YMCA Membership Benefits

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.

Child Care

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.

Children’s Activities

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?

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7 Responses to YMCA Membership Benefits

  1. David, that is great, making a new, positive habit of taking care of yourself. Way to Go! Plan your off days from execise, but on those days add at least a long brisk walk as a substitute, because that will keep you on an exercise mentality, and prevent you from any feelings of having dropped out of your new routine. Continued success!

  2. Ann says:

    Here in the country, nothing is quite that convenient! LOL

    However, I’ve found it well worth my while to invest in a weight bench and free weights. Nice high from the endorphins. :-)

    You and your wife are definitely getting value for your money!

  3. Monkey Mama says:

    Our YMCA is pretty expensive actually.

    As an even cheaper alternative, get a membership at a no-frills gym, and take classes through the city. My aerobics class is $2.50/class, and we pay $30/month for family gym membership. They have weights, cardio, trainers, and childcare. (We paid $200 for “lifetime childcare” at this location).

    Of course, the frills we live without are showers, and saunas. No pool, but we have access to one.

    Obviously, you have a few other perks, but I share this for other people – there are cheaper and convenient options.

    I actually rarely go to the gym. I prefer classes, I prefer bike riding, going for walks, swimming, or just popping in a work out video (in winter). BUT, I do like to change it up and find I can have a wide variety of workout choices without spending a lot of money.

  4. persephone says:

    I have gone to our local Y 6 days per week for the past decade. It has been a wonderful escape for me. When my kids were younger, I used the YMCA child care and I loved that I could peek through the window of the child care room to check on my kids. Now they are both on old enough to work out and use the machines so someone from my household (husband, kids or me) is usually at the Y for about 8 hours a day. Now if we could only get our schedules in synch so that we could go together!

  5. spicoli says:

    One of the things that I like about the YMCA (where I belong) and really any good gym is the variety that is offered. Unlike Monkey Mama, I go to the gym to get exercise but I agree that I like to change up my routine and the YMCA lets me do that. Now I am in to spinning but last summer I was more of a swimmer.

  6. Anne says:

    @Monkey Mama, Not all cities have cheap classes like yours. Ours does not. However, I agree with the premise that you have to look at ALL your options: for me that has also included looking into adult dance classes, which gives me the best bang for my buck, because I enjoy it and I’ll always go!

  7. scott says:

    You all do know the Y has a sliding income scale program right? It goes upto to like 28 grand a year to qualify for a single. The limit is higher on family. And there are no joining fees at least in my area. I wound up on unemployment. I pay 16 bucks a month for myself. and my son.

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