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Consumer Conundrum: Are Fancy Gyms Worth It?

Gym, gym membership, gym fees, gym equipment, group exercise

Credit: gee

I don’t know about ya’ll, but I’m a sucker for a gym tour. I love seeing different workout equipment, and I love finding out about new workouts because I’m always looking for the next cool trend to try. I recently visited a new gym, 220 Fitness Concepts, in Santa Monica, Cali. It was so cool!  It’s clean, organized and efficient. They have cool machines that I hadn’t even seen before that looked efficient without intimidating the fit right out of me.

However. What I don’t really dig is the hard sell that comes after you get the gym tour.

Here in Los Angeles, gyms are a dime a dozen, so they really have to do flashy things in order to stand out. That flash usually costs a pretty penny, and I’m cheap. I go to my company gym (for free!), so convincing me to pay to do what I already do there is darn near impossible. I just can’t fathom paying more than $100 a month for a gym. It would have to be so revolutionary, so spectacular, that I’d leave every day crying out of pure joy. Have you ever left your gym feeling that euphoric? I love a good workout, but even I laugh at that idea.

I guess as long as I can work hard and get my sweat on, it doesn’t matter how fancy the place is or if it has all of the newfangled equipment. After all, I don’t go to the gym to get a massage or hit the raw-foods snack bar—I go to work out.

What gym features really melt your butter, and how much would you pay to join the gym of your dreams? Are fancy gyms worth the high membership for you? —Tish

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  1. Beth says:

    My gym costs about $35/month, which is quite reasonable, is super clean, has tons of classes, and is not too gimmicky.
    The reason I like it is because it is close to home and what makes me happy about going there is all the people. I’m a social person and I love running into friends, acquaintances, and regulars when I go to the gym.
    I do feel euphoric when I’m done, especially if I’ve had a chance to say ‘hi’ to someone and get in my workout.

  2. Alyssa says:

    I’ve belonged to a bunch of gyms [including a few in L.A., when we lived there :)], and now I work at a few. More expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better. I used to work at a well-known, high-end gym, and, quite honestly, it wasn’t any better than other gyms. The employees were lovely, but then the management team changed and everything went downhill.

  3. Tiffany says:

    I agree with you – expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better. However, I am all for the gyms that are targeted (and often can be more expensive) to your specific goals – womens only, etc. I went to college in Los Angeles and San Diego and had an opportunity to visit a bunch of gyms (and teach in them too!). My fav was a small womens’ gym in Carlsbad, reasonably priced at about $45/month, they had amazing classes, great pilates instruction and kick butt locker room facilities.

    Bottom line… find somewhere you feel comfortable and know your purpose!

  4. Anna says:

    I look for a gym that is close to home, clean, friendly, safe child care center and good hours.

  5. Brigid says:

    For me, convenience is key. I just “downgraded” to a gym that is slightly less “nice” but within a 5 min walk from my home. I’m saving $10 a month, it still has everything I need, AND it is more convenient to go. WIN-WIN-WIN!

  6. jeannette garcia says:

    I think one must look at their situation and plan accordingly. I think the more a fitness center offers by way of education and services will determine how much the consumer is willing to pay. I personally look for the “one stop shop” I will go grab a pre-workout beverage from the juice and smoothie bar befor working out, either on my own, with a trainer or getting into group fitness. I also like the availability of services and amenites like hair and nails, saunas and massage, reiki and hypnotherapy,even child care, as well as educationally and community based workshops and seminars and even retail and merchandise affiliated with my fitness lifestyle . I love a center that focuses on Teams and Groups, that gets people networking and sharing. So anywhere from $30 a month for a basic package and up to the skies the limit, really it is a matter of finances=)

  7. Doris Litman says:

    I think it all depends on what you want. I recently had to find a new gym due to the local Curves closing. What ultimately led to my choice is convenience and location. The gym I chose is closer to my house…but the thing that I love about it is this: 1. the young woman who signed me up is so personable and friendly and made me feel welcome even though I’m not exceptionally fit. 2. The other members here don’t all look like they’re juicing on steroids…they look like me. Just normal people coming to get their workout on. Less intimidating. And no, they don’t have a bunch of extras. But they have Zumba classes, and soon will add yoga. Also, it’s clean and the equipment is new and in good working order. And they welcome member input to improve the services. I’m happy with the gym I chose…

  8. Kristen says:

    Convenience, classes and childcare (oh, and clean)! My gym is about $60/month, which includes almost all the classes, an hour of training a month AND up to 2 hours of childcare each day. Which is pretty much exactly what I need. Plus, it’s super-close to my house, in the same parking lot as my grocery store, and just down the street from my son’s preschool. An added bonus is the friendly staff and fabulous trainers.

  9. Nina says:

    I’m all about convenience. I need a place that I can go to early in the morning before work and still be able to come home and shower in time to leave (I hate getting ready in gym locker rooms). We belong to our city’s Rec center and it’s been wonderful! We pay once per year but it works out to be $30/month. I’d rather buy P90X and other DVDs and just work out at home than pay $100/month for a gym!

  10. Michelle G. says:

    I have to agree with most of the rest of the ladies, the best gym is the one that has what you need. I love my gym’s expansive class schedule and all-hours availability. The child-care thing isn’t an issue for me (yet!!). And I put up with the juice heads because I know that my 50 pound bench is just as important to me as their 400lb bench is to them.

    On the other hand, I’m cheap!! So the price tag is uber important too. I definitely miss college, when the gym was included in the tuition…

  11. Deb Roby says:

    My day to day is a 24 Hr. It has tons of machines, mirrors on the wall, lots of classes, a basketball court and a pool. I HATE IT. But it’s close and cheap ($30/year for me.)

    My favorite gym is an hour drive away. It has no machines and no mirrors. But it has tons of barbells, dumb bells, kettle bells, a sled. A resident cat and 2-3 resident dogs. The staff knows EVERYONE by name and treat all visitors as friends. I wish it were closer. I’d consider the $100/month a bargain to go in there every day and work out.

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