Gym Memberships Revisited

Six years ago, I joined a gym for the first time. A location close to my house and the availability of Zumba classes were deciding factors. Having never set foot in a gym, I sprung for regular training sessions to keep from hurting myself.

The gym — Omni — hadn’t been open very long. Everything was shiny and new. A wide variety of classes were available from 6:30 in the morning to 8 in the evening through the week with a lighter schedule on weekends that still provided a host of options.

Going to the gym became part of my lifestyle. I went almost every day for a class or two, a training session, or to work out. I felt better, and kept at it. The impact on my physique from all that hard work was disappointing, and I gained a new respect for muscular men and women.

To be honest, my workouts aren’t particularly strenuous. My ex got ripped after a twelve-week program I’ve loosely followed for years. Strength training for my health is the goal. Anything else is icing on the cake.

Over time, classes vanished from the schedule and the cost of training sessions skyrocketed. Despite paying an annual “gym enhancement fee” (that went up every year), damaged and worn equipment was rarely repaired or replaced. Complaining made no difference.

This past January, management appeared to have turned over a new leaf. Broken equipment was repaired or replaced. Worn benches were recovered. About damn time.

I got a barrage of emails and phone calls about renewing my membership that I ignored until April. Getting six free months for paying upfront seemed like a great deal — until a month later when they closed the location closest to my house. Getting my money back wasn’t an option because branches on the other side of town and in the next county were less than ten miles from the closed facility.

Dirty rotten bastards.

The other branches don’t work for me. Proximity to my house is a must, and not just for convenience. Vision issues limit my mobility. My other options were the campus gym, a privately-owned gym a couple of blocks from my office, and a YWCO within a mile of my house.

Nothing about the busy campus gym is convenient, and the scenery is more than I can handle. The private gym is accessible, but farther from home than I need. Getting to either location when Georgia plays football at home would be next to impossible. I decided to check out the YWCO.

The visit I intended to make in June didn’t happen until the first week of November. Although heavier by a good twenty pounds than I’d like to be, I haven’t gained any weight this year. Seeing my pecs had reverted to man boobs motivated me to action.

The difference was immediately apparent. No smoke and mirrors or high-pressure sales tactics. The cost of membership is posted. There’s no contract or “gym enhancement fee.” Thanks to my employer, I even got a discount.

For ten bucks a month more than Omni, I get access to a swimming pool, sauna, and a whirlpool.  On the down side, the weight room is small with a fraction of the equipment available at my old gym. There’s only one of everything, and not much room. On the plus side, the serious bodybuilders go someplace else.

Given my meager fitness goals and “don’t judge me at least I’m doing it” workouts, I think the YWCO will work. Once I learn my way around, I want to check out some of the classes too. I’ll keep you posted.

, ,