Posted by Katie
The rest of my week improved after scary Pilates.
I met with some trainers at the gym nearest my work. I must admit, I had an element of fear before going in: my boss attends that gym and she is a fitness machine. I know how much she does – and I don’t want to get sucked in the fitness vortex completely. Trust me, I obsess over enough things as it is.
But the people were friendly, competent and helpful. I got a notebook filled with free workouts, diet and general health advice as well as the promise they could find something that suits – if I joined.
Now, when I started this challenge, I wanted to come to the conclusion so badly that gyms are the expensive option – and if you can run and walk up steps or do aerobics, this may still be true. But this week has shifted my thinking: the community pool doesn’t offer Pilates, the YMCA charges extra for Pilates and the Pilates class offers no pool. So two of the only three things I’m able to do would cost extra by at least £10 a week.
If you can get a gym that charges no joining fee, offers everything you want and provides fitness plans and reviews for free, a gym may actually be the cheapest choice. Trust me, it kills me to write this. But consider: I spent £23.95 to go swimming and attend a single Pilates class in a week. This is half the price of standard month-long gym membership.
It’s actually quite good, as long as you go, and the best gyms provide incentives, treats or money back if you do.
According to Darren at LA Fitness – the only gym close to me – realistic expectations and goals make a world of difference when sticking to gym attendance."When you’re looking at joining a gym, make sure they ask you what you want to achieve and tell the truth!
“If you can only work out once a week, be honest so we can tailor a workout that will actually get you results instead of a workout that’s going to discourage you," Darren said.
If that’s not enough, the gym resorts to bribery. "At LA Fitness, we refund the £39 joining fee if you go to the gym at least twice a week for eight weeks. I’m so pleased that we do this; in many places I’ve worked, the biggest sticking point was the joining fee. And really, why should you be charged for joining? So, we’ve turned it into an incentive to keep coming."
Another thing to consider when joining a gym is the atmosphere you want. There’s a big difference between city and country gyms.
"Rural gyms have a bigger social element; people go there to get fit, gossip, have a coffee and meet friends. With city gyms, clients need different things like a good location and the latest equipment to get in and out. So in the city, it’s especially important – and the gym’s job – to make sure your workout’s not hindered by a lack of staff or slowdowns at the turnstiles. Everything needs to be available to you so you can get in and out quickly."
This coming week, I’ll be looking for the hidden extras and the expenses that really add up, so if you want me to look into anything, let me know in the comments.