Saturday, April 04, 2009

The cost of sweat

Two weeks ago I joined my third gym in a little over a year. Finding one that fits in with my lifestyle has been a huge challenge since moving to the city. There are gyms all over…. you wouldn’t think it would be so hard to do.

By far my favorite gym was Ultimate Fitness in Patchogue. It was the first place I ever encountered TV monitors on treadmills, which I initially found annoying since they blocked my view of what was going on in front of me. It became a moot point when I began climbing random hills on the treadmill with my eyes closed though. There were however, times when someone would catch my attention requiring me to peek around the TV monitor in order to watch what they were doing. I have to admit that there was one guy I used to run into and surreptitiously watch as he made his way from one piece of gym equipment to another. One day he walked into the grocery store just as I did and I couldn’t help discreetly following him from aisle to aisle…..just to see what he was buying. ….and really, I wasn’t stalking.

After moving to Jackson Heights, I joined Evolution in Astoria. My daughter found them and I had this insane notion that maybe we would work out together. Unfortunately we had very different schedules during the week and that plan never materialized more than once or twice. During that gym membership year I made it there on average about twice a week, which was a far cry from the five or six times per week I went when I lived in Patchogue, yet better than “not at all” when I was a commuter.

When the Evolution, $54 dollar per month membership was up in December, I started hunting around for where to go next. My boss has a membership to the YMCA, which she raves about. So, off to the YMCA I went. I joined, even got a few weeks of free personal training which was considerably more helpful then I ever imagined it would be, and my boss got “free gear” for referring me. My strategy that time was to join something in downtown Brooklyn so that I could go there directly after work, only most of the time I never finished early enough to actually do that, or I had other, much more interesting “after work plans.” I also found it annoying to always have to wait for a treadmill and then be limited to 30 minutes on it, and then having to wait to use every piece of weight equipment too. And then of course there was the whole issue of my just not getting there at all. The only upside to that membership was that there was no contract, all you had to do was give 30 days notice and you were done having your account debited $64 dollars per month.

As of two weeks ago I ended up back in Astoria, this time at Planet Fitness, which I joined on line, sight unseen. Pretty ballsy for someone who likes to try out whatever they’re buying. At this point I just need somewhere to go that is not going to cost me a whole bunch of money if I don’t actually get there on a regular basis. I always have good intentions, but reality often intrudes upon them.

Today was the first time I went in search of my new gym. Up until now I knew the address and that was about it. I must say, I wasn’t hugely disappointed. So they don’t give you two towels per visit, there are no TV monitors on the treadmills, (which I struggled to figure out how to use), and the weight machines are really very basic and no where near as “smooth” as those at the more expensive gyms. I found that I worked just as hard for $19.99 per month as I did for $64…..after all; sweat is sweat, no matter how much you pay to do it.

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