Member Success Stories

Genesis Meadows

“The Sports Performance training sessions have really helped me take my game to the next level!”

Genesis Meadows, Lancaster Country Day School Basketball & Field Hockey Player

I decided to sign up for Universal’s Sports Performance training program because I wanted to become a better athlete. Last year during basketball season, I wasn’t the best defensive player. I was upset because I felt as though I wasn’t fast enough to keep up and I kept getting beat on defense. My goal was to increase my speed, agility, and overall strength.

Since starting the training program I have definitely improved on my strength and speed. I can tell just by doing a 10-yard dash. I feel faster and lighter on my feet than I did about 8 months ago. I also know my strength has improved, because I remember I couldn’t do a chin up to save my life… but now I can do at least one.

After the doing the training sessions at Universal, I instantly saw a difference in my defense. My speed and agility have improved in basketball when running down the court on a fast break. My legs are moving a lot faster, and I am sliding a lot quicker. On my team this year, I would say I am known as a pretty good defensive player.

During the field hockey season of my freshmen year, I was able hit the ball much harder in my drives and it would go twice as far as when I played in 8th grade. This is a direct result of training at Universal.

What I enjoy most about the training sessions is the team atmosphere. Everyone in my group is nice and fun to be around. The trainers, Matt and Charley, are both supportive coaches who want to see their clients succeed. Both of them are super nice and funny, and they make the training less stressful and more enjoyable.

As a student athlete, my goal is to continue doing well in school by trying to achieve straight A’s while succeeding in both of my sports. I also want to keep going to the trainings because they have really helped me take my game to the next level.

My advice that I would give to other young athletes is to keep working hard. The results won’t come overnight, but if you don’t give up and you give it your all 100% of the time, the results will be your favor sooner than later!

Sanchez Family

“We joined Universal over 20 years ago and it’s been one of the best investments we’ve ever made!”

The Sanchez Family – Christine, Carlos, Peter, Catherine & Madeline

The club offers an all-encompassing solution for our entire family, allowing us to stay active during all stages of our lives.

My husband, Carlos, and I have always enjoyed exercise, whether it be swimming, walking, playing tennis, golf, riding bikes, etc… not just for the health benefits but because we find it fun. We’re both in the medical and science fields, so we’re also aware of the benefits of weight-bearing exercises.

We originally joined Universal because we were looking for a way to stay active during the cold months, and the club seemed like a perfect fit. Compared to other gyms, Universal was friendlier, more affordable, and had much more to offer. We thought it was such a great find for us, and BODYPUMP became our favorite class to take together.

Fast forward to us becoming parents of triplets! Catherine, Madeline and Peter have grown up at Universal. When they were little, the Kids Klub was a place where they could let off steam in a supervised area. They were champions at the monkey bars and in climbing, then with basketball. I was impressed with the cleanliness of the maze, and I have always loved how there are no TV’s or video games … just active playtime!

Universal was also the swim lessons solution for our kids. We could start lessons in the winter in a nice, warm pool… then the children would be ready to swim when summer rolled around. After swim lessons, I would take them upstairs to eat at the café. It felt like an adventure each time, and we all remember it fondly.

Now that Catherine, Madeline and Peter are 14, they have graduated to working out with ‘mom and dad’. They have gone from swim lessons to swimming laps with me. The whole family comes to the pool at least once a week to swim, have fun and relax.

The kids also enjoy exercising on the recumbent bikes, playing basketball or running laps around the indoor track. Carlos and I come in either early in the morning or later at night to do weight training. I also swim laps three times a week, and it’s just heavenly!

Universal keeps us active, in shape and healthy as a family. I’ve had some health scares over the years, and being in shape has helped speed up my recovery.

Universal has a family-friendly feel to it, and it’s gratifying that it provides an atmosphere in which children feel comfortable and don’t outgrow. Exercise is important, and Universal has something for every age and ability! It continues to provide more and more for our membership, and allows us to live a better life!

Colby Wagner

“My energy level and self-confidence have drastically increased”

Colby Wagner

Last year I noticed that my energy level and overall health were significantly declining. My family has a history of diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. I struggled with high blood pressure my entire life, and noticed how much it had escalated due to job-related stress. One night after I recorded my highest blood pressure reading of my life, I decided that my health had to become a priority. At a young age of 25, working at a stressful job in Washington D.C. I came to the realization that I was living an unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle. As my health continued to worsen, I decided that I needed to change course if I wanted to enjoy the rest of my life with my family.

