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 Post subject: Talk about your gym
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:53 pm 
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Can't Dance, Isn't Part of Revolution
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Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:29 pm
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Location: Southern CT
I'm back from the internet-dead!

I'm moving out of where I live soon, which has a gym attached to the building, so I need to join a gym. I've never paid for a gym membership and thus don't even know what to look for. Any advice? What do you like/dislike about your gym?

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 Post subject: Re: Talk about your gym
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:01 pm 
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Be careful of extended term contracts, i.e., join now and pay this amount up front for 3 years of membership. I did that, moved out of the area before the gym membership expired and was not reimbursed for the remainder of my unable-to-be used portion. And I was moving overseas!

Also, beware of getting attached to one specific machine (like I did). I was in love with my Precor elliptical, was the only machine I'd use for cardio when I went to the gym, and lo and behold, the gym was taken over by another company. Of course they immediately cancelled their contract with Precor and brought in all of these cheap asparagus machines. Once again, I was not happy, and the only way I got out of that gym membership was by filing a complaint with the BBB.

Nowadays I just do hot yoga at a local studio..there's not much equipment they can change and I don't foresee moving anywhere exotic anytime soon ;).

Beware of gym memberships, that's my only advice.


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 Post subject: Re: Talk about your gym
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:34 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:49 pm
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Location: SW Desert, USA
I concur. Month-to-month is the way to go. Also, most places want to charge some stupid fee for joining but if you haggle they will likely not charge you because they are forever doing promotions where they waive that fee.

I chose the gym that I'm at now because it's CLEAN. The one I used to be at was cheaper, open 24/7, and had more equipment, but I wouldn't have touched my pinky toe in the lap pool despite them boasting that they clean all the time (and there were people cleaning all the time!) But I knew too many people that got infections or other things from the gym and the towels weren't very clean... I don't know.

Also, you don't really need personal training add-ons or anything (unless that's something that you're looking for! They'll try to tell you that if you buy 15 months you'll get 3 personal training sessions (or something) to make it sound enticing. They always want you to spend more money. If you're on a budget, stick to it and don't let them be forceful. Some places give discounts to police people, fire people, or even teachers. My gym gives discounts to nurses and doctors.

If you join a gym that is a large chain, see if you are allowed to go to the other gyms that are in the chain (so if you are visiting someone or one of the other gyms is on your way home from work, you are allowed to go), free of charge. Make sure group exercise classes are included in the monthly charge (if that's something you want- that is what keeps me accountable, and it beats doing boring workouts on cardio machines all the time!)... If a pool is important to you, make sure it looks clean. Definitely see how clean the locker rooms are (or if they have locker rooms; if you need them). I can't think of anything else right now....
Good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Talk about your gym
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 5:04 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 6:44 pm
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Really read the membership contract, because employees lie about the ability to terminate. Also, watch out for annual auto-renew by the billing company.

Get a week trial & visit when you plan to workout to make sure there is parking and class availability during those hours.

Don't get pressured into personal coaching sessions unless you actually want to do that.

I love my current gym's facilities & staff, but I absolutely hate the shady contract policies. I won't be renewing because of it.

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 Post subject: Re: Talk about your gym
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:22 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:00 pm
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Location: Surrey, UK
I miss my gym, I moved so I cancelled my membership.

I loved the classes and the friendly staff and instructors. I also liked that you could cancel with only 1 month's notice.

At my old gym before the last one, you couldn't cancel until your year was up, even if you paid monthly like I did - it was like a credit agreement. The woman who I joined with said to me when that I could just cancel the direct debit if I moved. So I did just that when I moved, then I got a shitty letter from their accounts people saying pay us or we take you to court! So I ended up having to pay £150 for the remaining membership I wasn't using.

I'm still looking around for a gym I like near where I live now. I haven't found the perfect one yet!

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 Post subject: Re: Talk about your gym
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:35 am 
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Location: Arizona
I go to a Bally's right now and I like it. I have been a member of many different types of gyms and here is my advice.

* Think about the location. You may find an awesome gym, but if it is too far from your house, it will become the awesome gym that you never go to but still pay monthly dues for.

* Read the contract. Many people have pointed this out already, but it is super-important. Don't assume that anything verbal will be honored.

* Ask for a guest pass. Many places will let you try it out for a day to a week for free while you're making your decision.

* Make sure to visit during the times you will actually be working out. There is nothing more frustrating than having to wait in long lines for the equipment that you want to use.

