Power in Numbers: 10

Get Motivated with Group Classes at the Bay Club

If fitness tops your list of priorities for the New Year, consider teaming up with others to boost your resolve to get and stay in shape.

Offering 116 group workout classes per week, the Bay Club in Thousand Oaks is known for creating an atmosphere where members reach their fitness goals through motivation and encouragement from their peers.

“Motivation’s the big part—it’s very difficult for almost everyone,” says Donna Connor, group fitness coordinator. “There are few people that can work out religiously on their own.”

Such members tend to feel more motivated and comfortable in the Bay Club’s group classes, which include yoga, Pilates and spinning, as well as step aerobics and kickboxing.

“I do small group personal training as well,” Connor says.

In such a setting, participants are more likely to show up—and be motivated to perform their personal best.

“If I was training you one-on-one, all you have to do is blow me off,” Connor hypothesizes.

“But when there are five other people there, you’re not going to blow off the five other people. For instance, if the others are doing 25 push-ups, you’ll be more likely to do 25 push-ups,” she says. “So motivation is the biggest thing, but also there’s a sense of community and camaraderie and being a part of something.”

In other group offerings, the Bay Club offers a fitness challenge in which the team that visits the club the most will receive a free lunch at the café, and the team captain will receive a cash award.

“You’re never going to push yourself as much if you are doing it by yourself,” says Dominique Kabaker, membership director.

For instance, “when you know that Suzy is waiting for you because she’s going to take a class with you, you will probably show up because you don’t want to let her down,” Kabaker says. “It’s been proven that you reach your goals faster when you are in a group situation because you motivate one another and then you’ll stick with it longer as well.”

Kabaker experienced this motivation firsthand when she broke her finger and couldn’t work out for three months.

When her finger was healed enough to start working out again, “I was able to do an exercise that I couldn’t do for months, and everybody was cheering me on. They’re like a family and they want you to do well, so it’s your little cheerleading committee.”

The family-like atmosphere is consistent throughout the Bay Club, where the staff greets every member by name upon their arrival.

“From the time you walk in and you talk to the front desk staff, they greet you by your first name, they are smiling, they are happy to see you,” Kabaker says.

This makes way for friendships, she adds, which also motivates members to return and maintain their workouts.

“Members create their own circle of friendship here and people don’t quit relationships, so they will stay with us longer because there is a relationship,” Kabaker explains. “So it’s like a second home and the people that come here are friends, so it’s a very unique place.”

Kabaker emphasizes that the Bay Club is more than a gym.

“It’s a whole experience,” she says. “Most gyms have equipment and classes and maybe sauna and steam rooms; you come in, do your workout, go home and you’re done. Here you have interaction with other people which is very unique to us; the hospitality we provide our members with is like nothing else,” Kabaker says. “Think of it as a first-class hotel combined with a health club. The only thing that we don’t have is the beds—we have everything else.”

Don Laird, business office manager, equates the Bay Club with “hospitality fitness.”

“We’re an all-in-one shop—the spa, the café, the kids club, over 100 group fitness classes—so here you get a combination of everything,” Laird says.

For instance, the Pure Energy Café, open seven days a week, offers freshly made meals and daily specials.

“They pretty much will make you anything you want,” Kabaker says. “I’m on a Paleo diet so I’m restricted, and every day they make me what I want to eat. If you’re gluten-free, Paleo—whatever dietary restrictions you might have—they will make it for you. It has five stars so people from all over come, especially on the weekends, just to have the food because it’s so fabulous.”

On a recent day, menu items included chicken stir fry, goat cheese chicken salad and green spicy veggie enchiladas.

“They do catering as well,” Kabaker says. “And they also do curbside delivery so you can drive your car here and they will bring you your food.”

The In Touch Massage & Day Spa onsite provides a range of services, including oxygen infusion facials, cupping and bowen therapy, spray tanning and eyelash extensions.

There are also steam rooms and saunas, as well as a heated pool.

“We offer very high-end amenities in the locker rooms—we carry essential oil products which are all organic and originally from San Francisco,” Kabaker says. “And we have complimentary cold eucalyptus towels, which the members like a lot.”

In other perks, the Bay Club has a complimentary concierge service on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.

“So we have an attendant that will provide you with hair ties, razors, a flat iron,” Kabaker says. “If you need your shoes to be shined, if you need your clothes to be pressed, if you need a button to be sewn—they do all of that.”

There’s also a kids club that’s open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“It’s great for the parents to know that their kids are going to be in a nurturing environment that is safe and fun while they are working out or going to the spa or meeting their friends for lunch at the cafe,” Kabaker explains.

The Bay Club is also dedicated to charitable work in the community, in line with its mission statement. This past Thanksgiving, for instance, the club was a food collection site for the needy.

“We’re very socially conscious, so we do a lot of charity fundraisers here,” Kabaker adds.

For more information, call 805.778.0888 or visit BayClubs.com/ThousandOaks. The Bay Club is located at 2400 Willow Road in Thousand Oaks.