by Mike Hastings
If you’re like me, you’ve probably driven down 70S on the way to Belle Mead and spotted the sign for the Gordon Jewish Community Center, but never made the turn to check it out. Big mistake!
What I found when I ventured down the hill was a beautiful state-of-the-art facility with a huge in-door gymnasium, indoor and outdoor pools, workout facility and social club.
And yes as the name states it is a Jewish community center, but it is open to people of all faiths.
“We currently have about 40 percent non-Jewish members,” explains fitness and wellness director Harriet Shirley.
“We encourage everyone in our community to come visit our facility and see what we have to offer,” she said.
“The GJCC is a vibrant community center full of people of all ages, faiths and family configurations coming together in peace and understanding to strengthen their minds, bodies and spirits,” she said.
The center offers more than 30 group exercise classes each week. The fitness center is equipped with the latest cardio and strength equipment. Personal and small group training is offered by a staff of certified personal trainers.
There is indoor and outdoor salt water pools that is home to two distinct teams for swimmers 18 and under, the TigerSharks Recreation Team and the SHARKS USA Swimming Team. The SHARKS offer swimmers the opportunity to compete at a high level throughout the Southeastern region.
The TigerSharks is a great beginning team for those swimmers and families who prefer not to commit to an extensive practice schedule, but still want an opportunity to improve their swimming skills and compete in a more social level.
The fitness center is available for a quick workout, or specific sessions with a personal trainer. “We are making some exciting changes to the group fitness schedule in order to offer our members the latest and greatest fitness classes,” Harriet said.
“We are also creating space to begin offering premium classes in 2015, such as TRX RIP group training, Barre and more,” she said. For the younger ones, the fitness center offers a fitness certification program. This program is for children ages 10-13 and is designed to help them safely utilize equipment, better understand the benefits of cardio, strength and flexibility training and to simply enjoy the center in a proper manner.
There is also a private tumbling and bodywork class for ages 4 and up with George Soare, a former professional acrobat and circus performer. It’s a very unique and fun way for kids to get a great workout and improve core strength and flexibility.
For those who are a little older and love Dancing with the Stars, GJCC is offering a LaBlast Fitness Master Class lead by dance master and DWTS instructor Louis Van Almstel on February 1st.
LaBlast uniquely combines a wide variety of ballroom dance styles and music genres. Cha-Cha, Disco, Hip-Hop, Jive, Salsa and more blend with pop and rock and country to burn fat and blast calories, all while having a great time!
Also new this year is private mat Pilates and yoga training classes. You can work one-on-one with a certified Pilates instructor to fully engage your core and work on skeletal alignment. And if you need a friend for support, there are semi-private classes available for two people.
If you feel better exercise with a racket in your hand, the center has both tennis and racquetball courts available.
For the kids, there is the GJCC Junior Tennis Team, divided into two levels. The Green Level is for beginners ages 10 and under who are developing hand-eye coordination. Participants play from the baseline and are taught through drills and group games.
The Red Level is for players with previous tennis experience who are ready to be introduced to match play and modified serving rules up to 8th grade.
Also available to the kids are programs like Play Ball, Jr NBA and WNBA Basketball, Jr. FIFA Soccer and Discover Catch. There is also a martial arts class, led by Jon Hasfjord from Unlimited Martial Arts that features Tae Kwon Do, Hapkido, Gojo Shorei and Little Dragon.
For the adults, the is a men’s 4 -on -4 basketball league on Thursday nights. The league runs for 8 weeks. The games are played on two side courts and include referees and team shirts provided by the GJCC.
An Adult Racquetball Spring League is currently being organized. The GJCC will provide game balls and manage the schedule and standings. The league is open to men and women ages 18 and up.
On Sunday January 25th, the center will be part of the JCCs of North America Cycle for Good, a nationwide program to raise money to benefit Etgarim. Participants across North America will be riding at the same time, cycling for a good cause and for their own wellness.
“And we have lots more planned for the future,” Harriet said. “Like volleyball and women’s competitive basketball.
“We want to grow our own programs for the benefit of our members and not just rent out our facilities,” she said.
Who knew how much the GJCC had to offer...glad I finally made that turn!
Gordon JCC to Host LaBlast Class
Join Dancing with the Stars' Louis Van Anstel for a LaBlast Fitness Master Class for the first time in Tennessee
Sunday, February 1st, the first-ever Tennessee offering of LaBlast Fitness will be held from 9-10 am.
The Master Class will be led by the Master himself – Louis van Amstel, 3-time World Dance Champion & Emmy-nominated choreographer, and creator of LaBlast Fitness.
Louis is best known for his nine seasons (so far!) on the ABC hit TV show “Dancing With the Stars” where he has partnered with Lisa Rinna, Kelly Osborne (yep, Ozzy’s daughter), Niecy Nash, and Margaret Cho. He has also served as a choreographer on FOX Network’s “So You Think You can Dance?”.
Louis created LaBlast to combine the worlds of dance & fitness – to make working out fun through the power of dance!
The idea actually grew out of the 2nd season of DWTS, when Lisa Rinna asked Louis to create a fun, partner-free dance program that would allow her to continue dancing even though taping for the show had ended.
LaBlast classes include partner-less dance moves from ballroom, jazz, samba, merengue, hip-hop, disco, salsa, jive, cha-cha, rumba, lindy hop, hustle, waltz, tango & more, set to music that ranges from pop to country to hip-hop and everything in between, and are for folks with ‘two left feet’ as well as experienced dancers. Truly – this is a one-size-fits-all class!
We are absolutely thrilled to be hosting this Master Class here at the GJCC, 801 Percy Warner Boulevard. The class is open to anyone in the community age 14 and older – there is a fee of $20 per person that will need to be paid that morning. No advance registration needed – just show up! J The class will be held in our auditorium so we can accommodate a large group, and we sure hope to see a lot of folks here that morning. What better way to be energized for the Superbowl than a fabulous dance fitness class with the Superstar, Louis van Amstel?!? Plus, make some room for all that football food that will be consumed later on!
The class will be followed by an instructor certification training course for anyone interested in becoming a LaBlast instructor. Information on the instructor training, as well as information on LaBlast & Louis, can be found online at www.lablastfitness.com. Instructor Certification includes participation in the Master Class, and will last until 5pm, so football fans can get home in time for the Super Bowl kickoff at 5:30pm!
Be part of the JCC North America Cycle for Good
Take private or group lessons with one of the certified personal trainers on staff
Gordon JCC Provides Fitness Options for All Faiths