January 29, 2011

Belonging to a Gym

Last year, I belonged to a very small park district fitness center.  The nice thing was it wasn't typically crowded, parking was never an issue, it had an un-intimidating atmosphere and crowd (I know I shouldn't, but I often feel too intimidated at my gym to try new things like classes or weights... :-/), and best of all, it was super cheap.  Why am I not a member anymore?  Because I never went.  All those perks aside, the size of the gym meant that, even though it wasn't normally crowded, there were times I'd show up and all of the treadmills would be taken (because there were only like 6), or times I was looking for a different kind of workout than offered on their limited selection of equipment.  Also, hours were an issue.  I don't often work out late at night (and DEFINITELY not early in the morning), but if I feel like a run at 9pm on a Sunday night, it's really nice to have the option to do so.  The long and short of it all was that even though the gym was cheap, I was basically throwing my money away because I rarely went.  I think I paid for 3 months in a row without going a single time.  SHAMEFUL.  

I love my new gym.  (Actually I was a member there a few years ago an rejoined this fall.)  There are tons of treadmills and bikes so even at peak hours I haven't had a problem with availability, there are lots of classes (although like I said I'm intimidated by a lot of them and have only checked out yoga a few times), and best of all there's a pool (my favorite cross training option).  Worst of all?  THE CROWDS.  Since January 1st, it has been a hassle every time I head to the gym.  Week days I cannot get my butt outta bed early enough to go workout before school, so I end up going after I leave around 5 or 6.  Along with everyone else in the world. Don't get me wrong--I totally support January Joiners and their enthusiasm about getting in shape.  But it is certainly annoying to have to circle and circle the gigantic parking lot looking for a spot...

While it's certainly not spring here yet (don't I wish...), I was thinking today about whether or not I should continue my gym membership once the weather warms up a bit and my half-marathon is over.  Don't get me wrong--as long as I don't end this race with a new ridiculous injury (or a very angry tibia that decides it's too soon after my stress fracture to pound out 13.1 miles on the road), I know I will have other races in my (hopefully near) future.  But I love running outside.  No matter how good my music is, the treadmill just doesn't compare.  Same with biking.  So, do I keep the membership knowing that it keeps me from using weather or daylight or any number of other made up excuses as a "get out of workout" card?  (because let's be honest, no matter how much we love running, sometimes it's just hard to get out the door!)  Or do I save myself the big chunk of money every month when I want to be running outside in the first place.  
Don't know why I was thinking about this today...but I guess I will just decide what feels right come spring. 

Sigh...spring...Have I mentioned how much I hate winter?

1 comment:

  1. I would hold onto the gym membership just until the weather gets better. I think it's good that you use the treadmill rather than using bad weather or time of day as an excuse to not run, but if you plan to do most of your running outside in the long run, the gym membership probably isn't necessary!

    Although I own a (used) treadmill, I hardly ever use it. If the weather is bad, I tend to just alter my training schedule, and save it as a last resort (if the weather is bad multiple days, or if I can't make up the run another day).


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