The Great Gym Debate


So I need some advice here. I have been a long time member of the Washington Sports Clubs, but recently I’ve developed an affinity for Barre3 classes.  I used to think that if you were spending money on exercise – be it for memberships or races or classes – it was worth it because it was good for you. However, the Discountess in me started to do the math.

My monthly membership at WSC is $73.95, which is a far cry from the $225.00 that an unlimited Barre3 membership would cost. Money aside, I find that I’m going to, and enjoying, the Barre3 classes more. I probably went to the gym twice last month, which nets out to just shy of $40 a spin class. However, I bought a one-time, two-week unlimited pass that for Barre3 last week, and I’ve gone six times and hit the little gym in my office building once. That’s a lot more bang for my body, but is it enough bang for my buck?

I will say that part of me really wants to hate WSC, so this is tainting my decision. They WAY overcharge for what you get. The good, small group classes always cost extra. At one point, I was going to a Total Body Conditioning class that was so popular I had to wake up at 6am, two days in advance of the class just to get in. And the towels, don’t EVEN get me started on the towels. You spend an hour at the gym, working like a trojan, and finally you’re done and can hit the showers. Yet, when you get there, you find that the towels are so tiny that you need about 7 of them to cover yourself up enough to keep from mooning everyone. Strippers have more coverage!  Do you think that WSC has any idea how demoralizing it is to work so hard on your body and only to feel like you’ve not accomplished anything when you get to the locker room? It is the WORST feeling. Period.

So here’s the big question. Do I quit the Washington Sports Clubs, spend the extra money on Barre3, and hit the office gym when I need it? Or do I quit the Barre3, even though I like it more, and stick with WSC to save the extra $100+ per month? I’m torn. What is the Discountess to do??


8 thoughts on “The Great Gym Debate

  1. Muff- I love this post, because I was totally there a while ago. This was a big motivator for me becoming a yoga teacher because my love of CrossFit + yoga was too pricey to do both.

    I have a great idea for you. You should look at being on staff at Barre3 if you love it that much. Do they have a front desk person, etc and does it come with a membership? You may only have to work a few hours one night a week to get the entire month of unlimited membership. For example- All of the front desk people at Tranquil Space are able to work just a few hours for unlimited membership and can often take class during their shift. Did I mention you also get a manicure included once a month to stay polished? Just a thought worth it to look into something!

    I can also say that you can pretty much do away with a globo type gym if you have one in your building. I had to do a ton of yoga studio visits for my training and they added up quickly. A lot of places for yoga offer a free unlimited week (ex: down dog gtwn) or you can get a free class at places like Tranquil Space. (I’m happy to give you one if you’d like). Flow Yoga in Logan’s Circle has a pay as much as you can Fridays. There are lots of deals if you look out for them not to mention places like Lululemon offer free yoga all of the time with their studio of the quarter where you can go for free for a month + to one class on their schedule at a studio. I know the Arlington one offered free barre for a month at one point too.

    We are offering free yoga Sats at 9am at CrossFit Falls Church during Feb. It’s not barre, but there are plenty of awesome deals to be found! Namaste- Kat

  2. I love this post because I was there not too long ago. My CrossFit + yoga studio habit was too expensive to keep, which became a motivator for becoming an instructor so I would get both paid as long as I taught.

    Here’s a thought- look at Barre3 to see if they have a front desk staff. Usually places will give their front desk/check in people unlimited memberships. At Tranquil Space we have a ton of assistants who work just a few hours one day a week and get unlimited membership. There are tons of great perks too like getting a monthly manicure included to be polished for check in. It may be worth it. The people at Tranquil can often take a class during their shift if spots are open. If you love it that much may be worth a try for a short period!

    I think you can do away with a gym membership especially if you have one in your building. There are so many places that offer free classes or weeks, etc that you can try a bunch of stuff at once. If you end up paying for barre you are doing what you love and can run outside anytime.

    Other free gym/type stuff in the area. I’m happy to give you a free class at Tranquil Space if you’ve never been. Also, the CrossFit Affilate where I work just opened a new yoga space and we are offering free classes in Jan Sats at 9am at CrossFit Falls Church. there are also lots of options to take free classes through lululemon with their studio of the quarter. I know the Arlington location just had a barre type studio as a free weekly class and Tranquil Space Arlington is offering a free Tues at 4pm class for a month +. Down Dog in Gtwn offers a free week, Flow in Logan Circle does a pay as much as you can Friday for classes, the list goes on…Hope this helps! Namaste- Kat

  3. Cheesy cliche alert: investing in a workout that you love is investing in yourself!! I think it’s completely worth the price of barre3 if you look forward to it and actually do it. And look at it this way: it’s cheaper than therapy AND will keep you looking fabulous in your carefully curated wardrobe! A couple of options if you are really reluctant to leave WSC could be to either freeze/hold your account for a couple of months while you determine if you’ll really miss it or call and see if (with the threat of cancellation) they just happen to have a cheaper monthly rate. Good luck! XO

  4. I say give up the gym and do what you like better! I found I wasn’t using my gym membership and loving personal training and barre so I spend more but I actually go and enjoy it more. 🙂 just my two cents!

  5. All really good points and anyone who’s ever worked at WSC feels the pain. They could/should do better with their classes, cost and the towels too! Definitely put WSC on a freeze and make Barre3 your focus – whether the bi-weekly passes or the monthly. Tally up how much you are spending per class and see if the math maybe makes sense to do the monthly pass on some months (when you know you won’t be out of town, etc.). Keep doing your cardio at work or outdoors when it gets nice. I bet you won’t miss WSC so that’ll eliminate at least 1 cost burden. Keep us posted – this conundrum gets to all of us!!

  6. When I switched from WSC to Vida I found that even though my membership went up $25 a month I was going to the gym more. With were so many more awesome classes for me to attend, my per visit cost was less than it was with WSC. Go with Barre3 if you like that! Running or biking outside it always free too. 🙂

  7. I have signed up for yearly gym memberships at three different times in my life, and each one has been a serious mistake. Try to get a monthly pass and see how well it goes for 6 months. If you find that you use it enough to warrant a yearly pass, then go for it.

    How many times do we all start a new exercise program and are super-gung-ho about going 5x a week? That feeling never lasts and if you sign up for a yearly pass, you’re stuck paying for a program you never use. It ends up being a bargain if you can pay month-to-month and then quit if you find it’s not worth it anymore.

  8. You know my response will be barre3! 🙂 I actually went without a gym for over a year and a half and just did barre3 and walking, so I will tell you that you can be super fit and not have a gym. You could always do packages of barre3 classes instead of unlimited and then use the online for $15/month to supplement! 🙂 Then you could workout with me for 10 minutes at a time.

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