Advice on Choosing A Gym

  • sandiegovince

    Posts: 111

    May 11, 2008 12:21 AM GMT
    Hi Guys,
    My gym fees at my YMCA are going up to $40./month in June so I was thinking of changing gyms. I downloaded a 2-week pass to the nearest Bally's Total Fitness but the moment I stepped in the door I got the hard sales pitch to sign up for a 3-year contract at $25 with $80. processing fee for a membership at that one location only. If I wanted to workout at the other Ballys in So. Cal it would be an additional cost and even more money if I wanted Nationwide access. They promised the dues would drop to $20. after the initial 36-month contract was completed.

    I've also downloaded a 24-Hour Fitness 7-Day pass which I will use this week. No one has called me from 24 yet (Bally's has called me at least twice a day since I received my trial membership urging me to join). icon_sad.gif So I'd like your feedback before I make the decision. How is 24 Hour Fitness? Pros & Cons. Should I stick with the Y or should I search out other options?

    Thanks,
    Vince
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    May 11, 2008 12:38 AM GMT
    Hey Vince,

    Well let me say first, I belong to the greater Wichita YMCAs (www.wichitaymca.org). State of the art facilities (getting ready to build yet another huge facility right near me, will be hard to give up my current "Y"....or will it, next spring.

    I pay $37.70 per month. It hasn't changed since I joined in 2000. I can go to any YMCA in the country.
    I realize some Y's aren't that great, but it is nice.

    I also am familiar with the 24 Hour Fitness. I even did a thread on it on here (the little gyms or fitness facilities popping up all over. We even have something called a "Members Gym" near me. The 24 Hour place is new and I did check it out and while there isn't a pool, it can serve the purpose.
    I think the total charges could be about the same as I am paying now, maybe slightly less, if I do a contract with 24 Hour.

    I think you really need to think about whats important to you..... what makes you go there? Working out of course, but do enjoy the social atmosphere? Is it based on money? Do you want trainers? More time availability? The Y's are great for me. I have had another fitness center called "Genesis" here in Wichita after me, but they are more expensive and the facilities are not as good.

    Also, if Bally's is putting pressure on you to sign a contract.. when WILL you have a chance to evaluate them? What if you hate em? I'd get the 5 free passes to 24 Hour and check em out before you cancel your Y membership.....but think about whats important to your long term fitness goals.. and do that! Let us know what you decide.
  • sandiegovince

    Posts: 111

    May 11, 2008 12:54 AM GMT
    Hey Handsome, That's what I'm thinking about. My Y in San Diego (you have access to 3 gyms) has just put in state-of-the-art equipment and the Main facility just added an outdoor lap pool to their existing indoor pool. Their lockerroom is clean and newly carpeted. I have no complaints with the Y. It's just that its beginning to cost more and it doesn't have Nationwide access without paying an additional $15. a month. It's so far has met all my fitness needs.

    I'm not going to return to Bally's no matter how hard they beg--I hate pressure tactics. The one thing going for 24 is that they seem to be everywhere and they have convenient workout hours. I'm not sure about the status of gym equipment or locker rooms. I have heard, however, that they can get very congested during peak hours and also can get very cruisy. A few have gotten notorious reps as hook up centrals and I think 2 of my area's 24 Hour gyms earned a mention on the "Cruising For Sex" site.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 11, 2008 12:55 AM GMT
    Make sure ya go to whatever gym ya chose for a trial at the time that you are likely to train and not one when they want to book you in! Normaly they try and do that to get you outside of the busy period
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    May 11, 2008 1:08 AM GMT
    I go for equipment and lay out, but also how busy it gets when you are able to hit the gym. VERY Important. A normal hour lift becomes 2 hour lift cuz you have to wait for everything.

    Enjoy the lift man!
  • NYCguy74

    Posts: 311

    May 11, 2008 1:14 AM GMT
    Since it appears that nationwide access is important to you, keep in mind that 24 hour isn't nationwide, for me in New York City, the closest one to me (at least until June) is about 1000 miles away in Memphis. If you regularly travel to a couple of cites where they have locations, then cool.

    Check out the IHRSA - International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association
    I believe 24 is a member of this. I go to New York Sports Club, since they are also a member. last summer when i went to Vegas, i was able to use a 24 hour location for $5 or $10 each time i went (i've also used this in Florida at a non-chain gym, that one was $10 per visit). So if it's something you use frequently, the $15 the YMCA wants to go national isn't too bad.
    So there are nationwide locations, but you might pay per use to use certain one

    If you go to healthclubs.com which is run by IHRSA, You can find clubs around the country and how much they charge.

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    May 11, 2008 1:20 AM GMT
    Do NOT go with Bally's. They have some serious issues with their memberships and they have been reported to the Better Business Bureau countless times for their unlawful and disgusting membership guidelines.

