Family Health and Fitness in 2012

For the last month or more I have really been considering rejoining a gym. Ever since becoming pregnant with Ella, I have lost what little exercise mojo I had. My 2-3 times a week has disappeared and once a month has become the norm. Obviously, I desperately need to get moving again and with Alex and Anna cutting back on their sports, I was hoping to find a place where we could all get active and have fun at the same time.

I have been reading about work out trends in 2012 and it seems what I  am seeking is exactly what gyms around the country are focusing on, but since we are 10 years behind everyone else, it was extremely difficult to find here.

My perfect gym offers:
  • Fitness classes at 5:00 am and 8:00 or 9:00 pm. I have to be home by 6:30 am before Pete goes to work or I would like to workout after homework is done or the kids are basically ready for bed.
  • Nice atmosphere, current equipment, lots of variety, and a place I feel welcome and comfortable
  • Pool for laps and area for kids to swim/play
  • Indoor track which allows strollers even better scooters/roller blades for the kids in some lanes
  • No hassles, no pressure, no stalking. If I want to talk to a sales rep, I'll let you know.
  • Fun dance/fitness classes for the kids
  • Workout class where I can play with Ella and burn calories
  • Trainer to show my kids how to use the machines properly and exercises for their ages because they don't want to listen to me
  • Non-competitive family sports leagues
  • Close to my house
  • Doesn't cost a fortune (ideally free, but I'm not holding my breath)
I called several establishments in my area and here is what I found.

My Local YMCA
  • $83 a month for a family membership + $50 joining fee (they give you $50 credit for additional programs you sign up for like gymnastics, swim lessons, etc...)
  • They offer nice range of group classes, nothing as early or late as I would like
  • I have used their weight/aerobic machine room and it is ok, a bit small but ok
  • Indoor pool, again a bit small, but ok. Can get crowded on the weekends during open swim
  • They have a youth hip-hop class Anna might like
  • We tried both their gymnastics and swim lessons and it depends on your instructor. We have had good and terrible experiences.
  • Kids can participate in the grown up classes if approved by the instructor first
  • They also have basketball and soccer programs for kids
  • And kids can play on the basketball courts or in the racket ball rooms
  • Closest one to my house
UC's Recreation Center
  • Since I am an alumni, we qualify for the red and black membership rate = $91.00 a month for the family and this includes parking
  • Top of the line equipment, way cool facility, several group classes though still not as late or early as I would like
  • A couple of pools the kids would love
  • Kids can use the rock climbing wall, the basketball courts and swimming pools with supervision. They may also be able to participate in some of the group classes like Zumba but are not allowed in the weight/aerobic machine area or on the indoor track
  • A bit far and would have to park in a parking garage, deal with college campus, etc...
Urban Active
  • Family memberships start at 4 people and they must be 12 or older
  • They offer adult memberships at $299 for 1 year + you get 1 year free or $25 a month + $15 enrollment fee. Youth memberships for 12 years and up is $19.95 a month.
  • Doing the math that puts us at $70 a month with nothing for Anna
  • $10 a month for the kid care room access which they claim Anna would like as well
  • Alex, once 12 would have full use of the gym
  • The girls could probably use the indoor pool with parental supervision
  • They also had a wide range of classes but nothing as early or late as I would like
  • I haven't been but the pics on-line looked pretty good as far as environment and equipment but it is a bust as far as family fitness goes
  • Not too terribly far and on my commute to/from work
 Town & Country Sports
  • $89 a month for their family membership
  • Daycare options available $10 month unlimited or $2.00 per use
  • Wide variety of group classes but the latest ones are 7:00 or 7:30 (Seriously people, there are a gazillion of us working moms out there that do not get me time until the kids are in bed. Work with me.)
  • Kids can participate in adult classes if they like so long as the instructor is cool with it.
  • Once kids are 8 years they can use any of the kids activities unsupervised which include: kids fitness arcade, kids fitness equipment, indoor playground, indoor gym and a few kids fitness classes. For $2 there is also a rock climbing wall and aeroball game
  • Indoor pool with slides and a play area for kids, lap lanes for me
  • Indoor soccer and other sports for both adults and kids (not family ones like I hoped, but who knows, perhaps one day I will play soccer again.)
  • I tried out Town & Country a few years back and I have to say the weights and aerobic machine areas did very little for me. It felt like you were working out in a warehouse or Sam's. Very odd. The weight area looked really old and not the least bit enviting. Perhaps they have upgraded since then but based on the pictures on-line, I don't think so.
  • Not really close to me and not on my route anywhere so I'd have to make myself get there. And a Dairy Queen right out front so I'd have to squash that temptation.
I am sure there are other options out there and perhaps my ideal gym actually exists, but calling all these places, navigating their websites and avoiding their requests for my personal information was exhausting. I feel I can make an educated decision based on the info I have.

For us, I am going to test drive Town & Country with the 1 week trial membership they offer. I need to see if the kids like it, if we will use it and most importantly does it work in our schedule once school is back in session and homework is in full force. If it wasn't for them, I would probably join Urban Active as a single member for the $25 a month. A few of my co-workers are members and perhaps we could get a buddy system going after work.


Christina said…
Yeah Id say gyms arent "family friendly" really. All we have within 30 minutes of us is the YMCA. It wouldn't work for us. I hope the Town and Country works for you! I bought a treadmill a while back and then was given Zumba for wii (which shockingly wears you out, lol) so that has become my 'gym'!!!
Greg said…
T&C is about as family friendly as gyms get. You should be able to get a discount beyond what you listed in your article. If they aren't already offering a promotional deal, they will be next week.

We joined last year and don't go nearly as often as we should. But that would be true at any gym. Going to the gym is always the hard part.

I agree about the weight room. It's not bad, but it's not their best feature. Although I wouldn't think the weight room would rank all that high on priorities.

Their schedule is limited. That to me is the biggest strike against T&C. But still, with kids, I think it or the Y are going to be your best bets by far.

And I'll take T&C over the Y any day.

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