For Christmas, my husband enrolled us in a new gym. It’s “the gym” to join here in our area, and I’ve never stepped foot in it because I knew that upon my seeing it, I’d want to join.
And… I don’t need a gym.
I run like a crazy person, I do Beachbody workouts at home, I use our treadmill at least 3 days a week, and I’ve gone through good stints of using our weight machine in the basement. When it comes to working out – I’ve got it pretty figured out. All I need is the ability to run somewhere (or on a machine), internet access, and my own motivation. That’s it.
I don’t need a fancy gym with a great kids’ program, an incredible pool, super nice and clean showers, and hot tubs in the locker rooms. I don’t need top-of-the-line cardio machines (my treadmill is going on its 17th year of life and it’s a trusty old steed). I don’t need endless yoga classes at my disposal. I don’t need plush sitting areas throughout the gym, and I certainly don’t need a café and spa in my gym.
I don’t need much.
But… I’m drinking the Kool-Aid.
Truth be told… I love it!
The kids’ programming is everything everyone said it was. We pay for the kids on our membership and it’s $30 a month for each of them, which is a tough pill to swallow (the Y was free), but…. there are terrific classes every day that they love going to and the gym has “Parents Night Out” twice a month and that costs what the sitter would cost us, so… no brainer. The kids absolutely love the pool and they have a “family locker room” which is way easier to use than the “family dressing rooms” at the Y. When we went to the Y, I felt guilty dropping the kids off in the child-watch area because they just went there and played, and there was no growth going on. I was dumping them there so that I could do my own thing, and that did not feel good to me. At the new gym, they get so much out of going that there is no guilt at all.
The classes are truly top-notch – I really enjoy them! I had no issues with the classes at the Y, and enjoyed them quite a bit, but they changed the schedule so often that I was often frustrated that my classes were dropped. And… they always ran out of equipment at the Y. So many times, I’d have to use lighter weights or not have a step to use because what I needed was taken already when I’d get there 5 minutes early. You can walk into a class at this new gym and get everything you need, even after the class has started. And the class rooms are way bigger, allowing more participants. The group exercise experience is just more pleasant at the new gym.
The cardio equipment is stellar and there is plenty of it. I never have to worry about finding a treadmill or weight machine to use. The treadmills have a neat “outdoor” feature that has you walking along a trail at Lake Merced, for example, and you see people running by, statues, lakes, etc. It sounds corny, but I like it. I do have to work a lot harder to burn calories on their treadmills than at home and that’s because they’re smoother and just more efficient. I was running at almost 7.0 mph to burn as much as I do at home at 6.2 mph. That’s good though.
The new gym is closer to us, and it’s on the way to my husband’s work and the kids’ school. I can get to classes on time (9:30) now when I couldn’t do that before. My husband can stop on his way to or from work and not lose 10 minutes each way because this new gym is between home and his office. The proximity is great.
The locker room… I never thought I’d get excited about a locker room. The lockers are very large and don’t require a padlock, so I don’t have to stress about that. Each locker room has a dry sauna, a steam room with eucalyptus, and a huge hot tub. I love that about it and have already used all three. There are private dressing rooms and the showers are terrific, very large and nice products (including razors, shave gel, deodorant, etc) are provided. The towels cover an average sized person’s body. It almost feels like home because the ventilation makes it nice and dry so that you can actually dry your hair, put on makeup, and get dressed without being sticky. People used to rave about the locker rooms and I’d think, “how shallow are you to care about THAT?” but I’m eating my own words. I’ll admit it.
The pool… swoon! The indoor pool is terrific in that the kids’ pool never goes deeper than 3 feet. Oh, the peace of mind! It is well-lit and feels like a nice hotel pool (the Y was very dark). They have a HUGE, powerful hot tub that has strong enough jets to fully massage my sore back and legs. The Y has no hot tub AT ALL. The outdoor pool has great water slides and a play area, and the biggest benefit… I can see the entire pool from one spot! I told my husband this past summer that by the time our oldest is 7, that I would need a private pool so that I can let my son run off and play, but so that I can see him at all times (the public pools here are full aquatic centers and they make me very nervous because of how vast the property is). This past summer, when I mentioned this to my husband, I said we’d need to join this gym or one of the country clubs. He chose the gym and I think it’s a great choice!
There is a nice café with good food at this gym. It’s not the best food in the world, but it is good enough and is very healthy. I’ve run into so many friends there and that’s fun! The kids love the food and they’re eating things enthusiastically that we can’t get them to eat at home. That’s a big win!
And… they have tennis courts. You pay more for tennis but I think it’s something that my husband and I may enjoy doing together. We’re definitely enrolling our son in tennis lessons and I’m super excited about that!
So… I’m drinking the Kool-Aid. I avoided it for two years but the time has come. This summer will be so nice with the pool for the kids and I’m excited that they’ll have a fun place to go when I work out. I also like knowing that they’ll be well taken care of while I sit in the hot tub or steam room in the locker room – I’m not gonna lie!
There are things that are weird, though. It is like a country club in that you see people you know all the time. I love that about it, but it also can feel weird when you’re in a hurry to get to class or get out to get the kids. I missed a class today because I ran into my neighbor and instead of going to class, we sat in the café and talked for 45 minutes (I did run hard and fast afterwards). Then, on my way out, I saw a friend I haven’t seen in a while and truly had to avoid her so that I wasn’t late to get to my kids’ school for pickup. Also, people refer to this place by name (“Lifetime”) with a sort-of snotty tone rather than, “the gym.” I make fun of people for asking, “where’s my iPhone?” when people without iPhones just ask, “where’s my phone?” I mean – think about it. No one asks, “where’s the Charmin?” when they’re out of toilet paper – they ask, “where’s more toilet paper?” There are some things in life that people like to say for status, and “my iPhone” and “Lifetime” are two of those things. I’m sure I’ll refer to it, soon enough, as “Lifetime” too, but I swear I won’t add the tone to it. The same is true for the kids’ programming. I just say, “I’m taking the kids to child watch” but people really look alarmed when I say that. They correct me, “you mean, The Kids’ Academy?” Yes… that’s what I mean but come on – you knew what I meant. HA! There is that snobbery attached to this place and I wish it wasn’t so, but it is. On the upside, the Y felt very clique-y to me and this place, because it’s so big and there are so many class options, just doesn’t feel that way at all.
Good and bad… you take them both. And the good, as much as I resisted it in the past, outweighs the bad at the new gym.. I mean, “at Lifetime.”