Zee Great Gym Hunt

I’ve decided (in between staring at my round face in the mirror and stuffing food into my mouth) THAT THIS IS ENOUGH! I AM DONE! I AM NOT GAINING ANY MORE WEIGHT! 165 POUNDS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE ON MY (BARELY) 5’7″ FRAME! I AM NOT BIG BONED! I am just… heavy.

So. I considered starving myself to lose the weight. I decided this weekend (after trying to not eat anything) that wasn’t going work, so I figure that it is time to try alternative measures.

I don’t want to start running again. For starters, it hurts my chest to do that for extended periods of time. Plus, I hate jogging when I’m out of shape – it’s more work than it’s worth (or so it seems to me). Not to mention that the days are getting colder (and shorter), and I DO NOT run outside in the winter (I can’t breathe, no matter how good of shape I’m in).

I looked into Curves and I looked into SpaLady.

When I walked into Curves, I was immediately told that I had to make an appointment, and that I would only be offered the deal at that time. It seemed very high pressure to me, as the girl I talked to would barely tell me how much it cost, and she wouldn’t show me the facility. I was a little put off about this, as I just wanted some information, I didn’t want a buddy time where we spend hours together!!!

I thought that I would like Curves because it’s simple – you show up, you do the circut, you go home. I liked that there was no brain work involved (the music says “Ok, Switch!” at set intervals), and that it is a small area. It’s not a big gym where it is easy to get overwhelmed and confused. There is no guesswork. Jump on a machine and go for it. Also, I know someone (we’ll call her B) who has had amazing success there. She just had a baby a month ago, and she looks like she’s never been pregnant. Now, she was in exceptional shape (from going to Curves) before she had the kid, so it wasn’t as though she dropped 100 pounds in a month or anything. The location is close to my house but not right on my route home, but they are building a new location within a two minute drive from home. I also liked that it is only a half hour – no one expects you to be there for an hour and half slaving away over an elliptical machine or a stability ball. In fact – I don’t think that have either thing.

One really nice thing is that a few of my Mary Kay friends work out there. It’s not likely that we’ll be there at the same time, but I do have the opportunity to run into people I know, and it looks a lot more social than anywhere else. B says that you can go there for fun and a light workout, where the thing that gets the most exercise is your mouth, or you can go and tune everyone out and just giver until you’re tired.

My concern with Curves is that I might plataue or just get bored. It’s the same circut, the same routine, every time you go, with no option of “mixing it up”. You can’t just say “wow, I am so bored of this circut, I am going to take a step class” or anything like that. If you don’t like it, you’re hooped.

Curves is $40 per month, plus a $100 start up fee. It’s not cheap, so some of that is going to come out of my pocket (I get $500 from my work towards fitness every year). You have to sign up for one year, with no option of ending your contract early.

After I was finished at Curves (which is essentially a large room with stuff in a circle and then a bathroom), I stopped at SpaLady. Wow, what a difference.

SpaLady is a fullservice gym, with free weights, a circut training area (including station switching indicators), classes, a large locker room, huge cardio area (more bikes/ellipticals/arc trainers/treadmills then I have ever seen in one location before) and really great staff.

I talked to a lady with a nearly unpronouncable name (we’ll call her J for this time), and she was very quick to say “do you have a couple minutes, I’ll give you a tour”. I liked this approach because when I get somewhere, I’m not coming in to make an appointment, I’m just coming in to get the info, so I can decide if I’m interested enough to make an appointment.

I was really impressed with SpaLady’s facility. I expected some dusty old, run down gym, but it’s better then either the ClubFit or the World Health Clubs that I had been a part of. So as I said, they offer a great circut training area (like Curves), but instead of an audible change station signal, it’s a light. They have a huge class area, as well as a lot of consultation offices. It’s a nice, open area with lots of light, which is pretty important to me.

The offer a lot of services as well – nutrition consultation, private training, a fitness plan, and a great cross section of classes – all included in the price.

SpaLady costs $33 a month if you sign up for two years. They are willing to bill me a year at a time, so I’ll be able to submit one expense claim per year, instead of every month. The cool thing is that if I manage to stick with it, they offer the following year at $24… for the whole year. And after that, it’s only $23 a month. I’m aware that I’ve never had any staying power with anything. I know. I’m also aware that they offer the deals because hardly anyone goes to the gym for more than a couple of years, so probably very few people use their third year. I like that everything is included. At ClubFit I had to pay for certain classes (I just didn’t take those ones), pay for consultations with their nutritionist, pay big bucks for a personal trainer and a workout plan.

The only bad thing is that it isn’t as social as Curves. I’m not sure if I like that part or don’t like it. I know that my neighbour works out there, so I will know one person, but it didn’t seem like all the girls were really chatty with each other.

I’m pretty sure that I am going to go with SpaLady. They’re definitely the best bang for my buck. I’m going to go do my fit test tomorrow, as well as sign up and get all the goodies. I’m looking forward to it! 🙂