With some encouragement from my family, I joined Universal Athletic Club. From the minute I walked in door, the staff, instructors and Member Services representatives showed a genuine interest in me and my health. UAC has a family atmosphere, and I felt super comfortable right away (which was extremely rare for me, as I tend to become uncomfortable in gym environments due to some insecurities).

When I joined the club my health goal was simply to live a healthier lifestyle in which exercise played a daily role. The obstacles I initially knew I would face would be a lack of energy and an abundance of self-doubt. I couldn’t even get through running one mile, so how was I going to participate in an hour-long group cardio session? Self-doubt was my number one enemy, and I had no idea how to overcome it. I was scared and nervous, but I gathered the courage to walk into my very first group workout class, which happened to be BODYSTEP.

As soon as I turned the corner and stood in the line to enter the studio, a UAC Group Fitness Ambassador walked right over to me and introduced herself. She walked me through the details of the class and what to expect. I really struggled during the first workout and wanted to quit several times, but the group instructor was absolutely amazing and provided constant encouragement. Combined with the exhilarating positive group energy, this pushed me through that workout. As the sweat poured down, I couldn’t help but smile because the class was just absolutely fun! I went home that night with a huge grin on my face. I was so amazed at what I had accomplished. I came back the next night and the next night, and the rest is history! Without UAC and its amazing instructors, I wouldn’t have been able to push through the self-doubt.

After feeling comfortable with BODYSTEP, I began trying other classes such as BODYCOMBAT and BODYPUMP. As I have progressed and gained more confidence, BODYATTACK has become my favorite. There is just something about the energy level in that inspires you to push through the workout. The upbeat music, group interaction, encouragement and moves just do something for me.

Overall, I have accomplished exactly what I initially set out to do by joining UAC; both my energy level and self-confidence have drastically increased. I believe the reason I have seen an increase in these two areas of my life is due to the UAC instructors. They are all so encouraging and uplifting. Even when you have had a bad day, they know how to uplift and motivate you to channel that negative energy and push through the workout.

I have also lost over 100 pounds since I joined the club! Because of the instructors, I am beginning to see the fruits of my labor, and my mental attitude is so much more positive.

UAC is one hundred percent a center of positivity, and you can feel that positive energy as soon as you enter the facility.

I want to encourage others by saying, “You are capable of so much more than you realize!” It is extremely challenging to push through the self-doubt and insecurities, but once you do your life will be forever changed. Whether it is just one more repetition, one more pushup, or one more second of lunging, you’ve got this!

UAC has completely changed my life, and I would recommend joining to anyone!

Gretchen Appleby

“I decided it was finally worth making an investment in my health… now I feel so much better physically and emotionally!”

Gretchen Appleby

I received a flyer in the mail featuring the variety of programs that UAC offers, and it happened to come at a time when I was struggling physically and emotionally. The year before was very stressful for my family. I was caring for my father who was recovering from a knee replacement, I had to move my mother into an Alzheimer’s Care unit, and I was running an extremely busy household. Shortly after that I ended up tearing my calf muscle and became sedentary. Spending six weeks in a boot with very limited exercise, combined with emotional eating, was a recipe for disaster. This really took a toll on my body.
I decided it was finally worth making the investment in my health, so I enrolled in Universal’s “Shape Up” program, which includes the Nutrition program and Thrive Functional Training. It was just what I needed to get a jump-start on my health!
The Nutrition & Wellness Center staff has been incredible at teaching me ways to eat to live (instead of living to eat.) I have learned to use food as my fuel! My husband and I enjoy going out with friends and family. Michelle (UAC’s Registered Dietitian) has taught me that it isn’t about deprivation, but more about making exchanges throughout the day so that you can still enjoy those foods and drinks that you have always enjoyed, just in moderation!

The appointments have been the ongoing support that I need! The accountability of the weigh-ins still help me stay on track with my numbers. The staff takes notes at each meeting, and it’s so awesome being able to look back at how far I have come. I continue to learn something new each week. My husband and I still go out regularly with our friends and continue to entertain in our home. We enjoy this even more so now that we have learned that life is all about balance.

