So, for years I had been thinking about joining the YMCA. I live close to one and drive past another on my way to work, so I can always see their current promotions: “Join for only $10 through _____” Join for $29 through ________” “Join for $0!” Plus my kids always would get excited when they saw the fun splash deck in action outside.
I hadn’t joined yet because of the frugal mom in me. I have dozens of workout DVDs and have worked out at home for years. However, it’s always been a bit challenging (see my post “Ten Reasons I Haven’t Yet Lost Those Extra 10 Pregnancy Pounds!!!”).
Well, in late May, the joining fee was $0 and they offered summer memberships, so I signed up our family for a free 5-day trial membership. We enjoyed the Y for free over Memorial Day weekend – and had a blast!
We had fun with our kids in the indoor leisure pool, which has a water slide and rain tree. What I loved about it is that the water is actually warm. Warmer than other pools we’ve been to including the Tropics Waterpark at the Shoreview Community Center. They also have a lap pool which is a bit cooler – I get cold easily so I haven’t used that one. There’s also a Splash Deck outside that we’ve used a couple times – our kids LOVE that.
I love that the Y has free child care for members for up to 2 hours a day. The “Kids Stuff” child care area is fabulous – they’re always well-staffed and friendly, and have lots for kids to do. At our Y there’s a gym/climbing room for kids with slides, and a playroom with dress-up areas, books and toys galore. The kids alternate between rooms, depending on whether one or both are staffed. They also go outside to the enclosed playground occasionally. I also like that they’re really good about security. They put wristbands on the kids when they check in and match them up with their names and parent’s ID number.
We dropped off our kids at Kids Stuff, which our kids loved, and enjoyed the many workout machines, weights, walking track, and more. There’s a gym and several rooms for fitness classes. I tried a few classes including Fitness Yoga. Unfortunately because of my bad knee, I can’t do many of the intense fitness classes including their new “Body Shred by Jillian Michaels” classes. But I’ve been able to do others including Zumba.
Well, I decided to join as an individual which is $65 a month. We didn’t sign up for a dual or family membership because our kids are pretty young still, and my husband currently belongs to a smaller gym nearby which is only $26 a month.
They do participate in the health insurance reimbursement program that many insurance plans offer. I know many people with health insurance that offers, for example, $20 off an individual gym membership each month if you go at least 2 times a week or 8 times a month (requirements vary). Your health insurance card will tell you if you have this benefit – there’s a little fitness icon on the card. We don’t have this benefit, unfortunately, so I have to pay the full $65 a month.
But it’s been worth it so far! I’ve been a member for a month now, and have been loving it! I have been going 3-4 times a week. I never thought it was possible so go that regularly as a busy mom, but AS a busy mom, I NEED it to stay energized and positive! I’ll be talking more about that later.
Pssst…!!!! I want to share some really neat perks about being a YMCA member that you may not find out about until you join:
- They do have a sliding fee scale for people who qualify based on income. So if your income is low and you want to be a member, you may qualify for a discounted rate. I applied because they don’t tell you what their requirements are, but I found out we make too much money for any discount. This, I suppose in a way, is good news for us, and this way their scholarship funds will go to someone who is in much greater need than us. Note that they won’t tell you about this benefit – you need to ask.
- Free guest passes! As an individual, I receive 4 free guest passes a year. I can bring anyone to the Y with me for free 4 times. But what’s even better about this is that ONE guest pass will cover YOUR ENTIRE HOUSEHOLD. Yes – I’m serious. This means you can take your whole family with you four times a year! This was one reason I felt getting an individual membership was plenty – because I can take my husband and kids swimming 4 times per year – free! Any times I take them beyond that cost $10 for an adult and $5 per child. But I doubt I’ll need to ever pay because of another perk…
- “Pick a Perk” member perk! Available to all members from time to time, you can pick any perk from a list during a specified period of time. This was going on when I joined and I could choose from the following: Free towel service for the summer, 6 additional free guest passes, 2 Silver Sneakers passes (I wasn’t sure what that was – it was for older adults), or a $20 discount on any Y program including swimming lessons for my kids. I picked the 6 extra guest passes – for a total of 10 free guest passes in my account for the year! Woohoo!
- Free Friend Days. The Y truly is a community-centered organization. They make the Y as welcoming as possible. One of the ways is Free Friend Days, where a member can bring a family member or friend for FREE. No guest pass necessary. We stumbled upon this last Thursday, when I brought my family to the Y to swim in the evening, and it was a Free Friend Day. The “free” part applied to my whole family – just like a guess pass would. So my whole family got to enjoy the Y for free!
There are other perks including Family Nights and special promotions during the year. I’ll be writing more about the Y and my experiences as a member. So far I’m loving it and finding it’s TOTALLY worth it. I haven’t lost any weight yet (I’d like to lose a few pounds!) – but I feel fitter and more energized. I was worried I wouldn’t be getting much else done by joining the Y, but I’m surprisingly finding that I get a LOT more done because of how much better working out there makes me feel!