Running quote of the week

“I finished Boston last year with my hands over my eyes wiping away the tears. The people lift you up the entire race.”– Sam Ryan

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Joining a gym is short term thinking

Save me a spot
Today's workout (elliptical): 60 minutes

This is has been a snowy winter, just like last year when I did over 70% of my running indoors. What's missing for me this year is a working treadmill, I decided to explore a short term gym membership to tide me over and started looking online at my options. 

You can learn a lot about joining a health club from their websites. For example, few sites will tell you the actual cost to join their gym. Instead of providing a price list, many say "call or click to request pricing." Why is this? Do they want to figure out how much money I'm willing to spend before committing to a cost? This is why people dislike shopping for a car.

For those health clubs that actually put their pricing on their website, I discovered a pretty wide variance in cost. Generally speaking, gyms with stark black and white designs with super athletic, good looking people seem to be very expensive (i.e., Equinox). They also tend to charge initiation or enrollment fees. Gyms with friendly designs and bright colors are much more reasonably priced and don't seem to add on extra costs (i.e., Planet Fitness).

10.5X more expensive than Planet Fitness
Most of these places offer either a day or full week free pass. I considered doing that, but I would need to go from gym to gym until our new treadmill is installed. I also envision a situation when, each time I go, the gym manager corners me and gives me a pitch like he's selling me a Florida timeshare. 

I happen to work in a place that has a well appointed fitness center and I can use it for free. I was hoping to do an occasional treadmill run there, but I concluded that I don't want to do a workout before my business day. Especially since it would require me to share a common shower and tiny locker room with my workmates. I really don't want to see that. Besides, when I get to the office, I like to get right to business.

We still don't have a date for our treadmill delivery so I may end up going for a couple of 7 day trials or joining Planet Fitness for a month for $10 if that's truly their deal. If I can drive to Bethpage State Park to run on the bike path, I can drive to a gym in the same town. Maybe someone should come up with a service model like Airbnb, where people let you come in and use their home fitness equipment. That would make it really easy.

I spent an hour on the elliptical machine this morning and actually liked the workout. But after looking at gyms online with expansive fitness rooms filled with high end treadmills, I'm ready for a change. Still, getting back on the road without worrying about slipping, or no sidewalk escape routes would make me the happiest of all.

17 comments:

  1. I heard the Planet Fitness in Carle Place is gross. NYSC is having a nice promotion. I never heard of a gym with a 7 day free trial. An hour on the treadmill and you didn't want to hit yourself over the head with a dumbbell out of boredom? Impressive.

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    1. I didn't run on the the treadmill because it is currently stacked against the wall with its console and motor removed. My hour was spent on the elliptical, which is a slightly more pleasant experience than hitting my head with a hand weight.

      Planet Fitness is in Bethpage and Levittown. I may check them out. Equinox is very close to home and supposedly very nice, but ridiculously expensive. Syosset has Retro Fitness, NYSC, Life Time Fitness, Synergy Fitness and Powerhouse Gym. I just want access to a treadmill Fri-Sun for the next few weks so I'm not picky.

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  2. Joe took me to Llfetime, his gym. It was flat out awesome, but expensive.

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  3. I'd try their Guest Pas,s but the terms of service say, "All guests on Pass consent to receipt of Life Time Fitness commercial solicitations."

    So no thank you.

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    1. You get what you pay for. Equinox and probably Lifetime are probably very clean and state of the art. My gym, Dolphin Fitness, is very bare bones. I use the treadmill and the toilet (NEI) and then leave.

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    2. Does NEI stand for not enough information? Because, really, it is.

      I just want access to a treadmill that works and doesn't sound like the world's loudest pencil sharpener. But I do want it be clean as well. I'm sure Equinox is pristine, but they probably charge a monthly restroom fee.

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    3. The fact that you knew NEI put a big smile on my face.

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  4. What about joining a good gym for a few months and experimenting a little bit -- maybe take some spin classes and some boot camp classes or try yoga, and do a little strength training, including the leg machines. You might like the change of scenery, and you should become a stronger runner for having done so. And if you don't enjoy mixing it up, it will only cost you a few months of fees and you can focus on using the gym quality treadmills until the better weather returns. I've cut back on my running to about 7-12 mpw this winter over 2-3 runs per week, and have been doing a lot of the above, and I'm enjoying it, and I'm noticeably stronger. I'm treating the winter as my off season from running, while trying to become stronger, more athletic and more injury-resistant. Haven't tried yoga yet, but will some day. Maybe next winter. Unfortunately, I've put on a few pounds this winter, but I'm pretty certain that some of it is muscle. Good luck either way.

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    1. Thanks - excellent points. That would help get me over my "I just run" mentality. I've made it a goal to focus more on upper body this year but I haven't done that as much as I've wanted. It would be easier to do that if the machines were readily available.

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    2. Boot camp classes are pretty interesting btw. Good combination of cardio and fully body strength training, with emphasis on light weights and body weight exercises. Push ups, wall squats, squats, lunges, burpees, mountain climbers, etc. More fun than hitting the machines, and a better workout as well. I've done 5 or 6 of them this winter, and have really enjoyed them.

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    3. Boot camp sounds like a lot of work! I'm probably not going to tread into CrossFit territory. But you never know. 7 years ago I never thought I'd be a runner.

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    4. Its actually a lot of fun. And its not quite CrossFit, although it could be viewed as a gateway workout. No interest in CrossFit here, as I am generally averse to joining cults and have no interest in going "paleo." Just looking to take a winter break from heavy mileage while improving my overall fitness.

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  5. I wouldn't call Crossfit a cult - it works for a lot of people and it's a heck of a workout. I like your idea lessening winter miles and broadening the fitness focus. Maybe I'll join a club Jan-March next year to mix it up.

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    1. I agree that its a heck of a workout.

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