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How much do you pay for your gym membership?

Money. One of the last taboos. It would probably be more comfortable for me to ask you what your favorite sexual position is than to ask you how much money you made this year. But I’m going to ask this anyway: how much do you pay for your gym membership?

There are a lot of funny power and status issues wrapped up in money. No one wants to be seen as an idiot who paid too much for a car. It makes you feel dumb and devalued. But knowing what other people paid is important because it gives you leverage to negotiate a better price. So I want to know, how much are you paying for the gym? You can respond anonymously if you wish, but give me the A’s to these five Q’s:

1) How much do you pay a month?

2) Was there an upfront fee? How much?

3) What city do you live in? (Rent for a downtown New York space is going to be higher than the rent for a facility in Nowhere, West Virginia. Gym rates are going to reflect that.)

4) What is the gym like? (The LA Fitness near here has flat-screen TVs, a pool, a sauna, a spinning room, and a smoothie bar. It’s understandable that it costs more than the Cardinal Fitness which is essentially a treadmill warehouse.)

5) Did you negotiate a lower price? How? (Something I’ve learned with age is that everything is negotiable.)

The comments are waiting to collect your stats. Thank you!

ETA: A summary of the survey results as of January 14th can be read here.

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151 Comments

Marianne • January 11, 2008 at 7:59 am

I longer belong to a gym because of money problems. I belonged to Shapes which is a womens only club down here in Florida. I paid about $25.00 a month that was taken out of my bank account. I had to sign up for a 2 year membership to get that rate. The club is located in Bradenton, Florida. That was one of the reasons I let my membership run out. I have a 3 year old and it was hard to get to the gym most months. So I was paying for nothing. I do most of my exercising at home now.

I hope this helps.

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Enny • January 11, 2008 at 8:03 am

1) I pay $28AUD a week

2) No upfront fee

3) Canberra, Australia

4) It has a pool, two rooms for classes, free weights, circuits, lots of rowers, walkers, bikes etc and three tv’s playing different channels as well as music.

5) In a way – I’d been a member before so got a good price, and she told me that the price was going up in the financial year so would be better to pay sooner rather than later :o)

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Thomas (twofatbrothers.com) • January 11, 2008 at 8:05 am

I don’t belong to a gym. I do all of my working out at home or in the mountains in my town (I live in rural Japan).

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anna • January 11, 2008 at 8:08 am

I do not have a gym membership. My husband is in the navy and I can go the gym on base for free but most of the time I work out at home.. taking the dog for a walk.

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Sarah • January 11, 2008 at 8:16 am

1) $29/ 2 weeks

2) no upfront fee

3) A city in northern ontario, canada

4) more cardio machines than I can count, 8 big screen tvs (they call it the “cardio theatre” with each cardio machine having plug ins to listen to which ever television has the most entertaining show on, sauna, spinning classes, a TON of cardio and strength classes (all choreographed by some company in austria or something) and a ton of weight machines. Super clean, spacious, etc.

5) I didn’t bother to negotiate. I was so desperate to get my butt back in the gym I just said ‘where do I sign?!’

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Stacey • January 11, 2008 at 8:18 am

I have belonged to many gyms in the past. Only now I dont because of where I live (too far to drive to one). The last gym I belonged to was LA Fitness. I paid $35 a month for my membership and I believe there was a $100 sign-up fee (I am not sure if that amount is correct, but it was a significant amount). They initially were going to charge me $50, but I told them I wouldnt pay anything over $35 so they gave that to me. Considering I’ve paid more and less for my gym memberships in the past, I’d say this was a fair price.

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Marla • January 11, 2008 at 8:19 am

Favorite sexual position: reverse cowgirl.

Gym fees: Zero! My garage is free.

I once looked into joining the Y here, and it was something like $200 a month. Seriously!

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Loey • January 11, 2008 at 8:20 am

1. $59 CAN/mth

2. There is usually a start up fee, but I started during a promotion when it was waived. It includes 3 sessions with a trainer to get the lay of the land, to help you assess your goals and to shamelessly shill themselves (whatev, I believe in the power of a good trainer, so I have no issue with this).

3. I live in Halifax, NS, Can

4. Part of a chain of facilities, so I can to any of them, and there are A LOT around Atlantic Canada (I believe the Y has the same policy). No pool, no towel service, but there are TV’s in the cardio studios, a variety of classes, well-maintained equipment, sauna, and it’s ALWAYS very clean and well managed (something that is very important to me). They also stay pretty current with regualr turn-over of equipment and new classes etc.

5. I was okay with the price, but I travel often for work, and I play for a sports team during the summer (heavy training, plus I also run outside), so I wanted the ability to freeze my account whenever and not have to pay the start-up cost (they have a once a year policy, for a max of 2 months). They agreed to let me freeze several times a year, for up to four months, and I can even freeze for half a month (during business trips) so only pay half the cost that month. I agree, you can often negotiate, but usually on one point, so choose wisely, Grasshopper.

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vickie • January 11, 2008 at 8:24 am

Northern Indiana

My gym membership was $19.99 per month with a front fee of $45. No pool. Very good classes which were extra – but not expensive at all – not a fancy place. This is a neighborhood gym – lots of good solid equipment, TV’s everywhere that you used your radio to access sound – so it was a nice quiet place.

At the time that I belonged to the gym, I also took yoga classes (two 90 minute classes per week) at another studio for about $700 per year.

I have dropped my gym membership and the other yoga studio. I have replaced both with an unlimited yoga studio membership. Yoga, free weight, pilates classes. $35 up front fee and then I can attend as many classes as I want for $60 per month. I attend 3 free weight classes each week and a yoga class every day except Sunday. So based on a 4 week month, I am paying $1.50 per class. The pilates and free weight classes are WORK – the yoga classes are a little work but mostly piece of mind, range of motion, tone and flexibility.

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Keri-Ann • January 11, 2008 at 8:28 am

Hey Pasta Queen! Just discovered your site about a month ago and among all of the weight loss blogs out there, yours is by far my favorite. I love your wit and humor! You are an inspirartion!

Planet Fitness

1) $20 a month for the best plan, which means I can go to any location in the country, bring one guest each time without them having to pay, use the tanning bed for free, and get half off anything out of the drink coolers in case I’m too lazy to bring my own. This one does have a one-year contract, but I was willing to deal with that.

They also offer a $13 a month with no sign up fee and no contract, but it is only for that location and none of the other perks apply.

2) $49 (not positive), which was waived for a Sign-Up-Before-New Year’s Special

3) Pompano Beach, Florida

4) Brand new facility. I don’t believe there are any classes. No pool. I don’t think there is a steam room or sauna. But I never use that crap anyway, so it’s perfect for me. It’s just cardio equip, weight machines, free weights, and a circuit training center. There are also tanning beds, because in Florida there isn’t enough sun. I believe they have flat screen TVs. I honestly haven’t been yet because I am recovering from chemo and a couple surgeries, but I can’t wait to get started!

5) I didn’t try to negotiate because I felt the deal was awesome. I do believe I heard the fellow signing up before me negotiate some kind of deal though.

Just for comparison for you, I used to belong to LA Fitness. I LOVED it, but not close enough and both locations near me were WAY too overcrowded even at 9 at night! I just canceled my membership. I signed up 3 years ago, paid $37.09 a month had a $149 sign-up fee, no contract. You know all the perks. I’m sure if I tried to sign up now it would be more expensive seeing as how three years have passed.

Sorry for the long post. Hope the info helped!

Keri :-)

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Chris • January 11, 2008 at 8:32 am

1) Flat rate – $250 for 6 months

2) No

3) Ottawa, Ontario

4) Pretty average. It’s a municipal rec centre, so the fitness area isn’t very big. They do have spinning classes and a pool, though, and five TVs you can watch if you have an FM radio tuned to the freqency posted on each TV.

5) Not a private company, so no chance.

I used to belong to GoodLife Fitness, which is the biggest chain of gyms in Canada. I paid about $13 biweekly there after paying an upfront fee (it might have been $500, although I hope my memory was wrong on that). They had seriously awesome facilities — spinning room, squash courts, between 50 and 100 cardio machines, and EIGHTEEN TVs.

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Rosalie • January 11, 2008 at 8:37 am

Hey PQ,

I use my school gym now that I am a student again, but previous to that, I went to a Bally’s in Chicago. I could go to any Bally’s, I think in the whole country, and the classes were almost all free. It was $67/month and something like $200 up front for the no-commitment package, which I found totally worth it for my usual location but I would have felt ripped off if I’d gone to any of the other Chicago ones – none were as nice as mine. They also try like hell to get you to sign up for the 3 year plan where you pay a regular rate for 3 years then it goes to something like $12 for the rest of your life. They had a juice bar, a pool, TVs with radio frequencies you could listen to them on, and tons of awesome spinning, pilates, weights and aerobics classes. (Can you tell I miss it like crazy and hate my free school gym?)

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Olivia • January 11, 2008 at 8:44 am

South Bend, Indiana

Parks & Rec community gym – $33/month for me & husband.

Lots of cardio machines, weight machines and free weights. Classes are $6/week, and I think there’s a sauna but I’ve never used it.

I highly recommend community gyms. I’ve had a great experience here and in Colorado with them. There is no contract and the start up fee was $30 each if I remember correctly. Also, no heavy sales pitch and at my current gym we got an hour with a trainer to show us the ropes and work out a routine when we first started. And we can schedule time with trainers for no extra charge if we want to learn something new.

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Anon For Now • January 11, 2008 at 8:46 am

1) $124.00 for a family membership – husband and me and our son is $5 additional for daycare.

2) $299

3)Phoenix, Arizona

4)Excellent gym: Lifetime Fitness. Flatscreens throughout. Outdoor and indoor pools with water slides, 2 lap pools, 2 spas with waterfalls, a dry sauna and wet sauna (one in the locker rooms), towel service, hair dryers and soaps and lotion provided, hundreds of cardio machines, a bikram yoga room, pilates room, 2 group exercise rooms, a spinning room, tons of classes, basketball, squash and racquetball courts, rock climbing wall etc. etc.

———————————-

The gym is expensive but it is worth it, the daycare is incredible with activities, computers, basketball and much more with an incredible staff.

I’ve been a member of 24 Hour Fitness, Bally, and LA Fitness and this is the only gym that I can easily spend 2 hours working out. Due to spending more there aren’t any of the people there that get all dolled up to “work out”.

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psychsarah • January 11, 2008 at 8:48 am

1)$40 per month (I had to sign up for a one year term, but now I can cancel anytime with a month’s notice)

2) No upfront fee

3) What city do you live in? London, Ontario

4) What is the gym like? pretty nice-clean, well-maintained, lots of cardio equipment (never have to wait for a machine ever), variety of free weights, weight machines, other equipment (medicine balls, and the like) flat screen televisions everywhere, clean change rooms, sauna, pool, lots of classes (hot yoga starts next week!), half of the gym is women’s only, juice/smoothie bar, (when a friend from Boston saw it, she said she’d expect to pay at least $100/month for comparable there)

5) Did you negotiate a lower price? How? I got a bit of a discount ($4 per month) simply because I was an employee at the hospital at the time and there was a corporate rate for hospital employees. There was also a promotion about referring a friend, but since my husband and I joined together, they just gave us the rate, since in theory, I could go and join and then “refer” him an hour later. Good luck!

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fatbridesmaid • January 11, 2008 at 8:49 am

1) $50/month plus tax, automatically taken out of my checking account each month. It’s a two year contract.

2) No up front fee but the gym claimed it’s usually $200 (I’ve never known anyone who had to pay that fee though)

3) Columbus, OH

4) I go to Urban Active Fitness (formerly Gold’s Gym) and it is beautiful — about a year old with 200+ cardio machines (each with it’s own tv built in), free weights, weight machines, 4-lane lap pool, basketball and racquetball courts, smoothie bar, cardio cinema, classes (spinning, yoga, zumba, kickboxing, bootcamp, water aerobics, etc.), women’s only fitness area, and sauna.

5) When I signed up they tried to get me to pay first and last months dues, but I told them I wanted to wait to pay last month’s dues and they said that was fine.

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Carrie • January 11, 2008 at 8:50 am

1) $35/month plus $20/month for childcare.

2) I paid a $50 one time upfront fee. It would have been more if I elected to be able to go to all the other Fitness First gyms in the area, but as it is I can only go to ours. Also, the water bottles in our lobby all have a $50 off coupon for membership, but who drinks the water before they join?

3) Germantown, MD (a suburb of DC. I don’t know if these rates apply to all the Fitness First gyms)

4) It’s pretty average. Weight machines, free weights, steam rooms that I’ve never seen anyone use, cardio room, spinning room, aerobics room. All classes are included in membership, along with unlimited free training the first month (I totally took advantage of that). There’s a lady who does nothing but clean the equipment all day every day. They’ve just upgraded so all the treadmills and ellipticals have tv screens (except the one type of elliptical machine that I use. Boo!). It’s bright and clean, but nothing fancy. I’m very happy with it, esp since it was going to cost $82/month to join the local YMCA and that didn’t even include class fees.

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MK • January 11, 2008 at 8:51 am

I live in Nowhere, West Virginia.

I’m not kidding (and I love it here).

