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 Post subject: Contemplating a gym membership
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:27 am 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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Location: Windmill Central
It's that time in my life again where I consider getting a gym membership. The only physical activity I currently get is biking to work and it's a pretty leisurely bike ride - about 6 km each way and I don't push myself. I know I need to do more for my health, but more importantly for my mood as we creep into winter here.

Last year I had a cheap membership to a place that was ridiculously close to our apartment, but I rarely went. I was in a super deep depression that was going untreated at the time, which I know contributed to my lack of motivation. I could barely get myself to work or into the shower, let alone to the gym to work out. Nevertheless, I felt guilty about the money I wasted. My partner also couldn't attend with me because he was working in another city and had to leave earlier than the gym opened and got back too late for anything more than dinner and bed.

But now a year and a half later a lot has changed. I'm working only 4 days a week this term and not currently taking graduate courses. My schedule is flexible enough to accommodate a gym routine. And my partner is working locally now and could go with me some days if we wanted to. I'm now on medication and in therapy, a huge step forward in improving my well-being, and I'm seeing an osteopath for some back/hip pain that gave me trouble over the years. I seem to be in the right place for taking the next step in my health. Whereas a year and a half ago, I just got the membership because I thought it would fix me. I wasn't addressing the deeper issues going on. I was just reading articles online and throwing potential solutions at the problem because I wanted to avoid going to the doctor.

The club I'm considering now, however, is more expensive (albeit a lot nicer with a pool and other amenities that warrant the price). It's the only place close to our apartment. All signs point to go, but I can't help but worry about making a commitment that I could end up failing at again along with losing the money. But the fact remains I need to start taking time for myself and doing more healthy things for myself. I go back and forth like this.

Those of you that have gotten a gym membership, how did you decide? I know it's a small and privileged dilemma to have, but I appreciate you guys helping me think it through since I tend to get wound up considering things like this and then either not doing it or diving in without thinking it through. It's a decent financial commitment so I want to make sure I'm ready. My school may have a way of getting a small discount on a membership, which I"m looking into. And they have a week pass for free that lets you try out the place.


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 Post subject: Re: Contemplating a gym membership
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 7:00 am 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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Joined: Fri Oct 22, 2010 5:47 pm
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Gym memberships are one of those things that work fantastic for some and are disastrous black holes of cash for others. I'm in the latter group.

Can you try out doing exercise at home for a few weeks, setting up the contingency that you will purchase the membership if you exercise xx days out of xx days? Then you can get the week pass, and see how you do with it before dropping the cash. That can get you in the habit of exercising and let you make sure you're up to a regular routine.

Does your school have gyms? I know my school has three and one is flat out amazing. But I live 45-60 minutes away, so if you're in a similar situation, that is not helpful at all.


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 Post subject: Re: Contemplating a gym membership
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:04 am 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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bekki wrote:
Gym memberships are one of those things that work fantastic for some and are disastrous black holes of cash for others. I'm in the latter group.

Can you try out doing exercise at home for a few weeks, setting up the contingency that you will purchase the membership if you exercise xx days out of xx days? Then you can get the week pass, and see how you do with it before dropping the cash. That can get you in the habit of exercising and let you make sure you're up to a regular routine.

Does your school have gyms? I know my school has three and one is flat out amazing. But I live 45-60 minutes away, so if you're in a similar situation, that is not helpful at all.


No, I teach at a secondary school. And my university is in the states. I'm sure they have an awesome gym, but I take my courses online! Haha. I really like your idea of getting myself into an exercise regimen at home, though, to get used to the time and all of that. I think I'll give it a go for the next few weeks. Thanks :)


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 Post subject: Re: Contemplating a gym membership
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:55 am 
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I just started back up at the gym last week (after a few months of not exercising, bad me). I like exercise, and know I need to do it, but it is mostly to keep my mental/emotional state healthy and on an even keel. (proof can be found in the parenting anti-vent thread).
I notice that when I let the exercise slip I really find myself slipping downwards, so for me it is something that is absolutely necessary. I also only exercise if I have a gym membership, due to weather/UV exposure/ability to concoct excuses/etc. So I just cough up the cash (here it is quite expensive) and then I feel obliged to go as often as possible. This time I diddled around for a few weeks going around and looking at gyms before I realized I was self sabotaging again.... so I plonked down the cash for three months at my old gym to get it over and done with. Probably not the best deal I could have gotten, but at least I know I will get my money's worth since I've paid a lot.

Financially, it's a big commitment, but I consider it just as important to my life as medication. It also helps me prioritize exercise in my schedule. I am doing it for my health, physical and mental. I tell people why I do it, and they always ask how it's going (more pressure to keep exercising regularly).

I think in your case, you've thought about why it didn't work out last time. You've analyzed it. Can you try it temporarily and see how it goes? More than the week pass, I guess I mean- can you go by the month to see how it fits in your schedule?

Good for you for thinking about it. I hope it works out well for you, I know for me the gym membership is an absolute necessity for my mental health- it's not a silver bullet, but it's an effective tool to have in your belt.

