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Building a Lifelong Habit of Fitness

Get to Know Ralph Thompkins of SWAG Kids Gym

Ralph Thompkins has always loved to work out and be active. “My parents were very instrumental in making sure that I got every opportunity to be involved in various activities growing up, and sports was my thing,” he says. During his time as a student athlete at Grand Valley State University, he developed a passion for working with children. “I wanted to help them experience the same joy I had with sports and exercise.”

Getting his start at The Little Gym of West Bloomfield, Ralph served as the Gym Director and Lead Instructor for five years. After teaching over 7000 classes, Ralph decided to open a gym of his own and SWAG Kids Gym launched in West Bloomfield in 2019.

At SWAG Kids Gym, says Ralph, setting the foundation of physical literacy and exercise at a very young age is at the core of what they do. As a result, classes are offered for children as young as four months old. This shared play, where parents and children under age 4 participate together, “really promotes and teaches families the value of exercise while educating everyone on the importance of incorporating fitness as a lifelong habit,” notes Ralph. Younger children build age-appropriate physical skills such as crawling, tumbling, climbing, jumping, and kicking, along with a bouncy air track, bubbles, and ball time to keep the fun going.

For children aged 4 and up, classes are instructor-led, and always energetic and interactive. A variety of class offerings are available, from yoga to gymnastics to sports and “ninja warrior” classes, which use different equipment and obstacle courses to challenge kids while allowing them to develop at their own pace.

SWAG Kids Gym also offers party packages and can host events both inside and outside the gym. “We can come to your house, school, country club, or park to provide our services,” says Ralph. In-gym parties include facility rental, dining area, and more.

“We understand and appreciate the sacrifices parents make to have their children come to SWAG and the most important thing we can give them is our positive energy and engage their children so they become the best version of themselves within our gym,” says Ralph. “Our mission is to promote and supply the perfect environment to improve the mental, physical, and emotional status of your growing child. We take this very seriously and this is the core of everything we do here at SWAG.”