Gym #1: The YMCA is a 45 minute drive for me. I was going there 2x per week throughout the fall because there was a class that I LOVED. And they have a kids’ room and a swimming pool and because my husband said he’d love to workout there after work. Well, I haven’t been going, the kid’s have been swimming 3x since Novemeber and the only time my husband has worked out there was when he came with me. Once. I’m dropping the membership this month because:

Gym #2: The Tygart Valley Rehab & Fitness is MUCH closer (10 minutes), they have nicer equipment, I’m just paying for me and not the whole family, and I actually go (when I’m not working out in my basement or my office).

1. YMCA: $51/per month for the family.

TVR&F: $24/month for me. My teenage son gets a free membership because he’s on the high school football team, but he’s never gone there because they workout so much at school. This gym is an extension of the hospital, so it’s centered around physical therapy. That’s where the profit is (I think), so the monthly membership is very affordable.

2. YMCA: $30.

TVR&F: None.

3. Nowhere, West Virginia. Really. I live outside of town. My mailing address is a tiny one rural route window that’s different from the gym addresses. The YMCA is in Clarksburg and the TVR&F is in Grafton.

4. The Y is like any older Y I’ve ever been in: the equipment is okay, but not the best. Things are clean (for the most part), but old. There are, racquetball courts (2), swimming pol, full basketball court, free weight room, cardio room combined with machine weights, group exercise class room, sauna, hot tub, and a playground outside for kids. Not to mention all the extra cool stuff that they have for kids like summer camps, etc (extra cost).

TVR&F has very new, very nice equipment. The facility is spotless. The focus is on physical therapy, so a large portion of the place is PT only. Very nice cardio equipment. Very nice weight machines. Free weights area is somewhat smaller, but everything is there. No extras and no kid’s stuff.

5. No negotiating. I’m from WV originally, but recently lived in Chicago. When we moved back here a couple of years ago, these prices seemed very low and reasonable to me. I think they ARE so low that there’s no room for negotiation here.

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Tracy • January 11, 2008 at 8:55 am

I’m a member of Curves Ireland – €35/month, which comes straight from my bank account, plus a €50 donation to Breast Cancer Research in lieu of the usual €199 intial membership fee.

I had to sign up for a 12-month membership to get the reduced joining fee, but since I joined, they changed their opening hours on a Friday to an hour earlier, so most Fridays, I can’t make it unless I skip dinner until after going to the gym.

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Tracy • January 11, 2008 at 8:58 am

Er, and I suppose I should say: Curves is just Curves – one toilet, women-only, 30-minute circuit, one changing room, music played from an iPod on a speaker dock in a warehouse on an industrial estate in Mullingar, Ireland.

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Allison • January 11, 2008 at 9:12 am

I live in Raleigh NC I paid 300 bucks for two years up front (if you paid monthly it was more like 30 bucks amonth) the 300 included the 50 dollar membership fee… and then it was 250 buy a year get a year free. The gym is all women it has circuit training, classes, all the cardio equipment, weight machine and free weights, a day care and you can also add on tanning for 15 bucks a month. Good luck! I know its hard to find a decent gym that doesnt rob you blind. I was a member of Golds Gym before and it suuuuucked.

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Candy • January 11, 2008 at 9:13 am

1 – $20 per month per person.

2 – No start up fees.

3 – Jacksonville, FL

4 – It’s called Super Fitness, but it Super Sucks most times. It has what I need to get a workout in. Free weights, benches, cardio equipment (cycles, treadmills, ellipticals), some group classes. But, there are no spinning classes, no hair dryers in the locker rooms, no towels, and some of the equipment needs to be repaired. You get what you pay for, really. It’s a basic, dirt cheap, gym. And it’s stupid close to my house.

5 – I did no negotiating whatsoever considering all of my other options were close to $40 – $59 a month.

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Shannon • January 11, 2008 at 9:15 am

1. I pay $34.99. I joined LaFitness that just opened.

2. Yes, I tried negotiating this without any luck. Instead they gave me their pre opening special price for the monthly charge even though they had been opened for a few days. It was $160ish.

3. Naperville, IL

4. It sounds the same as the LaFitness you were describing. All the equipment is brand new and right now the classes are small. The juice bar hasn’t opened yet. I also signed up for physical training. It was a really good price.

5. First he told me it was $50 a month. I told the guy I didn’t want to pay an enrollment fee because I think they are pointless. It does not cost you $160 to enter my name in your system. I can enter it for free for you. He then gave me their pre-opening price. I got the impression that if you were a member of another gym, you wouldn’t have to pay the enrollment fee. That may be the angle to take. LIE!

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Kate • January 11, 2008 at 9:19 am

1)$25

2)No upfront fee

3) Metro Detroit

4) What is the gym like? It’s a small gym, it does offer classes, locker rooms, cardio equipment, free weights and machines.

5) Did you negotiate a lower price? No I didn’t.

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Victoria • January 11, 2008 at 9:20 am

Don’t know why blog surveys are more fun than phone surveys, but I’m commenting, so it must be true!

We just moved to Chicago, and here I’m a member of the YMCA, which is the closest gym I could join:

1) 62$ for family membership (me & my husband)

2) yes, 62$

3) Chicago; in the less-expensive outskirts, but still city proper

4) The Y that’s 1/2 a mile from our house is very newish and clean and nice, but not very high-tech and on the small side. Some of the displays don’t work well or at all, but I never have to wait to use a machine. No pool or sauna or juice bar or any of that sort of thing. A couple of tvs and the speaker system plays salsa in the main cardio/weight room. I’m more of a class person, and though the selection at my Y is limited, there’s a great weight class I attend religiously twice a week and there are 2 other Ys within driving distance with good class selections. The different locations vary as to slickness, but none of them approach the gleam of a nationwide chain. But they’re cozy and friendly and get the job done.

5) no negotiations, though if I was willing to pay a year in advance, there’s a 10% discount. Might do it eventually, not sure yet.

Previously, we were in central Virginia, where I had memberships at UVA where my husband was a grad student.

1) $70ish per semester, 3 semesters in the year; Extra 70ish for one semester unlimited drop-in classes, or you could buy punch cards for individual classes.

2) No. Unless you count tuition!

3) Small College Town

4) Big. New. Very Slick. UVA was recently voted “hottest for fitness” and it shows. Pool, indoor track, tons of cardio with screens, extensive dropin schedule. Reasonably priced if you’re a student or married to one, especially if you skip the short summer session like I always did. I was totally spoiled.

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Kelly • January 11, 2008 at 9:20 am

I go to LA Fitness. I pay $35.00 per month. I believe I had to put money down but I have no idea how much, but I know it wasn’t a ton of money. I live in NJ and go to the North Brunswick branch. The gym is really beautiful and offers many classes at no extra charge. I also do personal training at the gym and pay $116 a month (4 sessions). It’s pretty expensive in my opinion but I really see the benefits of it.

One of the ways I’ve saved money is by signing up with someone. That can reduce your down payment.

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Lorraine • January 11, 2008 at 9:21 am

I just walk my dog outside and its free.

Dh goes to La Fitness accross the street for 5 years at least 5 times a week. I hate gyms.

I would do it if it was free or real cheap. I can go with him free but we have kids and there too young to do and I dont need them in daycare when I can do the walk.

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Paige • January 11, 2008 at 9:21 am

1) $32

2) It was supposed to be $99, I negotiated it down to $50

3) College Station, TX

4) What is the gym like? Gold’s Gym, nice and roomy, only has one studio for classes and one spinning area.

5) Did you negotiate a lower price? I just negotiated the lower sign-up fee. The monthly fee is actually cheaper than the other 3 gyms in the area. I just told them that I could go sign up at another gym for cheaper and they knocked the rate down.

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eva • January 11, 2008 at 9:43 am

I work in the biggest hospital in Rochester,NY which is a lot like a city. (It has 3 restaurants, 3 coffee shops, a bank, a post office, a bookstore, and a GYM!!)

You have to be an employee to go there. There’s no sign up fee. No contract. It gets deducted from your paycheck automatically. $18 a month. There’s no pool, there are locker rooms and showers, no sauna or anything, there’s a gym for basket ball. There’s racketball, there’s a studio for free classes like aerobics, step, kickboxing, yogo, etc. There’s a weight room and a room with all the bikes, elipticals, treadmills, etc. It’s 24 hours.

Good luck in your search!

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Curvyjones • January 11, 2008 at 9:44 am

1) How much do you pay a month? $ 34.99 for a single club membership. I can upgrade to a multi club membership for $99 upfront and an extra $20 a month, but I’m good.

2) Was there an upfront fee? How much? I paid $65 up front, then $58 over the next 2 months to make it easier on the purse.

3) What city do you live in? Atlanta, GA

4) What is the gym like? I’m at LA Fitness, as well! it’s a newer club and I LURVE it!

5) Did you negotiate a lower price? How? Nope, I had a number in my head and he came in way below that. I think he saw the shock on my face when I said really? Month to month? Yep? And when I want to cancel, I have to give a 60 day notice? 30, he said. SOLD! I said.

LA Fitness was the LAST gym I went to, cause I was sure they were gonna scam me. Turned out to be the newest most reasonable club in the area. Besides the fact that they always have a broken treadmill or two, it’s a great club!

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JEM • January 11, 2008 at 9:46 am

*We just recently canceled our membership because me decided to invest in a home gym…but all last year we were members of our local gym.

1) 32.00 (Supposed to be 42, We got a special rate because hubby is a firefighter/paramedic)

2) 100 bucks (however it was supposed to be 140…we got the firefighter discount)

3) What city do you live in? Palm Beach County, FL

4) What is the gym like? It was the typical LA fitness.

5) Did you negotiate a lower price? How? Nope, they just gave us the lower price because of the whole firefighting thing.

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Carrie • January 11, 2008 at 9:49 am

1) $19.99 every 2 weeks

2) There was supposed to be…but I told them I wasn’t paying it. Don’t know how much it would have been.

3) I live just north of Baltimore…our address says Baltimore though (but county not city)

4) Here is the website so you can compare it to others you are looking at. http://www.brickbodies.com I go to the Perry Hall one. It has the usual, treadmills, elipticals, bikes, cross trainers, TV’s that you can tune into. Free weights, nautilus machines, pliates studio, spinning studio, all female weight/circuit room, a 30 second circuit room. Child Care, cardio classes etc. There is a pool next door we can use 3x’s a week for 2hrs.

5) Yes. I had one more month to pay on my old membership at another gym. So I emailed a guy from the new gym and said I was looking to sign up, but couldn’t until next month and was not going to pay a sign up fee, so if I had to wait on that, then I wasn’t going to sign up. He said “no sign up fee, and the entire month of January free, so I could sign up that week and go without paying until Feb. So I saved the sign up fee + $40 for the 1st month.

Ok, some more info. My husband was the Director of Operations for what I like to call a she-she-poo-poo Fitness Spa in Downtown Baltimore (Federal Hill – http://www.fhfitness.com) for a year. I got a deal there b/c of him, but normally people were paying a $150 sign up fee, $60 a month. INSANE. I was TINY, had good classes and never a lot of people in there, but still. You were paying for location and that feel. The only thing I liked about it was that there were individual TV’s on each of the cardio equip.

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Vivi • January 11, 2008 at 9:50 am

Hello from the old continent and merry back-to-work month!

1) 65€ (95 dollars, what a cheap currency you’ve got!)

2) Nothing

3) Munich (Germany)

4) flat-screen TVs for every single torture machine, pool, 3 saunas, no bar.

5) No possibility of negotiating a lower price (Something I’ve learned here is that nothing is negotiable in Germany).

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Tonia • January 11, 2008 at 9:54 am

I have a membership to the local ymca.

It is $69 per month family rate. But they have all sorts of membership types and charge based on income level.

There was no registration fee when I joined and no contract.

I only use it for daycare and family fun on the weekends like swimming and basketball. They have classes and the typical weight area but they are always crowded.

I live in Greenwood, IN.

I didn’t negotiate for a lower price, but we have had several new gyms open in the area and I’ve gone to the grand openings to check them out and they all do the “time share talk” where they give you one price and when you say no thanks they get the magical manager that offers an amazing deal. I think most all of those places can be talked down.

I’m not sure what side of Indy you live on but there are a lot of options on the south side now.

PQ – I used to live in Greenwood, but I live farther north now. I bet you’re talking about the YMCA that got hit by a tornado 5 years ago, aren’t you? I know exactly where that is!

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Lisa • January 11, 2008 at 9:55 am

Premier Fitness at Stop 11 and US 31, Indianapolis; $52 mo. for family membership; no fees and no contract.

This is a no frills (pool, sauna, classes) gym that has a lot of serious body builders. But there are also a lot of people like me who just want to work out and push myself a little bit further. There are a couple of great trainers there also. I really like that the owner is on-site every day.

My husband and I had free Bally memberships during the 2003 Body Challenge. It was pricey for a family membership and towards the end of the challenge we felt pressured to join each time we went in.

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India • January 11, 2008 at 9:55 am

I go to a newish, pretty YMCA.

1) $50 + $10 for a permanent locker

2) None.

3) Brooklyn, New York.

4) I joined because it has a pool, but of course I’ve never actually used it. It also has probably three dozen cardio machines, nearly all with TVs mounted on them; spinning room; sauna; basketball court; weight room; some sort of childcare service; and classes, some free and some costing extra.

