Saturday, November 04, 2006

Choosing The Right Gym

Ok, so if you are somebody who is trying to be moneywise, you have probably read some of the other money conscious blogs out there. I find that a fairly consistent piece of advice for saving money is to cut out those health club fees. The alternative for physical fitness that is typically given is to walk/run/bike outside since these activities are of course free. However, as a Canadian, this simply isnt practical. Cycling isnt really an option from October to March and walking/running loose their appeal from about November-February. There are obviously going to be exceptions to that, but lets be honest, if one is to be successful at regular exercise, it needs to be routine. I dont see that happening if you have to skip a few days because of a blizzard, or even rain.

Another issue with the spendthrift suggestions for physical fitness is its lack of strength training. Building/maintaining muscle is almost as important to health as is cardiovascular training. Unless these blogs would have me constantly moving the furniture in my home, this area is completely missed.

So here are my suggestions:

1) Avoid the trendy "clubs".
This probably goes without saying, but there are alot more affordable ways to have access to health equipment than joining a club. By club I mean places that often have club in the name ie "Adelaide Club", "Granite Club", "Hunt Club". These places are either more expensive, or have significantly less focus on fitness than a health club.

2)Avoid the personal trainer.
Any health club (different than above) I have ever joined has required some sort of initial assessment performed by a personal trainer. This is more of a sales pitch than a health assessment. The reason of this meeting is to try and get you to pay for the personal trainer. Trainers can often cost as much per session, as the clubs cost per month. AVOID!!!! While they may provide better results for those of us lacking in motivation, I really cant justify the price.

3)The older the club/the better the price.
Much like buying a car, the older the equipment at your gym is, the less you are going to pay each month to use it. While this may not be true 100% of the time, its a pretty safe bet. Therefore, avoid the club that just opened and is often part of a national chain. Think about it, does it really make much of a difference if that big metal plate is 2 days or 10 years old? Also, its my experience that the flashy new club will often be busier than the older club. So if you like waiting for machines, go with the new club.

4) Go with a community gym.
Community gyms are almost always going to cost less than a health club. You will find these at your local community center. Often times you will also get access to a full sized pool that isnt available at the health club and the machinery may even be on par with the glitzy healthclub.

Until next time


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