September 24, 2023

I had been with the Cleveland County YMCA for about 15 years. With its ‘Reciprocity’ solution, I was able to visit any YMCA in the United States — and that includes right next to the news station where I work. To be clear, I loved the Cleveland County Y, and so did my family. Best I can tell, it’s the nicest YMCA in the state with the most features and biggest pool.

However, it was also 45 minutes from where we live. My membership was the product of single Ryan living in Norman. The other YMCA locations just didn’t meet our needs:

  • A predictably available swimming pool
  • A whirlpool
  • A sauna
  • A steam room

COVID-19 pretty much ended the steam room in Norman, unfortunately. They used the pandemic as a reason to get rid of the steam room altogether there. Steam rooms and saunas, both, I believe were eliminated from YMCA locations across the rest of the state. I’ve been told some pretty crazy stories as to why this happened. I don’t believe them, and I won’t repeat them.

Long story short, we joined Life Time in northwest Oklahoma City.

And we love it. LOVE it.

There is some level of discomfort in talking about it because it’s also really expensive. This is not a gym a lot of families could afford, and so there is a high bar of privilege here. But the reason for the move, in addition to proximity, had a lot to do with amenities and also with investing in a gym that was so nice we would go out of our way to visit it.

And it’s been fantastic.

Everything is so clean. The towels are plentiful. They have a whirlpool, sauna, and steam room. The showers are private and nice, and they even have body wash, shampoo, and conditioner available. I don’t need to bring a lock for the lockers.

Yes, I know. There are other gyms like this, maybe.

But Life Time was also appealing to us because of its outdoor pool, tennis, and pickleball courts. The opportunity with these is less about us using them and more about family gatherings we could have with visitor passes. It also helps that we have friends in the area who are also members. It’s perfect for kids and teens.

I would love to tell you that we’re going every day and that I’ve shed 24 pounds and added 10 of muscle.



We have turned this into a weekend routine, and it’s one I look forward to each week. I run four miles and watch some kind of workout class happen in front of me.

The weekend routine is a habit, and the best of habits start small. Stanford University researcher B.J. Fogg talked about it his book “Tiny Habits” with the New York Times back in 2020.

The move to Life Time from the Y was a big move for us in support of a tiny habit, one I’m hoping to keep up for a lifetime.

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