5) No, but because I joined before the gym opened, I have a “charter membership.” This means my monthly rate is locked in at $50, supposedly forever, as long as I don’t cancel or put it on hold.

I could recoup more than half of the annual cost if I could manage to go 50 times in 6 months (which is not a lot, I know, I know): my health insurer (Oxford) will reimburse me $200 each time. I’ve only done it once, though.

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Jenny • January 11, 2008 at 9:56 am

1. I belong to 24 hour fitness because they have a location by my house and a few blocks from work. It affords me the flexibility of working out in the mornings, after work, or on the weekends. I was willing and able to pay upfront, about $700 for three years – about $20 a month. The sign up fee was waived, and it included 10 sessions with a personal trainer.

2. I got in during a really good special because 10 personal training sessions there normally cost about the same price. I love not worrying about a monthly payment, and I feel bad when I don’t go.

3. I’m in Portland.

4. Both gyms have lots of cardio equipment and weights, a pool, hot tub and sauna. There is a full schedule of classes, most are free. And it really is open 24 hours a day almost 365 days a year. The only drawback is that with their interior sometimes you feel like you could be working out in the middle of a disco.

5. The only negotiating I did was refuse a couple of higher cost options.

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Lynette • January 11, 2008 at 10:05 am

I belong to the one of two gyms in town(other than Curves if you can call that a gym) and here is what I pay:

1) For a dual membership (hubby and me) $52 a month.

2) We got in on a deal of three free months membership and free tanning when we joined. Didn’t use the tanning but the free part was great!

3) Central Iowa

4) There are three locations in town. The one I go to has a big room with the exercise mats, treadmills, weights, cycles etc. Next to that are several exercise studios. They also have a 4-lane swimming pool (my hangout), and wet and dry saunas in the locker rooms. There is a beauty shop attached with tanning beds and they offer nutrition classes and personal trainers. One of the other locations has tennis courts.

5) The deal we got was so good that we didn’t think to negotiate a lower price.

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Allison • January 11, 2008 at 10:05 am

I go to a Planet Fitness (I joined when it was an Olympus Gym and switched my membership during their grand opening sales–the rates may be different now.)

1. $9.99 a month

2. 39.99 set up fee. The contract is month to month, so I just have to give 30 days notice to leave.

3. I’m in Arlington VA (suburb of Washington DC)

4. Basic gym–lots of cardio equipment, weight machines, and then a huge free weights section–we have a lot of body builders in there. I think it was supposed to be more of a body builders gym initially, because the free weights area is enormous compared to any other gym I’ve been to. It does have free tanning beds for members (again pointing to the body building) and a sauna in each locker room but that’s about it. No towel service, classes or pool. It’s very clean and nice for a basic gym–but no frills.

5. No negotiating–the deal was fantastic as is.

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Poppy • January 11, 2008 at 10:06 am

Chicago, IL

$74/month – normally a sign-up fee but I joined during a promotion and it was waived. There are discounts for paying the entire year upfront.

The gym is wonderful: loads of new cardio machines, an indoor track (12 laps/mile), 2 pools (one regular and one therapy pool with a higher temp.), whirlpool, steam and sauna rooms, clean locker room, free cardio and strength classes,large weight machine area, free weight area, many tv’s with plug-ins on the cardio machines, often hold free seminars on nutrition (gym is associated with a hospital), some specialty for-fee classes (I’m currently in a 6-week 3 day/week Boot Camp class that cost extra), friendly helpful staff, and they often run ‘challenges’ where you can sign up and if you complete a series of workouts you win something like a fleece jacket or t-shirt.

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Sandi • January 11, 2008 at 10:07 am

1) $50.00 for the whole family (3)

2) I think it was around $110.00

3) Crown Point, Indiana

4) It’s a YMCA, pool, cardio room, weight room, includes Kids room with pool table, ping pong, air hockey, computers and video games. kids daycamp during summer, kids basketball programs.

5) No

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Natalie • January 11, 2008 at 10:15 am

Pasta Queen,

I’ve been reading your blog for a while and think you are fabulous! What a great woman. Anyway, to answer your questions….

1. I pay $21 a month for Gold’s Gym

2. I joined during a $0 down special years ago

3. I live in Salt Lake City, UT

4. I have two words for you, CARDIO CINEMA. My gym has all the normal amenities, pool, sauna, free weights, cardio machines, weight machines, aerobic/yoga/kick boxing room, and they have free classes. However, my favorite amenity is this theatre-esk room that has cardio machines in it. They have a large screen and show such classics as Braveheart and Mission Impossible while you work out. I LOVE it! I’ll hop on a treadmill and before Anakin has turned to the dark side, I’ve put in a 3 mile run.

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Courtney • January 11, 2008 at 10:18 am

I actually “belong” to two gyms.

Villa Sport– new gym here in Colorado Springs. But I got a job working as swimming instructor/lifeguard a couple hours a week, so it’s free for me. Otherwise I think its $75 month for a single person, and like $150 or $200 start up fee. It’s the lexus of gyms though–spinning, tons of cardio (each machine has its own flat screen tv on it!), rooms with weird stuff in it for some kind of crazy yoga, two indoor pools, two outdoor pools, sauna, full service spa, steam room, hot tub, etc.

My other membership is at 24 hour fitness. I pay about $43/month, for the all inclusive (i.e. all clubs) membership. I tried to get a better deal last night, telling them that I had a free membership elsewhere, but they didn’t bite. I keep this membership because they have a gym close to work, and I’ve fallen head over heels for the spinning classes and gotten to know the instructors and some of the other people at the gym well.

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Erin • January 11, 2008 at 10:21 am

1) $39.99 / monthly

2) the start up fee was $150 plus the first and last months dues.

3) Chicago, IL

4) I work out at L.A. Fitness. It’s bright, clean, and well ventilated. Lots of equipment so I never have to wait. Kiddie room, lap pool, flat screen tv’s basketball court, raquetball courts, several different rooms for holding classes. Daily and nightly fitness classes. Overall, I’ve worked out at many different fitness clubs big and small, and I think it’s a good price for all the stuff that you get.

5) The one by me just opened, so there might have been some introductory rate things going on. It’s possible the price will go up $10 – $15, but I’m sure you can haggle them.

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AKS • January 11, 2008 at 10:22 am

1. $17/month

2. No up-front fee

3. New York, NY

4. Flat screen tv’s at every cardio station, no pool

5. No

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jodi • January 11, 2008 at 10:23 am

i have two gym memberships: one for home and one for work… i use the work-gym everyday ($38/month) and is totally worth it… they have treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, free weights, and weight machines… as for the other gym, bally’s, i use that maybe 1-2x week, depending on my schedule… i’ve been a member for over 10 years and pay $20/month – i think i put down $100 and made payments for 3 years… after that, the rate went way down…

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priscilla • January 11, 2008 at 10:37 am

LA Fitness

1) $37.44/month. When I started going three years ago, it was $34.99 but those sneaky bastards have upped the price without so much as a warning. And if I wasn’t so obssessive compulsive about the debits in my checking account, I probably wouldn’t have even noticed.

2) I think it was a $149.99 initiation fee.

3) Piscataway, NJ (which is right in the heart of the most densely populated state in the nation)

4) Flat screen TV’s (but NOT personal TV’s on each elliptical and treadmill like at the New York Sports Club that I used to frequent. But is way overpriced IMHO at almost $80 something/month), pool, whirlpool, snack/smoothie bar, spinning room, basketball court, aerobics studio.

5) No I didn’t really negotiate. But I introduced my entire famly (like 9 people) to LA Fitness, and since they all joined around the same time, ALL their initiation fees were waived AND they scored a lower rate. Yeah, I definitely got the short end of that stick.

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Kara T-C • January 11, 2008 at 10:41 am

1. 29.99 per month on automatic withdrawal

2. Upfront fee was “waived” if signed up before I left on the day I looked into the place. I felt this sucked- a hard sell.

3. Avon, Indiana

4. Curves (as you may know) is a circuit with a resistance machine alternating with a step for walking/jogging/cardio exercises. We have a stretch machine (which I think is stupid, but others love.) There are games in the middle for which one collects tickets for a drawing (also stupid.) We have dance bars, changing rooms, scales, one TV, etc. There are lots of “community” things like clothing exchanges, billboards, announcements etc. There is commerce like clothing, diet items, and other Curves crap. I have had run-ins over (exclusively) christian music, rather than the previously secular music and the promotion of (the owner’s) causes like the “crisis pregnancy center.”

5. NO

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Rachel • January 11, 2008 at 10:46 am

1) $130.00 – it’s actually $160 a month, but through work, I get a small discount, and it’s taken out of my paycheck pre-tax

2) around $600 when I originally joined (not through employer) but it included 6 free personal training sessions (which are about $100 each)and a free pilates session

3) New York City

4) What is the gym like? There are locations all over the city and you can use the ones in other cities (Chicago, Miami, etc.) – some have a pool, all have a sauna, all the cardio equipment you could want, weight machines, a smoothie bar or cafe, a spa, yoga studio, spinning studio, aerobics studio, TVs across the cardio area that you can plug into via the cardio machines with headphones. The locker rooms are super clean – which is a big plus since i seem to shower there more than at my own apartment- and are stocked with razors, towels, shampoo, hairdryers, etc.

5) No negotiation.

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Rebekah • January 11, 2008 at 10:53 am

1) $105 (includes locker fee)

2) NO

3) Boston

4) It’s a pretty fancy all women’s gym, individual flat screens for each cardio machine, free toiletries, spa, pilates studio, etc…

5) NO.

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Melsky • January 11, 2008 at 10:57 am

I’ve been going to a small neighborhood gym that charges 20 bucks a month or 140 yearly. They are ok, it’s mostly for people who want to lift weights and already know what they are doing. There’s a few cardio machines, some of them should be in an antique shop. Some of the machines don’t seem to ever get used and are dusty. The best things about it are that it’s cheap and I can walk there in under ten minutes.

I’m thinking about joining the YMCA downtown which has much nicer facilities and is around 40 a month with a joining fee around 80. Their site is down so I can’t look it up. I will be job searching soon so if I work downtown I’ll go to the y and if I work around where I live I’ll have to keep going to the crummy gym, or just use the weights and cardio machines in my basement.

I think I would prefer going to the Y as I would be more comfortable there, and they have a pool.

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Allison • January 11, 2008 at 11:02 am

1) I pay $40 a month

2) no up front fee

3) Hillsboro, Oregon, USA

4) I work at Nike World Headquarters. We have two gyms, one is the Lance Armstrong Fitness Center and the other is the Bo Jackson Center. We have flat screen TVs, pools, tennis courts, basketball courts, outdoor sand volleyball, three full soccer fields, saunas, massage rooms, a rock climbing wall, personal trainers (extra fees), various fitness classes, new weight and cardio equipment, towel service, and locker rooms with hair dryers, irons, deoderant, and lotion on hand.

5) no negotiation.

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Mia • January 11, 2008 at 11:06 am

1) How much do you pay a month?

No monthly fee. I paid $600 in full for 42 months (3.5 years) membership.

2) Was there an upfront fee? How much?

no additional charges

3) What city do you live in?

Big city in Texas

4) What is the gym like?

Ha! Read my posts! Actually, they have a really good reputation. It’s a large, well-established chain.

5) Did you negotiate a lower price? How?

Yep. Because I was willing to pay upfront, I got a much better deal. The gym is betting on the fact that I will stop working out after a while, after the novelty of it all wears off. So they’re hoping they got $600 for 6 months or a year, tops. It’s up to me to make it a good deal.

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Allison • January 11, 2008 at 11:18 am

I need to clarify –

Here at Nike, employees pay $40 a month for unlimited access to both the Lance Armstrong and Bo Jackson centers. in addition, we are eligible to participate in intramural sports (softball, basketball, volleyball, flag football, etc.) for no additional fee. it’s lots of fun!

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Erin • January 11, 2008 at 11:23 am

1) $99 a month for both me and my husband.

2) I don’t remember that clearly, but I think it was $99.

3) Chicago suburbs–I can Walk to chicago, but still the suburbs.

4) It’s a Fitness Formula Club, which is a local Chicago chain. It just opened about a year ago, so it’s still pretty new and shiny. It has a rock climbing wall, towels, a pool, personal TVs for cardio, juice bar, etc.

5) I signed up before the gym actually opened, so I got a promotional price, but I didn’t negotiate it lower.

I’ve done Women’s Workout World in the past, which is a bare-bones, 20 bucks a month for some treadmill, some weights and some classes, and it worked out ok at the time (mostly because it was a block from my house) but now that I’ve had a taste of the fancy gym, I don’t know if I could go back. :)

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Grumpy Chair • January 11, 2008 at 11:25 am

YMCA – Family membership

1. $69 /monthly for family

2. $118 up front fee

3. North East Houston area

4. Very nice (large pool and weight room) classes and child care (plus for me).

5. I’m sure my husband tried.

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cathleen • January 11, 2008 at 11:29 am

1) $123 per month

2) No initial fee as long as you sign up for and pay for a full year in advance — otherwise it’s prohibitive.

