Main image for Selecting a gym: How I went from 1 gym to Four! Time to Read: ~5 min

When Scott and I built our house we put in a home gym. We bought the equipment for the gym while we were in an apartment; the store in Rochester agreed to hold things for us until our house was built!! We put our elliptical that we bought from Advantage Sport and Fitness in Ithaca in our little apartment living room, but everything else waited patiently at the store.

During the months of house building, we met different neighbors. Many people from the neighborhood walked through the house as it was being built. At a gathering one neighbor asked, "What is that room near the kitchen? Will that be a dining room?" We replied in enthusiastic tones, "No it is a home gym!" Arm patting followed, "Oh well you can always change it to a dining room."

Our home gym was PERFECT. It was large enough for us, had double doors to close it off and had an elliptical, a big cage for bar weights, a couple of benches and free weights. We've since added medicine balls, a rower, a spin bike and a piece of equipment called the Skier's Edge. Our only regret is not making it bigger!!


Our big world plan when we built the house was that we'd never have to pay a gym membership again. The reasoning? The nearest gym with a racquetball court was 30 minutes away and we love racquetball. With little kids it wasn't that realistic that we'd make it to the court very often. We gave up racquetball with a full heart (except the VERY occasional date night) and enjoyed our home gym and life as young parents.

Then, we were training for our first marathon and I injured my knee. My physical therapist was alarmed that I wasn't doing regular yoga training or full body weight work. In my home gym I was following Men's Health plans working parts of my body that I wanted to work. That meant that back wasn't getting any time and hamstrings were virtually ignored while quads were getting overworked. He had a LONG talk with me about core strength and the importance of a balance of muscles for avoiding injury. Since I'd pushed past the point of anything sane (I couldn't put weight on my left leg by the time I agreed to go see someone). I was very prone to listening to his suggestions. We joined the large gym he worked out of that was closer to our house (17 minutes) promptly.

We enjoyed many happy years there including one year that I was at the gym so frequently for swim lessons and practice that I barely ever showered at home!

Newton's First Law

When I went to the doctor for my injury, I was describing what happened and my big goals to run a marathon. Concerned that my injury may make me stop my fitness progress, he abated my fears with I remember this reply,

Well you've already figured out that an object in motion tends to stay in motion.

Later in a big scuffle over group fitness, Newton's first law would show its face again. We were happy gym members. We'd watched our favorite spin teacher and friend April open her own gym and we'd stayed put. We missed her a lot, but we loved having the pool, the sauna, unlimited group fitness etc. Ultimately we decided we were too cheap to pay extra for classes outside our gym. However, there was a huge scuffle in group fitness at our gym. Unfortunately we really couldn't in good conscience remain. Enter Newton's law:

Every object will remain in uniform motion in a straight line unless compelled to change its state by the action of an external force.

The external force was provided. It kicked us off course and stopped us in our tracks. It was time to figure out our next plan!

Choosing a Gym ... or 4

Sometimes a shake up is a GOOD thing. I know we would have happily continued to work out at our gym until we moved away, but we now had to figure something out. Here's what we did!

Ithaca YMCA

For about half the price of our current gym we could join the local Y. This is the gym that is a half hour from our house. It is "up the hill" and you can get stuck in some pretty bad traffic to get there. However, you only have to be 13 to do EVERYTHING. This means that Xander can take classes, play racquetball and swim. It also means that we can have family outings to play racquetball, introducing the kids to a sport we love. Sold. We are now Y members.

Wright Fitness and Cycling

My friend April. Back when we first joined our gym April was our spin instructor. Her class was so popular that you needed to arrive a half hour early to get a ticket for a bike. We were so dedicated to spin that many a winter morning we left the kids out waiting for the bus and dashed off as soon as we saw the bus driving down the road. Seconds mattered both for getting tickets and getting a "good bike" location in the room.

Maybe it was time to check her classes out again. I talked with my friend Lynn about the idea and we decided that we'd buy a 10 pack of classes and give her Wednesday morning class a go. We'd carpool to Wright Fitness and Cycling (it is up near the Y) and catch up on the way to and from class.

I didn't realize how much I missed April's classes until I went back. She also offers boot camp and tri training programs so there are a lot of opportunities for great workouts with her!

Les Mills on Demand

As group fitness junkies our biggest concern in leaving our gym was missing class!! We have a Friday night Les Mills BodyPump "Happy Hour" routine; class at 5:30 and then dinner/drinks out at one of our favorite Ithaca restaurants afterwards. Sometimes when Elizabeth joins for class we do take out for the family or come home and cook an amazing meal. Now we wondered, "What would our Friday nights look like? Elizabeth was hooked on group fitness and Xander was counting the minutes until he turned 14 to join the gym (he JUST turned 13 so he had awhile to wait!)"

Through a Facebook Group we learned about Les Mills on Demand. It is a great monthly subscription service that gives you access to all the Les Mills classes. While we were still members at our gym, we tried out their 2 week free trial to see what we thought. It only took a class to hook us. This was going to increase our use of our home spin bike and allow us to easily do yoga at home. There were other classes to try, and we could do BodyPump as well if we wanted to.

Just days before we pushed the button to subscribe, my sister surprised us with a year's membership as a Christmas present. We were thrilled!

FLX Fit Club

And our newest gym is just opening as I write this. They had their opening weekend celebration this past weekend! Filled with great classes, food and festivities, it was fantastic to see so many friends at the launch. Our entire family checked out Les Mills Body Attack and Body Step for the first time AND did our favorite BodyPump both days. This fantastic group of instructors left the big gym we used to be part of and started their own fitness facility. We're all excited to call FLX Fit Club one of our gym homes now!

A Big Push

And that's how a big kick got us started at a gym, and then another very unexpected push kicked us off course again. Now we've expanded our horizons to multiple spaces and ways to work out. Of course then there's also the great outdoors with biking, hiking and of course the thing that started it all - running!

Oh and that first marathon Scott and I were training for? No we didn't do it. He was so so sweet and didn't leave me out. We waited a year and did our first marathon together the next year. We did get to hike all over Oregon that summer though. I told my PT that I'd do ANYTHING he said if he could get me rehabbed to a point where I could hike every day for our vacation!