Pros: Great variety of equipment and fitness programs, great value
Cons: May seem expensive to some...but worth it!
I am a sometimes fitness buff. I go through spurts (usually over the course of a year) when I am all about getting fit and staying lean...only to eventually falter. I have so many excuses that it is pathetic. Here are a few of my personal favorites:
"It's too cold/hot to go to the gym"
"I don't have time..I have too much to do." (Usually said while sitting on my behind eating junk food)
"Kim is not going tonight, so I am not motivated."
"(Insert favorite TV show) is on tonight...I can't miss it!"
The last time I used some of those excuses the gym was a mere five miles from my home. Pretty lame, huh?
Now I have no excuses, as there is a YMCA Health and Fitness Gym literally right down the street from my house. I joined the YMCA of South Hampton Roads in January, at the urging of my beloved fiance, who also joined.
*Why I Joined*
I will be getting married next summer, and I will admit that I want people to ooh and ahh as I walk down the aisle. Although I am not overweight, I could stand to get in better shape. I want to look buff, not puff. I am not looking to get big and muscular...just a little leaner and more in shape.
I feel so much better about myself when I am working out, and I can honestly say that I am not inclined to eat as much junk. Working out is good for the soul!
$Cost of Membership$
The cost of a membership to the YMCA where I live is $51.00 per month. This seemed like a lot to me at first, but it is really a great value. You can draft the amount from your checking amount, or have it added to your credit card account each month. I believe you can also pay up front for the entire year, but I am not certain.
When we joined in January, there was a special to waive the joiner's fee of $25.00. I am all about saving money!
Families who join also get a discount. A married couple can join together for only $74.00 a month, which is a significant discount. I am not certain what the cost for dependent children is, but I am sure it is reasonable.
Guests can visit with members for $10.00. This is a bit much, but there are "Bring A Friend" days throughout the year on which members can bring a friend or out-of-town guest at no charge.
There is also a program to which one can donate in order to make it possible for low income families to become members. Your donations go towards purchasing free or reduced price memberships for those who are less fortunate.
*What I Get For my Money*
I am entitled to the use of any YMCA in the Hampton Roads area (there are several). All I have to do is present my membership card! The card is a small one which goes on your keychain much like a grocery store savings card.
All YMCA's in my area seem to be very well kept and attractive looking. The South Hampton Roads YMCA is a fairly new facility, and the building is very up to date and appealing.
There are an abundance of classes available at no additional charge including Pilates, line dancing, spinning,step classes, and more. I have not signed up for any classes yet, but I intend to. There are several classrooms in which the classes are held.
There are two pools at the South Hampton Roads YMCA. There is a large indoor pool and an outdoor pool. Swimming classes are available for an additional fee. I have not yet used the pool area, but I have taken a look at it, and I was pleased with what I saw.
There is an abundance of machines. Treadmills, elliptical machines, and stepping machines are readily available. I have not yet had a problem with machines not being available, because there are so many. All the equipment is new and very well maintained. I have not yet seen anything out of order, like at other gyms.
There is a circuit training room which also contains the freeweights. All the machines are very easy to use, and there are instructions on each one. There are a total of perhaps fifteen or more different machines, which are situated around the parameter of the room, making it easy to move through the circuit. Machines include the Cybex Eagle leg press and the chest press, among others. The freeweights are located in the middle of the room. My fiance uses them...I seldom do.
Childcare is available at no extra charge for members. Parents can come and work out with the reassurance that their children are just a few rooms over. The child care room is painted with cheery murals and contains lots of books and toys. I am sure that it is a very safe environment for the children, as it seems many parents take advantage of the nursery on site.
I love the FitLinx program that is available at no extra charge to members! I just signed up last Thursday, and I have been even more motivated to work out ever since. What is FitLinx, you ask?
FitLinx is a program that keeps track of your progress in terms of your workouts. When you first sign up, you make an appointment at your convenience with an instructor who walks you through each step. The instructor asks you questions regarding your age and health history, in order to determine your workout goals. All of your information is logged into a computer, and you are given a PIN number for the program.
My goals were weight loss, muscle tone, and cardiovascular health. My instructor, Mary, logged all my information into the computer and then set goals specifically for me. She determined which circuit machines were best for my goals, and showed me how to use each one.
Each circuit training machine has a small LCD screen attached to it into which you log your PIN number. The FitLinx system actually keeps track of how many reps you have done, shows you your range of motion on the machine, and stores your machine settings for you. Can't remember where the seat needs to be for your height? Can't remember how much weight you lifted last time? No problem...FitLinx has stored that information for you!
There are two large FitLinx computers at the SHR YMCA into which you can log in to review your workout details. You can also manually log your cardiovascular workouts...just be honest!!!
FitLinx rewards participants with points for each workout. Members are rewarded at certain point levels with small prizes. Right now, I only have about 283 points, but at 15,000 points, I will receive a pair of athletic socks with th logo on them. Other point level prizes include hats, T-shirts, and bags. Prizes are small, but they are kind of worn around the YMCA like badges of honor. Plus, they are free... Cool!
*Cleanliness is Next to Godliness*
The YMCA (at lest the YMCA of South Hampton Roads)is extremely clean and well taken care of. The workout rooms, pool area, locker rooms and restrooms are all spotless. A clean facility is of utmost importance to me!
The members are encouraged to help keep the equipment and machines clean by using paper towel and disinfectant (which is available near each machine) to wipe off the machines after each use.
*The Friendly Staff*
The staff is very knowledgeable and friendly. I am always greeted with a small upon each visit. Fitness experts are always present on the floor to answer any questions.
The YMCA staff really seems to care that members get the most for their money. They also seem to be very involved in helping members reach their fitness goals.
The YMCA stands for Young Men's Christian Association (as though you did not already know that) and was founded based upon Judeo-Christian Principles. It is a very family oriented workout place, and offers fitness not only for the body, but for the spirit.
The staff are very helpful and kind. The Christian undertone is not blatant or intrusive for those of different beliefs, but its subtle presence is reassuring for believers.
I cannot speak for all YMCA's, but I have been extremely impressed so far with the YMCA of South Hampton Roads. I believe that all YMCA's are run in pretty much the same manner. My college roommate was a member of one for years and loved it...she even met her husband at the YMCA!
I have never before been so motivated to work out. The YMCA offers programs that make it fun to get fit. I really feel that I am getting my money's worth!
I feel that the YMCA offers a variety of fitness options for just about anyone. It is a great value overall, and I would highly recommend taking a look at the YMCA in your area to see what it has to offer! It is much more than just a gym...it is a great experience.
I cannot wait until I walk down the aisle with my new, fit physique!
My very first review: http://www.epinions.com/content_169713700484