Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Choosing a gym

One of my clients was asking me about recommendations on a gym to join.  She currently has a membership but was looking to save a bit of money.  I figured I would share some of the things that we discussed with all of you.

"Price is what you pay; Value is what you get." Rupert Murdoch
Far too often people are always looking for the CHEAPEST option when it comes to a gym.  I totally understand, not everyone has a lot of disposable income to spend on a gym but keep in mind there is a reason why some gyms are cheap.  NYC is a totally different animal than most suburban gyms so those of you outside of NYC please try not to have a heart attack when I tell you that some of our gyms are $100-$150 a month!  We also have plenty of gyms like Planet Fitness that are $10-$20 a month!  So what's the difference?  Well your typical $100+ gym in nyc has a very robust schedule of classes, typically a minimum of 10 different classes offered a day.  When I worked at New York Sports club, we offered upwards of 20 different classes a day in our location ranging including spinning, yoga, and total body conditioning. 

$100+ gyms all have complimentary towels, are well staffed with trainers to assist you and have tons of both cardio and strength training equipment.  I once had a membership to a Planet Fitness because it was right across the street from my apartment.  They have ZERO classes and I don't think I ever saw a true trainer in there.  They had a decent amount of cardio machines, but almost NO free weights, just strength machines.  For me it served a purpose, when I needed a quick place to do some cardio, or a few light dumbells for shoulder workouts and a place to do abs and stretch, it worked for me but I would never consider it as a serious place for ME to train and get in shape simply because there weren't enough weights.  It may work perfectly well for you!

Money is a motivator While $100 is a lot of money for some people, lets break it down, it's less than $4 a day.  If your serious about getting fit, most people can find places to get that money.  If you smoke a half of a pack of cigarettes a day, quitting smoking will pay for your gym.  If you buy a starbucks coffee everyday, making your own coffee at home each morning will just about cover your gym membership.  Cut down on eating out lunch at the office and bring it from home and you'll not only save a few bucks, you'll probably cut a lot of bad calories out of your diet!  Everybody gets motivated differently but I remember being unemployed when I moved to NYC and I still chose to pay $100 a month for a gym because in my mind, that was way too much money to spend and NOT show up to the gym.  When I had my $10 planet fitness membership, I often blew off going because the perceived value was low.

A la carte My client that asked me about gyms really isn't much into lifting weights on her own (thats what I'm for!) and she lives 1 block from the East River walk and prefers to get cardio out there.  However, she loves doing Yoga.  She pays a premium price for a nice gym with good yoga classes but travels quite a bit for work so some months she may only take a handful of classes.  There are several great Yoga studios here in NYC that offer classes on a pay as you go basis or let you buy a package of classes. There has also been a big boom in recent years of studios dedicated exclusively to spinning and other specialized fitness activities.  Sometimes chain gyms have great classes but they are overcrowded.  These private studios give you a more exclusive service while also allowing you to simply pay for what you are using.

Do it yourself  You don't need a fancy gym to get in shape. Resistance bands are incredibly versatile, portable, and inexpensive.  We use them for all sorts of exercises in bootcamp.  They come in different tensions for a variety of fitness levels.  Again, larger guys like myself will never build huge muscles with them but I do get a great warmup and dynamic stretch with them.  You can use them indoors  by attaching them to doorways as needed or outdoors in a local park.  The options are endless!

Just do it!  Whatever your budget is, a gym or fitness equipment is only good if you use it!      Figure out what your deal breakers are.  For some people, money isn't an issue but cleanliness of the gym is.  Others really want group classes for motivation and a social aspect of training.  If you don't know what you are doing in the gym it's like having a car without a drivers license!  Don't hesitate to ask me or your local fitness professional for help on how to make the most of your gym!  The feeling of accomplishing a significant fitness goal is priceless.  I've had a few clients over the years that have made some amazing transformations to their bodies and all of them will tell you that if they would have paid any sum imaginable if they knew that they would get the bodies of their dreams!  They didn't just shell out money and magically get transformed; they set goals and objectives along the way and worked towards it.  As Bob Harper of The Biggest Loser says "Trust the process" and the results will come!

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