Church Heath Center Wellness is a Gym for the Rest of Us

Posted by Holly Whitfield | February 20th 2013 5310 0

Going to the gym (at least, going to a lot of gyms) can be kind of intimidating.

Every time I went to the gym on my college campus, it was always full of fit, tan, muscular people who didn't look like they needed to be there. It was so intimidating that I only went once, perferring to banish myself to the older, smaller gym at the other end of campus, the one where the normals worked out.

When I joined the Church Health Center Wellness center after I moved back to Memphis, one of the first things that made me love it (other than the sliding scale price) was that it was a brand new, beautiful workout facility full of very normal looking, very friendly people.


That's really one of the things that sets CHC Wellness apart – there are no mirrors, there's a strict dress code, and the staff works with new members to set workout plans that are healthy and doable.

CHC Wellness employee Colli Bounds puts it like this: "There are people of all different body types here. You never feel like the only fat kid working out with fitness models. Everyone is super supportive, and the regulars get to know you and check up on you.

Bounds and her office mate Sonia Taylor have been exercising together daily at CHC Wellness since October 2011. "It's easier to work out together," Tayor said. "It keeps us accountable." Bounds agrees, joking that "there are days when I don't want to work out, but Sonia is right there with the guilt trips."


(Colli Bounds and Sonia Taylor, photographed at Church Health Center wellness.)

CHC Wellness is run by Church Health Center, a Memphis non-profit that provides affordable healthcare to the city's working uninsured. It's a gym, but it's way more than that. It's also a community center, place to take group classes (like yoga, zumba or cooking), pool and basketball court. And just like Church Health Center's clinic, Wellness membership prices are based on individual income. 

Go there:

Church Health Center Wellness

1115 Union Ave
Memphis, TN 38104

Show Comments


  1. Taylor says:

    This is similar to the Planet Fitness model. Let's talk about how we are a gym for everyone, unless you're someone who is intensely working out. Then we are going to shame you, ridicule you, and make it clear that you're really not welcome. I would venture to say that most people are intimadated when they first go to the gym. That includes the 250 pound muscle-bound, sleeveless shirt wearing guys and the girls running 5 minute miles on the treadmill for an hour. But you know what happens after a little while? You get over it and realize that nobody is judging you. Everyone is just there to work out, same as you. If anything, 99% of those fit, tan muscular people would go out of their way to help you out and make you feel comfortable. And that other 1%? They're loathed just as much by the fit, tan muscular people as they are the unfit, obese, pale people. And mirrors are there for a reason. Not so people can stand there gawking at themselves while they flex, but to make sure that you're using proper form. I'm sure that the Church Health Center's heart is in the right place, but this type of thinking can do a lot more harm than it does good. Planet Fitness, for example, uses it to take people's money while offering them inferior facilities and even pizza, bagels and candy.

  2. michaelgates says:

    Doctor Scott Morris is a real gem I have read one of his books and I have met him many times. He is the Founder of CHC I will need to check out the gym and the sliding scale is a great thing too.

  3. Selena says:

    As someone who belongs to the CHC, its AMAZING!!! I can't imagine going anywhere else, I am thrilled at the awesome work that is done there and how they give EVERYONE a chance to be healthy.. THANK YOU CHC!! I am a proud member!!!

  4. Jeff Hulett says:

    To whomever would like a tour of our Wellness Center, feel free to give me a buzz at (901) 701-2126. I'd love to show you around and teach you more about our mission and work. I can assure you, Taylor, Church Health Center Wellness is a supportive, welcoming facility dedicated to meeting the needs of the whole person. 

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