12.03.2014

Should I Join a Gym?

With 2014 coming to a close I am already seeing a lot of talk about New Year's Resolutions. I also know this time of year marks an increase in joining gyms or going more often to the gym you are already a member of but...is it worth it?

I think this is a question we each need to ask ourselves and it isn't one size fits all. I was a long-term gym lover until things changed mid-2014. I got a new treadmill at home that had an adjustable incline and could be awesome for all of my runs...not just easier days. Before I had a treadmill at a constant incline and too many runs on that, or trying to do speed work etc., wasn't good for the hips. No one should always run uphill but I digress.

With it being approximately 6 months since I have gone to the gym - yikes! - I have been able to truly recognize some pro's and con's of gym memberships that can help you make your decision if this is a good fit for you.

PRO'S:
  • It is a safe environment to exercise - If you are like me and tend to exercise way before the sun comes up, being able to run somewhere and feel safe is important. I opted for the gym versus dark roadways.
  • You can exercise in inclement weather - I know some of you may be trekking in snow and icy patches but for me, it may be an occasional torrential downpour. The gym can allow you a dry and temperate zone to run or do whatever you like to do!
  • The staff and other gym goers can be quite motivational and supportive - It is great working out with others either directly or indirectly. I miss the "Hi Erica!" and "Have a great day, Erica!" or "What did you run today, Erica?" that I got at the gym. Some days a little comment could make a HUGE difference.
  • Childcare may be available - This is cool when you are a running parent and I used this option almost weekly on Saturday's to get some running down without child distractions. Darling daughter loved the Kids' Club but be warned, it comes at a cost (very minimal) and time restrictions. And yes, some days they don't show. That was not cool but overall, it was a great add-on!
  • You have access to a variety of fitness machines and perhaps some group classes - I didn't go off the treadmill very often but it was nice to go to a different machine every now and then and yes, I tried one spin class. If I did this more often I may have reconsidered cancelling my membership.
  • You have access to water and other supplies just in case - There were a couple of times I forgot my gels or my headphones broke and it was nice to replace them on the spot and keep on plan. Plus darling daughter loved picking out a healthy snack post Kids' Club.

CON'S:
  • There is a monthly fee and childcare may have an additional fee - Honestly, at 24 hour Fitness my fee was about $30 a month so it wasn't extreme; however, that $30 a month can now go to darling daughter's horseback riding lessons.
  • You are limited to their hours and time constraints - Holiday hours and Kids' Club hours were my main limiting factors but in the past when I was on O'ahu machines had time limits too during the crowded hours. Just know the rules at the club you are looking into.
  • The fitness machine you want may already be all in use or out of service - There is nothing as annoying as wanting x-miles when you have x-minutes and you can't start running. But hey, you could go to another machine and do something else, right? Perhaps. With my training focus I wanted the run, nothing else. It depends on what your after. Fitness is fitness but for marathon training, I need running time.
  • You need to get there - The gym I went to was out of the way from my home to work but yet, for many years I made that detour before work. It has a small added cost of extra fuel and wear and tear on your car and does impact the environment. Yes, I try to drive as little as possible.
  • Changing room and showers may not be ideal or you have to wait - Fortunately, I ended up avoiding this by showering at work on most days but on the Saturday's with darling daughter I just went with the flow and waited my turn. She didn't want to spend the day with a sweaty mommy while running errands.
  • Potential for theft - This was a BIG issue at the gym I went to. Cars were broken into left and right and yes, my car was broken into once. It wasn't a nice experience and I am happy I don't need to park there anymore.
Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my new treadmill and how it has changed my life.
Daily Affirmation: I find balance in my life.

9 comments:

  1. Interesting pros and cons for sure. I am kind of wrestling with the same issue. I actually do like to take a spin class on non running days. What didn't you like about it?
    Confessions of A Mother Runner

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    1. My main issue with the classes were none were offered before 6 am and I start my work day at 6 am. My evenings are devoted to my family.

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  2. I've worked in gyms for YEARS so I've seen all of the pros/cons! My current gym here in sleepy town Vermont is so amazing. Never any theft, never any wait for anything (including treadmills or showers) and it is like one big happy family! Now, the fitness professional in me is shaking my finger at you, mom style, to do more than just run. Next time your treadmill is full, lift some weights! I promise it will help make you faster :)

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    1. I know adding in other elements is important to training but when you have to run 10 miles for your training that takes priority. :)

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  3. I have a family membership and NEVER go. My husband and teens go all the time, so at least it is not wasted money. I am so bad about "only" running.

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    1. At least your family is going! When my daughter gets old enough to go and workout I can see myself joining the gym again. It would be a good mother-daughter thing to do and a chance to introduce her to all kinds of activities besides horseback riding and running.

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  4. I wish my schedule allowed me the time to use everything that our local gym has to offer, they even have a new climbing wall and cross fit. Since time doesn't not allow though I have chosen a pool membership since I can run and bike and lift at home. Great pros and cons list!

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  5. I haven't had a gym membership in over a year since i have a treadmill and lots of other equipment at home. But I am missing the group classes and have been thinking about joining again. I just hate that the classes are so crowded:(

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  6. Oh no! I can't believe your car got broken into. That's horrible!
    You could try making a gym at home. We have a collection of gym equipment in our garage and I just pull them out every now and get my workout done in my own backyard! It's not ideal, but its perfect for those days when you just want to push yourself that little bit harder. X
    http://www.meg-atkin.com

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