3) New York City, Upper West Side of Manhattan

4) No pool, but lots of free weights and weight-training apparatus, many treadmills, elliptical trainers, exercise bikes, a couple of rowing machines, some things that I don’t use because I have no idea what they are, lockers, surprisingly clean showers, blowdryers and lotion and shampoo in the bathroom, yoga and pilates and aerobics and kickboxing classes. If you want a session with a masseuse or personal trainer, you have to pay extra. No pool, though.

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121 Free Weight Loss Tips • January 11, 2008 at 11:31 am

1) $120/month for me.

2) No Upfront Fee

3) Geneva, Switzerland, so factor in the much higher cost of living

4) It’s ok. It’s a bit small, but it’s got all the the newer facilities (it recently got a new set of exercise machines – TechniFlex I think they’re called). There’s an aerobics area and a weight-lifting area, plus a separate room for classes.

5) Nope.

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lme • January 11, 2008 at 11:37 am

$89.00 a month; $325 yearly locker fee

There was no sign up fee.

I live in NYC.

I belong to Crunch, which has several conveniently located gyms throughout the city, and I can use any of them I like. In the heirarchy of gyms and gym quality, I’d put them at the top of the second tier gyms. I refuse to fork out the dough for a top-tier one. Crunch has lots of classes, clean spaces, new equipment, towel service, cable t.v. screens on most cardio machines. I’m pretty happy with them.

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RG • January 11, 2008 at 11:42 am

Washington, DC (highest COLA before NYC)

Option 1: I use an employee gym, on-site but closed weekends and after 7 m-f and holidays.

Cost: $12/ month,

no-signup

no commitment

mid-day classes including a great yoga class.

Option 2:

I have another employee gym I use sometimes, like weekends, which is further away and FREE. No classes, no staff, often empty.

Option 3:

A third employee gym is $25/month, there may be a 6-month minimum but I assume that gets waived if you stop working there.

Facilities are much nicer, including a pool, open weekends and evenings; classes are an additional $15-$20 depending on what you buy.

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Anonymous • January 11, 2008 at 11:42 am

1) How much do you pay a month? I work part time at my gym, so my membership is free. Members pay in the range of $55-$65 per month depending on when they signed up. We are a relatively new gym and these monthly fees are LOWER than most comparable gyms (which run from $80-$125).

2) Was there an upfront fee? How much? Initiation fees are $75 now, but if you sign up the day you take a tour, it’s reduced to $25 (again, much lower than comparable gyms, which run from $100-$300).

3) What city do you live in? Chicago – city

4) What is the gym like? It’s high-end, but not luxury. The equipment is top of the line. Individual TVs on each cardio machine. We have a basketball court, spinning room, group exercise room and yoga room. We are building a pool. Offers towel service. The locker rooms have sauna and steam rooms. Individual showers. Shampoo, conditioner, soap and hair dryers. Plenty of lockers. Kids Club babysitting services while you workout. It’s a local club, but there are 4 locations in the city.

5) Did you negotiate a lower price? How? No – my membership is free. I don’t think most people negotiate at my facility because it’s relatively new and the costs are relatively low. They already know they’re getting a deal.

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Violt • January 11, 2008 at 11:52 am

1) Free for me, because it’s housed in one of the buildings I work in.

2)No fee for me (I use it after work at night when it’s empty of all other people). All other comers must pay $5 for an hour and a half of use due to it being a drop-in type facility.

3) A city in NW Washington State which shall remain unnamed.

4) It’s technically a boxing club so the equipment is geared toward that end: many varied weightlifting machines, jump ropes, punching bags of many sizes and assortments, an elliptical and and old fashioned exerbike. All running and walking is done on a course around the outside of the building, or up and down the 3 flights of stairs.

5) Did not have to negotiate a price, just had to ask if it was OK to use.

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Laura • January 11, 2008 at 11:52 am

1) How much do you pay a month? – $139/month for a family membership, plus $39 a month for childcare (I have 2 kids, and they can each stay for 3 hours a day–they don’t, but they could).

2) Was there an upfront fee? How much? No, joined when there was a special last year.

3) What city do you live in? Evansville, Indiana

4) What is the gym like? It’s the best in the city–full sized pool that is covered in the winter, tons of tennis courts, TV’s on every piece of cardio equipment, lots of aerobics classes, Pilates Reformer classes, excellent child care, big dressing rooms, big indoor track.

5) Did you negotiate a lower price? No.

I love our gym. It costs a fortune, but so does heart surgery. I figure we’re investing not just in our future health, but in our children’s. My daughter takes swim lessons there and sometimes runs with me on the track after I workout. Also, the pool in the summer is never crowded and it’s very nice for families, and we go at least once a week in summer time.

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susan • January 11, 2008 at 12:05 pm

PQ:

$24/month. Mine is at work. Boston area

I don’t know if someone mentioned this already but at the risk of being redundant, some insurance companies will reimburse you for a portion of the cost as an incentive to stay healthy

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Heather • January 11, 2008 at 12:06 pm

1)$10 every 2 weeks

2)$500 up front with a fee of like $10 for the memebership card. You could pay more per month and then a lower up front fee, or no fee at all, but I knew I was in it for the long hall so a lower monthly bill was better for me(been 6 years now).

3)Brampton, Ontario

4)It’s in a mall which has it’s ups and downs. It opens early and closes late (10/11). It has 8tvs, lots of weight machines, a pool, sauna, women’s only section, lots and lots of differnt cardio classes (you should really try a spin class!!!! I like them because you can make it as easy or as hard as you want and know one else has to know how hard your working. If you’re having an off day there isn’t a whole class looking at you on one stepper instead of 2 like everyone else. It’s also a real calorie burner and easier on the joints than a step class or running. Great for cross training for your 1/2). They also have babysitting, and the normal personal trainer if you need.

5) Yes I negotiated a better price because 1-the gym was brand new and they were trying to get people, 2-my friend and I signed up together with our boyfriends (4 of us in total – and we told them we would either sign up together or not at all because we wanted to work out together), 3- they had a deal where if 2+ people sign up using the same account(same household) the 2nd person would get a better price each biweek. So my bf and I used my account for a month then told them we broke up and have different accounts. They couldn’t jack the price back up then for the other person. I now pay less than him because it was all my idea but it’s only like $1 more.

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hopefulloser • January 11, 2008 at 12:07 pm

) How much do you pay a month? – $70/month

2) Was there an upfront fee? Yes, somewhere between $100 & $200

3) What city do you live in? Madison, N.J.

4) What is the gym like? It’s a really nice YMCA and I have to be a member for my child to go to the associated school that’s ($660 a month)

5) Did you negotiate a lower price? No.

I love this YMCA, it’s really nice (it is in a fancy area where a pro footballer came from and donated to make it spectacular). Of course I need to use the gym more. I do take a pilates class and my daughter takes dance classes, etc. But I question whether it’s worth it or not.

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Lora • January 11, 2008 at 12:09 pm

$24/month, EFT. I just recently joined 24 Hour Fitness (a sport club…there are different levels). My gym has a pool (with actual water aerobic classes), a gym, a large room for group classes and then all the other standard gym fare: treadmills, ellipticals, rowers, weight machines, free weights, etc. I paid first/last month plus a $24 processing fee. Did I negotiate? Sort of. If you watch the 24 Hour Fitness website, they frequently run specials (usually Th-Su) on memberships. I had seen a special for the $24/month (it’s normally over $40) but I had missed it. I went in to talk with the club manager about it so he knew that I was looking for the deal. He tried to sell me the membership at the higher price by knocking off $2/month…big deal. I said no thanks, I’d rather wait until I saw a special again. So I waited only two weekds before the same price came up again. Only this time, I couldn’t get the online registration to take (you usually have to register online to get the deal). I called the help desk to document my problems and then went back to the gym in person. They honored the price I was trying to get since I had a documented problem with the online registration. This is less than I had been paying for Jazzercise (which I loved but when we moved I couldn’t stand the new instructor). Oh, and I’m in the Los Angeles area.

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dmx • January 11, 2008 at 12:28 pm

1) How much do you pay a month? I go to a local YMCA. No monthly fee, just a yearly fee of about $350 for their “triangle membership.” Gets you into the pool and into the cardio/ weight room. You have to pay extra (but a reduced rate) for classes.

2) Was there an upfront fee? Just the annual ($350)

3) What city do you live in? Bergen County, NJ

4) What is the gym like? Two pools (which is why I joined) and pretty adequate weight/ cardio facilities. A few rooms for classes like spinning and basketball and racquetball courts (which I don’t use). I was paying over $750/ year for another gym that had a pool, sauna, weight/ cardio room, smoothie place, and free classes. Finally wised up to them and went to the Y. I’m really more into the pool than anything, so the Y is perfect for me.

5) Did you negotiate a lower price? How? Not at the Y… they’re set on their reasonable prices but will help you out if you need financial assistance. At my old gym, I’d always bargain for extra months and tell them I was paying less last year and I’d been going for years, and the price raise was unfair, yada, yada. They raised the prices SO much every year,and when they raised the prices the last time, I realized how ridiculous it was, and there were always culture clashes at that gym because it was in a very ethnically diverse area and for some reason, some of those ethnicities didn’t get along … very uncomfortable to say the least. And a little weird.

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anon • January 11, 2008 at 12:28 pm

1) How much do you pay a month? $65

2) Was there an upfront fee? How much? pay 3 months upfront, and the fee was waived

3) What city do you live in? Philadelphia

4) What is the gym like? it’s actually a climbing gym, Go Vertical, and it’s really nice. Climbing doesn’t give you the aerobics but builds good strength and flexibility, and it’s not BORING like regular gyms! There are a few other climbing gyms in the burbs that I think are less expensive, but I live really close to this one so it’s worth it. I’ve had a lot of other regular gym memberships (all in the $35 per month range) but invariably I stopped using them after a short period of time! This is the only gym activity I’ve stuck to.

5) Did you negotiate a lower price? nope! didn’t occur to me actually

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Sarah • January 11, 2008 at 12:31 pm

1. $64/Month

2. $150

3. Long Beach, CA

4. Neighborhood gym, very nice, sauna, lots of equipment, TV’s etc. Pub attached in which you can charge beers and fries to your membership (this has always puzzled me).

5. No, I am a terrible negotiator.

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sara • January 11, 2008 at 12:34 pm

thank you for this survey, it’s so difficult to get people to talk about this, but how else do you know where to start??

1. what do you pay per month? i signed up for a 3 years up front plan for $600. (so just under $17/ month) this included 6 sessions of personal training and since the gym (24 hour fitness) is nationwide, i can use the membership at their locations nationwide.

2. there was no upfront fee, or if there was, it was included in the price i listed above.

3. omaha, ne. there are 4 of these located in my metro area and i can use any of them. or when traveling to a location with one, i can use it there, too.

4. what is it like? all the locations have a pool, sauna, large cardio rooms with tv’s and plugs on the machines to listen to the tv’s, large weight rooms, basketball court (sometimes set up for volleyball, yay) spinning room, and exercise classroom (sep. from basketball ct.) the classes at any location are included in the membership, there are no additional fees or charges. they replace the equipment fairly regularly and take good care of their pools/ etc.

5. this just happened to be the deal that they were running when i went in, but it was an off time of year, and they were in a lull (late summer, early fall). in the contract it was supposed to say that after the 3 years is up the membership would be 25/ month, but they reduced that to $11/month for me simply by me asking if they would be willing to make that less. and they have a cap of 3% increase per year after that… if you can get something like that written in, bonus.

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Marianne • January 11, 2008 at 12:39 pm

My last gym was Fit City for Women in Vancouver, BC.

1) I paid $38/month, which was a student rate. I think it was $45/mo for non-students.

2) I joined on a promo, so not for me, but I think regularly it was $200-250ish

3) Vancouver, BC – I went to the 8th@Hemlock location of FC4W, which is in a pricey retail neighbourhood.

4) Frickin’ awesome. Lots of cardio and weight machines, a big free weight area. A good variety of classes, though their timing was shitty (5-9am, 3-7pm M-F, and random hours S-S). A bunch of TVs in the cardio area. Tanning, showers, clean bathrooms, big changerooms. A free session with one of their staff monthly, and a free body composition test every 12weeks.

5) I got the student discount. Also, when I wanted out of my 2-yr contract after 1yr, they let me transfer the remainder to someone else for $50.

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coraspartan • January 11, 2008 at 12:51 pm

Here are the stats on my gym (my local Y):

1. $62 a month for a family membership, paid by my employer. I think a single membership is about $50 a month.

2. I know there is generally a joiner’s fee, but it was paid by my employer, so I don’t know how much it is. I think it is waived during January.

3. I live in the Detroit area.

4. My Y has a cardio room with treadmills, rowers, ellipticals, stationary bikes, and the like. It has 3 TVs. My Y also has about 20 weight machines and a free weight room. There is a pool and sauna, and free on-site day care. There are racquetball and basketball courts. They also recently acquired a bunch of new machines that are similar to Bow-Flexes but do a TON of different exercises and set those up in the previous community room. There are a ton of classes offered, some of which are an additional fee (my yoga/pilates class is $30 for an 10-week session).

5. No, I didn’t negotiate, since my employer pays for it. Lucky me!

Good luck for your quest to find the perfect gym for you. I recommend the Y if you’re not looking for a gym where people go to see and be seen, and if you don’t have the hottest, newest, most up-to-date workout clothes. No one cares what you look like at the Y, and I’ve been told the same is not true for other places.

