Dear PoP – Are there any Reasonably Priced Gyms?

“Dear PoP,

I live at U-Street/Columbia Heights, and have been searching for a better gym option than some of the larger chains, like Results and Washington Sports Club, because they are too expensive for a poor non-profit worker like myself. Any suggestions for smaller, cheaper options in the area? My flabby arms would appreciate it.”

Some recommendations were made when we talked about shower options for those bike commuting to work. Does anyone go to a gym that’s not part of a big chain? How are the prices?

34 Comment

  • do any of the area gyms have a pool only membership?

  • fitness first — 19th and L, $35/month i think?

    • Yah, I go to Fitness First, I think it’s an extremely good value. Lots of equipment, and I don’t feel like I’m getting ripped off paying for a bunch of massage therapists and mood lighting.

      • I go to Fitness First too. Can get a tad crowded in the winter months. But I am only paying about $27 a month.

  • Fitness First in a local chain – downtown location, and some Metro accessible VA options. Cheap- yes; always well air-conditioned – not so much

  • YMCA – no contract, so if you find you aren’t using it you can cancel without penalties. You can also check to see if your employer has a corporate contract with any gym — significantly lowers cost.

  • bally’s is not particularly nice or well run but there’s a few of them, some are nice (pentagon city) and they have $25 a month, no contract all the time. I go to a nice gym in Fairfax by my work but dont let my bally’s ever lapse because there’s usually one in every city (if you travel for work) and because it’s fine if you want no frills.

  • Check out your local DC recreation center. I know that Sherwood has a basic weight room.

  • I’ve been going to Golds for a while, and it’s pretty cheap if you don’t mind signing up for a while. I signed up for 2 years, pay $25/mo, and the membership is good for pretty much all Golds locations in DC, MD, and VA. Most don’t have pools, but they are usually well stocked with weights and carido equipment, and have a lot of different fitness classes.

  • Golds is the cheapest, unless you get stuck paying for you ex’s membership for an extra 6 months…

  • Fitness First (19th and L) and
    Golds Gym (20th and L) are both very reasonable (Gold’s is 40/month).

    I would stay away from Bally’s. From what I remember, they’ve been in trouble with regulators numerous times for shady billing practices.

  • a lot of the newly renovated city rec centers have weight facilities and they’re FREE. check out the one at 7th & O (you can jog there from U street and really get your fitness on).

    Amenities at the Kennedy Recreation Center include two lit basketball courts, a baseball field, two playgrounds (one for tots, and one for older kids), a tennis court, a weight room and gymnasium, a horseshoe pit, picnic areas, and a multi-purpose room and computer room. The Center offers a variety of classes, including basketball, Double Dutch, music therapy, and computers. There are also teen clubs, after school homework help, and summer camps. Call the center for specific information regarding facilities, programs, and registration.

  • Stairs in your home or office? Run up and down them. Park nearby? Go hike. Need more of an incentive? Volunteer to walk someone’s dog or kid on a regular basis. Lots of DC kids could use regular exercise, and I’m sure there are elderly/infirm people who would love their dog walked.

    Flabby arms? Fill some milk jugs with water and lift them a bunch of times. Buy some ankle weights and a mat and do exercise. Turn on some crazy music and dance. Walk to work – you can easily do 3 miles in an hour. Exercise is everywhere! A “poor non-profit worker” especially should be able to get simple, sensible and creative.

    • It amazes me how many people in town pay for gym memberships they don’t use. I agree– if you’re not already getting some exercise outdoors, don’t count on a gym membership to motivate you.

      • Not just this town. That’s the whole gym model — sign you up for something for which you’re initially (and delusionally) enthusiastic, get you paying monthly and mindlessly, and laugh knowingly as you progressively use it less. Easy money. And when I think of canceling it, it seems like capitulation, which would be wrong.

        The Sucker Born Every Minute

        PS — at the very least, Washington Sports Club does have an OK government rate of $52/mo if you would qualify for it. Seems like others are mentioning better options, though.

    • In the poor nonprofit worker’s defense: I went for a run this morning and rather wished I had a gym membership so I could run on a treadmill in the AC. It was @#& muggy out there and already 80 degrees at 6:30.

  • Many gyms have deals for federal employes, non-profit workers, etc. Just ask.

    We pay $50/mo for any WSC being federal employees and military. I find it to be a great deal given that 1) the Dupont WSC is really nice now and 2) I can go to that chain in Philly when I’m home, or pick another gym if there’s a better class schedule.

    But it all depends on what you’re looking for. You can always jog and buy a reasonably price set of free weights or a pull up bar. Cheapest option.

  • There is nothing like jumping rope. It’s cheap, you can do it and take it anywhere and you sweat like a pig within 15 minutes.

  • Fairly new indoor pool facilities at Wilson (opened this year), Takoma (a few years ago), Turkey Thicket by Brookland metro (last year), Rumsey Aquatic Center (Eastern Market). Great outdoor pools, especially Hains Point.

  • I go to LA Boxing in Foggy Bottom and love it! It’s the best workout I have ever had. I paid in advance, and it averaged out to less than $50 a month. It’s a bit further than several other gyms in the neighborhood, but the workout is definitely worth it and you get a little extra exercise on the walk home.

  • I used to belong to Thomas Circle Sports Club (now Balance Gym). Left because I moved to a building with a gym, but their rates were pretty good.

  • Haha. Best response ever. I have been there.

  • Come on down to Balance! Located at 14th and L, so only a bike ride or walk away. It’s $59 month and our bootcamps (included in the membership, along with almost all of our other classes) will whip you into shape in no time.

    Most gyms will welcome you, show you their machines and leave you to your wits. We teach you how to use your body with “functional training.” And our classes will have you training the way an athlete does.

    Also with your membership, you have access to our other two gyms, discounts on personal training (including a first time 3-pack for only $99) and discounts on our spa at our Glover Park location.

    Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions!
    Kori Kamradt — Communications Manager
    [email protected]

  • does anyone know of a good dc rec center near bloomingdale/ eckington that has a decent weight/ weight machine/ cardio machine room?

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