Gym Non-Negotiables

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It’s a perfect spring morning with Carolina blue skies.


I hope you’re having a lovely weekend – our Saturday was great.  After a really crazy two weeks, I desperately needed a physical and mental break.  I made a conscious effort to do (practically) nothing but minor errands, which is difficult when you just moved into a new place a week ago!  I did unpack the very last box, though.  Smile  I just couldn’t resist.


I also scouted out a gym.  I haven’t belong to a real gym in a very long time – maybe 2.5 years?  In Orlando, I preferred to run outside in the fall and winter; I rejoined the gym during the spring and summer to get into swim shape for triathlons.  And once we moved to Charlotte, I opted to join the Aquatic Center, which offers a small workout room, instead of the traditional YMCA gyms.  But now we’re too far from the Aquatic Center to make membership realistic, so I’m searching for a new gym home.


What do you look for in a gym?  My three non-negotiable are:


  • Proximity to my home or work (once, I joined a gym 30 minutes from my house but next door to my work – I just went before or after work)
  • Price (I’m not willing to go higher than $35 or so a month – I know this is expensive for some places and cheap for others!)
  • Pool access (I would never join a gym without a pool – I love to swim too much!)


The Husband’s non-negotiables are cleanliness (which I couldn’t care less about), new and nice equipment (same – the treadmills at my old gym were literally held together by duct tape), and proximity to home.  He also really loves it when a place has a sauna and racquetball courts.


Anyway, I think we found a place that fulfills all of our main requirements – and more!  This new gym also offers fitness classes like spin, which I was really excited about.  And they have childcare.  I’m not sure how often we’d leave BabyHTP with the gym childcare, but it’s a nice option.  They offered us a one-week pass to check out the facilities, so I’m going to head over later today for a test run. Fingers crossed!


But first – I’m being put to work in the garden.  My job today will be pulling put the pine needle flower beds and replacing it with mulch.  I can do this sitting down, so I’m game.  Smile







With sunflower butter mixed into the batter

Greek yogurt for ‘syrup’





You can never have too much sunflower butter in the batter!


What are your gym non-negotiables?  What things are nice to have?  How much does your gym cost?  Although I don’t require class access, I have to say that I am really excited for fitness classes like spin, Pilates, and Body Pump.  Especially with the baby on the way, I think classes will help me maximize my gym time. 



  • Katie @ Peace Love & Oats April 8, 2012, 10:17 am

    I need a gym that’s cheap, has plenty of treadmills, ellipticals and weights and that has group classes!

  • Laura April 8, 2012, 10:21 am

    Those waffles look delicious! I love weekend breakfasts.

    My non-negotiables are price, cleanliness, lots of light, new equipment and no constant upselling. My gyms about 20 minutes away, which is not as convenient as I’d like, but it’s well priced (for now) and has huge windows all around. Some of the other gyms I looked at have the machines in a dungeon-like room or keep the lights low. I hate that! I also love that my gym never tries to sell me anything. When I toured one gym, they tried to sell me on protein powders and classes that I said wouldn’t work with my work schedule before I was even committed to a gym!

  • Karen @ Run Shop Travel April 8, 2012, 10:21 am

    I’m a gym snob…I splurge on Equinox for $140/month. I like to take classes (spin, yoga, body sculpt, barre burn, etc) and Equinox’s class schedule and instructors are really a step above the rest. Plus the equipment is brand new, the locations are spotless, and they give you Kiehl’s products in the showers.

    There really aren’t many cheap options in my area (NYC metro), the next level down is $60-75/month and then there are a few places that are $20-30/month but they don’t offer classes.

  • Andrea April 8, 2012, 10:23 am

    I have the cheapest and most amazing gym membership I have ever heard of – it’s about 17 dollars per month. With that I get access to all the recreation centres in my city, which includes three large fully equipped gyms, 5+ pools, skating, racquetball courts, basketball/volleyball courts, saunas, hot tubs, group fitness classes, indoor running track…the works! I’m very fortunate to work for my city’s recreation department so I get a 50% discount on top of my student discount =hence why the membership is so cheap!

    • CaitlinHTP April 8, 2012, 4:03 pm

      That is amaaaaazing.