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Lora Ramirez • January 11, 2008 at 12:51 pm

2 Lora’s! LOL

1) $30/Monthly – After 12/08, goes down to $20

2) $30 Upfront Fee Only

3) Everett, MA (One of the many suburbs of Boston)

4) I belong to the same gym as Candy – Super Fitness. They have a few locations around my area but I usually go to the one in Boston where I work and the equipment is much nicer and the bathroom is clean. No pool or spinning classes. The aerobics room is tiny. Sometimes I go to their location in Malden and it literally smells of ass. The roof leaks, the equipment is old, but the weights are your back to basics and everyone is more laid back.

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Amy • January 11, 2008 at 1:02 pm

1. I pay $34/month (for just me – the architect is not interested) for membership to all 24 Hour Fitnesses

2. Because I work for the city, our joining fee was waived

3. Portland, OR

4. I get membership to all 24 Hours, everywhere (again, that city-employee connection) and the 2 I go to most often both have 2-lane pools, tons of weights & cardio equipment, as well as a decent variety of classes.

5. Nope – that’s about as cheap as it gets, I think.

4.

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v • January 11, 2008 at 1:11 pm

1) How much do you pay a month?

$55 / month at NY Sports Club

2) Was there an upfront fee? How much?

no

3) What city do you live in?

New York, NY

4) What is the gym like?

mid-range in niceness – personal TVs at every machine. I have access to 65 gyms in my city and several in DC, Philly, and Boston, too.

5) Did you negotiate a lower price? How?

My employer subsidizes the membership and I didn’t try to get it reduced further.

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erin • January 11, 2008 at 1:12 pm

1) $70/month (includes tax and $5 for a junior membership for child care for my 5 year old)

2) Yes, there was a sign-up fee, but I got most of it waived because of insurance and a special promotion that was going on.

3) Minneapolis, MN

4) I go to a chain and the location that I go to is pretty nice. Flat screen televisions, whirlpool, sauna, nice equipment (including some fancy treadmills with televisions on them that are pretty much my favorite things ever), and so on. Some locations of the chain are significantly nicer than others. Mine is middle of the road (though it recently did get a face lift and some newer equipment), I’d say, but I like it.

5) I did not negotiate a lower price, but my insurance is finally going to start covering for a frequent fitness program, and I’ll get $20 reimbursed as long as I can go 8 times/month, which is pretty easy peasy to do.

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thejulia • January 11, 2008 at 1:12 pm

I live in Silicon Valley, Northern CA, where rent is pretty darn expensive. I’ve got two gyms, one near my house and one near my office, (about 10 miles apart).

Gym closest to home: It’s actually a gym that specializes in personal training, but I’m allowed to use the facilities whenever I want as long as I have another appt scheduled in the next few weeks.

It’s a small gym with amazing facilities: a wonderful shower/bathroom area with free everything. Flat screens for the cardio machines (and all sorts of cardio). TONS of machines and high quality fitness equipment that help me creatively work out. There’s pilates equipment, free fruit and water, and trainers on hand at any point in time to answer questions.

My monthly spend there can be anywhere between $40-$160 ($40 for a half hour session, $80 for one hour), depending on how many trainings I want.

Gym near work: This is known as a climbing gym, but I go there for the traditional work out. They also have a lot of cardio and lifting equipment but it’s more barebones. There aren’t any flat screens, and when it’s warm, it smells vaguely of feet.

It’s housed in a warehouse which simultaneously gives it an uplifting feeling (so much space!), and a slightly weird industrial vibe.

Spinning, Ab/Core and Yoga classes are all free with membership. And VERY good. The yoga is especially intense because climbers develop balance and flexibility to an astonishing degree.

I also get two free guest passes a month.

Gym membership is normally $65, but I have a corporate discount which cuts it in half.

A fantastic deal.

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India • January 11, 2008 at 1:22 pm

Wow. I’ve been feeling guilty about paying $60 a month for a gym membership that I probably haven’t used since October, but now I see that things could be much worse: I could easily be paying twice as much, for a gym that I probably still wouldn’t go to. And I’m not even seeing the really high end of NYC gyms on here: I know there are some that cost >$200/month. Though I’d imagine they work out for you, at that price, so it might be worth it . . .

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Pookie • January 11, 2008 at 1:26 pm

I live around St. Louis, MO

$27/a month.

No signup fee.

The gym is in my building.

Has 1 workout room, tread mills, bikes, ellipticals and every type of weight station. It’s kind of small but it gets the job done. I think it feels like it’s a gym where I can go to and talk to one of the workers and they will give me advise. In fact today I joined the biggest loser competition there and the owner told me if I didn’t lose weight next Friday she would look at my food journal to see what I could change.

The instructors there are actually motivating too!

I do get a little bit of a discount because we are in the same building.

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Jenny O. • January 11, 2008 at 1:31 pm

1: I pay 65$ a month, total, for the whole family..

2. The upfront cost is a $150 registration fee that is waived in January, usually.

3: I live in a suburb of Charlotte, NC.

4:The gym is a YMCA, but a fancy two story one with a water park out side, indoor swimming pool, raquet ball court, two basketball courts, childcare and a teen center with video games and pool. There is also a chapel, in case you need to pray before you work out. Which isn’t uncommon, I imagine.

5. i did not attempt to negotiate and I doubt it would be negotiable. The rates are set but you can qualify for scholarships.

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chanda • January 11, 2008 at 1:41 pm

1) 275.00 for a 12 month membership

2) There was a 25 or 50 dollar processing fee but it was waived for paying up front

3) Raleigh, NC

4) I refer to this gym as “the ghetto gym” because it is truly bottom of the barrel. It smells horrible (god knows what’s filtering through their duct system), their level of cleanliness is questionable at best, and their equipment is usually squeeky or broken, and their personal trainers are idiots. Needless to say, you get what you pay for. The nice upscale gyms around here run about 30-60 bucks a month and there is usually a 199.00 sign up fee. Im thinking of buying my own eqipment when my membership expires.

5) The only thing I was able to negotiate was the ability to use any one of their branch gyms in my area.

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Jen • January 11, 2008 at 2:12 pm

1) $29.99 a month

2) $50 processing fee

3) Indianapolis, IN

4) The gym is a private owned neighborhood gym. Includes spinning room, aerobics room, lots of machines and cardio equipment. I never have to wait use a piece of cardio. Includes flat screen tvs, but no volume or captions, decent locker rooms, tanning beds.

5) I did not negotiate a lower price.

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Gail • January 11, 2008 at 2:13 pm

1. I pay $30 a month.

2. There was no up-front fee other than a bag of groceries to be donated to our local foodbank.

3. Cincinnati, Ohio

4. I go to Curves which, as stated elsewhere, is a 30 minute circuit which mixes cardio with strength training. I really like Curves for a number of reasons: (A) I can wear mis-matched and wrinkled exercise clothes, look like a schlub, and not think all the young and beautiful bodies are appalled that I’m in their presence; (B) For once, I have found an exercise program that I’ve been able to consistently follow for 3 years(down 33 lbs and 24 inches); (C) I like the fact that it is a venue where women of all ages and levels of fitness can come and feel comfortable working out. And these are just the primary reasons.

5. I didn’t do any negotiating.

Thanks for your blog – it’s always enjoyable and entertaining.

Gail

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nazilam • January 11, 2008 at 2:17 pm

1. 440 a year (pay up front, cheaper)

2. No upfront free

3.Seattle, Wa

4. classes are mostly all free (one gravity class costs), has all the spinning, step, mat pilates, yoga, powerpump classes. Machines are mediocre, some really good, some really old and falling apart, good weights. Showers need work, but they are free and they give out towels.

TVs suck, but I usually read anyway.

5. Can also use any golds gym, though this is called something else.

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YP • January 11, 2008 at 2:25 pm

Is it awful that I’m not exactly sure. I signed up so long ago, and they’ve changed it so many times that I can’t quite remember. They just take it…

I think it’s about £43 per month though (it was £40 when I signed up, and it hasn’t gone up more than about £1 per time). There was no upfront fee, but there was a minimum 1 year term (long gone).

It’s a hotel gym in Leeds city centre (UK). There’s a pool, sauna, steam room, spa and smallish fitness room – a few weights machines, some free weights, 5 treadmills, 5 bikes, 3 cross trainers, 2 rowing machines and some mats and gym balls. They do cross training sessions once a week, and a weight loss clinic twice a week. I think they also do group runs on a Sunday, not that I’ve ever been on one.

The membership includes towels and toiletries in the showers. There are 3 tvs, and headphone sockets on most of the cardio equipment to listen to it, the radio plays in the background.

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sheddingpounds • January 11, 2008 at 2:28 pm

I work out at home and keep my stash in my pocket. I use free weights, I walk and I have a recumbent bike, that frankly doesn’t get much use. When I did have a membership I never went but I recall paying like 30 bucks per month. About $360 a year. I’m still mad about wasting that money.

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Danielle • January 11, 2008 at 2:52 pm

1) How much do you pay a month?

For myself, it’s $38/month. I was an add-on to my husband’s membership, which he gets free through Mpls Public Schools. Not only is it free for him, but also for our 4 kids until they are 12 yrs old. I also pay a personal trainer $79/session, about once/month. Well worth it!

2) Was there an upfront fee? How much? Yes, but it was waived. Not sure how much it was.

3) What city do you live in? We live in suburban Minneapolis.

4) What is the gym like? It’s a Lifetime Fitness chain. Like another poster said, som of them are SUPER nice, with snack-bars, spa salons, all the equipment and classes you ever want, free childcare with deluxe childcare centers, pools, outdoor pools with water slides, etc. But the one closest to me, and the one I actually prefer going to BY FAR is very small, and rather bare-boned. They do have a small lap pool for swimming. Lots of equipment and classes, but that’s about it. A small child-care center, but I like it.

5) Did you negotiate a lower price? How? They were offering a special zero enrollment fee at the time my husband’s school district joined.

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Irene • January 11, 2008 at 2:53 pm

1) $99 a month (sigh).

2) Joined during a promotion, so it was free; sign-up fee is normally $150.

3)Baltimore, MD

4)It’s really great: every conceivable machine, scads of free weights, classes galore, and four pools, including a salt-water therapy pool (not sure what kind of therapy it’s for). Clean and well-maintained.

5) Tried feebly to negotiate, but was made to feel vaguely guilty for not being grateful enough that the sign-up fee was waived.

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Anon. • January 11, 2008 at 3:00 pm

24 a month, boston mass (bally’s). still couldn’t afford it; now just try to walk everywhere instead of taking the bus!

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Theresa • January 11, 2008 at 3:13 pm

1) 69 a month for me… comes directly out of my account every month

2) I think it was something like $100

3) Redmomond, WA – a suburb of Seattle. It is a higher cost of living here

4) Gold’s Gym. It is really a nice place… only a couple of years old. Every piece of cardio has it’s own tv, lots of classes, pool, sauna, whirlpool, theatre to watch movies while you work out. I have belonged to lots of gyms and this is by far the most expensive, but also the nicest. i go there mainly because of the location…. but I also do love the place.5) Yes, I think I got a company discount because of where I work. You can always negotiate gym memberships.

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hanabi • January 11, 2008 at 3:14 pm

1) Nothing, because I work there! I needed a part-time job (I´m a student) and my local gym was looking for receptionists and now I can work out for free. I feel very smart.

The normal fee is about $30 a month if you have a 3-year-contract

2) About $220 for customers

3)I life near Munich, Germany

4)There are some tvs and music and a small restaurant, sauna and solarium, lots of classes and equipment. And there are some squash courts, although I´m not sure if that´s the correct expression in english. It´s that game kind of like tennis, just that you´re standing next to each other and hit a rubber ball against a wall.

PQ – I think you’re talking about racquetball.

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myskinnyfiles • January 11, 2008 at 3:15 pm

1) How much do you pay a month?

$46 cdn for the YMCA…a charity organization.

2) Was there an upfront fee? How much?

Yes, $90 one time joining fee…which I paid like 2+ years ago. There is no contract, you can cancel anytime and not need to pay the one time fee again to join.

3) What city do you live in?

Greater toronto area in Canada

4) What is the gym like?

Pool (BIG PLUS)

individual flat screen TV’s on most of the treadmills, elliptical, bikes. (I LOVE THAT)

spinning classes

yoga classes

weights and weight machine circuit

table tennis

basketball court

indoor running/walking track (Love this too)

For $66 a month you can get membership plus that has lounge, drinks, steam room and whirlpool.

5) Did you negotiate a lower price? How? Nope…charity orgs don’t really give discounts. Though if you can’t afford to pay the full fee they will do an assessment to see what you can afford to pay. No one is turned away.

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Laura • January 11, 2008 at 3:38 pm

1) When I went to Bally’s 8 years ago, I paid $50 per month. Then I went to Ladies’ Super Fitness for $24 per month (the “no boys allowed” policy was a plus, but they had like NOOO equipment)

2) For Bally’s, it was $135, if I remember correctly (I’ve spent alot of money in 8 years…). Ladie’s super fitness was just a month’s rate.

