I have successfully completed a month of visiting the gym. More specifically, I have religiously gone to the gym twenty-six times in the past twenty-nine days. I am certainly not remotely close to winning any body building prizes, but I am quite proud of myself.
OK. Don’t roll your eyes. I am not going to start preaching to you that you should be exercising more. That is your decision and I respect your decisions, especially when I know that my new found zeal for going to the gym could wane in the weeks and months to come. Nevertheless, I am enjoying myself and that is because I am getting so much more than a workout from the gym.
My wife and I have a family membership to our local YMCA, a truly beautiful, recently renovated facility. For that, I believe we pay $79 per month – about $1.33 per day for each of us. In exchange for that $1.33 per day, we get huge value that makes the expenditure the last one we would ever cut from our budget, long after satellite television, the cinema and pretty much everything else in our lives other than our kids.
For example, the most obvious benefit that we get from our YMCA membership is access to a huge weight room that offers an enormous range of weight training options. My wife likes to life free weights, so she tends to use the free weight area of the gym and occasionally stops at a weight machine for specific exercises. In contrast, I like to work a specific routine on machines equipped with Fitlinxx computers which monitor my progress, help me to maintain my pace and record my weightlifting data so that I can access it at the touch of a button. If my wife and I were to try to recreate our YMCA gym at our home, it would occupy our entire home and cost us much more money than we could ever begin to afford. That is only one of the possible benefits of a membership at a good gym.
Numerous Cardiovascular Options
Our YMCA offers numerous treadmills, different types of stationary bicycles, two types of stair climbing machines, elliptical machines, rowing machines and other types of cardio equipment. Those machines give us multiple options for varying our workouts and each is equipped with a television monitor. I can watch any program I want to watch while I get a cardio workout and it really helps to make the workout go faster.
Trainers to Offer Advice
Our gym has numerous trainers walking the floor and ready to answer questions about technique and appropriate training methods. We never need to worry about injuring ourselves because of bad form because we know that if we do not know how to do something, assistance is always available.
Classes, Classes, Classes
Our gym offers yoga, dance, Zhumba (although I have no idea what that is), Pilates and a bunch of other classes for all age groups and levels. I do not use these classes because exercise is a solitary activity for me, but there are sometimes lines out the door full of people who really love such group classes. My wife takes numerous spinning classes and swears that it has done wonders for her cardio health.
Neighbors, who did not have a gym membership, always lamented that they could not exercise because they had no one to watch their kids. Our YMCA offers free on-site child care. When my children were younger and I was at work, my wife would take them to the child care center when she arrived at the gym and they would enjoy games with their peers while my wife worked out. She could spend an hour and a half to two hours working out and checking up on the kids every so often and that gave her piece of mind and time for a work out without adding the need for a baby sitter.
Even if you do not belong to a YMCA, if you have young children there is a good chance that they have played sports at the Y. YMCA members receive a substantial discount on sports registration fees. Our discounts paid for half of our yearly membership fees when our kids were much younger. Our YMCA also offers youth dances with reduced admission charges for the children of members. For older kids, our YMCA offers a free youth center that has Foosball, pool, television and other activities.
Adult Sports Leagues
Whether you play basketball, softball, flag football or something else, your gym may offer a venue for adult sports leagues. Registration costs are usually reasonable and the social opportunities are tremendous.
Swimming pools are expensive to maintain. If you belong to a good gym with a pool, you can consider buying a home or renting an apartment that does not have pool access. Our YMCA has multiple pools and offers a “Dive-In Movie” on Friday nights during the summer so that families can watch movies in the pool or by the pool.
Even if you do not exercise, the amenities in the locker room at a good gym can be excellent. On an off day from your exercise routine, if you feel like a sauna or a steam bath, your local gym may give you the means to do so.
What motivates you to go the gym? What value do you see in a gym membership? If you are not a member of a gym, how do you exercise? If you do go the gym, what gym do you think offers the best value?