  • lindsay April 8, 2012, 10:25 am

    I’m with you on price! Mine is $33 and comes right from my paycheck which is nice. I like classes too. Location is key. I belong to gold’s so there are a bunch in my area. I can go to one that’s one mile from my house and one that’s right across the street from my office. I would love racquetball courts though. Gyms around here with courts are all closer to $60+ per month 🙁

  • Angie @ Pint of Goals April 8, 2012, 10:28 am

    My husband I belong to a huge, local gym just eight minutes away. I appreciate that they have newer equipment, decent locker rooms, free childcare (although we don’t have kids yet, this may come in handy later), and all of the Les Mills classes. They also have a outdoor water park with big slides, a lazy river, and other water activities, which has been awesome for the summer and babysitting. I just wish they had hot yoga, but that might make me seem picky. 🙂

  • Michaela April 8, 2012, 10:30 am

    My gym must be open at very early hours because that’s the most convenient time for me to work out. They also must provide nice equipment, towels, hair dryers, and clean showers. I pay $35/month and didn’t have an enrollment fee.

  • Emily @ The Swallow Flies April 8, 2012, 10:35 am

    I love the tried-and-true YMCA. We have several in my area, and the one I attend most frequently has an amazing array of classes – and a variety of time at which to take those classes. There are always enough cardio machines, the weight room is huge, and I love the indoor track for cool-down walks. My best friend and I joined together, and with her work discount, I believe we pay $20 (for the two of us together!) each month.

  • Chelsea April 8, 2012, 10:49 am

    I have to have good hours at my gym. I’m such a busy person that I need a gym that has good hours that I can fit into my schedule. Like for awhile I’ve been going to my school gymm (free! yay college) but during summer their hours are only 3pm-6pm…The hours I’m at work *booo*

  • MomHTP April 8, 2012, 10:58 am

    ALL THE BOXES ARE UNPACKED!!!! What? Already? No way.

  • Courtney April 8, 2012, 11:01 am

    I need a clean gym (or at least people who are willing to clean off their equipment after they use it!), friendly people, and ellipticals with crossramp features. That’s pretty much it! 🙂

  • Luv What You Do April 8, 2012, 11:04 am

    I can’t imagine finding a gym for $35/month. That would be amazing!!!

    My non negotiables are proximity, a variety of nice, new, clean equipment, clean showers, and good classes…oh and a pool! I’m a total gym snob!

  • Stellina @ My Yogurt Addiction April 8, 2012, 11:10 am

    My gym has to be clean and have classes!

  • Gillian April 8, 2012, 11:10 am

    My gym non-negotiables are proximity to home or school, reasonable price, and availability of group exercise classes (with spin being the most important).

    I live in Los Angeles and the going rate is $60-$75 a month for lower-end gyms, but I am lucky – I pay $44/month at Gold’s Gym – and it is surprisingly really nice!

  • Heather April 8, 2012, 11:13 am

    Non-negotiables are a pool, child care and cleanliness. I switched from the uber-cheap gyms because they were just not nice. My new gym is $53- but the enrollment was around $450 (we got a huge discount because my husband works with the county.) I love it-the best part is it has a huge rock climbing wall so my kids are learning how to climb. I like the more expensive places, it tends to keep creepers and teenage boys out ( I hate working out with teens and creepers). Call me snobby, I don’t mind!

    • CaitlinHTP April 8, 2012, 4:04 pm

      DANG. That is a crazy enrollment. Where do you live?!

  • JenRD April 8, 2012, 11:29 am

    My non-negotiable is enough cardio equipment (treadmills and ellipticals) so that I don’t have to wait. As a mom to a 6-month-old, my time is precious, and it can not be wasted waiting in line for a treadmill! I always scout out a gym during the hours I would be going, so I get an idea of how crowded it gets, and if I would have to wait. Living in NY, there is only so much of the year which can be spent jogging outside for me, so I pay $65/month for a NY Sports Club, which also offers classses and child care. Plus, I get to use any other NYSC, which is nice because when I am visiting my parents or in-laws, I always have gym access.


  • Laura @ She Eats Well April 8, 2012, 11:33 am

    Proximity is my number 1 too. I live in San Francisco and recently quit my gym, Crunch. I was paying $75 a month and it didn’t offer the types of classes I like (Body Pump!), didn’t have a pool, and didn’t have a sauna/steam room. Would have been nice! Recently, I’ve been running, doing step workouts, and yoga, which is expensive, but I love much more than the gym. If I had a car I’d go to the YMCA…it’s nice ha!

    Your breakfast looks ahhmazing. I recently got on the sunflower butter wagon and LOVE it!