    I was a member of Crunch in NYC before Crunch got purchased by Bally's. After Bally's took over, the service went down and when I left, they auto-renewed my membership and than attempted to get me to pay a 3 year contract. After suing them - a process they drug out for over 3 years - I am now having to fight to get them to remove their claim from my Credit Report.

    Bally's is the most disgusting organization out there. Find another gym!!!
  • olden

    Posts: 194

    May 11, 2008 4:21 AM GMT
    I have been a 24 Hour Fitness member for several years, but have been using it faithfully only the past year. I am quite pleased with the place.

    I do a lot of traveling with my business and like the ability to drop in just about anywhere and find a good gym. I spent several weeks in Portland, OR and really liked the facilities at Beaverton.

    Be careful if you join 24 Hour to get the level gym you will have most contact with. They have Activity, Sport, Super Sport and Ultra Sport. They are priced accordingly. I have a Sport membership which means I can go to over 70% of their gyms. I have an Ultra Sport within a few miles, but I don't like paying $100+ per month. I have both a Activity and Sport closer, so I stick with those.

    Repeating previous advice, use your free pass as often as you can and use all the facilities that are available there. Look at the other members and see if they are compatible with your workout. When you go will it be so crowded that everyone is competing for the same equipment. Check out the locker room, sauna and spa. Do you feel comfortable there, or are they places for trolls

    Try several gyms and then, when you have found one where you are most comfortable, join it, even if it is a little more expensive than others. Not going to a gym where you are paying $40.00 per month is more expensive than going to one at $50 per month.

    Good luck.
  • drakutis

    Posts: 586

    May 11, 2008 4:45 AM GMT
    I agree about Bally's. Years ago I was member and when my contract was up, they tried the auto renewal thing. My bank denied them and sent a letter telling me what they tried to do. I let it go.

    Years later in during a bout with momentary retardation, I joined again only this time I had a financial set back (the unexpected kind) and could make my payments. They terminated my membership (of course) and charged me the full membership which of course went on my credit. At that point in my life I wasn't the wise old man I am today and let it go, although I tried to negotiate with them.

    long story short, It dropped off of my credit which thankfully is A1 now and I will never join them again.

    I love Gold's and I will not leave them.

    Good luck on your search.
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    May 11, 2008 4:51 AM GMT
    I joined my Golds purely for convenient location.

    I have had to get after them to clean the gym floors better....edges and around equipment...and the floor fans ...and the shower knobs (not just mildew, but also algae...effing ALGAE growing in the knobs; they couldnt have ever been cleaned since they opened)
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    May 11, 2008 4:58 AM GMT
    I had a similar membership issue with Gold's, so Bally's isn't alone in that regard. I joined a gym here in Florida and within three days was transfered out of the country. In the contract here in Florida, you have a three day right of recision that allows you to get your money back and void the contract.

    I hand delivered a letter to them within the three days and asked for them to credit my card back for the charge. Of course they said they would. Through the hubbub of moving, I forgot to check on the credit. Of course when I looked, they hadn't done it. By the way, this was like $200 because I paid for several months in advance to get a cheaper rate.

    Long story short, after SIX MONTHS of writing letters, making international phone calls, etc... I finally got my money back. It was the biggest pain in my ass ever. So, I would say that any huge gym chain could give you the membership run around.

    The gym I'm at now is a small "boutique" gym with only one location. I absolutely love it. I know practically everyone that works there, they know my name, they give me encouragement as I go in, etc... It's a great gym. I don't know that I'll ever join a huge chain gym again.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    May 11, 2008 9:57 AM GMT
    you need to be forceful with those nuts at Bally's
    tell them exactly what you want
    if it's a year...it's a year
    if it's just the one gym there...that's it
    don't let them snow you into something you don't want or need
  • gymguy81

    Posts: 455

    May 11, 2008 10:11 AM GMT
    i have to agree ballys sucks they are usualy not that well equiped with the acception of cardio equitment. i have never delt with 24 hour fitness so i have to pass on that. i use to be a member fo 2 golds gyms one i liked and it was a realy good enviorment and the other was sevirly lacking. I'm gona say go where you fell comfortable weigh the options of equitment fees a nd how cofortable you feel. with all the gyms ive been to with sales and transitions i ended up at a place that basicly took 80% of my original gyms clients and it has very nice equipment.
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    May 11, 2008 10:40 AM GMT
    I've seen a few guys list Planet Fitness as their gym.. They have opened a few locations near me and I wondered how they are?

    The set up of the gym looks great.. big and clean, and it's only $20 a month for membership

    any input would be appreciated icon_biggrin.gif