While I was at the Velocity conference in San Jose, I spent daily time in the very well equipped gym at the Fairmont Hotel (at the urging of the ultra fit Mike Brunt). In a few short days of daily regular exercise, I could feel the difference. Returning back to Raleigh-Durham, I thought I'd go get a Gym membership and make regular workouts part of my daily life.
I decided one reason I was a faithful attender of the hotel gym was its proximity to my room. I could be in the gym in 2 minutes, so I figured whatever gym I chose back home should have reasonable proximity to my house. Luckily, there were two well equipped gyms within a 3 mile radius. I set out to visit each.
Between the two gyms, there was no real difference. One was 1 mile from the house, but older. The other was 3 miles from the house but newer. In the end, I could have cared less which. Both would work.
The sticking point came to the contract. A Gym contract is a lot like a cell phone contract or like buying a used car. For some reason a gym really really wants you to sign a year long contract, with checking account auto-draft and littered with all sorts of strange clauses compounding the difficulty in fulfilling the terms of the contract. For example, auto-draft. I'd rather not pass over my checking account information to a gym so they can take money out whenever they want. I use credit cards because there is liability protection. A checking account is real money! Secondly, there was a proximity clause stating I could cancel the contract if I moved 30 miles from the gym. The proximity clause was the deal-breaker.
Proximity Clause, you ask?
In the contract is clause stating you can get out of your contract if you move 30 miles from the gym. Frankly, Shannon and I have been actively looking for houses since February and there is a fair percentage we'll actually find something we like and want to live in. This process could take a few more months, or might not happen at all (I hear the economy sucks). I've not wanted to use the 'we are house shopping' as Yet Another Reason To Avoid Going To The Gym, but the fact of the matter is, moving is on the table and our target area is about 20 miles away.
Should we end up moving, we'd be expected to still attend the gym (or at least, keep paying for it). Frankly, I'm very uninterested in driving 20 miles in the wrong direction through traffic for a gym. So what do I do? They did offer me a 'month to month' membership for 3 times the cost, but my health really isn't worth 90$ monthly, now is it? So I'm stuck. Is this a normal gym membership experience? Do I have options?