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Looking For A New Gym

Thursday, January 23, 2014

I'm starting to shop around for gyms in my region. I've narrowed it down to the YMCA, Energy Fitness (a smallish local gym), and the new Goodlife that will be opening at the end of the month.

Positives: Great staff, great equipment and facilities, great classes, all included with membership, it's close to home, and I have experience there from years ago and loved it. Plus, you can go to any of the three YMCAs in the region with membership.
Negatives: It's not 24 hours (extremely important as a shift worker where I'm awake overnight every two weeks), it's busy, it's a bit pricey including the initial $100 "building fee".

Energy Fitness
Positives: It's open 24 hours on weekdays, excellent reviews from many friends, good facilities from what I'm told, cheap memberships fees, good classes, close to home, and I'm told it's not too busy.
Negatives: Some of the classes cost extra each time which would add up quickly, it closes kind of early on weekends, minimum 1-year membership required (so I'm told), and it appears the classes are less frequent and don't line up well with my schedule.

Positives: National chain with good reputation, good reviews from friends at other locations, such as in Toronto. A new location is opening in a week in my city, so there's a slight chance I might get a deal on a 1-year membership. Plus, a major plus is that membership gives access to any Goodlife in Ontario (so I'm told), which would be AMAZING for me as I spend half my time at work out of town near 3 different gym locations, one of which is 24 hours.
Negatives: Might be busy since it's a new location in St.Catharines, might be expensive if I can't get a deal.

So, I'd like to hear from you. What's your take on this? Any better suggestions? I need to keep membership fees as low as possible, I work 12-hour shifts days and nights, so a location open 24 hours would be almost essential, and I work in another city from where I live, so multi-location membership privileges would also be a major bonus.

What say you?

~ Troy
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I changed gyms recently too. I'm still learning about my new membership. The clencher for me was availability. I chose the gym that was closest with the most hours and most classes.

    It has some pros and cons to it, like all gyms, but I found that being open more hours than the previous gym has been very helpful for me.

    I'm sure you'll weigh your options well and make a great choice!
    2740 days ago
    I say you pick Goodlife. It sounds like the best. I just had to give up my gym membership. So I'm envious of you starting a new gym. Why don't you try a couple places. Most gyms will give you a free workout. See which one fits you best. Have fun! Adding you as a friend. It said on your spark page to feel free!
    2740 days ago
    I'd go with the last one--especially if everything's included and the schedule works best with yours. With your irregular hours, I bet you'll be hitting the gym at less popular times, which would cut down on the busy factor.
    2740 days ago
    I had the same problem as you.
    Too many options.
    Luckily for me, tho', my work schedule is more forgiving then yours. I chose the one right next to work.
    The hours kinda suck, but I have no excuse not to go, because I pass right by it...twice...every stinking day!

    Good luck!

    2740 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/26/2014 1:26:34 PM
  • no profile photo CD5500762
    the Y emoticon
    2742 days ago
    I say... I'm jealous. Mountains of PA don't offer a lot of gyms! Actually Planet Fitness which I would love to join is an hour away :) Anyway, my 2 cents: go with the 2nd one. 24 hrs is great. How many classes do you think you would actually take? I bet you'd be happy with all the equipment... unless you're like my husband when he belonged to the Y at our old house... classes were fun b/c they were filled with cute girls!

    Good luck on finding one - I'm sure you'll be happy with any one you pick. Like I said, before we moved Ed belonged to the YMCA and loved it. Hey, maybe if you tour all 3 on the same day and tell ea place that you're checking the others out, they may fight for you and offer discounts. It's okay to shop around :)
    2742 days ago
    It sounds like time is really crucial to you, and it's discouraging when you have the time to work out, but no where to go (i.e., before or after your work day).

    I guess just figure out your priority #1 - time or money (since it sounds like Goodlife may be more expensive, which is what I would pick).

    Also, pick out your "exercise style." Do you want to do primarily weights, have a place to run when it's cold, like all the classes, etc.? Then look for a gym that's primarily heavy on whatever you find important.

    Honestly, I work a full time job and go to law school at night, so I will often sacrifice money (ie pay more) for things that work better with my schedule.

    Let us know what you decide :)
    2742 days ago
  • no profile photo CD13099273
    Love the YMCA - its my favorite place to swim ! Good for you !
    2743 days ago
  • no profile photo CD11893516
    I would go with Goodlife or Energy Fitness - sounds like 24 hours is the deal breaker.
    2743 days ago
  • JANET552
    What's most important to you? How busy a place is varies so much throughout the day so you really need to consider when you'd go there. Can you pop in at those times and see how busy it is -- even driving by the parking lot would give you a little insight. As for the new place, it may start busy and then level off. Good Luck!!
    2743 days ago
  • no profile photo CD3692258
    Prioritize your requirements. Convenience is number one for me, what are your top items. You seem to have a concern with how busy a place is. I can tell you that varies depending on when you work out. Most gyms are busiest in the early evening, then first thing in the morning then at lunch time. After that not so much. Most gyms offer a trial membership of a week or a couple of visits. Try them out.
    2743 days ago
    What are you NOT willing to compromise on? You stressed 24 hours a few times so that sounds pretty darn important to you. What about classes? Do you go to classes often? A lot of gyms will sell packages that will reduce the price. Gym memberships are negotiations. See if you can work in a lower rate if they'll make you pay for classes individually. How important are multiple locations? Could you possibly rework your training schedule if you go out of town and there's not a gym? Or is that not feasible.

    There are a lot of variables to consider here. Give it some thought, then go in to each gym and see what they can offer you. Even pit them against one another like you're shopping for insurance or a car. People don't realize it but there can be a lot of room for negotiation at gyms. Use it!
    2743 days ago
    Wow, you are a busy man! I'll leave the comments up to the others because I am in Australia and never heard of those gyms LOL I can image that GREAT things are going to happen once you decide and hit that gym. Well done! emoticon
    2743 days ago
    Convenient location, hours, and the schedule of the classes you're interested in are key to getting the most out of the membership. If you can get a deal at Goodlife (which is a great idea! It's very likely they'll start offering that before it actually opens, so keep your eyes open), it sounds like it meets those criteria. Even though the location is great, it's unlikely to be busy from day one, and if you're doing shift work, you'll probably be there during some of the off hours. Visit a busy gym and see if the crowds bother you.
    That you have access to Goodlife locations while you're out of town sounds pretty great, too.

    Still, it sounds like you have three good choices. Let us know what you decide!
    2743 days ago
    The YMCA sounds like a great choice due to the classes being included but it doesn't seem to work with your schedule. Do you go to alot of classes? Are you able to with your work schedule? That would be the first thing to decide in my opinion. If classes might not be a huge selling point then going with a 24 hour gym will probably be the best for you. Maybe see what GoodLife is going to offer for new members when they open and then compare prices? Finding a good gym to work with your lifestyle is difficult. Part of the reason I don't belong to one at all. I do most of my workouts at home and then if I decide I want to swim I just pay for a day pass at the YMCA. Hope you find one that fits soon. :) Good Luck!
    2743 days ago
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