Joining a Gym

Ever since I moved up here (about 5 months ago), I haven’t been working out regularly.  Amazingly I have noticed it that much, but that could be because I’m still walking to and from work around twice a week (30 mins each way) or climbing around once a week with Erin.  However, I’ve realized that it’s time to get back into a semi-regular routine. 

When I was down in Champaign, I was usually working out at the gym (cardio and weights) three times a week, plus I was climbing at least once a week, usually twice.  Going from that to no weights, running maybe once every couple of weeks, and climbing maybe once a week when I can, is a huge change.  What bothers me the most is that I’m finally starting to see the differences between how I was and how I am now.

This is why the last two weeks I’ve been looking at Gyms in the area.  I was really hoping to find a gym with both a climbing wall and pool in addition to the regular equipment.  Unfortunately there are really only two places that offer that, and both are more than I want to pay, in addition to other factors.  One of the places is Gold Coast Multiplex.  Well, actually, that place doesn’t have the climbing wall, just the pool and other equipment.  However, if you join Gold Coast Multiplex, you also become a member of the Old Town Fitplex.  Now, the Fitplex has everything, pool, climbing, and regular equipment, but the pool is outdoor and shared (so no real lap swimming) and the wall is horrendously small.  For those reading that know of Vertical Plains in Champaign, think smaller, less bouldering, but better molded walls.  Plus, there’s the fact that parking is non-existent and it’s not within easy walking distance of my place.  If I lived within walking distance, I’d probably join there in a heartbeat.  However, I could join the Multiplex and then I get the pool and parking (parking garage that costs $2 every time), but it’s also over $100 a month, which seems a bit excessive.

The other place that has everything I want is actually downtown, fairly close to my office.  The Illinois Center, again, has everything I want, but look at that wall, bouldering is non-existent, which means I either need to have a partner all the time, or someone will have to belay me.  Both of which means that I’d probably never actually use it, since I enjoy climbing on my own a lot too, just to get a good workout.  Granted, I haven’t actually visited this place, but I’m guessing it’s at least as expensive as the above Multiplex, if not more. 

I was in a pickle, of all the choices, I was definitely going to go with the Fitplex, and just deal with the parking.  I mean, street parking is a pain, but I could deal with it.  In fact, I got a free two week trial membership to try it out.  However, I decided to do some more research on climbing walls within the area.  Turns out there’s a place just up the street from me, within walking distance, or just the next stop on the L.  I tried to go there last week, but apparently they were closed for the week, so I plan on heading there either tomorrow or Tuesday.  Now, if this place is like the pictures they have on the less-than-stellar website, this could definitely be the place. 

Since I started giving up on the all-in-one gym, I looked at the gym right down the block from me.  I stopped in after I found out that Hidden Peak was closed, and got some more information.  West Loop isn’t a large gym by any stretch, but it has everything else I want (minus a pool), and has very nice equipment.  Being so small, I ask about how busy it must get, and if there are wait times on the equipment, etc.  I was told there wasn’t any, but it does get full during normal peak times, 4-7.  They also gave me a free two week trial, and so I’ve gone the last three days.  Granted, I’ve been there on non-peak days (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), but the maximum amount of people I’ve seen there at any one time is four.  It is a little bit more than I really want to spend, but the fact it’s so close and I don’t have to worry about parking (even if I were to get that lazy and drive) is a nice bonus, plus the people that work there are incredibly nice.  Now I just need to go tomorrow to find out how busy it really gets.

Now, the way I see it, I’m going to end up spending under $100 a month between both the gym and the climbing if I end up going with both of these places.  However, that will get me unlimited use of both facilities, plus, hopefully, a much better climbing gym, and not having to worry about parking.  I really wish that West Loop had a pool, just for a change of pace, but I guess it’s not that big of a deal.  I mean, I’ve not belonged to a place with one before, so it won’t be like I’m losing anything.  And, well, if this other gym doesn’t work out, I can always go back to the Fitplex and save myself about $20 a month.

Decisions, decisions, decisions.