Poet Laureate

The High Cost of Fitness

When I left Crunch for a low-cost New York City Parks and Rec. gym I was told by one of their reps, somewhat maniacally, I’d be getting exactly what I paid for…which, at 75 bucks a year for gym access across New York sounded pretty frickin’ sweet. At Crunch, I was paying over a thousand dollars a year to lift weights, take the occasional yoga class, and, in a villainous method of mixed messages, watch The Biggest Loser or The Food Network while on the treadmill. I haven’t joined the New York gym yet, but I have looked into other gyms, and I'm seriously riled by the complete and total absence of pricing info available for chain gyms. Here's why I find it so irritating: 

Don't gyms realize the old ways of hiding pricing as a trick—and that’s sure as hell what it is—to lure potential customers into their place of business is outdated and, actually, completely irrelevant? And, to people like me, it’s frustrating and insulting when we call the gym or visit their website and can’t even find out how much a day pass is. Everyone these days is working on a budget, and part of that budget centers around time, so why the hell would I waste my time taking a tour of a place like the Reebok gym, which is inconveniently located for me and when I (just like any idiot with, der, the Internet) can look up reviews of it online and find out it’s way out of my pricing range? Because it’s shiny and pretty? Yawn. (But, if you’re interested, they’re offering a free 3 day trial).

I think it’s time gyms grew out of dusty marketing schemes, and, on top of that, followed a pricing grid similar to a pay-as-you-go cell phones, making the pricing flexible based on the customer’s interests and time, and not the gym’s. Think about it: if you pay 100 dollars a month for a gym membership, and go 3 days a week (13 times a month), that’s about 8 dollars a visit. Not bad, right? Wrong. You’re technically paying a little over 3 dollars a day for that membership, which means you’re spending 100 dollars a month for 30 potential workout days, though only using 13 of them… aka, 40 dollars worth of workouts.

Screw the whole “but your POTENTIAL to workout is worth something too.” It’s not. It’s just another part of an outdated system walking backwards into fitness future. I know, there's not a lot of originality in bitching about gym memberships... but if someone can tell me straight-faced that saving 1000 dollars for a similar gym experience isn't worth it... Isn't it time something changed?

Flushing Meadows Pool (via <a href="http://www.nycgovparks.org/sub_about/parks_history/pools.html">nycgovparks.org</a>)

Comments

I was an NYSC member and doubled my monthly dues to join Equinox.  I do not regret it for a second even though I don't have money to burn....

michlny's picture

See, I would mind not having any money to burn. But, also, you rack up some serious minutes at the gym, I don't think the 3 day a week rule works for someone averaging 3+ hours of workouts a day...

 

Regardless, I stand by my point: there needs to be pricing transparency and flexibility in chain gyms.

Mr. Mohawk's picture

The only thing that "pisses" me off, is if I'm using a personal trainer on a regular basis, I should get some sort of deal on the membership fee.  That said, when I pro-rate it (figureing I go to the gym 5xweek it only costs me about $7 at Equinox per session (and aside from wear and tear on the equipment I use their yummy shampoo and lotion.  I even rent a locker so I don't have to lug all my gear and stuff... Prorated it costs me a dollar a day - and well worth the benefits... I figure I need the place to be nice and clean and pretty if I'm going to want to get there...

kornflowers's picture

Yes, you are correct.  I am at the gym everyday and I only do classes.  So I need a gym like Equinox. 

michlny's picture

@kornflowers: a little confused about your math. Is a "session" a gym visit or time with a personal trainer? How do you pro-rate over 140 a month to a dollar a day??

 

Gyms will never give discounts for people working with their trainers. The amount of money gyms take away from their personal trainers is heart breaking. Add that to another thing that needs to change.

Mr. Mohawk's picture

1. I hate that you can do any hw and research about prices...agreed.

2. David Barton actually DOES have a deal that if you train enough your membership is free. I'm sure the training rates are off the hook.

3. 'Hawk, we never hang any more...let's change that.

sassletics82's picture

1. I hate that you can do any hw and research about prices...agreed.

2. David Barton actually DOES have a deal that if you train enough your membership is free. I'm sure the training rates are off the hook.

3. 'Hawk, we never hang any more...let's change that.

sassletics82's picture

I don't know the amount of money Barton takes from trainers, but since the cut is justified by the equipment used, it actually just makes moral sense to remove membership fees from someone who's technically already paying them...

 

Seriously though, text/call a brother!

Mr. Mohawk's picture



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