Looking for kid friendly gyms in the Illawarra?
Exercise for new parents is so important. Not only does regular exercise help with reducing stress levels and improving mood, but it also means you carve out just a little bit of time for yourself. In an ideal world, this would mean being able to completely block out an hour of your day for child-free exercise, but the reality is that if there’s no one minding the kids, the workout isn’t going to happen, regardless of how motivated you might be!
Fortunately, there are a number of Illawarra gyms with creche facilities or child-friendly set ups that mean your little ones can tag along with you while you train.
Here’s a list of local gyms with a creche or childcare facility:
First I’ll cover the womens only gyms with childcare (keep scrolling, fellas – I haven’t forgotten you!):
- Soulfit Woonona
Soulfit have a designated kids area that is able to be used at any time if your children are independent. Fenced off to keep your little ones safe, it’s also close enough that you can see and even talk to your child at any time while you’re exercising. For younger children and babies who need constant supervision, Soulfit provide designated staff to care for your children while you train. Their supervised hours are:
9am-12pm Monday – Wednesday
8:45am – 12pm Thursday and Friday.
There is also childcare provided for their morning outdoor classes and their childcare facilities are at no extra cost to members.
- ReKreate Fitness, Coniston
A fully supervised creche facility is open for all members Monday to Friday from 9am-12pm, which covers their popular 9am and 9:45am classes. Bookings can be made ahead of time via the ReKreate app and the creche comes at no extra cost.
- Wonder Woman Workshops AUS, Tongarra
Located on 120 acres of farmland along the Illawarra Highway, the gym is in a large shed, which means kids have plenty of room to run and play on the grass outside, whilst remaining in full view. Wonder Woman Workshops AUS run a variety of group sessions, including a MumStrong group, which is a female only class following a strength program to cater for all fitness abilities. Children are encouraged to join in where safe to do so, especially in the warm up and cool down /stretch periods of the class.
- Fernwood Fitness, Woonona
This enormous space has room for your little ones in it’s creche facility. Contact the club for more information.
Don’t worry, Dads – we’ve thought of you too!
Here are some Illawarra Gyms with childcare for men and women:
- Savvy Fitness, Bulli and Wollongong
The team at Savvy offer a Mum’s and Dad’s class which runs Monday- Friday at 9:15am at both their Bulli and Wollongong locations. Savvy provide a “Children’s Champion” to assist with childcare within sight of the class and assist parents so they can get the most out of their workout. Children’s Champions all have their Working with Children checks, first aid and experience in working with or caring for children.
- Hansen Fitness, Unanderra
While, Hansen don’t have a supervised creche, they do provide a KidZone for any members who choose to bring their kids along to class. It’s a small, secure area for kids to play and also be able to see their parent the whole time.
- National Strength and Performance Centre, Bulli
The NSPC is a locally owned community gym with members from 8 year old children right up to 80 year old adults. There is a sectioned off kids area where children can play while parents train plus a they offer a weekly Group Fitness timetable with over 11 classes per week suitable for all different levels of fitness.
NSPC are passionate about teaching correct technique and having you move better, at any age! At NSPC, the gym floor is always supervised by a qualified coach who is watching to make sure people are not only training safely and with good technique, but also efficiently, so they can get the most out of their training.
Coach Courtney Pascoe says, “I personally train a lot of mothers who are wanting to lose weight, get stronger or compete in powerlifting and I love what I do!”
- Definition Fitness, Wollongong
There’s no designated kids area here, but Daniel and his team are more than happy for you to train while your little one chills in their stroller next to you. It’s not uncommon to see a tiny human sleeping away while mum or dad smashes out a quick session.
Benefits of taking your kids to the gym:
The reason most people take their kids along to the gym with them is pure necessity and if you ask most parents, they’d love to be able to train without dragging their kids along. However, there are actually some valuable lessons your kids will learn by taking them with you.
- Seeing that the world doesn’t revolve around them all the time.
Teaching your kids that for a 30 or 60 minute block, your workout is your priority, not them, can be a solid reality check. In a supervised creche set up, let your child know who will be attending to their needs for the next hour and do your very best to switch off! They will soon learn the routine and know what to expect when it’s time to go to the gym.
If your child is old enough to understand consequences, be firm! If they fail to wait patiently until the end of class, let there be a consequence such as a missed playdate or treat they’ve been looking forward to. I suggest making consequences very clear BEFORE going to the gym so everyone knows what’s expected of them! So much of our weekly routines are dictated by our children’s activities, but this one hour is not about them!
- Let your child see that exercise is something you treat as a priority.
With the rising obesity and chronic disease statistics, I salute any parent who takes an opportunity to demonstrate best practice to their kids. You can talk the talk all you like, but letting your kids see you go and put in the effort yourself? Priceless.
- Let your child see that YOU are something you treat as a priority.
So many parents feel guilty about taking time for themselves and are constantly sacrificing their own needs for everyone else. Make exercise non-negotiable and teach your child an example of having respect for yourself in the way your hope they’ll grow up respecting themselves also.
- Social skills.
Your child will get to interact with other kids and other adults, which is great for developing confidence and social skills.
A final note:
Parenting is hard work and no two people are having the same experience. It can be hard not to compare yourself to the mum who looks like they’re nailing it at the gym while their toddler sits quietly or the guy that’s effortlessly pushing his jogging stroller with one hand as he runs past you. The benefits of exercise – any form of exercise – really do make it worthwhile, especially during the stressful first few years of parenthood! If getting to the gym just isn’t logistically possible for you, think about how you could squeeze a 20 minute bodyweight routine in on your loungeroom floor or make time for a decent walk with your little ones.
It might be that it’s all just too hard right now and that’s ok too. Maybe it’s something you can aim to incorporate over time in smaller amounts. Remember that taking care of yourself, means you’re in a better position to be able to take care of your little people.