Pros and Cons of Gym memberships…

So I have been thinking of a gym membership (for the last 5 hours, yes, I know, I’m obsessed.) and I’ve been trying to weigh the pros and cons of different options in our area.

I would like to have the option to run inside so when the weather isn’t doable (or I’m feeling like a weenie) I can hit up the track or the treadmill. It would be useful in the winter or for weeks like this one where the smokey haze from the summer fires leaves one with little motivation to go outside. It’d also be nice to use the ellipticals or the stationary bikes when I’m trying to avoid stress fractures and other injuries…like this week… again.

I have also been missing my summer activity of swimming. The last 4 summers beforre this one I have spent lifeguarding and teaching swim lessons. I am the weird one that thinks chlorine smells good…probably because of all the good memories attached to those summers of work. I would love to swim more. And have more arm muscles. :)

The options we have are:

  • The YMCA
  • The student rec center at the school I just graduated from…
  • The local rec center in the town I grew up…and where I worked all those summers.
  • Skip getting a membership and mooch off of family members who have memberships (and guest options!) at each place….lol. 


Pros and cons of each:

YMCA pros:

  • Family friendly
  • Childcare
  • Only 10-12 minutes away
  • Swim lessons for kids
  • Lap lanes/kiddie pool/Water slide/hot tub/
  • Some of my Family  has memberships too
  • 6 guest passes a year-  1 guest = 1 family
  • More likely to go because of proximity.

YMCA cons:

  • $ 70/month for a family pass (plus initial fee of $120) or $43/month for individual adult
  • Childcare while you workout is an additional 17-28/month
  • No kids in the aerobic machines area. Childcare or nothing is the option.
  • Getting around in the place is a little cumbersome.
  • crowded.


Student Rec Pros:

  • 8 minutes away
  • Indoor track
  • Racketball/basketball/indoor soccer/climbing wall/free classes/volleyball/weights/machines/free yoga
  • Pool/diving board/hot tub/volleyball/basketball
  • $315/year for alumni…if you’re a member of the alumni association for 50/year (times two is a little crazy, but there is also the option for 6 dollar guest passes if we only got one…or I could get one of my student siblings to let me in each time I wanted to go, but then there are scheduling issues)
  • Saturday/sunday kids are welcome in the pool
  • Athletic trainer/nutritionist/massage/rentals/outdoor program
  • More likely to go because of proximity.
  • Next to the greenbelt.
  • friends there.

Student Rec Cons:

  • No family options. No kid stuff.
  • 11 times around the track is a mile.
  • Student schedule… Not sure how the summer affects membership fees. Closed for football games.


Family Rec Pros:

  • Could get yearly discount for the charter membership if we payed up.
  • Super family friendly
  • Childcare $2/kid/hour
  • Waterslide/diving well/lap pool/ hot tub/ kiddie pool/ rope swing
  • Indoor track 5 times around is a mile
  • Outdoor track 2 times is a mile.
  • Machines/weights/basketball/classes for kids or adults at discounted prices/nice locker rooms.
  • All my family are members!! Would be super fun!
  • Friends there.
  • More likely to go because of child-friendliness

Family Rec Cons:

  • 30 minute drive (and with a little who is not pleased with the car that gets a little debateable)
  • 660/year for a family pass (without the charter member discount)
  • Gas money gets to be a factor.
  • Would go less because of the distance/inconvenience


At this point in our lives the student rec looks like it might make the most sense, but there is the factor of letting the charter membership run out at the other and the lack of childcare (though I’m not even certain I would use it and would tend to ot or dragging family along or leaving the kiddo with my husband).  I’ll have to talk with my husband to see what he thinks. I just thought I’d put the facts together first for better understanding of the options. And it could be that we could technically skip the luxury of a gym membership and wait til a different time in our lives.

What would you do? What are some other factors to consider for each situation?

7 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Gym memberships…

  1. Childcare is actually free at the family rec with the charter membership. And charter members get four personal training sessions a year included free.
    In the long run it’s a waay nicer place than the others and cheaper than the Y… Where are you going to want to be going ten years from now? :)
    Buuut…. I’m biased, and live in the same town as it. :) I know the drive would be a huge factor for me, esp. with baby.


  2. See if you can do a free trial week at each of them – most clubs will give you a few days to try it out risk-free. Once you have a chance to see what classes are offered, how crowded it gets, etc … all the little things you usually don’t see until you’ve signed on the dotted line. And think about what is most important to you – a gym membership is only worth it if you’re going to use it!


  3. I go to the BSU rec because I am on campus and it was more convenient for me when I signed up, but the parking is such a hassle, I really only use it on weekends since I don’t have a parking permit. Plus depending on when you go, there are no machines because it is so packed with students/students using it as a social hub instead of fitness hub/too much perfume/ect.


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