Thrive was the perfect opportunity for me to get started with an exercise program! Working out in a small group setting with a personal trainer has been such an incredible experience. I have met some pretty awesome people along my journey. My trainer, Asher, has helped me push myself to my limits! I have become stronger both mentally and physically by proving to myself that my goals are attainable with hard work! In addition to Thrive I take RPM, BODYCOMBAT and BODYATTACK classes.

I can’t begin to tell you how much better I feel both physically and mentally. It’s nice to feel good in clothes again and to have an energy level that helps me keep up with my kids’ crazy schedules! Beyond all of that, it is so encouraging to know that I am eating for my brain! Having Alzheimer’s Disease in my family history is a huge scare. I am determined to do what I can to prevent and/or delay the disease in me!

My advice to others who are struggling? Don’t be afraid to take that first step. The hardest part is walking through those doors. UAC is so welcoming, and they will surround you with support from Day 1. They want to hear your story and your goals. You’ll layout the course that you want to take, and they’ll be there to educate and support you along the way!

Treat your workouts and nutrition meetings like doctors’ appointments in your calendar. Don’t cancel for anything unless it’s an emergency. They are crucial appointments for support that will lead you to success! Consistency is key… but also know that you can still LIVE your life and LOVE the food you eat!

Judy Family

“We have achieved more as a family than we ever imagined we could”

The Judy Family – Laura, Phil, Ashton, Emma & Laura’s Service Dog Scout

We are a visually diverse and neuro diverse family. I am legally blind due to a degenerative eye disease, my son has ADHD and my daughter has Autism. Everyone on UAC’s wonderful staff has made us feel so welcome, accepted and confident that we can succeed in living a healthy, happy lifestyle.

Within the first week of joining Universal in 2019, my family and I were convinced that the price was going to be worth it! We originally joined Universal for the Kidz Klub and summer camp, but it has ended up being a fantastic place for our entire family.

For the first time since the kids were born, my husband and I feel that we can leave our children with staff that are capable of taking care of them. Our biggest concern was Emma at first. She does not handle change well and it takes her time to warm up to others. On her very first day in the Kidz Klub, she took one look at the maze, gave me a quick hug goodbye, and off she went without looking back! I was so happy! When I picked her up, she came to the front area with the biggest smile I ever saw. She talked the whole way home about the new friends she made and games she played; I almost cried tears of joy. Now Emma is also loving Martial Arts classes at UAC, and she says they help her feel “safe”!

My son was very anxious about the Kids Klub because he is 11 and was worried that it would not be fun for him. After going to the Kids Klub twice, he quickly changed his mind. He is also in love with the basketball courts. He is constantly on the go and loves that there is always something to do at UAC. Now, he is on the 6th Grade Conestoga Valley Travel Basketball Team!

At the start of our membership I was set up on a “Success Plan” with a Fitness Coach. My coach listened to my list my ailments (including psoriatic arthritis) and didn’t make me feel bad for taking so long to get to the gym. She understood, didn’t judge, and offered me ways I could be successful with a realistic fitness plan.

The first class I tried was yoga, and now I am a yoga regular! Yoga has helped with so much of my aches and pains and given me more flexibility. Elisse is wonderful instructor! She positions my mat where I can see her, and her clear directions on how to position ourselves helps me do the movements.

I also started THRIVE Functional Training, and my trainer, Michael, put me at ease right away. I could tell immediately that he was listening intently and that he wanted to help me be successful with exercise. At no point did he ever try to tell me I couldn’t do it. I LOVED THAT! I felt empowered immediately.

At first I used my mobility cane during the workouts. Michael literally walked me to every station so I could follow him and watch him do the exercises that he was asking the group to do. That was a true gift for me. I want to stay as independent as possible and not take Michael’s time away from the other amazing folks in my class. Michael was able to do just that. By the second time I came to THRIVE with Michael, I left my cane in the cubbies and made it through the class with Michael’s watchful eye. That is now our routine. I get to the room using my cane, I tuck it away in the cubbies, and that is where it stays until I am ready to leave THRIVE. He creates “safe paths” for me to walk by using tape or brightly colored boards and colored pads. I feel like all the trainers there are “watching out for me”. They truly make me feel like I am safe and in very capable hands. Kudos to all of them!

As for my husband, Phil, I am impressed with the gym’s influence on him the most! With everyone’s support, including the Nutritionist, THRIVE trainers, BODYFLOW classes and his fitness coach, Tyler, he has found a love of exercise. He has lost inches from his waist and over 25 pounds! He is feeling better than ever and has more energy. He has a very stressful job and exercise gives him an outlet. He is definitely seeing the benefits of healthy living.