3) Lakewood, Ohio (suburb of Cleveland)

4) Bally’s was big, and had a sauna, swimming pool, a seperate weight room, a room in which they taught yoga and tai chi, and a small cafe on top of their normal gym equipment (which they did have plenty of different stuff. However, it was FILTHY. Ladies’ Super Fitness on the other hand had just your standard treadmills, elipticals, and weight machines, but it was pretty well taken care of and not dirty and stinky like Bally’s.

5) No, I was too naive to realize that I could do that. I was 19 when I joined Bally’s and 23 when I joined LSF.

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Sara • January 11, 2008 at 4:00 pm

1. $79/month for use of all regional YMCAS– I’m a class person and get waayy bored being a hamster on a treadmill.. so for me I love belonging to a network of gyms so that I can do lots of different classes

2. $99 fee to start

3. I live in the Bay Area in CA… so things are $!

4. Each of the YMCAs vary quite a bit but in general everything is really new, with towel service, and lots of built in TVs

5. No negotiating.. I know you can do that with 24 hr fitness (HATE THEM) but I don’t think it’s something you do at a Y

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Kim • January 11, 2008 at 4:03 pm

1) How much do you pay a month? $39.00 per person per month

2) Was there an upfront fee? Yes. I believe it ended up being $300.00 total, so $150.00 per person

3) What city do you live in? Houston Texas

4) What is the gym like? (The LA Fitness near here has flat-screen TVs, a pool, a sauna, a spinning room, and a smoothie bar. It’s understandable that it costs more than the Cardinal Fitness which is essentially a treadmill warehouse.)My gym is LA Fitness. They have all that you mentioned minus the smoothie bar which has not been built yet but IS being done. They have free work out classes (spinning, kickboxing for example) and a basket ball court.

5) Did you negotiate a lower price? Yes, on the upfront part we did. (yes the $300.00 is at a discount) We told them that what they were asking for (which I believe was almost double what we paid) was unreasonable, and walked. They called us the next day and we settled on $300.00. I think the key to negotiating is that you have to be ready to walk.

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Dinah Soar • January 11, 2008 at 4:27 pm

I love your hutzpah Pasta Girl (the dictionary definition of that word seems a littl harsh—so perhaps I should say I like your spunk). Knowing how much money people earn and spend is something I always want to know too….but it’s like the Holy Grail.. not easily found. Mary Tyler Moore once said in an interview that she never revealed her income because if it wasn’t a lot people felt sorry for her and if it was they were jealous. Guess that makes sense, but I still want to know. And, oh, I don’t belong to a gym…figured I’d drop out pretty quickly after I started, so no sense in wasting money.

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Christina • January 11, 2008 at 5:07 pm

1. $100/month for a couple membership (with no contract)

2. We got a promotion . . . I think it was $200ish.

3. Austin, TX

4. We go to a brand-new Lifetime Fitness. It has a bazillion cardio machines, lots of weight machines and free weights, 2 dance-type and 1 spinning studo with free classes, basketball, racketball and squash courts, rock-climbing wall, lap and family pools (with water slide!) and hot tubs inside and out, co-ed and single-sex dry sauna, wet sauna, free towel service, soap and hair dryers in the locker rooms. I’m in love with our gym and we go regularly. For us, knowing that we can sit in the hot tub and sauna 3x/week is worth $50/month.

5. Yeah, we got the pricing info and then walked away. We came back later to sign up and payed a lower starting fee.

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sarah j • January 11, 2008 at 5:11 pm

Monthly – $60

Up Front – $200

Location – Chicago area

What is it like – It is attached to a major hospital so it is VERY nice… lots of good classes, two pools – lap and aerobic, two big weight areas, racketball, running track, CLEAN locker room with towels and lotions/potions (!), steam room, hot tub… Most importantly for me, there are all levels of fitness there.. young med students and senior cardiac rehab and everything in between (me!). It really feels “healthy” and not about appearances.

Negotiate a lower price? Didn’t try. Didn’t know I could.

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ann • January 11, 2008 at 6:36 pm

How cool – I’m the 100th person to comment on this excellent entry!!!

I don’t belong to a gym, but here are my costs:

1. Stairmaster (no frills/no fault) $450 (approximately). Its lasted since the 1990s so I’m very happy with it (except during the last five minutes or so, lol).

2. Dumbell Weights (11 pounds each). $22.50 at Wal Mart.

3. Good running shoes every six months – app $70-95. (And the luck to be in a neighborhood that is safe for running.)

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anji • January 11, 2008 at 6:37 pm

1) How much do you pay a month? $15/month

2) Was there an upfront fee? How much? NOpe

3) What city do you live in? Army base!

4) What is the gym like? Basic but has lots of stuff for the army people to work out with… still need to pay $2 for fitness classes

5) Did you negotiate a lower price? How? Didn’t need to, $15 is pretty cheap!

However… my old gym up north….

1) How much do you pay a month? Usually around $40/month

2) Was there an upfront fee? How much? Most were about $100 though you could join for free during promotions

3) What city do you live in? North Bay

4) What is the gym like? These ones were swankier, no towel service (which is fine, I want my own towel where I know it has been!)

5) Did you negotiate a lower price? How? If you can achieve student status, can usually get a little bit of a discount both with sign-up and with monthly fees

2 more things! Beware of Fly-by-night gyms… ones that open, look fabulous and ask for insane amounts of money and then close after 2 months after bilking people with their sign-up fees. This happened up north. They look legit, have tons of equipment but – they go from place to place. Lesson learned. Thankfully I only lost 1/2 of my money, my employer lost half too…

Also, racquetball and squash are two different games :)

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Jocelyn • January 11, 2008 at 6:42 pm

1. $800/year for a family membership that covers me and my boyfriend. When we renew this year we should be able to get a discount through my health insurance.

2. $40 upfront fee.

3. Buffalo, NY

4. It’s an independent gym built into a very old building in an “artsy” neighborhood. It has your basic rooms: cardio, free weights, weight machines, aerobics and an ab room. Plus 4 raquette ball courts. It’s comfortable, but not fancy. Everyone is pretty down to earth and friendly, I see the owner almost every time I’m there and he knows every member by name.

5. Nope, no negotiation. We researched gyms and found that this one was the cheapest, and we liked it.

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Heathen • January 11, 2008 at 7:04 pm

I pay $25.00 per month. The gym has a regular cardio theatre with 3 large flat screens. 2 weight machines rooms, one room with free weights, 6 racket ball courts, and they have group classes including yoga, aerobics, bellydancing and fencing. I think the initial fee was $50.00

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Asma • January 11, 2008 at 7:39 pm

1) I pay 10.50 a month for the YMCA. I get a student discount through a program they have with my grad school.

2) No upfront fee

3) Rockford, IL

4) It’s big. It’s got everything I need and more and the newly redone ladies locker room is sweet with a sauna and a lounge. For an extra $5 a month I can take one class and for 10 I can take an unlimited number of classes.

5) Student discount

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lisapete • January 11, 2008 at 8:19 pm

1) I pay $23 USD each month ( a steal ) for a 24 Hour Fitness All-Sport membership, which entitles me to go to any of their regular and sport clubs ( bigger and fancier versions )in N. America

2) $100 upfront fee , but this was like, 8 years back.

3) Los Angeles, CA

4) I mainly use the “Sport” facility by my office which is huge, has a lot of equipment, a pool, a little store and lots of classes, although I don’t take them because they are always crowded.

5) Didn’t negotiate but they did have a special promotion at the time which saved me about $50 of the upfront cost

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Marshmallow • January 11, 2008 at 8:22 pm

Can Non-US-people answer this too?

1) 90NZD per month. Though this allows me to use any Les Mills gym throughout New Zealand, so effectively this is a membership for 10 gyms. If I just worked out at my local branch, this would be cheaper.

2) Upfront fee of $100, can be waived depending on promotions

3) Auckland, New Zealand

4) The branch that I regularly frequent is beautiful (and won the award for Best Fitness Centre in New Zealand). Four levels, incredibly clean, separate womens gym, TVs in the cardio room, saunas, spinning studio and all of the Les Mills classes for free (apart from RPM), loads of free parking, friendly staff AND members. Other branches of the gym also have steam rooms, pools group runs, group walks, group boxing sessions and circuit training, and express classes (among other things).

5) No negotiation, though I joined on a promotion that let me have one free month’s membership.

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Sharla • January 11, 2008 at 9:01 pm

I pay $42 for myself and teenage daughter at a new Y in San Diego that includes 3 satellite sites.

I joined during a no joiners fee special. It is $150 if you need to pay it.

Has 4 studios for classes( no extra charge) and a large cardio/weight area. Every piece of Cardio has it’s own TV. They have a pool, free towels and a basketball court.

The other sites have alot of Pilates and Yoga classes and water aerobics.

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Megan • January 11, 2008 at 9:46 pm

Urban Active- the yuppie gym

1) After taxes, I pay $53 monthly, with a 2 year contract. Supposedly the regular cost would have been more than $70 per month but I just switched to this gym at the end of December when they were apparently desperate to get more people signing up. I also got a free month tacked on b/c I referred a friend who joined on the same day as me.

2) The upfront fee is supposed to be $200 but they waived it.

3) I live in Cincinnati, OH.

4) The gym is 2 floors, with tons of machines and a spinning studio. There are free weights, strength training and spinning classes, and a juice bar. There is a tiny women’s only fitness room. There are tiny tvs on all machines, and large windows overlooking the interstate for eyeball entertainment. Music blasts loudly throughout the gym, so I have to really crank up my ipod to drown it out with my own music.

There are 2 racquetball courts and a cardio cinema which switches the movies each day. There is also a pool that is just 3 lanes wide. The locker rooms are clean and have saunas, but I was sad to discover there are no towels or hair dryers provided (I was spoiled at my last gym.)

5) I did not negotiate, but would have if they tried to stick me with that joining fee.

It’s ok so far, but I will be meanly glad when the New Year’s resolution people give up and the crowds thin out- it is SUPER crowded right now when I go after work!

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Bella • January 11, 2008 at 10:01 pm

1) $44/mo to go to ANY club (throughout the U.S. and around the world).

2) I think the initiation fee was $149

3) I live in the San Francisco Bay Area

4) My gym has lots of different “versions.” Some of them are more upscale, with pools and saunas. Others are more basic, with just gym equipment and a studio for classes.

5) I didn’t even think about trying to negotiate a lower price.

I go to 24 Hour Fitness, by the way.

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Michelle • January 11, 2008 at 10:28 pm

1) $0!

2) $220 for the year, plus 3 free months since it was a renewal. It’s the city annual resident rate, and includes all classes and both locations. They did not raise the price this year (it’s my 2nd year at the gym). I could have done shorter memberships, but it would have worked out to be more per month than the $220. The memberships are explained at http://www.creekgov.net/parks/fitness.asp towards the bottom of the page – it’d be easier to read there than for me to explain it. A free fitness assessment (they use the YMCA one) comes with the annual membership, and it was very thorough and the trainer put me on a plan. I can get additional 30 min sessions for $20 each.

3) Coconut Creek, FL – very small city. North location is 15 min max from home (and happens to be on the way home from work) and the south is 5 min.

4) Two locations – one each at north & south part of city. South location is not open on Sundays. North location is much larger. Both have adequate cardio, weight machines, and free weights. Both locations have music and TVs that you can tune in to. Both have decent clean locker rooms. Staff is friendly and knowledgable.

5) Didn’t bother. I felt that the price was very fair. If I did the 3 month, it would have equated to $28 per month. The 12 month was essentially $18 per month. Now the 12+3month is $15 per month, although I paid in full to get it.

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Donna • January 11, 2008 at 10:45 pm

I pay $98 per year at Bally’s. I’ve been a member since 1975, way before you were even born. It allows me access to any Bally’s club in the US.

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Carolyn • January 11, 2008 at 10:58 pm

My husband and I belong to a local LA Fitness.

1) I pay $27/month for single gym only. My membership has always been month to month – a first for me! (My husband pays $25 per month for use of all local LA Fitness gyms- more on how he got his deal later). Child care is $10 per month per child for unlimited use or $3 a la cart rate of per child per visit.

2)Both my husband and I paid an upfront fee of $50. You also pay first and last month when you join.

3) We live in the Anaheim Hills area of Orange County, California.

4)The gym has everything I would like – pool, basketball courts, racquetball court, spin room, aerobics room, decent locker with showers, towel service avail, child care room, personal training. Lots of treadmills, two kinds of ellipticals (with and without arms), stair mills, stair stepper, seated bikes, Cybex machines, some nautilus, free weight area, tvs, sauna/steam/jacuzzi in pool, lots of aerobic/yoga/pilates/waterobics/spin classes. The gym was rennovated when I first joined 2.5 years ago so our stuff is newer but not the latest.

5) RE: negotiating – my friend did the talking when we joined together – she kept asking if they had a cheaper membership than the standard $35 all gym – the result is the one gym only for $27. It works for me because I only go to the gym closest to me.

My husband got a better deal than me – $25 per month for all gyms. He bought a 30 day pass off ebay for $2 and when he went to join they offered him $25 per month and a joining fee of $50.

Gyms in California are definitely cheaper than elsewhere in the country. When I lived in New Jersey the cheapest gym I ever belonged to was about $60 per month back in 1995. It wasn’t nearly as nice as a normal LA Fitness.

