With more members asking for programming, additional space for classes and child care, the YMCA of Central Virginia has responded and is doubling its facilities at 3408 Old Forest Road — home of the Y Express.

Currently, the Y Express is only offering yoga and H.I.I.T classes — high intensity interval training — which was the most the 9,000-square-foot space could offer after filling in with weights, treadmills, ellipticals, indoor exercise bikes and other machines.

The newly expanded space which doubles the size of the gym will offer child care, a group fitness studio, a mind and body studio for yoga and Pilates and a functional fitness studio, all which could fit between 30 to 40 people. The expansion also will feature a space for the brand new Regymen Fitness program, which will be a first for the area and only the second one in the country. The Regymen class promises to disrupt the daily routine and burn 1,000 calories per class.

The new space also will have additional changing rooms and showers.

Brian Landergan, regional vice president for the YMCA, said the former Horizon Behavioral Health building was purchased by the YMCA in January last year. He hopes to have the expanded space opened by July 1.

He said a market research analysis was completed which showed all the clientele across Lynchburg and the region wanted a space with designated yoga, group fitness and childcare.

Ben Rogers, operations director at the Y Express, said the facility got 10,000 visits in the month of January alone, which is half the usage of the downtown branch at 1315 Church St.

He said people in the Y Express community desire programming and are looking for more than just lifting weights or running on a treadmill.

“We started adding community health programs, the LIVESTRONG program, enhanced fitness, and what has happened is we have these great programs but don’t have the space to accommodate,” Rogers said.

Though membership fees will not increase, the premier Regymen Fitness program will cost extra to those who choose to sign up for the class.

Each individual in the class can have their heart rate shown on one of the several screens in the class.

“So as the coach kind of guides you through the workout, they’ll tell you to go through different heart rate zones for 45 minutes,” Rogers said.

Landergan said the Y Express will be hiring for child watch staff, member services and Regymen coaches.

The current space is 9,000 square feet and the additional space doubles that to a total of 18,000 square feet that members can use to workout.

The Y Express opened in 2012 and Landergan said it has grown in the past two to three years and quadrupled in size. He said with the results from the market research, it is estimated the Y Express will double in size again.

Pansy Jordan, a Lynchburg resident, has been a YMCA member for more than 30 years and spends anywhere between five to six days at the Y Express per week.

She has visited all three YMCA’s in the area but enjoys the one on Old Forest Road because of its close proximity to her home and because that’s where all her friends meet up to work out together.

She enjoys coming three days a week to the H.I.I.T. classes offered at the Y Express and on Tuesdays and Thursdays and also meeting with friends at the facility and they do a workout of their own.

“I can’t say enough positive things about the Y,” she said. “I’m so thrilled they’re expanding this area. It’s so important to Framatome, the banks nearby and other businesses. It’s filling in the void between the downtown and Jamerson Y. it’s a tremendous value.”

She’s excited to start the new Regymen fitness class and do more yoga in the new space.

“It will definitely benefit me,” she said. “I’ll try more classes but it will be so good for the community. There’s an opportunity for more people to come because we have the room and they’re adding childcare, which is awesome.”

Landergan said he is excited about adding a hang-out spot for active adults for before or after their workouts.

“We’ll have those kind of fellowship areas and will also be adding coffee service like the other two [YMCA’s] have,” he said. “So we’ll have areas that are very comfortable kind of lounge areas where the current members can do puzzles, read the newspaper or talk to their fitness pals.”

He referred the expansion to the “Bridge to the Future” because the YMCA of Central Virginia is still working to complete a market feasibility study that will determine whether the Y Express can become a fully equipped YMCA.

Rachael Smith covers local businesses and nonprofits. Reach her at (434) 385-5482.

Rachael Smith covers local businesses and nonprofits. Reach her at (434) 385-5482.

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