Sunday, January 1, 2012

I Want to Join a Gym

...even though I know that joining a gym in January is a total cliche, and will likely make me very angry when I have to wait 30 minutes for a treadmill.  Here's why I want to join a gym:

  1. It's freaking cold out and I am a wuss.  I have a treadmill in the basement, but it's a crappy treadmill and the belt is breaking.  When I go running outside in the really, really cold, I tend to get sick and my legs freeze, which makes me avoid going out at all.
  2. I would like to do exercises other than run.  I want to take some classes, maybe do some yoga (I think yoga is incredibly boring, but it might be good for me).  I keep seeing pictures of people with tight abs advertising that zumba nonsense, maybe that's for me.
  3. I want to run a marathon.  In order to run a marathon, I need to keep logging miles (see #1) and also do exercises with weights and stuff, or so running magazines tell me.
I was incredibly excited to find out that the health plan for new job includes a $150 credit if you go to a gym for more than three months in a row and fill out a form; and that you get a 20% discount on selected gyms.  I was then dismayed to find out that the only place locally where I would get that 20% discount is the super-fancy gym that's not within walking distance.  I secret-shopped super fancy gym last year, and it is NICE, but even though I can't remember exactly how much it cost per month, I remember that it was expensive.  

So I did what I always do in this situation, I looked at how much the YMCA costs, and then remembered that the YMCA is damn expensive.  It's $49/month plus a $49 start-up fee!  That is so much money!  I used to be a member at the Jewish Community Center (cause I had a coupon), but that place is even more expensive than the Y and you have to pay for a whole year up front.  Sigh.

BF keeps insisting that I can sneak into one of the Brown University gyms, but that makes me really uncomfortable (cause stealing makes me uncomfortable), and I'd also be working out next to annoying college girls who probably put on make up and don't sweat.  Hell no.

I also have the option, since I still technically work at academic library, to use the gym there.  But that's a 25 minute drive, would also make me feel a little like I was stealing, and I'd be working out next to super fit 19-year-olds (see above).

Then there's Planet Fitness, which is $10/month, but doesn't offer any classes.  It's also on the other side of town and a friend who goes there told me that she once found gum stuck to the track of a treadmill.  I'm not a snob (well, kind of), but that just doesn't do it for me.

*SOAPBOX* It's kind of interesting that we vilify people for being overweight, but then make it so expensive to join a fitness facility and limit the amount of public green space and sidewalks in cities.  Yes, there are plenty of things you can do without joining a gym (if you're lucky enough to life in a safe neighborhood with sidewalks, which many aren't), but then you're hamstrung by weather and other factors (like the fact that no one in RI shovels their sidewalks.  Seriously, last year several people died because they were forced to walk in the street and got hit by cars--kids and adults).  Sure the gym has to pay for the equipment, staff, etc., but man, $49/month is $600 a year!  That's walking around money.  That's one month's rent! *END SOAPBOX*

So what to do?  Is there a secret option #4 that I'm not thinking of?  Should I just suck it up and be grateful we've had a mild winter so far?  My dad runs outside year round and he lives in Minnesota, so I know that it is possible, but I'm also kind of a wuss... see above...


  1. I would at least try sneaking into the gym and see if it works for you because it saves a lot of money. If you use the "free" gym a lot, then you will at least be more confident that you would use an expensive gym regularly. Also, you could try calling the person at gyms who handles memberships and asking them for a better rate. The economy is is still in the tank and a lesser payer member is still bringing in the money!

  2. That's a really good point--I always forget to bargain!

  3. There are usually trial memberships, so you could shop around (do each gym for like a month or something) to see which one you like best before investing a lot. AND also, that way, you can see how much you really go.

    I have a membership to the Y literally across the street from my apt, and I still haven't gone in a few months. So close proximity doesn't necessarily mean that you will go... although I hope to, more, this year!

  4. The Y can do reduced rates based on your income, but I have no idea what the rate scale is. I'd at least check with them.

  5. Also, I forgot to say, I do advanced yoga ("yoga in motion") because I am flexible and want more advanced stretching options and I like the challenging poses for both flexibility and strength. It's different every time.
    I've never actually done beginning yoga but I have the idea it would be boring.

    Check the classes offered at each place and when they are held (and if they cost extra) to see if it would be worth it. Can you get to at least three a week that you like, based on your work schedule? I don't know about you, but there's no way I'm getting up at 4:30 to go to a five a.m. fitness class.
    Zumba is fun too, and there's water classes (which I've not done), and cycling classes (which are killer), and all sorts of regular fitness classes. I found the ones I like and can go to on a regular basis and made a routine out of it.

  6. Hey - I'm a new commenter (although I've been reading for a bit). I totally support the fact that you want to join a gym for the cold winter months (I feel the same way). However, when you mentioned the lack of side-walk shoveling, I wondered if you had tried YakTraxs for running? I have been able to use them to run on snow/ice conditions in St. Louis, and I completely recommend them - you'll hardly have to worry about slipping, and they open up a lot of winter running possibilities! Good luck with the marathon goal - you can do it!

  7. @Spygirl-- I checked out the list, and I think there would be at least two per week that I would do on the regular. Other thing pushing me toward this is the fact that I have a built-in zumba buddy, which would totally make me go more.

    @BLG-- Hi!! Thanks for commenting! I actually learned about yak traxs like a week ago, and they have me very intrigued. Since I'm a total chicken when it comes to running on ice (which is a reasonable fear), I just might have to check those out...