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Lauren • January 11, 2008 at 11:21 pm

1. I pay for three months at a time to get it cheaper. 130 dollars for three months, but the first time they gave me a 10 dollar discount. If I paid by the month it would be 50 a month.

2. No upfront fee

3. I live in Geochang South Korea and the school pays rent. But I’m told it’s about 300 a month.

4. Sparse

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sarah • January 12, 2008 at 2:30 am

I pay 15/month

I live in Rochester Minnesota

The gym is Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center

its a Gym for employees of Mayo Clinic.

the gym has flat screen tv’s at every station (treadmill,eliptical ect.) there are 2 pools, hotub and tons of fitness classes. and they have a lot of techno gym equipment….(definatly the coolest thing ever!) the orig member ship is 25/month no upfront fees but if you go more than 10 times/month you only pay 15 I didnt negotiate because the price was right. friends I know that go to other gyms pay anywhere from 35/month to 95/month for a bally’s type place.

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Gecko Rock • January 12, 2008 at 5:38 am

1) $50 / month for two people (regular price is $50 for one person)

2) Initiation fee was waved, but they require first AND last month up front

3) Columbus, Ohio

4) No towel service, but otherwise top-tier. Clean, bright, televisions, music, updated equipment.

5) Yes. My wife had a cheap membership to another gym that smelled like wet dog. I told the recruiter to match the price, though I left out the wet dog detail. They cut their own price in half and we signed.

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Mary Jean • January 12, 2008 at 6:08 am

We paid annually because it was cheaper. $675.

No initiation fee.

Harrisburg, PA

It’s a community center loaded with olympic size swimming pool with giant slide, full basketball court, banks of treadmills, ellipticals, bikes and those Tony Little things. Plus all the community stuff and classes like aerobics and yoga.

No, we thought the deal was pretty good already.

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Nicole • January 12, 2008 at 7:08 am

1. $49/month -seems to go up $1-$3/year

2. none when I joined. I think it is $100 now

3. Albany NY (not in NYC area)

4. It is the only place around with a pool which is why I am a member there but it is more expensive than most of the other gyms. Pool, hot tub, steam room, gym, indoor running/walking track, large weight and cadio room, a fair number of classes (most included in monthly fee)

5. No. The joining fee is usually the most negotiable and they didn’t have one when I joined. As far as I know, the Y is not one to negotiate on the monthly fee (it is published and widely available).

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Paula • January 12, 2008 at 8:33 am

Doubt my answers are much use as I’m in the UK but I’ll answer anyway. . .

1) How much do you pay a month? £33

2) Was there an upfront fee? Nope, if we told them someone who already went to the gym recommended us, we didn’t have to pay the upfront fee, and the person who recommended us got some vouchers.

3) What city do you live in? Glasgow – and this gym (LA Fitness) is pretty much directly in the centre of it.

4) What is the gym like? Not that great, to be honest. It’s pretty small, has about 12 treadmills (there’s more treadmills than anything else), various other machines and a swimming pool which is only 15 metres long and doesn’t fit more than about five people in it to do lengths. I refuse to go between five and seven on a weekday as it is simply far too busy!

5) Did you negotiate a lower price? How? Me and my sister got a joint membership, which meant we saved around five pounds on the usual monthly fee, but got a better standard of membership (which essentially means we get a towel supplied!)

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Lynne • January 12, 2008 at 11:48 am

1. Our Family YMCA membership is about $1000 for the year. I work 3 hours a week teaching swimming lessons so we get a 75% discount which works out to $33 per month.

2. Way back in 2002 when we joined there was a $100 registration fee (I think it’s up to $125)

3. I live outside of Boston, MA which has a very high cost of living.

4. The Y here is only 5 years old (and adding a new pool/doubling the fitness area this year). It has great equipment – standard fare, + spinning, aerobics classes, pool, AND for us moms – CHILDCARE included — which is awesome!

5. There is NO negotiation at the Y, however for just 3 hours a week work you get a free membership, plus a pittance – they pay THE WORST!

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ThickChick • January 12, 2008 at 11:49 am

I’m sure you won’t likely read all of these (I am commentor #120!!!) but here you go:

1. $75 for two of us (member #1 is $45 or so, member #2 is discounted)

2. No upfront fee – it was a promotional offer

3. Portland OR, gym is located in fancy downtown area

4. The gym is fairly nice – tons of new-ish equipment, lots of TVs, recently renovated, new pool, basketball courts, snack bar, etc.

5. No – far too corporate for negotiations

(24 Hour Fitness)

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himawari • January 12, 2008 at 12:03 pm

1) I pay nothing — I use the university gym and it’s part of my student fees (so, I suppose I do pay, just not directly). That said, I do believe university gyms will sell passes for reasonable rates (I think mine sells them for $40 per 10 week term).

2)N/A, I don’t think they do fancy membership deals.

3)Eugene, OR

4) One huge cardio room, two weight rooms (one very large and one smaller, quieter one), a small running track (not all that useful, 10x around is a mile), a pool, and many separate other rooms for team sports.

If you have any local universities, you might want to look into the possibilities to see if they sell passes to the public. They’re generally cheap, the facilities are often very good. The downside is that hours are usually limited during school breaks.

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K • January 12, 2008 at 12:15 pm

The gym that I used to belong to has membership at £29 for one month, and £120 for a year – BUT that was with a discount (it’s part of the university I work at). Student membership is less (£75 per year) and if you’re just a member of the public, it’s £240. Which is too much for me.

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Mary • January 12, 2008 at 4:15 pm

We paid US$1800 for a year for a family membership (me, husband, 3 kids)in eastern Pennsylvania. There is a pool (year-round) tennis (year round)as well as the usual gym stuff — cardio and weight machines, sauna, showers, etc. Also included are: towels (big deal with 3 kids!), fitness classes, nutrition counseling and child care. The place is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is also two miles from our house. This is one of the pricier gyms around here, but the nicest and the closest — so we use it LOTS.

Thanks for your blog. I enjoy your voice and perspective. :)

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FresnoBeeDude • January 12, 2008 at 4:48 pm

I live in a town called Lemoore, CA, close to a large naval air station. Two years ago the owners of The BodyShop came to my workplace (as many people had an interest in signing up) and offered a discount if a certain amount of people signed up. Only 2 of us did, no discount. The monthly rate was only $25 a month. No startup fee, no contract, cancel any time. I was there for about a year and a half. A small enough gym for this town. Had all the machines. and 4 of each of the cardio (treadmill, elliptical, recumbents, etc). There were 4 tv’s, running Dish network (I believe). The music channels of this satellite offered Sirius radio, and everyone knew I had to have my 80’s station!

I cancelled that membership, only because I hooked up with a trainer at a neighboring towns gym. VQ family fitness center (http://www.vqfitness.com/). I am not at liberty to discuss my membership fees. This place offers a large variety of exercise classes: spin cycle, pilates, ab’s, cardio kickboxing, jump roping (supposed to start this year). ALOT more machines, ALOT more cardio equipment! 8 different tv’s playing, but the only drawback is they only have 2 stations running (Monday night sucks, you either watch football, or Fox news).

While at the BodyShop I had a membership at the YMCA. $25 a month. I was doing water/gym aerobics 4 days a week. Was forced to cancel due to my trainers schedule. Besides, I got alot more out of Spinning then playing in the water.

Anyways, if you can click on my link, I have lost 275lbs in 2 years. Been plateauing since Halloween of ’07. I have a huge 14 page ebook blog that I wrote, as well as a blog about a front page article written about me. My pics page includes my transformation over the years

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rabbitqueen • January 12, 2008 at 8:14 pm

1) How much do you pay a month?

Zero dollars- it’s a benefit from Microsoft, my employer.

2) Was there an upfront fee? How much?

My employer pays it– not sure how much it is, they negotiated a bulk buy for all of their employees. Employees can choose to decline the gym membership and receive a small amount of compensation per month to make up for it, but most people seem to take the gym.

3) What city do you live in?

Lovely Seattle, WA

4) What is the gym like?

It has three cardio rooms with different light levels, TVs on the walls in each one, weight rooms, squash and raquetball courts, a couple rooms, and a family locker room in addition to the mens and women’s lockers. There’s a club restaurant with smoothies and food– those aren’t free :)

5) Did you negotiate a lower price? How?

Nope… it’s hard to negotiate with free! Microsoft’s benefits are fantastic– it’s a nicer gym than I could afford on my own and I’m sure it helps reduce our health care costs.

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Juanita • January 12, 2008 at 8:52 pm

I pay $18/month for a basic gym, with treadmills, bicycles, weight machines, etc. It does have individual TV monitors on a lot of the machines and larger TVs on the walls. There is no pool and there are no showers. I rather shower at home anyways–it’s only three minutes from my house. I think I paid about $50 upfront to join–it’s been seven years, so I’m not sure on that. I live in Maple Valley, WA, a small town southeast of Seattle. I did not negotiate.

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Christy • January 12, 2008 at 9:32 pm

I was watching the food network and swear I saw you. Some show about old fashioned diners? I don’t know if it was just a coincidence… Are you famous on one in more media type?

PQ – To the best of my knowledge, I have never appeared on the food network. Must be a doppelganger!

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chidame • January 12, 2008 at 9:57 pm

1) How much do you pay a month?

$30 a month

2) Was there an upfront fee? How much?

Nothing upfront, no contract. it is month to month gymming.

3) What city do you live in?

Tulsa, OK

4) What is the gym like?

bare bones power lifter’s club, no tv, no shower

5) negotiate?

did not negotiate. it is the cheapest gym in the area and the price is fair.

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Janell Toppen • January 12, 2008 at 10:56 pm

1) How much do you pay a month? My employer pays for my gym membership. I do pay the taxes on it though montlhy. The taxes alone are over $200 a year.

2) Was there an upfront fee? How much? Employer paid for it.

3) What city do you live in? Kirkland, WA but the gym is located in Bellevue, WA

4) What is the gym like? It’s more like a country club, without the golfing. State of the art cardio machines, full salon and spa, auto detailing, floral shop, 2 restaurants, tennis, childcare facility, 3 swimming pools, weights, personal training, nutritionist, pediatrist,dermatology, yoga, aerobics etc…

5) Did you negotiate a lower price? How? It wasn’t possible for me besides, my employer paid the fees.

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alli • January 13, 2008 at 12:35 am

$24.95

No cause I work for the state and Gold’s gives us a discount

3) Austin TX

4) What is the gym like? so awesome

5) nah, just wasn’t feeling like it cause I thought it was reasonable

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Diana • January 13, 2008 at 11:24 am

1) I pay £75 per year (£6.25 per month). It’s a student gym.

2) No upfront fee.

3) I live in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.

4) The gym is really good- little TVs at all the machines, sauna, lots of free excercize classes, free weights rooms, a rowing room, pool, etc.

5) Did you negotiate a lower price? Hah! No.

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Shelley • January 13, 2008 at 2:24 pm

1) How much do you pay a month? I pay $27 a month, and I only got that price because I signed a contract for a year. I haven’t been there in like 4 months. Getting my money’s worth, righ?

2) Was there an upfront fee? There was a $10 “processing fee.” They also charge a $79 sign-up fee, but I got them to waive that because I had a membership to that particular place before.

3) What city do you live in? Suburb of Phoenix, AZ

4) What is the gym like? This is not a chain, it’s a local family-owned place. Machines and free weights, treadmills (BLECH), stationary bikes, stairsteppers, TVs all around in front of the cardio machines, all kinds of classes, two racquetball courts, pool, sauna, and child-care.

5) Did you negotiate a lower price? How? I did get them to waive my start-up fee, but I didn’t negotiate beyond that.

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Helen • January 13, 2008 at 4:48 pm

1) $130/month. The most I’ve ever paid by far, but this is a fantastic gym for me. (And I used to pay almost this for a monthly no-limit yoga pass.)

2) $99

3) Venice, CA

4) Gym is BRAND NEW. It has tvs in every cardio machine, hook-ups for iPods, radio, etc. The machines are so smooth that you don’t hurt yourself. It has the standard cardios (elliptical, treadmill, bikes) plus the “Wave” which is a kind of sideways elliptical that is superhard but feels good). Also some free weights, balls and great weight machines (I particularly love the ab machine). It also has a “Kinesis” room…some fancy huge machines that you use in a class like yoga and pilates…it costs more so I doubt I’ll try it. Beautiful locker room (with self-locking lockers so I don’t have to worry about a lock), great showers. Actual paintings on the wall. Almost no one goes there since it’s so new, so no lines EVER for the machines. And, maybe most importantly, it’s close to home so I can stop by on the way home from work. And it’s so beautiful I don’t want to leave! So, yes, worth the money! At least for now until I get my ass in shape…

5) I didn’t negotiate, they were running a special (believe it or not!)

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Juliet • January 13, 2008 at 5:46 pm

Man, I love living in NYC, but I am able to block out how much more expensive it is most of the time. Dang you!

1) I pay $110 per month. However, I am on a month-to-month membership, primarily because we’re not sure if we’re going to be moving out of the neighborhood this year. If you pay upfront for 8 or more months (depending on the special they’re running at the time), it’s less per month by about $10-20.

2) There is no initiation fee. However, I paid for the first 2 months in one installment.

3) I live in Brooklyn, NY, in an area of the borough that is quite close to Manhattan. This is the kind of distinction that won’t mean anything to anyone not in NYC, but rents are more expensive where I am, influencing the gym rates.

