Exercise! - Curves vs GYM vs YMCA?

View Full Version : Curves vs GYM vs YMCA?

10-18-2009, 08:50 PM
Which would you join?

I'm very out of shape - been sick with a major thyroid issues for the last 2 years and unable to exercise more than just slow walking for short distances on a good day - to the point of using a power wheelchair to get around for any distance. I'm anticipating getting clearance from my DR to finally start exercising again.

WWYD - join Curves? A regular Gym {in this case Planet Fitness} or the YMCA? Money is an issue as I'm a single mom.

Curves is 2 blocks away & $49 a month with no contract. They seem nice but I haven't really gone to check it out - just emailed for cost.

Planet Fitness is $20 a month with no contract for extra package {unlimited massage chairs, tanning, use at any location, etc} or $10 a month no contract for basic use only good at that location. No group classes, but they do have some how-to classes available. 30 minute city bus ride away via 2 buses, and then a block walk.

The YMCA has tons of locations in town but membership is $64 a month. Several locations have pools & rock climbing walls. Lots of classes, trainers, etc. YMCA that I would likely use is a 30 minute bus ride away via one bus, but they are supposed to be building one 2 blocks away from my house soon {but it keeps being delayed due to the economy}. No contract but must cancel 30 days in advance.

10-18-2009, 08:55 PM
I'd go with the gym, but my membership is a no-frills (no classes etc.) one as well. If you think you'd be better with classes then go for that one.

Short answer is one you think you will use, convenience and cost wise.

Of course there's also the option of not joining a formal fitness centre at all, and buying some dumbells and shoes and just doing it yourself. You wouldn't be the first.

10-18-2009, 08:57 PM
To be honest, id take the path of least resistence at this point.Curves....2 blocks away.Less likely to miss a workout due to convience factor.Start there and see how you feel in a few months.Just my honest opinion.

10-18-2009, 09:13 PM
I've never been to Curves, but from what I've heard it sounds like you have to do the curcuit and can't make up your own routine. That idea bothers me. Right now I'm going to the YMCA. Check with your local Y and see about a scholarship or special rate. I got a scholarship and only pay $20/month with no start-up fee. It doesn't have as many free weights as a regular gym but has all the weight machines and cardio machines I need. Classes are availble, but I haven't tried any. I've been very happy with my YMCA membership.

However, if it's a pain to get to, that's a huge consideration. You want to be sure you'll actually go!

10-18-2009, 09:35 PM
Aclai4067 - I can understand about not being able to make your own routine..

But! I think for a lot of people a set circuit is a valuable thing. That way you know you're doing a full circuit and not skipping out on something.

I've done curves, and i DID like it. Unfortunately at that time I wasn't giving my all in this weight loss journey so it didn't help me because I never went.
I liked curves for a lot of reasons:
1. They consult with you, figure out your goals, do some body tests and MOTIVATE you. They do body tests once a month to see how well you're doing. (height, weight, body fat percentage with a machine they have, measurements)
2. I found that where I went they had a group that went regularly and you start making friends who also support you. I think of it like this board.. a community that knows what you're going through and is there to help.
3. While you do the circuit someone stands in the middle and watches everyone. I think there's about 10 people in a circuit at one time and although it's not one on one supervising, they'll catch you when you're not doing it correctly or not pushing yourself hard enough.

I think it is an excellent idea. But I would suggest you see if there is a free trial you can do. Possibly for one week, and get a free consultation before you decide anything.

And I agree harrismm that it'll be easier to motivate yourself if it is the closest option for sure!

Good luck with you decision!

10-18-2009, 10:44 PM
I would do the Curves , for one reason it is closer to you and much easier to get to. And when the weather is good you can walk and get extra exercise that way. I have done Curves and liked it , the more you put into it the more you will get out of it at Curves , or any gym.

10-19-2009, 10:45 AM
I also concur that proximity is probably one of the most important criteria. It doesn't matter if a gym has great classes or best of equipment if you don't go to it. If the value of proximity gets diminished because your needs expand, then you can look at other facilities. But for now, the most important thing is setting a habit of working out.

