Many of us love to complain about being overcharged and ripped off. The Rent is Too Damn High, cinema ticket prices are on the rise, and designers like Marc Jacobs (or, as he’d probably call himself, Marc of Marc Jacobs) put $600+ price tags on their products. We often shell out more money than necessary for our purchases, but we occasionally get out money’s worth on something.
That’s how I’ve been feeling about my New York Sports Club gym membership, which is $79 per month. For a journalist, that’s quite an expense, but not when you consider all the benefits I receive as a result of this particular fitness center.
For one, I joined the gym in January, when NYSC was offering exceptional membership deals. I received a free personal locker, which proved to be extremely useful so I don’t have to lug sopping wet gym clothes with me to the office on the days I exercise before work. I also take advantage of the locker room showers, which are equipped with unlimited towels, soap, shampoo, conditioner, hairdryers, paper towels, and tissues. To tell you the truth, I cannot remember the last time I showered in my apartment bathrom, as I routinely wash off at the gym now, so if anything, I should start lobbying to pay a smaller portion of my water bill at home. Before I drive my roommates up the wall with
my cheapskate tendencies that proposal, I’ll regale you on some of the other upsides of throwing down extra cash for a gym membership:
Because there are so many NYSC locations in the city and beyond, you’d be hard pressed to find a crowded one. I’ve never had to wait for a treadmill or to use equipment in the weight room, so I’ve had much more pleasant experiences at NYSC than I had at the University of Arizona fitness center, which attracts a lot of body-conscious college students and sorority girls, so you can only imagine how much I had to fight to work out there. It’s nice to jog and lift weights in a relaxing space. If anything, I’m the problem, as I recently sang along to Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” beside a jump roping man getting yelled at by his personal trainer in the weight room. Note to self: The adage “there’s a time and a place for everything” is very much valid at the gym.
Lastly, specialty classes come with the membership package, so I don’t need to cough up extra money anytime I need my yoga fix. The concept of having free courses is unheard of to me, as my college gym seemed to cheat students left and right with fees, but I guess that’s one of the perks of living in the real world. Though I often chastise big corporations like Starbucks and the like, I know NYSC is reasonable because it’s part of a large chain. As much as I’d like to mingle among all the cool kids at Equinox, I’m not going to pretend I’d fit in there or pay their exorbitant fees. As one sagacious Yelper noted of an Upper West Side location, “Even with my corporate discount it’s $140+ a month. This facility simply isn’t nice enough to charge that.” The Equinox initiation fee, which NYSC waived for me, is insane: “I don’t think it was worth paying $500 upfront and $130 per month, considering the I can pay $77 per month at the NYSC on Mercer Street downtown, with no initiation fee.”
It’d be nice to reside in an apartment building with a gym (and a doorman, among other things, to fix my broken mailbox, which I’ve been unable to open for a week), but being part of an actual fitness center is actually more of an incentive for me to exercise. My last two apartment complexes had tiny gyms on the first floor, but I rarely bothered to make use of them. When you’re consistently paying for a service, however, you make sure you’re taking advantage of it. So, rather than hop on the bandwagon and sign up for the hip gyms in your neighborhood like Equinox (or ineffective ones like Curves), go for the well known, less expensive fitness centers.