  • Rachel Starr April 8, 2012, 11:37 am

    Child care is definitely my non-negotiable! Especially now, w/ 2 kiddos. The YMCA we belong to has child care included in the price of membership. My toddler daughter loves it there & she gets to run around & play while I workout & shower. I’ve been dropping her off there since she was about 8mo old & my 7 week old son has been going for a week now. It gives me a nice break & I know they’re well taken care of. Plus, this momma has a race to train for in 6 weeks!

  • KaraHadley April 8, 2012, 11:43 am

    Cleanliness is big for me, as is proximity. I also like gyms with long hours so I never have an excuse not to go. And a new requirement for me is either an open studio or a lot of open floor space so I can do things like plyometrics and push-ups and abs and stretching. I HATE gyms that are all machines and no open space.

  • Anne Weber-Falk April 8, 2012, 12:12 pm

    A pool, I love the water and use it every day, clean, plenty of machines in good working order, if they are held together with duct tape that’s when people get hurt, and a good variety of classes. I love my fitness center. I was doing water classes every day and a few Les Mills during the week. Now I work there! That means my membership is free and I get discounts on other programs as well as on my family’s memberships. YAY!

  • Christine @ BookishlyB April 8, 2012, 12:35 pm

    One of mine is the issue of crowding- if the times I’m likely to visit require waiting in line for a cardio machine I’m out. I also hate pushy sales staffs (I belonged to a gym once and there was a guy who would come up to me while I was running with headphones and want to try to talk training plans).

  • crystal April 8, 2012, 12:44 pm

    My must haves are close to my house, towels for the showers and childcare. I am a spaz about leaving my kids w/anyone, but it was easier for me to leave them at the childcare, than with a sitter. I knew they’d page me if they cried and I was only 100 feet or so away so I could rush back fast. Our childcare cost is separate from my gym fees, but our gym is so cheap that it comes out so much cheaper than anywhere else that has childcare. The Y here is just insane for a 4/5 person family.

  • Hillary April 8, 2012, 12:46 pm

    I miss my old gym—it was super expensive, but offered a great variety of classes. My new gym is cheap ($12 a month) but only offers the basics: cardio and weight machines. It does the trick, but every once in a while I crave some variety!

  • Angela @ Happy Fit Mama April 8, 2012, 1:08 pm

    I don’t belong to a gym right now because I’m fine with running outside and weights at home. I do go to a studio for yoga, though. My old gym was great. It had everything. Close to home was key. I could stop on my way home from work and be home in 5 minutes. The one thing I didn’t like is that we had to pay extra for childcare. Dues were $35/month but if I had to pay an extra $5 a child(I’ve got twins) for each time I went, it would be outrageous!

  • Lee April 8, 2012, 1:25 pm

    Proximity is definitely my top priority with price slightly under that. Other that that, I just want it to have enough of the equipment I like and for it to be in decent condition.

    I pay $29.99 a month for LA Fitness. I get a bit of a reduced membership price through my office.

  • Becca April 8, 2012, 1:35 pm

    I pay $48 a month with a student discount. A little expensive but I LOVE my gym. I actually have a free membership to Golds but still pay for the one I love. The classes are fantastic, it’s at the end of my street, very clean and the staff are extremely friendly and always around to help. I really could go on and on about my gym..
    I’m my opinion it’s the best in Va Beach 🙂

  • Rebecca April 8, 2012, 1:44 pm

    Our YMCA has childcare, which is kind of nice for the people who don’t have other daycare options for their kids, like if they work from home or something. My dad sometimes goes to Boot Camp in the mornings, and there are Spin and Zumba classes, and probably some other ones. I think they offer ballroom dancing at times, too–my friend’s mom teaches it! 😀 I don’t know everything offered because I don’t go, hah. I know they have swim lessons for kids and I think they have pool time for senior citizens possibly?? Lots of different things. Not sure what the price is, but if we go so many times a month there’s some insurance incentive or something. I don’t know all of the details, but it works, especially since my dad’s there almost every day.

  • Amber K April 8, 2012, 3:05 pm

    I work out at Crunch and I really can’t beat the $9.95 a month price. I used to work out at La Fitness, but I can’t justify $35 a month when I have such a cheaper option in Crunch. Yeah it has less amenities (no pool, smalllllll fitness room, not as many machines, no childcare), but again I like saving the $$$$ And until I actually need a gym with childcare, it works.