10-19-2009, 12:14 PM
I realize that some people are saying that the closest proximity will most likely be the best choice but since you say that money is an issue (and also is for most of us!) then I can't see how you can justify spending $50 a month on Curves when you can join Planet Fitness for $10 a month. Personally I think $50 a month for Curves is a rip-off. They are really focusing on getting the people who must have a regimented series to follow because they don't offer any other fitness equipment. It seems to me that for $50 a month, you could probably buy equipment and set up your own fitness circuit similar to Curves in your own home.

I was in a similar situation recently where I wanted to join a gym, but I have a horrible track record with sticking with exercise so I wasn't sure what was going to be the best fit. My options were 1) local YMCA which is 15 min away but requires a one year commitment; 2) local gym Snap Fitness which is $39.99 a month with no commitment and 5 min from my home; 3) local gym Rascals which is $10.99 a month with no commitment and is 15 min from my home. I chose #3 mainly due to the price. The YMCA has the pool and fitness classes as well as the cardio and strength machines but the two gyms only have the machines. I have a treadmill at home but wanted to be able to use the elliptical machine and strength machines. I tried a 2-week free membership at the YMCA but it just wasn't for me, plus I didn't want to commit to a one year membership due to health problems that can interfere with my ability to continue with the heavy exercise. I'm glad that I went with the cheapest option as my plan was to go to the gym twice a week and I've done that a few times but I've also had weeks that I've only gotten there once and last week not at all due to illness. If I was paying $40-50 a month I'd be upset.

I guess you have to decide how committed you think you can be if you choose the cheapest option, will you stick with it knowing the distance you will have to go to get there. My opinion is join Planet Fitness for $10 a month and try to get there 1-2 times a week and then take a little money and buy some exercise DVDs or other equipment you can use at home the other days.

10-19-2009, 01:40 PM
A lot of this comes down to what works for you, what you think you'd be able to get the most out of, what sort of stuff you are interested in doing. Personally, I've never belonged to Curves but it really wouldn't interest me, especially for that price. I wouldn't mind a greater distance for a place that I felt I'd be more interested in, but distance may be a greater concern for you especially with all the demands of mommyhood.

You might want to see if any of the places offer free 7 day passes to people considering them -- that way you can actually try it for a week, see how it fits into your routine, if you like what they have to offer, etc.

Also if you haven't already, check nearby park districts and community centers too. You might be able to find affordable classes to give you some structure and supplement at-home workouts. Most of the park districts in my area have their own fitness centers too, though they vary in pricing and what they offer for the prices. I don't know if your area does the same though.

10-20-2009, 06:57 PM
I suggest the gym.

Something about curves just bothers me! I'm sure it's different for everyone but I would get bored and I like to be on my own. All of the information you need about diet and exercise is available free online. You don't need to pay them for the extra help that is easily done on your own.

I don't know much about YMCA except that it's large and popular. My boyfriend said there was a line out the door around new years! It seems like more of a family place, so it might be nice if you were planning on bringing the kids. As far as classes go, it just depends on your personality! I'm too shy to go to a class but if you're not, you may benefit from them.

There are a few reasons I'm suggesting the gym. I recently joined a small gym for the first time and I absolutely love it. There are never lines for machines and there are never children. Everyone is there to do their own thing and sometimes there are only three people in the whole place! It's also open 24/7. Think about the hours each place is open. That might help you decide. Also, check out their equipment. Sign up somewhere you know you'll like the machines at. I am a bit worried about your 30 minute bus ride though. That seems far for a single mother to be going to work out!

10-22-2009, 10:32 PM
For your situation, Curves might be a good beginning and you should ask your doctor. You don't have to sign a contract, right? Do it for a month and if you think you need something more challenging, you can always check out the other options.

I recently joined a gym and I selected something that is close to me, because like Harrismm already mentioned, distance or bus travel would be an excuse I would use to skip a workout day. So my gym, I could take public transit if I needed to, or I can get there with a 25 minute walk, a walk which helps me "warm up" so it's a good thing.

I also selected a facility that has personal trainers so I can get help. I have knee/joint issues that could get worse if I try to figure out machines. So far it's been working out all right.