Monday, March 4, 2013

Gyms: the Lure of the New and Old

Me after a workout in the old gym.
Our family sees our gym membership as health investment. How much money you put into this investment is a matter of consumer savvy. Meet SouthWest Houston, a place that houses around 650 gyms. Our family decided to join a family friendly location. I was expecting our third child when we joined that facility and we have been frequent users. We were quite happy but every now and then we heard about the new, "jumping" gym in town. They had awesome facilities, great classes, the childcare was impecable and the rates, really low. We thought about switching but our contract didn't make it easy. Also, I was expecting and breaking a contract was the last thing in our minds. 
After we had a little over 1 year on our pocket and a baby who's crawling and doing her best to become a toddler (smile), we decided to give the competition a try. It was the perfect day: their last day of their Zero Down promotion which meant $550 dollars in savings. I signed the contract, my husband congratulated me. 
Reality set when I went to the new gym for the first time: the parking was awful. To make matters worse, there is road construction all around it, which will make the commute even worse. The new gym is 10 times larger than our old gym. I must confess, I was overwhelmed with the amount of people. I hid in the 'women's only' workout room but found out that if I wanted to do my usual resistance training (the least amount of weights I lift start at 15 lbs) I needed to take a 2 minute walk to the weights region of the gym. I was excited about the diversity of people who were working out. The next day I went to the old gym to break the news. It turns out they had some great news for me: I qualified for 40% off our current membership fee. I thought about the great parking. I remembered their childcare is awesome and people have grown to love our kids there. I thought about how inspiring my gym buddies are: they're at least double my age, healthy and very consistent with their fitness plans. The old gym also has some amenities that the other location does not offer such as a pool, free wifi and the occasional free 5-minute free back massage in the lobby.  I talked to my husband and we decided to stay. 
I thank God for giving us favor and helping us save on our membership while staying in the gym we  really enjoy. I learned that the location is not as important as what you do while you're there. I am personally inspired by my early morning workout buddies who have lived a full life and are practicing healthy living methods which leads them to abundant longevity. We decided to stay in the old gym. By the way, that individual TV screen in the cardio machines didn't hurt my decision at all. 
Photo of me after a run in the park.
QUESTION: What are the things you really enjoy about the place where you exercise?

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