Skip to content

Gym Switch?


When I first started working out there was only one gym option in my teeny tiny town in Western, NY.  It was this old school weight lifting gym that blasted heavy metal and had one elliptical, a stair climber and a small little room they occasionally held step aerobics or pilates in.  Its wasn’t much but it was something that was different from just walking the hills of my town looking like a crazy person.  So I joined up and mostly used the elliptical while reading really old editions of Shape and Self (perhaps that’s where my magazine addiction began).  For kicks I sometimes joined in on the classes but they were often packed and cost extra above my membership.  SO I stuck to Cathe on DVD and FitTV for stuff like that.  But I felt great because I belonged to a gym.

I was getting healthy.  In college the gym was the place all the athletes and want to be athletes hung out.  They would spend hours sweating it out on the track or lifting weights or playing intramural sports.  The only time I spent in the gym was to play intertube water polo and watch my friends (the real athletes) compete on the courts.  I was pretty miserable.  I occasionally let my friend convince me to “play” racquetball with him which got me lots of questions like how I got that black eye or if my boy friend was abusing me when I went to my home church for visits.  But it was pretty funny to hit the ball off of all the walls as hard as I could.  I still don’t know the rules.

When I moved into the dorms at seminary a year later I found that we had access to a great gym and fitness studio at no extra cost.  I would go down there almost every day and watch jeopardy with my professors while I walked hills on the treadmill.  I even used the weight machines (improperly I’m sure) and did some cool DVD’s in the fitness studio.  Lots of mirrors on the wall so my own reflection stared back at me while I mimicked Billy Blanks and Bib Harper.  It was good for producing proper form but bad for my narcissism.  And even better yet was our second year they hired a trainer for all the seminary students.  She would create a personal plan for you and help keep you active.  She created challenges to encourage us and I even got a cool sweatshirt for doing a certain number of workouts.  I love that thing because I earned it.  It was like having my own Jillian except she was not as prone to yelling.

Our trainer even encouraged me to get into running.  I went into her office one day and complained about the fact that I was “doing the right things” and my weight stayed the same.  We won’t talk about the fact that I was over estimating my portion sizes and getting Cold Stone Creamery with the teens every time I took them to the mall.  But she did let me know that after a while your body gets complacent with your workouts and you have to kick it up a notch.  SHe helped me find the Couch to 5K program and encouraged me to try it.  I LOVED IT!  And it stuck.

But since we had a gym at the seminary for 2 years I didn’t really need to look for a gym.  On my internship I took some hand weights and my swiss ball for strength training (with the lovely plan the trainer gave me) and I ran all summer.  I just got used to having the gym at my finger tips.  Even after the dreaded back injury I could still go walk very slowly on the treadmill (the doctor okayed this) which was in the basement of my apartment building.  It was there and convenient.

But when Hunni and I moved to the Berkshires we weren’t looking to join a gym right away.  I was anticipating surgery as the pain got worse so even walking on a treadmill was a no go and he had bought a bike with some of our wedding money to explore town.  SO we didn’t even bother looking at gyms.  I had surgery…he rode his bike.

But post surgery both the surgeon and my PT recommended that I get out and walk.  I had to get used to moving around again in order to heal.  And I felt like an idiot walking around town with a huge brace and walker and then finally a cane.  I wasn’t going to do it.  So we started gym shopping. Our health insurance was going to pay for our memberships so we had nothing to lose.

We had specific criteria:

  • Close to home: Sometimes our lives get crazy and we don’t have much time.
  • New equipment:  No need to fall of an old treadmill and need more surgery.
  • Clean: I don’t shop in dirty stores, eat at dirty restaurants and I didn’t want to work out in a dirty gym.
  • Good TV:  Okay this was Hunni’s requirement because he wanted to watch TV while working out.  I didn’t care.

We looked at our local YMCA because it had a pool which would be great for my back and a sauna that Hunni liked to think of sitting round in sweating his butt off.  But the place was dirty and old.  ANd you had to go down these big stairs to get to the fitness rooms.  I could barely walk so stairs did not make me happy.  And their weights consisted of an old Total Gym and a dumbbell set that was missing a few.  Needless to say we went with the new Planet Fitness chain that had just opened up because we got a great deal and it fit the above category.  Hunni was going to miss that sauna but at least I could walk in cane and all and go very slowly on the treadmill.

Now two years later we are thinking about switching gyms.  The local Y got an $85,000 upgrade that I hear is pretty nice.  And we got a free one week trial pass to check it out including all the classes and the pool.  We are going to try it after our vacation and see if it is worth the little extra drive (it is about 10 minutes instead of 5) and the little extra cost (although the insurance is footing the bill so this isn’t a big deal).  And we might even think about having insurance pay for the Y if we like it and keep the $10 a month Planet Fitness membership for quick workouts.

The reason for the change is that if I can’t do all the running I’ve grown to love I need a way to change it up and riding the bike and doing the elliptical just arent’ doing it for me.  I’ve tried and get bored so quickly.  And I’m not a DVD girl any more.  I just can’t get motivated to put it on when Twitter and Google Reader are such good distractions.  I have to get out of the house to get a good workout.  And the Y has new wonders like Kickboxing, Zumba, Pilates, Water Aerobics, Spinning and so much more.  I can change it up every week and keep my mind moving.  Heck it is worth a shot since I have a free trial right?

Have you ever switched gyms?  What was your motivation?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. 11/06/2010 12:09 AM

    I’ve switched gyms a lot, but usually because I was moving around. For me, it is important that they have classes that I like at times that are right for me. And that they don’t cost too much. The only in-town switch I’ve done was from a beautiful, awesome, perfect gym that was in my price range while I was employed, but not while I’m unemployed. I switched from there to a YMCA, that was nice and more reasonably priced and didn’t require a contract.

    I can’t motivate myself to do DVDs very often. I kind of envy people who get excited for at home workouts, but I just can’t. I’m too easily distracted.

    • 11/06/2010 11:37 AM

      I totally agree about at home workouts. When I couldn’t afford a gym or there wasn’t a good one I did them but now I can’t.

  2. Elizabeth A. permalink
    11/06/2010 6:56 PM

    I did! I switched 3 times and now go to a more upscale gym that I love. Group classes are the way to go for me most of the time :-). I love ZUMBA and weight classes and the difference between gyms is that when you find a gym you love, you always want to go!

    • 11/06/2010 11:14 PM

      See that’s what I’m hoping with the fitness classes since I can’t run right now.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s