Sunday, April 15, 2007

Advice Please

My health insurance plan has feature that provides reimbursement up to $300/year for gym memberships. My new office, which I will see for the first time tomorrow, is located half a block away from a YMCA. That combination is a mighty big convenience factor. Exercising more some would be really good for me, especially of the aerobic variety that I can't get just walking around.

Last time I climbed an Adirondack peak it was shameful: all the huffing and puffing and beet red face and soreness. I don't view hiking as a competitive event, and don't usually mind being lapped by other hikers. However, there is a huge difference between being lapped because I'm stopping to smell the flowers and being lapped because I'm hunched over wheezing. And Big Slide was two summers ago. If I go back this summer, I might not even be able to haul my weary shit-ass up the mountain.

I looked online and the YMCA membership fee is higher than I expected; were I to join for an entire year, the $300 reimbursement would not cover it, not by a long shot. I asked a few women at work, and no one has been there before. A bunch of us have agreed to go check it out together. However, I have never in my life belonged to a gym. In fact, the only time I've set foot in one was the semester in college when I took tai chi, which was held in a basement room. So I am not sure excatly what to look for. I know some of my readers are gym-goers. What should I look for? What should scare me away?


Molecular Turtle said...

If you want to go to a good gym that is relatively inexpensive I would suggest going to a University gym. You can get a membership as an alumni or just outsider for way less than 300.

Nadine said...

I would count the number of treadmills and the specific equipment you would use. See if it all appears to be in working order. See if the gymgoers look happy and are not grousing around. Maybe talk to a couple of them for feedback.

I particularly liked having a 75 year old man zip by me as I gasped my way up Giant. That was great for the ego.

Nicole said...

I am most certainly one of the hunched over and wheezing variety. I vaguely remember my early 20's when my muscles existed.

Casey said...

I am a card-carrying member of the YMCA. We have a family membership, which is way expensive, but it's worth it for us since we use the childcare service. Also, the Y doesn't turn anyone away for inability to pay, so if you think the fee would be a hardship, you can ask about their sliding scale.

On what to look for: Watch out for men leering at female patrons. You want to be able to workout in peace. Watch out for crowdedness and wait times for the equipment. And see if they have other amenities, like a pool or sauna. That's super fun. Check out the locker room, too. Are you uncomfortable changing in front of other people? Then you'll want to make sure they have private changing areas.

Also, our branch plays a lot of contemporary christian rock, which makes my ears bleed, but it's balanced out by the lack of leerers.

Jenny F. Scientist said...

I'd say also check out prices on classes- I won't go alone unless it's to a class because of no motivation! Does a lot of the equipment have 'broken' signs? If you lift weights, do they have more than one set of weights less than 30 pounds?

Decent showers help, too.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Long Ago and far away, I used to teach T'ai Chi at that very Y (I think), and I got a free membership because I was teaching there.

However, I never used it, so I can't give you any advice.

I know someone who works there (if it's the same Y), PM, should I ask him anything?