Exercise for out-of-shape mom?

Is there a gym or other exercise studio near Piedmont that is not filled with women who are already in excellent shape? I'm a middle-aged, overweight, out-of-shape mom who is looking for a place where I won't stand out and look ridiculous because I can't keep up. Would like to see a variety of body shapes and sizes, ages, etc. Also need convenient/ ample parking - I know about the Oakland Y but the lack of easy parking is going to be a hinderance to me going regularly.  Thanks!

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May be far for you, but Happy Hour Fitness in Albany is very welcoming of all sizes, ages and abilities. 

I highly recommend a peloton!  Get the bike.  With your subscription, you also have access to on demand strength, yoga, running, etc content.  There is a huge Peloton Facebook community.  If you join, you can find support/accountability partners and groups.   The community of people is made up of all shapes and sizes.  No one will shame you for being out of shape.  It’s all encouragement.

The Berkeley ymca is full of all shapes, ages, and fitness levels. I like it because you can pick an exercise you like (for me it is dancing and the occasional “body sculpt” class) and participate at your level. 

I entered as a super out of shape mom and am now a mildly in shape one. 

I look at the 80 year olds in my class and think “if they can do it so can I”.

once you find a class you like, other members or the instructors are generally able to point you to similar classes at that level. 

Parking is ok— 1$ with validation after 4 pm and sometimes on the weekend. 

Good luck getting moving.

I belong to Bay-o-Vista Tennis Club on the Oakland/San Leandro border. They have great parking, all shapes/sizes, many amenities and for me the best part is $1 a day daycare. Everyone staff and members that I have encountered have been very friendly. I have never felt judged and never have to wait for equipment. 

Check out Oakland Adventure Boot Camp. Classes are at the Lake Merritt columns for the 5:30 and 6:30am classes, and at Lake Temescal for their 9am class. I was an out-of-shape mom a little over a year ago, and have really enjoyed finding a community within this group of women. It fits your requirements around people of varying body shapes, sizes, ages and abilities as well. It's definitely tough when you first start out, but stick with it, and it gets easier. Good luck in your search!

Not sure if you are aware of this but the Oakland Y has an attached parking garage that is super easy. It does cost $3 an hour, but that’s commensurate with nearby street parking. I love the Y for many reasons, including the one you’re talking about.

Hi, I go to the Mariner Square Athletic Center in Alameda, and it meets your criteria and not much further than the Oakland Y. It's just through the tube from downtown Oakland, so practically in Oakland. There is a big parking lot, and it is next to a large shopping complex with even more parking. There are a wide variety of folks going -- plenty of seniors and middle-aged folks, plus younger folks, lots of different body types including overweight. There are a lot of amenities (pool, hot tub, towel service, etc.) and a lot of great classes, some of which are taught by seniors (it's not a place where all the instructors are 25 and buff). There's also a large variety of classes, with some more intense and some more gentle. I particularly like Cardio Sculpt or Step Combo with Thomas; it's a great combination of aerobics, step routine, hand weight lifting, and core exercise, plus stretches, that is easily adjustable to all fitness levels and the teacher is great and makes everyone feel comfortable and have fun. If your kid/kids are young, there is an excellent onsite child care for babies through I think age 12, not sure on upper limit. I recommend it. 

I recommend Hipline near Lake Merritt, which offers very fun dance and fitness classes for women. 

They're a self-described "judgment-free space" and you'll see all ages, colors, sizes, and fitness levels. As a middle-aged woman, I always feel welcome. I also like that the dance classes are more about shaking it than nailing the choreography.

The studio is next to Trader Joe's and parking is available in the TJs lot. They also have in-house daycare, though I've never used it. 

I would recommend Flex on Piedmont. Definitely not an intimidating gym. Lots of people of different ages and ability. It’s street parking but it’s usually not hard to find 

Hipline is a body positive and great place for women of all ages and sizes!


Try Flying Studios in Temescal. Relatively easy parking. Lots of dance fitness classes, start with their Zumba offerings. Why? Because the zumba classes are simple to follow, very forgiving of not "knowing" the moves with lots of encouragement to just keep moving until you become more familiar with the songs. Give yourself at least 3 sessions with each teacher before contemplating whether you like their class or not. There is a variety of folks, older, younger, bigger, smaller. Everyone starts somewhere.

The Oakland Y has a cheap parking garage-- parking is no problem there!  

There is parking in a garage for members at the Oakland Y. Just call them and ask if you want more info. They are great! We took our son there for swimming lessons in the fall and the staff is so helpful and there are women of all shapes and sizes in the locker room and hot tub. 

I had a membership for a few years at Mariner Square Athletic Club in Alameda (just through the tube), and always loved how anonymous it felt in that regard. Lots of different people, shapes, and sizes. Their classes are great (yoga and zumba, specifically), and they have a pool. Also, if you ever want to walk or work out casually sometime, please feel free to hit me up. I'm also middle aged and woefully out of shape.

I don't have recommendations, but could be a walking buddy, if you want to walk the lake together some day. I was also hindered by the Oakland Y's parking situation.  Let's motivate each other to get moving! 

I'm a 37-year-old, overweight, out-of-shape (newish) mom and I know how you feel! I worked out at Flex Circuit Gym on Piedmont Avenue for years before I moved to Berkeley last month. I loved that gym because it was very welcoming and inclusive: you see every shape, size, and age. There's a public parking lot about a half block away or people also park in the Wells Fargo parking lot at night, which has ample parking. Good luck with your search! 

I'm currently trying to see if a treadmill in my living room is the solution that will work for me, but I wanted to recommend the Berkeley y's women's gym. They have a whole area that is no men allowed and the vibe is amazing, friendly and inclusive. 

In addition to classes/gym I highly recommend the MommaString program. It’s online workout videos, 15 minutes a day, $5/month with an incredibly supporting & empowering message for moms (by a mom, and with a big online community if you choose to join it). Can’t say enough great things about it!