4) The gym is actually quite nice. There are flatscreen TVs, most of the equipment is new, and many of the cardio machines have their own personal monitors. There’s a large weight area with Cybex machines, as well as a separate weight room with free weights and kettlebells. There’s a pool, stretching rooms, two pilates studios w/equipment, squash courts, a spinning studio, a boxing ring, and several aerobic studios. Nice locker rooms, though I rarely use it b/c I live just a few blocks away. There’s a spa and childcare on premises. And for some reason, pool tables. They offer a lot of different classes, which I appreciate.

5) We did not negotiate. We attempted to do so, and got a pretty aggressive response that this particular gym company does not negotiate, as they don’t think it’s “fair to everyone.” Which seems insane. We actually ended up speaking to the CEO of the chain, and he trod the same party line, so there you are.

We belonged to a cheaper chain gym for a while, but our new gym is closer and much nicer for not that much more per month. We’re definitely paying a premium to attend the nicer, closer gym.

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Andrea • January 13, 2008 at 6:08 pm

PastaQueen You started inspiring when I found you back in November. This is my first time commenting. Now I’m blogging and losing at sparkpeople. Anyways…

1) $60/month for the whole family to the JCC. General membership for kids and husband to 3 pools, gyms, weight room, activities, classes and programs. Fitness (cardio club) membership for me only. I also worked out a deal that allows our babysitter to have a general membership too with our family so she can bring the kids to the pool when she is watching them. 3 levels of membership. General, fitness, executive.

2) No upfront fee

3) Detroit metro area

4) 2 locations. The Cardio center is very nice. Lots of cardio choices each with its own cable TV plus a bank of TVs with radio frequencies to watch if you are on the weight machines, or the few older machines that have no TV. Hammer Strength weight machines, tons of other equipment – bands, balls, steps, etc. 2 aerobic rooms, 1 yoga room. General membership area has free weights, weight machines, other strength training equipment. Babysitting available for executive members or fee. Executive locker room available with sauna/spa, fancy bath amenities, lockers. Otherwise its general locker room.

5)I negotiated a deal that suited our family. Since my husband doesn’t like to go to a gym to work out, I am the only one with the fitness membership and the rest have the general membership. Plus the babysitter deal thrown in. Tried this deal with Lifetime Fitness and it did not work. They wanted $105 a month and wouldn’t let me bring a babysitter to help me with 4 non-swimming children at the pool (at the time they were 6,5,2 &2).

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Alicia • January 13, 2008 at 6:21 pm

1) How much do you pay a month? $62 for me and my husband, and it is a 2 year contract

2) Was there an upfront fee? How much? We did not pay an upfront fee… it was a pre-opening special

3) What city do you live in? Greer, SC

4) What is the gym like? There are 18 inch flat screens on all cardio equipment, you can work out anytime (they are open 24/7), sauna, free tanning… lots of extras

5) Did you negotiate a lower price? How? First of all… I did not negotiate a lower price. Secondly, I have felt terrible about it ever since we joined. Over the phone we were quoted a rate much lower than what we were given when we got there. I should have not taken the rate we were given at the gym, but we wanted to join so much!!

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Sass • January 13, 2008 at 7:29 pm

I live in Toronto. I use the YMCA. General membership price is $50/month, I have a slightly discounted membership though. Comes right out of the bank account. If I don’t go for a while, I don’t feel like I’ve ‘wasted’ my money, because I know it’s going to very worthwhile local programs, like after-school groups and helping new immigrants get acclimated.

They several locations in the city, can use any of them I want (and have access to YMCAs elsewhere, too). Mine has a decent pool, sauna/steamroom/whirlpool in the locker area, several different cardio, conditioning and weights areas, a track. It has no TVs, no music playing, and I like it that way. They have a lot of different classes and group activities that go on throughout the week. I love it.

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anonymous • January 13, 2008 at 8:30 pm

1) Nothing. It’s part of the benefits of where I work. Otherwise it would be $55 to join the Y and $45/month

3) Nowhere, upstate NY

4) There’s a competitive-sized pool, an indoor track, and a fitness room with cardio machines and Cybex weights.

5) No.

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Heather • January 13, 2008 at 9:34 pm

Well, $8 a month… but because I switched to a lifetime member after a 3 year contract… before that, it was $44/mo for the platinum plan (local area access) at Bally’s… Pool, classes, childcare, showers, etc etc Thought it was worth it– especially knowing it discounted after the plan was up.

At Curves (worked there for a while), it was $44/mo, $149 to start – though the $149 is usually discounted 30%-50%. 12 machines, no showers, no childcare.

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staci • January 13, 2008 at 11:42 pm

1. I prepaid for 4 years, and paid $850 in even payments the first three months (I think the first payment was half the amount, and then the two after that were a quarter of the amount each) Along with my contract, after the first 4 years, I will pay $150 a year after that.

2. My upfront fee was the first half of the payment, and because I prepaid I wasn’t charged for a processing fee or a start up fee.

3. I live in Las Vegas, NV, but my gym membership is an all club super sport with 24 hour fitness. Basically that means I am allowed to go to any gym in the country that’s a super sport level or below, and there is only one level higher than that. Also, the club that I purchased my membership at is in the “wealthy” area of Las Vegas.

4. The gym that I go to regularly is a super-sport level gym, and it has a pool, a smoothie bar, a spinning room, two squash courts, a racketball court, a basketball court, a private weight room for trainers, a weight room/classroom for any member to use, and then the cardio/weight lifting floor… and obviously locker rooms with showers and soaps and stuff.

5. I didn’t negotiate price, but it’s easy to negotiate monthly prices at 24 Hour Fitness… I used to work at that gym, so if you have any questions you can contact me through e-mail.

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staci • January 13, 2008 at 11:48 pm

I forgot to add that on the cardio/weight lifting floor, there are about … 20 or so flat screen tvs, and each cardio machine has a little thing that you can plug headphones into to hear the sound. Also, my gym has a jacuzzi, a sauna, and a steam room. In the locker rooms, there is a VIP room that one can pay extra for. It features leather couches, big screen tvs, and personal lockers, among a few other things. It’s a nice gym, but I’m a full time college student, and I barely have enough time to utilize the cardio/weight lifting floor!

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Rpse • January 13, 2008 at 11:50 pm

$54.99/ month for a one year membership at a brand new gym near wehre I work in Smithtown, NY. %59.99 initial fee. I hve to check that– I just joined, and I might have reversed it. I didn’t try to negotiate. The gym is fabulous: new, huge, clean, with every conceiveable tyoe of elliptical machine, treadmills, stairmasters, rowing machines, upright and recumbent bikes, all with their own tv’s you can plug your headphones into. It has a pool,a sauna, a dedicated pilates studio and dedicated spin class room, plus two other rooms for group classes that haven’t really gotten much use yet because the gym is so new. I haven’t really explored the resistance traiing section yet since I still belong to another gym where my weight training comfort zone is, but there is one. The locker rooms provide towel service, shampoo, tissues, and hair dryers, which is a big improvement on my other gym, where you’re lucky if there’s handsoap and paper towels.

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Karen • January 14, 2008 at 6:11 am

In St. Louis, an oldish YMCA. Joining fee is $49. And the rate for a single adult member is $45 per month. No negotiation.Does have a pool. Average type weight and cardio room.

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mickey • January 14, 2008 at 3:17 pm

1) How much do you pay a month?

My fiancee and I have a family membership that costs $41 per month total.

2) Was there an upfront fee? How much?

I think the joining fee was about $50.

3) What city do you live in? (Rent for a downtown New York space is going to be higher than the rent for a facility in Nowhere, West Virginia. Gym rates are going to reflect that.)

I live in Brooklyn, NY.

4) What is the gym like? (The LA Fitness near here has flat-screen TVs, a pool, a sauna, a spinning room, and a smoothie bar. It’s understandable that it costs more than the Cardinal Fitness which is essentially a treadmill warehouse.)

The gym I go to is the Bed-Stuy YMCA, and it is a fantastic gym. It has a pool, sauna/steam room in both locker rooms, a large gymnasium, an aerobics room, lounges, a free weights room and a fitness center with nautilus and cardio equipment. The cardio machines nearly all have personal TVs, and there is a great range of new equipment in good condition. There are at least 5-8 free classes per day in a wide range of exercise disciplines: pilates, yoga, kickboxing, dancing, etc. The membership is diverse in age, race, shape, and size. It’s a great place to work out.

5) Did you negotiate a lower price? How? (Something I’ve learned with age is that everything is negotiable.)

The price isn’t really negotiable, but I did get a discount by virtue of my insurance. For NYC (any borough), $40 a month for a family membership is ridiculously cheap. Other gyms are easily twice or three times the cost, and don’t have the same perks.

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chrissie • January 14, 2008 at 8:02 pm

1) How much do you pay a month?

$5/m WOOT!

2) Was there an upfront fee? How much?

$60 for the year’s membership. There was an option to pay monthly at $10/m. But really who would pay $120 for something they can get for $60?

3) What city do you live in?

Grand Canyon, AZ. Which translates to “Middle of Nowhere”

4) What is the gym like?

We have two rooms. One for classes with a TV/DVD player/VCR and mirrored walls that’s open for public use when there are no classes happening. They’ve got a decent stock of work out videos there. The other room is an all purpose cardio/weight training room. There are two treadmills, two bikes, and one elliptical. There’s a plethora of resistance machines and a few weight benches and free weights. Considering that I expected them to have even less in the way of equipment I’m actually really pleased with it. It’s not fancy by any means but it’s functional.

5) Did you negotiate a lower price? How?

I totally didn’t. $60 for a year? I’ll take it!

Just a note of caution: You want to shop for gyms before you sign up with one. Many of the big chains have deceptive billing policies. And I know with Bally’s if you sign up for a contract (the cheapest option for gym membership) and you happen to move your membership moves with you unless you can prove that there isn’t a Bally’s location near you. I had to send them directions to the nearest Bally’s when I moved, 3 hours away, and there was apparently debate as to whether that was too far for me to go to.

If there’s a YMCA in your area I’d say that you should go check them out. They tend to be a lot cheaper than chain gyms, with a lot of the same equipment (do you really need a smoothie bar?) and they don’t have contracts.

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katieo • January 14, 2008 at 8:29 pm

I *always* negotiate to where I can get basic membership to our Gold’s for under $300 dollars for the year. I’ve paid $500 upfront for two years before as well. I hate paying month to month, it’s always more expensive.

I REFUSE to pay any upfront “Proccessing” or “new member” fees. That’s a load of crap (at my gym anyway).

I’m lucky because There’s a 24 hr. fitness just down the road. I love pitting them against each other when I negotiate, because I really WILL go to the one who will give me the better deal. (but i’d rather go to Gold’s; I love the classes and my friends go there, but I’m not beneath switching if 24’ll give me a better deal.)

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katieo • January 14, 2008 at 8:33 pm

oh yeah, sorry, one more thing: I’m in Utah, but one of the Gold’s by my house is one of the biggest in the country. (a bazillion machines, tvs, tons of classes, pools, locker rooms, Women’s weight room, jacuzzi, raquetball, basketball courts…)

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Amy • January 16, 2008 at 5:08 pm

I hadn’t belonged to a public gym in years because I’m cheap and because my employer had a $10/yr fitness center. It was kind of janky, but basically free.

Then they built new fitness centers at many of our sites so I can go during lunch in the building next to mine, shower, and get back to work in an hour!

Meanwhile our insurance has started sucking overall, but now we get free gym memberships all over town through a network called Prime Fitness. I can go anywhere as often as I want and never pay anything. Now THAT’s the way to encourage health and wellness! Thanks, Employer! I think the gyms get paid for each visit we make, plus we can get “points” to redeem for items like George Foreman grills and pedometers and such.

I usually go to the local Y since it’s right by home and I like the kinda run-down flavor and interesting mix of people. I’m within five miles of ten places, though, so I have a lot to choose.

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Saundra • April 9, 2008 at 5:27 am

I live in Dover, Delaware. I use Gold’s Gym and LOVE IT!!! I am prior military (husband still is) and used the base gym for free but was limited to 3 cardio machines to chose from, so I could watch my kids as I worked out. I paid no joiner fee (military rate) and I pay $29.99/month for me. I also joined the “Kidz Klub” It is $19.99/month for the first child and $12.99/month for the second (gets lower w/ea kid…I have 2). I get 2 hours each day (Breaks down to .25 cents per hr/per kid…PENNIES!!) to workout however I wish. So I pay a total of $62.97/month. The facility is great. It has a large cardio area, machines, free weights, Group X room, RPM (Bike) Room, Ladies Only facility which includes cardio, weights and free weights, locker rooms, sauna, 2 personal training rooms, Yoga room, basketball court, boxing room, tanning beds and Kidz Klub. They also sell clothing, drinks, smoothies, supplements and meal replacement snacks. I am happy and recommend Gold’s to anyone.

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Maggie • November 26, 2008 at 10:55 pm

@Sarah – WOW! thats a great deal!

what gym are you currently at?

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jay • January 12, 2010 at 4:40 pm

I used to go to Planet fitness, paying 10/month , no contract.. If you don’t want to used any more for whatever the reason is, just let them know and they will cancel your membership…

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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