Normal People Gyms

A few local gyms you might actually go to twice. 

One of the most common excuses to skip the gym scene is that real people, like us, don’t go there. And, the tanned, chiseled body gym stereotype has never been more prevalent than in our beach-bodied, sun-soaked, cross-fit, southern college town. Local gyms conjure visions of too many muscular under thirty-somethings, more scantily clad than beachgoers and sweating far less than profusely behind machines they look like they were born on. If it weren’t for this Gold’s Gym approach to fitness, we’d be at the gym all the time, right??

If you’re a gym-naysayer for this reason, we apologize in advance for single-handedly obliterating your excuses. But, we’ve actually found more than a few gyms in town with their fair share of old-tee-shirt-loving, 35-55+ members who aren’t even aware they have a body fat index. Here are a few:

O2 Fitness (Three ILM Locations)

You’ll find a wide age-range, and all walks of life here – lots of families, and a strong 50 plus presence. If you’re in the silver segment, O2 will keep you stepping old school with Silver Sneakers, Silver Pilates, and Silver Yoga (and, real music). You can sign little ones up for Kids Club for $5 more per month. They’ll give them back if you actually work out (so, don’t even think about hiding out in the Cyber Lounge).

Cambridge Center for Optimal Living

The Center for Optimal Living, on Eastwood behind Mayfaire, is the dream gym for 55 plus gym-seekers. If you’re super-young and buff, you’re out. Period. It’s an age-restricted gym with a multi-lane pool, personal trainers, and what looks like a hundred machines. A sauna, full spa and salon, and a smoothie bar are attached. It’s a one-stop-change-your-ways-shop.

Wilmington Lady Fitness

Calling all the ladies. Enough said. But, we’ll say a touch more. WLF is group class and training focused. Exercise training, diet and nutrition, and pain and injury management are primary focuses. It’s a rebuild your build kind of place alongside a bunch of bad*!# women.


There’s a heavy family atmosphere at the Y, and anything goes really (clothing is required, spandex limited). It has a community gym feel, two pools, group classes, kids sports teams, and childcare. And, a rarely publicized added bonus – you’ll be singing YMCA for a week, whether you hit the gym again or not.

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