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Tone Up T-Town: Bridget Jones Takes on Group Cycling - Druid City Living, Tuscaloosa's premier community newspaper.

Tone Up T-Town: Bridget Jones Takes on Group Cycling

Ray Brignac is one of the many dedicated group exercise instructors for the YMCA. Ray Brignac is one of the many dedicated group exercise instructors for the YMCA. Sheena Gregg

As a dietitian, I know food, but I’m woman enough to admit I don’t know as much about exercise. After rejuvenating my own fitness journey earlier this year, I’ve been blown away at the number of exercise options in Tuscaloosa. If you’re anything like me, you like to get the 411 on any fitness facility before you try it out.  To help all of us out, I’m now heading out in the field, a la Bridget Jones-style, to try everything out for our faithful DCL readers. 

To kick-off this fitness feature, I decided to visit and learn more about Tuscaloosa’s YMCA. Having been in our community for over 60 years, it only seemed natural to feature one of our oldest fitness organizations in Tuscaloosa in this inaugural column.  

According to Wellness Director Ken Hill, the YMCA is for everyone.  

“We have members who have been working out their entire life, and we have some that have just started. We tell everyone we are ‘more than a gym’ because we want to give an experience that goes beyond exercise and includes developing lasting friendships and having meaningful conversations,” said Hill. 

With amenities that include child development, personal training, large locker rooms, group exercise classes, and more, I knew I wanted to give the Y a try for myself. I was excited to learn that anyone can try a day at the Y for free, and I opted in for the facility’s popular group cycle class.   

I immediately introduced myself to the cycle instructor, Ray Brignac, and let him know it had been over 10 years since I’d done any kind of group cycle or spin class – my secret code talk for, “Please, have mercy on me.” Ray was great showing me the ropes, but boy did he give me a good workout during class! Exhausted, but feeling accomplished after group cycle, I was grateful for Ray’s commitment to making me feel comfortable during the class and wanting me to return as a potential member to the Y. Ray was everything that Ken Hill said about the Y … warm and welcoming.  

“Our staff works hard to make sure everyone who comes to our facility has a rewarding experience,” Hill said. “It’s amazing to see the lives that have been impacted through this organization and community.” 

Whether you’re a newbie exerciser or advanced fitness guru, the Tuscaloosa YMCA has everything and everyone you need to challenge you and help you grow. For more information about The Tuscaloosa YMCA Family Center, please visit  

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Sheena Gregg

Registered Dietitian/Assistant Director, Health Education and Nutrition Services at The University of Alabama, in Tuscaloosa


Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.



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