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 Post subject: Re: Contemplating a gym membership
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 12:01 pm 
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I am having the same dilemma, pt. I hate it that all the (good) gyms in my area want a year commitment, & are kind of pricey compared to the national average. I run, but I'm really wanting to add more strengthening to my exercise program. I also just graduated as a Physical Therapist Assistant, so I have the knowledge to tailor a program I could do at home, but I'm not sure if I always have the discipline for that. When I have used a gym in the past, it really has worked for me, & it was awesome. (But I'm in a different area now, with different gym's & membership costs). At that time, when I made it into the gym, I was there to work. At home, I seem to procrastinate a lot. And I often let chores, and dog hair on the floor, and all sorts of things deter me.

Sorry that I'm commiserating more than helping! So I guess I would suggest you to look at pro's and con's... would you really enjoy using the machines/pool/ etc? Would it be worth to get a trainer as you are starting off? Would the act of paying money monthly help motivate you to go in? Do you like going to a variety of classes; do different classes motivate you? Also, when I was going years ago, I went around the same time every day, and developed friendships there. There was a father and his son that I became friends with, which led to meeting more of the guys in the weight room, which led to a sense of community on the days I lifted. It was kind of cool.

On the other hand, you could buy a piece or two of used equipment if you have room (I picked up a treadmill and an exercise bike; I traded services for one, bought the other for a song at a yard sale), as well as incorporate simple strengthening exercises that use body weight or theraband (plastic tubing) for resistance. If you like to run, that doesn't take up any room. :) The big exercise balls can add a lot of variety to working out at home.

Good luck figuring it out!

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 Post subject: Re: Contemplating a gym membership
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 1:50 pm 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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Location: Windmill Central
Thanks guys!

Torque, you know from my posts in the depression thread that there's a lot going on and I know that I should exercise. I'm trying not to "should" on myself these days, though ;) I'm just trying to slowly, very slowly, build myself back up physically and mentally. I have big issues with over-committing and saying yes to everything, so I'm treading lightly.

This gym is pretty expensive, though in the states I think my YMCA was almost just as expensive with the exchange rate. It's €50 a month, but includes classes and a pool and all that stuff. I'm mainly interested in weights and cardio equipment to start, but given the issues with my back and hips I'd like to venture into swimming. I'm kind of afraid of the classes since I don't speak the language, but I know I could manage if I just went in and told the instructor and stayed toward the back. Need to build some confidence there and go for it.

I'm getting better at accepting that paying for these things is important and part of my "treatment." Just like relaxing on the weekends and cooking for the week when I "should" be marking papers or doing some other work. It doesn't come naturally, though. I still have to schedule it and force myself into it. I've looked at my schedule and have some days that I know I'd like to use as gym days where I have time. They have a 3-month contract and a year contract. I will probably start with the 3-month one and see how it goes.

They also have tanning beds, I think. Obviously not at ALL healthy, but occasionally I've used them for the sunshine boost. I'm so worried about going into the winter, so I'm trying to build an arsenal of all sorts of things to guard me against SAD.


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 Post subject: Re: Contemplating a gym membership
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 2:07 pm 
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Remembers When Veganism Was Cool
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This is the second month of gym membership for me. Unfortunately the first month started in June and I went often enough to justify the fees, then they closed for refurbishment. Since they reopened (nearly a month ago) I haven't been once. Partly because of scheduling but also because I'm rubbish. I also didn't want to go right at the beginning because I knew it would probably be really crowded. So, uh, I don't really have a solution for you but I will be watching this thread with interest!

ETA: as to how I decided, they were just about cheap enough for me to afford, and they don't have a commitment to a certain number of months you have to go.

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 Post subject: Re: Contemplating a gym membership
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:04 pm 
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I've had gym memberships to various gyms for many years. I find the biggest factor for me is how close it is to home, and the hours of the location. I currently have a membership to all of the clubs in that chain in my city - there are 3 close to my house, and one of them is open 24 hours. I work until late at night sometimes and I like to go to the gym after work, so I like one that is open at all hours.

I also like a gym that has a variety of machines, has yoga classes that come with a membership, and one that is clean. Price is also a factor, of course. Most gyms offer passes to let you try it out for free for a little while, so maybe try out a couple of different ones near you and see which one you like the best!

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 Post subject: Re: Contemplating a gym membership
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:22 pm 
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loolie wrote:
I've had gym memberships to various gyms for many years. I find the biggest factor for me is how close it is to home, and the hours of the location.


Yep, this. I've had a few gym memberships where I've gone like crazy for a few weeks, then my interest waned and I didn't go back- and it was always because getting to the gym meant going out of my way. They've never been excessively far away (one was a five minute walk then a ten minute tram ride, and the other was a 15-20 minute walk), but it was enough that it felt like going to the gym was an event in itself. Whereas my current gym is literally next door to my work, and directly outside it is the bus stop that takes me to my front door in less than ten minutes. I have to walk past it to get home from work anyway, so I really have no excuse to pop in. It's a little bit more expensive than other gyms, but I figure that the convenience is worth paying for if it means I'll actually use the membership. This has been by far my most successful gym-joining attempt so far!

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 Post subject: Re: Contemplating a gym membership
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:27 pm 
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I dropped my YMCA membership in favor of a Jazzercise membership, and I'm finding it much better. The group class helps me not feel quite so unmotivated. I go with a friend, and we are both expecting each other to be there, so that drags you out of bed in the morning. We do 30-35 min of cardio and the rest we do strength and resistance training, so I get everything I need in an hour. I'm starting to get some definition in my arms too. :)


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