Fitness is a family affair at the Northampton Athletic Club. Ever since they opened their doors 40 years ago, husband and wife Perry and Judy Messer along with their staff have been keeping hundreds of families in and around Hampshire County healthy and fit.
Judy, a former World-Champion water skier, met Perry when he was training athletes at the same facility in West Palm Beach, Florida where she worked-out.
The couple later moved to Northampton with the goal of opening a facility to bring health and fitness to the area. They opened the Northampton Athletic Club on North King St. in July of 1982.
Perry said many individuals and families who joined in that first year are still members of the club today. In 1999, the Messers bought a former warehouse on King St., gutted it and turned it into their vision for a state-of-the-art fitness facility with expanded offerings for members.
“We went from 10,000 square feet to a 30,000-plus square feet facility with a lot of added amenities,” Perry said.
They added larger and more spacious men’s and women’s locker rooms with steam and sauna in both, and members now have an array of options to choose from to keep fit. A 40-foot indoor rock-climbing wall - the first in the Pioneer Valley - an indoor basketball court (where pickleball is also played), plus state-of-the-art fitness equipment by Life Fitness, Cybex, Nautilus, and Peloton.
In addition, the Northampton Athletic Club offers a variety of group fitness classes that include Pilates, Yoga, Barre, Zumba, Cycle, HIIT and Sculpt, Step, and Bootcamp.
There’s more - Olympic weights, functional training equipment such as Kettlebells, physio balls, sandbags and weighted tires.
For busy parents who worry about finding time to fit workouts or classes into their schedules, the Messers added an indoor play structure, along with childcare services. Parents can also book children’s birthday parties in the space.
No matter your age or fitness level, there is something for everyone at NAC. It’s all about providing you with the tools to keep yourself active, Perry said. “Our staff teaches members how to use the equipment safely to help them meet their fitness goals.”
“We’re fortunate to have had many of our staff, instructors and trainers with us for years,” Perry said. “Trends in exercise have changed over the years, and our staff stays up to date and they are certified yearly,” he added.
Family isn’t just Perry and Judy – daughter Jamie teaches a spin class every Monday; son Jay, who has a degree in sports management, works full time at NAC, and daughter Jenna met her fiancé there – it’s also the family of members and staff that make the club what it is.
“The sense of community is what I appreciate,” Perry said. “It’s been nice to make long-
standing connections with families in our community over the years. We know a lot of people by name. It’s a joy to live and work in the area and to be able to bring health and fitness to the community."
Note: The Messers also own Hampshire Athletic Club in Amherst. NAC members can use the facility which has many of the same great amenities plus an indoor Olympic pool for an additional $10 a month.
Northampton Athletic Club
306 King Street
We’d love to give people a tour and show what the club has to offer. - Perry Messer