    • Caitlin April 8, 2012, 4:05 pm

      Dang. You win for cheapest gym!

  • Jess April 8, 2012, 4:24 pm

    My gym costs $60 a month…and thats the student rate! Shhhh, I haven’t told them that I graduated 4 months ago! They don’t have a ‘poor teacher’ rate and I don’t think I could afford the normal rate; We are pushing it to keep my membership as it is! Oh, and it is the cheapest gym in the area, by far!

    My non negs are:
    – Clean
    – Friendly trainers
    – Affordable

  • Katie @ Katie Without Restrictions April 8, 2012, 7:29 pm

    My hubby also loves to sauna at the gym, which is pretty much the last thing I want to do when I’m already all hot and sweaty! For both of us, we like an adults-only environment (at least for now!). Our gym is also pretty new and really nicely kept, which we both agree is much enjoyed!

  • Michelle April 8, 2012, 8:25 pm

    I pay $25 for the YEAR for the gym at work. It is basic weight/cardio gym but the price is right. The pool has a separate fee, I think it is $60/quarter, or $3 pay as you go which I do since I don’t go enough to make the quarterly pass worth it.

  • Sheryl April 8, 2012, 8:31 pm

    I didnt think I would leave my daughter in a gym daycare either, but it’s often difficult to find time to go otherwise. I just kind of think of it as a “babysitter” and not a “daycare.” They may not be ECE certified, but they have first aid, experience watching kids or have their own. Charlotte has fun playing with new toys and other little kids and I get some free time to workout. I started bringing her when she was only 6 weeks old and I think it’s really helped her get used to being around other people!

  • Sara April 9, 2012, 8:29 am

    We ended up joining the one closest to home (even though it was a little more expensive) because otherwise we knew we’d never go. My father-in-law has been in the hospital so we’ve been working, eating dinner and then going to the hospital and haven’t had time to use our gym the last couple of weeks. I miss it! We hope to squeeze it in tonight! (Oh and my work gives us a discount plus the option of taking the monthly membership out of my paycheck! So the monthly cost is broken up and taken out of two paychecks–not nearly as noticeable if we were paying the gym directly!)

  • Melissa April 9, 2012, 9:00 am

    Suggestion- see if your gym offers medical leave for post-baby. Mine did, and the giant belly even allowed me to get leave without having to provide a doctor’s note! At my gym if you qualify for leave you automatically get 6 months but you can rejoin anytime you want. Initially I thought I’d rejoin after my 6 week medical clearance, but when my son was really little I could never tear myself away from him to go to the gym so I ended up taking the whole 6 months off. It was nice to not have the added expense, especially when I was out of work, and for most of my leave it was nice enough to get my exercise via walks with the dog and baby.

  • Charise April 9, 2012, 10:27 am

    I used to pay $60/month – ridiculous! It was a big fancy gym, with awesome locker rooms, indoor and outdoor pools, racquetball, rock climbing, and lots of group fitness classes. None of which I used (I’d slowly gotten away from the classes). So when we moved across town, I picked a smaller gym closer to our new house. It is an “express” gym, w/ just the basics (but lots of equipment!) -no pool or classes or other extras – for only $20/month. But it’s brand new, sunny, and clean, and definitely worth the savings.

  • Cristina @ Tiny Perfect Bites April 9, 2012, 12:14 pm

    It has to be clean, close to home/work, and have a lot of fitness classes that fit my schedule. I have belonged to a bunch of different gyms, and the prices have ranged from $40/month for a basic one to $200/month for a luxury one. (This is in San Francisco and Los Angeles, so prices are high.) For the first time in years, I don’t belong to a gym. I have a membership to a yoga studio for $85/month and run outside. If I had kids I think I’d join the YMCA because although the one near me isn’t the nicest facility, they have childcare, which is a huge perk.

  • Lisa April 9, 2012, 1:33 pm

    I went through this a few months ago. My gym membership expired and I was hunting for a new one. I ended up signing up for my old gym again because it had everything I wanted: a pool (crucial), close locations to home and work, and hours that worked for me. It’s so important to find the right one!

  • Laura is Undeterrable April 9, 2012, 1:44 pm

    Since I’ve started crossfitting, I absolutely hate my regular gym. I keep the membership for pool access, spin classes, and the occasional social workout with my mom.

    I’m not super picky about equipment – it just needs to work. Soap dispensers should dispense soap. Treadmills should turn on. You know, the basics.

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