Workout help for parents: 6 Pittsburgh gyms with childcare, plus great gym alternatives

Photo above by Geert Pieters via Unsplash.

We know exercise makes everything better: It boosts our physical and mental health, improves sleep, helps regulate our moods and can even extend our lifespans. It also sets a great example for our little ones that can help them throughout their lives.

But here’s the challenge: Along with finding the energy and time for weekly workouts, parents have to figure out who will watch their kids and how much that childcare will cost while they’re hitting a spin class or lifting weights. Sitters can be expensive and aren’t always available, and many gyms don’t offer childcare (though we love the discount gyms offering $10 memberships, even if there’s no babysitting involved!).

So what’s the solution?

We’ve rounded up a list of fitness centers in the Pittsburgh region that do offer childcare. (If you know of some that we haven’t included, e-mail us right here, or message us on Facebook or Instagram, and we’ll add them to this list). And we’ve collected some great suggestions for getting in your workout in other ways.

gyms with childcare pittsburgh
Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash.


Highpoint Fitness – Bethel Park

Highpoint Fitness offers childcare for kids ages 18 months to 11 years old. Parents can use the service for up to 1.5 hours at a time. Membership is not required, but with a family membership, childcare is free. The cost is $5 per visit without a membership. A reservation is recommended and can be completed in the Highpoint app. The activities offered include coloring books, building blocks and toys. Childcare schedule: Monday through Saturday mornings 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and Monday through Thursday evenings 5:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.

Baierl YMCA Sewickley, Sampson YMCA Monroeville and Spencer YMCA Bethel Park
The YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh has childcare at several locations and welcomes kids ages 6 months to 11 years old. Parents can use the childcare service for up to 1.5 hours at a time. The staff is also first aid trained. Membership is not required, though with a membership there is no cost for childcare at any facility in the Greater Pittsburgh area. Without a membership, there’s a $5 charge for childcare services. Mornings are the busiest time, but there’s typically always space. The childcare area offers various activities including toys, coloring books, an air hockey table and interactive toys to keep children engaged and entertained. General childcare schedule: Monday through Friday mornings 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Thursday evenings 5 p.m. – 8 p.m., and Saturday mornings 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. (Note: Childcare is not offered at all locations. Be sure to check your local branch for details.)

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash.

Oxford Athletic Club – Wexford
Oxford Athletic Club welcomes children ages 3 months to 13 years old. Children are permitted to stay up to 2 hours at a time. A gym membership is required for access to childcare. Mornings are the busiest time, and a reservation is required. Once there, children can enjoy engaging activities, crafts, blocks and toys for children to enjoy. Additionally, kids can bring electronic devices, crafts or homework to keep them occupied. Childcare Schedule: Monday through Sunday mornings 8:30 am to 1 pm (all ages); Monday through Thursday evenings 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. (18 months – 13 years only).

Photo by Yulissa Tagle on Unsplash.

Crunch Fitness – North Hills/McKnight (and coming soon to Pleasant Hills)
Crunch offers childcare services for kids between 6 months and 12 years old. Childcare services are permitted for up to 2 hours per visit. The “Peak Results” membership is required for access to free childcare, while lower cost membership packages have a charge. The childcare area at the McKnight location features a kid’s “movie theater,” plus toys, play mats, coloring books and building blocks. Childcare schedule: Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

LA Fitness – North Hills/McKnight, Bridgeville, Southside Works, Robinson and Monroeville
LA Fitness welcomes kids ages 3 months to 12 years, and they can remain in the childcare space for 2 hours at a time. With a membership, the cost is an additional $10 a month per child. For those doing a drop-in visit, the cost is $10 per child for each visit. The busiest times are in the morning. Prior reservation is not needed. There are a variety of activities the kids can do such as a climbing area, toys, TV, dolls and coloring books. Childcare schedule: Availability varies depending on location, so call ahead for details.

Burn Boot Camp – Bethel Park, McMurray, Wexford, Zelienople, Robinson, Butler and Murrysville

Burn Boot Camp offers childcare for kids ages 3 months to 12 years. Due to the intensity of the fitness classes, it’s recommended that grownups take only one 45-minute class per day, so children usually stay for about 45 minutes to an hour. A membership is required for access to the children’s space, where kids can play dress-up, and use blocks, Legos, games and other toys. General childcare schedule: Monday through Friday beginning at 8:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.; Saturday at 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.

*Note: Childcare is offered at all locations, but hours vary. Call your local location for details.

What if none of these gyms are the right location or fit for you? There are still plenty of options for getting regular workouts without getting swamped by childcare costs.

Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash.


Family fun: With the weather finally breaking, getting outside may be easier. Depending on the age of your kids, you can find ways to incorporate them or let them play while you workout.

Local playgrounds can be a great place for grownup exercise. While the kids are climbing on the jungle gym, jog around the perimeter of the playground while still keeping an eye on them (chasing them around works, too!). If the kids are older, try a family game of kickball, tennis or basketball, or learn a new sport together.

Bike riding is another great family option with bigger kids. You can stick to quiet streets in your neighborhood or, if you have a car, get a bike rack and drive to bike-friendly places like South Park, North Park or Hartwood Acres.

There are also several outdoor roller rinks around Pittsburgh. (Skating is a great alternative for leg day!) And there are dozens of indoor swimming pools available year-round.

You can also make small shifts like parking at the far end of a parking lot and walking further than usual, or taking stairs rather that elevators, and motivating the whole family to turn household chores like vacuuming or gardening into opportunities for physical activity. Or try one of my personal favorites: Blast an awesome playlist and dance around the house. An hour-long dance party is a great workout!

And if you’d rather something more mellow, try some cozy cardio while your kids are sleeping or watching TV with you.

Collaborating with other grownups: 

If you’re wishing you had time for a workout, you probably have friends or relatives who feel the same way. Ask around and make a plan with one friend or a small group of friends to trade off watching each other’s kids while the others hit the gym. If you worry that you’ll be bothering friends by suggesting this, give it a try — you will likely find people are glad you asked.

And if your kids are stroller-aged, arrange with another parent to start a practice of regularly walking on decent weather days. Though this is something you can always do alone, you’re more likely to stick with a regular schedule of long walks if you’re meeting up with someone (accountability partners are a big help). Find even just one hour per week that works for everyone and promise to go even if the weather isn’t perfect!

Another option: If you are raising your kids with a partner and haven’t been able to find time for weekly workouts, let your partner know you’d like to carve out some hours each week. Come up with a schedule that works, so you can each have time to exercise.

There’s no right or wrong way to get moving. The key is to find activities that fit into your schedule and lifestyle, so you can prioritize your health and fitness goals with or without access to a traditional gym. Remember, consistency is key when it comes to maintaining an active lifestyle. With a little dedication and creativity, you can stay on track with your fitness goals amid the many demands of parenthood.