin vibes for dancing and cardio workout

Water Exercise Classes

Aqua Zumba: It’s a party for an invigorating workout

Deep Water Exercise: increase your stamina

Hydro Fit: Use both shallow and deep water for your workout and stretching

Joints in Motion: Recovering from an injury or surgery? Check this out.

Swish Splash: low impact, full body satisfaction

Water Exercise: Use the length of the pool for a total body workout

Water Volley Ball for Seniors: Pool time with others

The YMCA has membership options for singles and family groups. Seniors may qualify for classes at no cost through their insurance with programs like Silver Sneakers or Silver and Fit. When you download the YMCA app you can check on classes and upcoming events. For more information, visit the South Sound YMCA website.

South Sound YMCA Locations
Briggs Community YMCA
1530 Yelm Highway SE, Olympia
Plum Street YMCA
505 Plum Street SE, Olympia
Shelton Family YMCA
3101 N. Shelton Springs Road, Shelton


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