Dear PoPville – Anyone Know of a Gym with a pay-as-you-use rate?

Photo by PoPville flickr user DCFryguy

Dear PoPville,

I’m wondering if anyone out there knows of a gym/exercise program that has a pay-as-you-use rate? I’ve been using school gyms, and since leaving have been working out by cobbling together those month-long memberships from Living Social/Groupon, etc. Work has been keeping me on the road quite a bit (three solid months next year), and as it slows down I hope to join a full-time gym. In the meantime, I’d love to work out without signing a year-long contract with joining fee and feeling like I’m throwing away the money for the time I’ll be gone, since it can be a month or more at a time. Does anybody out there know of a place that lets you pay month to month or would be willing to be flexible on the contract? Surely in a place as transient as this that option must exist somewhere.

16 Comment

  • saf

    First, can we stop with the transient myth already?

    Second, what are you looking for? I use the Takoma Rec Center. The pool is free for DC residents, and a membership to the (SMALL SMALL SMALL) weight room is cheap.

    • But DC is a transient city. ACS’s 2011 one-year estimate, 9.1% of DC’s population lived in another state the year before. This is 50% higher then the next highest, Manhatten which was at 6.2%.

      The same study showed us that the 24-35 year old range, the prime age for transiency , 17% of DC’s population lived in another state the year before. This rate is 15% higher than the next highest rate in the nation.

      DC is indeed transient by nature. The numbers prove it so.

  • Washington Sports Club recently told me that you can ‘freeze’ your membership there, although you still have to pay $15 a month. I believe the regular monthly charge is about $50 (although I was at the one in Alexandria). This was during the spiel I got for using my Living Social coupon since I also don’t like comitting, I prefer working out outside in the summer so a year membership isn’t worth it.

  • And WSC actually lets you suspend your membership in month-long increments. I do this when I know I’m going to be on the road for work as much as I’m home in any given month.

    • I used to belong to WSC (and for many years before that, their corporate sister, NYSC), and that is true. Years ago when I joined, membership was month-to-month, with no yearly contract, although you had to give them 30 days notice to cancel. I believe they subsequently implemented a two-tier membership structure where you could either get a lower monthly rate and no initiation fee by committing to a one-year contract OR do month-to-month for an initiation fee and slightly higher monthly rate. (And this could be an opportune time to join, as they’ll probably have specials with reduced initiation fees around the New Year…although they seem to have specials often, anyway.) The freeze fee is indeed $15/month.

      Sounds like the OP might already know this from making the Groupon/Living Social rounds, but you can also buy monthly unlimited passes at a number of the boutique gyms/studios, if classes are your thing vs. working out independently. (Off Road Indoor Cycling, Sculpt DC, Biker Barre, Stroga, and probably a ton more I don’t know about.) Downside is, they’re not cheap and sometimes also require commitments. (I think Sculpt DC’s monthly unlimited rate requires a 3-month minimum commitment, for example.)

  • I think Fitness First used to be month to month contracts. Although its been years since I have been there. Second a PP though, look into the rec center options. You might be surprised at how different each one is and the level of equipment and programming available.

  • LA Fitness (former Bally’s) was advertising month-to-month contracts in November.

  • I’m a member of Crunch Gym (locations at Metro Center and Friendship Heights), and they let you freeze your membership up to 6 months. I think they charged me a $5 convenience fee each month it was frozen.

  • The National Capital Area YMCA facilities do not require a contract — you can pay by the month.

  • The Results gym is a month to month contract, but it can be like $90-100 a month. I like their cap hill facility, but their pricing is bizarre. There’s almost no financial incentive to pay in advance or lock into a year contract.

  • Balance Gym on 14th/L has month to month.

  • sport and health also does month to month

  • DC Rec Centers are free, as long as you are a DC resident!

  • Vida Fitness offers month-to-month memberships but at a much higher cost (well maybe $40/50 more than 1-year contracts). Vida’s prices are already astronomical though–last time I checked the U Street location was $130+ per month.

  • ledroittiger

    Hard Training Club is a pretty bare bones facility, but you can use weights and the couple of cardio machines they have there for about $60/month on a month-to-month contract. It’s $10 per class once you’re a member to join classes. The price for membership goes down to $50/month with a year-long contract and they may have some sort of freeze option available.

  • Vida allows you to buy 10 visits for $100.00. However, they rarely check to see if you’ve passed the 10 visit mark….

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