Joining a Gym is OK. Really.
Over the weekend I committed a cardinal sin for personal finance bloggers.
I joined a gym.
I know, personal finance bloggers are supposed to write about dumping gym memberships because they aren’t worth it. I’m supposed to list ways to work out at home for pennies. Oh, but wait, it’s even worse than you think. You see, the wife and I already belonged to a gym. We quit our old gym and joined a more expensive one.
And we’re totally OK with it.
The Old Gym
Chain fitness facility without many amenities or options. It did have lots of strength training equipment including a good free weight area. For cardio machines it had a ton of treadmills, elliptical machines and stationary bikes. Included in our membership were a wide variety of group fitness classes including studio cycling, my personal favorite.
Price: $40 per month ($20 each for my wife and I).
The New Gym
Full service health club with all the things the old gym has plus basketball, racquetball, an indoor track, tennis, a restaurant, and an indoor and outdoor pool. It also has a huge area for kids of all ages that has activities such as mini-golf, a golf simulator, table tennis, air hockey, a basketball court and batting cages.
Price: $150 per month (for the entire family)
The $110 dollar question is (See what I did there? It’s the difference between the two membership prices), why would we pay so much more for a gym membership?
There used to be two locations of the cheaper gym within a few miles of my house. One of them closed causing a sudden influx of people using the location closer to my house. The gym is now packed every time I walked in the door, and it’s been difficult to get time on the equipment I want to use, even when I reorder my workout.
I don’t know what temperature they have the heat set at, but it’s uncomfortably hot. So hot that it actually hinders my ability to get in the workout that I want. Rumor has it they keep it hot to shorten the average time a person stays in order to better accommodate the large number of people the use the facility.
Calling the shower facilities at the cheaper gym sub-par is generous. I normally just went home to de-stinkify myself, but sometimes that was very inconvenient. The facilities at the new gym are what you would expect from a full service health club.
The cheaper gym had nothing for kids. They have child care for very young children, but nothing that interests our teenage son. Many of his friends also belong to the new gym and kids over thirteen can roam the club without an adult. This club is the kind of place that parents drop their kids off, allowing them to spend the afternoon hanging out, rotating between the batting cages, basketball, and the pool.
Promoting a Healthy Lifestyle:
- I workout every day. The variety of ways to workout at a gym is not only what keeps me going, but actually makes me excited about going to workout.
- My wife hasn’t been very active lately, and is trying desperately to be more healthy. We thought upgrading our gym membership would give her just the kick in the pants to get going again.
- I used to play a lot of racquetball and am hoping to get into league play.
- Going to the gym as a family is an event. It’s like going on a “mini trip” that’s not only a workout, but actually entertainment as well. We’re planning to spend a lot of time as a family in the afternoon after work and on weekends being active and enjoying all the facilities as a family.
It is a lot of money to be paying for a gym membership, but we think we will get our money’s worth out of if we go regularly and take advantage of all it has to offer.
But don’t worry, I haven’t completely lost my mind. It’s only a summer membership that ends after Labor Day weekend. We can reassess at that time, and we may just be headed back to the cheaper gym.
What do you think about gym memberships? Do you have one and do you think it’s worth it?
Brought to you courtesy of Brock.
Brock is a software engineer by day and personal finance blogger at night. He is a fitness junkie and enjoys grilling and smoking meat. Married with two children, Brock strives to improve his skills as a husband and father, and is always on the lookout to stretch his family’s budget as far as he can.