* Don't be seduced by extras that you won't be using. I've joined gyms that had a pool thinking I'd learn how to swim, spinning classes that I only went to once, etc. Base your decision on what you do now. If you take up something later that they offer, then that will be just a bonus. I've learned it is stupid for me to pay more for anything more than treadmills and weight machines -- fill in your experience here.

* Many gyms make their money on personal training and supplement sales. Be prepared for gyms to push these, but be clear about what you're really wanting.

My personal likes (not that my current gym has all these): Close to my house, convenient class times, towel service, 24 hours a day, no wait for treadmills, headphone jacks on the treadmills for the televisions, windows visible while on equipment, diverse membership (like not all soccer moms, not all muscleboys -- I don't like feeling like the only odd one out), no hardsell for supplements/training, access to equipment like balance balls.

Dislikes: Gross locker rooms, paying loads extra for tennis courts/swimming pools, no television, chemical smells, opens late on the weekends.

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 Post subject: Re: Talk about your gym
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 7:57 pm 
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Can't Dance, Isn't Part of Revolution
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Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:29 pm
Posts: 157
Location: Southern CT
Thanks for the replies!

I'm thinking about Planet Fitness since it's only $10 a month and they let you meet with a trainer to make a workout plan for free. However, they make you sign for a year and I'm not sure if I'm comfortable with that commitment. I may go in and try to get a guest pass for a day like you suggested.

Anyone joined with Planet Fitness? The other big one in my area, The Edge, is supposedly kind of hardcore (i.e. if you're late to more than a couple classes you can no longer come, etc.) I don't think I'd like that.

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 Post subject: Re: Talk about your gym
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:19 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 07, 2010 4:57 pm
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Location: Boston, MA
It seems like Planet Fitness might have an option where you can do a month-to-month if you pay a start up fee. I would definitely talk to someone about options. I don't think they have classes, but is that something you're interested in? There are several locations, so it looks like you could still go to a franchise when you travel.

Also, if you have health insurance, you might be able to get some money back once you've been going to the gym for 3 or 6 months.

We have a work promotional rate, so I don't get the health insurance bonus--do you work somewhere they may have a corporate rate agreement?

To echo what others have said, look for somewhere that's clean, convenient, and somewhere you feel comfortable. Think about what you really want to do, and talk to someone at the gym to see if it's a good fit.

My gym is in the same building as my office, otherwise I wouldn't go (at least when I started, now I love the classes). I can also go to other locations, which is nice. I wish there was one closer to my apt, but it's not a dealbreaker as once I'm home, I'm probably not going back out to the gym anyway (and while I say I want to get up early to exercise, that's not very realistic for me).

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 Post subject: Re: Talk about your gym
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2011 11:42 am 
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Location: Nottingham.
Look for no tie-ins, a price that suits you and cleanliness. Good classes are a plus and a lack of snobby clientele too!


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 Post subject: Re: Talk about your gym
PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 4:02 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:33 am
Posts: 92
Location: Chicago, IL
My gym is a combination university/community gym (so, it's the university's gym but is also open to the community). What I like about it: enough machines that I essentially never have to wait. Variety of facilities (indoor 1/7 mile track, swimming pool, all sorts of equipment and spaces - like basketball/tennis courts - for if I liked that sort of thing).

My favorite thing right now is the free classes. I pay $39 for the three summer months (it's ~$70/quarter for school months, for whatever reason) and get access to spin classes, bar conditioning classes, muscle work classes, cardio kickboxing classes, for free! They also offer other classes that you have to pay for (yoga, etc), but it's great that they offer so many accessible classes.

Not only that, but the instructors and fellow gymrats are so awesome! I've come by after my first time in a class to talk to the instructor (I was shaking so much at pilates/ballet-inspired bar conditioning, but the instructor told me that was a good thing. She started the conversation with "great job today!", even though a couldn't coordinate a couple moves or align my body without help at times). When I started spin, at my second class, I forgot how to adjust the bike. A fellow spinner helped me out and explained how I shouldn't set the resistance too high for the first half of class. He explained why, as well. Everyone's friendly and ready to chat, too, and the instructor is so motivating. She picks good music, too :)

The only annoying thing is that none of the spin bikes have functioning displays to tell you your rpm or resistance or heart rate, so you sort of have to ballpark it. Also, they have kids' classes in the summer, and while they are adorable (!), I feel pretty uncomfortable when I need to get dressed in the locker room, trying to ensure there are no kiddos around.

Good luck finding your new gym home!

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