And finally, I cannot tell you how much the kids LOVED Camp Universal over the summer! They were in heaven! Mr. Andy and the staff are AMAZING! I drop the kids off and pick them up knowing they are safe and well taken care of. The level of detail and thought that goes into Camp U is visible and so greatly appreciated. My only regret is that we didn’t switch the kids to Camp U sooner.

UAC and its staff have been an amazing, positive influence on the well being of my family. Your café staff, custodial staff and front desk staff are incredible too. They are always so very helpful, respectful and cheerful. I thank you all so very much for everything you do. UAC creates a truly amazing experience!

Patterson Brothers

“My grandsons have learned to be safe and feel confident around the water”

Beth Patterson

Congratulations to Thatcher Patterson (age 5-1/2) and his brother Coltrane Patterson (age 4) for achieving so many valuable, life-long skills through private swim lessons at Universal Athletic Club!

Their grandmother, Beth Patterson, is a member of Universal Athletic Club. Having been familiar with the swim program for many years, she enrolled her grandsons in private lessons as a gift.

“I wanted my grandsons to know how to ‘save their necks’ if they ever found themselves in an emergency situation. I wanted them to learn water safety but also develop skills that they can use as they grow older. I chose private lessons because of our schedule, but also because I knew Thatcher and Coltrane would thrive in a smaller setting and progress at their own rate. Private lessons are the perfect fit for them.

Thatcher started swim lessons with Leah Darras when he was 18 months old. The initial lessons were mostly him crying and refusing to do anything, but as Ms. Leah continued to work with him and build his confidence, Thatcher blossomed. After four years of lessons, Thatcher is now working on his strokes and making tremendous progress. He can now swim the length of the pool in backstroke and freestyle. He can dive to the bottom of the warm pool to retrieve toys and then swim to the side. Because of the bond between he and Ms. Leah, Thatcher now believes he can learn the skills he needs to be a safe swimmer. Instead of the early crying days, I now have a happy and eager child wanting to get to the pool.

Coltrane started lessons in September 2019 with Ms. Leah. Coltrane is naturally an adventurous child and is always willing to try something new. Because of his close bond with his older brother, Coltrane was a quick study. He progressed very quickly from learning to blow bubbles to floating on his back, diving to the bottom of the pool and learning to breathe when swimming with the kickboard. Coltrane has a healthy respect for the water now and knows how to be a safe swimmer. He loves to jump in the water and can do canon balls!

The boys will definitely continue with swim lessons through cooler weather seasons. The fact that they have made so much progress in private lessons makes the transition to the outdoor summer pools so much easier. I attribute the boys’ success to Leah Darras (and while she was on maternity leave, Ms. Amy). Even though the beginning lessons were a little rough, Leah stuck to her plan and slowly gained their confidence. She believes in the boys, and as a result they believe in themselves. I am also pleased that after four years of lessons, Leah continues to expect the best from Thatcher and Coltrane because she knows they can do it. She and Amy also continue to communicate with me and the boys’ parents after each lesson so that we can reinforce what they have learned in lessons.

My grandsons have learned to be safe around the water due to the excellent instruction from Ms. Leah and her staff. It thrills me that the boys have been taking lessons for four years and still want to go back

Ahsa Sadhukhan

“I love the way Taekwondo always finds new ways to challenge me”

Ahsa Sadhukhan

I have never ever been much of a stereotypical athletic person. Any mainstream sport has always ended in utter disaster for me! I started taking Taekwondo classes when I was about four years old, and as I began to mature I realized that Taekwondo does focus on and develop skills just as much (if not more) than any other sport.

Taekwondo not only offers a way to learn how to kick and punch, but it is also a thinking game… a test of perseverance… and an art in which one can always improve. It’s not just about developing one part of your body or skill, but about changing yourself as a whole. And it isn’t about you against another person or team, but about you competing with yourself.

Over the years I have continued my Taekwondo classes at Universal Athletic Club and I have worked my way up to a 3rd degree black belt. Now, I am an Assistant Instructor in the program at UAC, and I love working with little kids!

I love the way Taekwondo always finds new ways to challenge me. I want to help people see that this is a sport anyone can participate in and enjoy!

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