Why You Should Join a Neighborhood Gym
Let me start off by defining “neighborhood gym” because I think some people may hear that term and visualize a one room, hole-in-the-wall facility with a few treadmills, standard set of dumbbells and some old-school weight equipment.
A “neighborhood gym” doesn’t just have the potential to be a state-of-the-art fitness facility, but it also has the potential to be a company that is truly woven in to the fabric of the community.
It’s not just about the various equipment and classes offered (although we think neighborhood gyms honestly have some of the best offerings), it’s more about their other great qualities that give you the best gym experience you can get.
**Note of Disclosure: Obviously we’re biased about neighborhood gyms since VIDA strives to be one of the best neighborhood gyms out there, but no matter what city you find yourself in we hope you’ll break from the mainstream and go with the guys who have been around town awhile. These are some of the qualities we see in them that we strive to provide for you!
You Get Less “Corporate” Mumbo Jumbo
When it comes to big-box fitness chains it’s hard to get a human response at times.
Even neighborhood gyms have policies and contracts in place, but when you have a question regarding your membership or need to talk to someone at billing, you’re not stuck calling a corporate number to get a simple question answered or problem solved.
Neighborhood gyms empower their employees to make decisions where they can either help you directly or make sure it gets handled by the right person with minimal effort from you other than letting us know.
This isn’t to put big name gyms down, it’s simply that the employees of a bigger chain have less say in the policies and changes that are implemented since everything has to be okay’d by someone higher up in the chain of command.
Best Bang for Your Buck
So with large chain gyms it’s common that the monthly membership rate is pretty flat across the board. Meaning you could go to an awesome location of this gym in one city and pay X amount of dollars, and then you move to another city, find the same chain, price is the same, but the quality isn’t.
This could be due to the individual management team of the location you’re at, or it could be because the chain builds the new location, and then they move on without keeping up with maintaining the facility.
Neighborhood gyms have complete control of their pricing, unlike many big chains which have their prices set by those corporate guys we mentioned above.
By having control over pricing, neighborhood gyms know people won’t pay the price if they don’t see and experience an equal trade in value through amenities, classes, friendly and knowledgeable staff, etc.
Basically, with a neighborhood gym you are much more likely to get what you pay for, and with a big chain you are more likely to be paying for the logo and name at the top of your membership contract.
Neighborhood gyms are always going to be more invested in the community because it’s that specific community that has allowed them to thrive and provides the fuel and passion for what they aim to do.
When you center your focus on one particular area and the people in it, you can make a lot more change in the lives of others because you can dedicate more time and energy in to making your community healthier as a whole.
We’ve yet to meet a neighborhood gym owner that wasn’t deeply rooted and involved in their community whether it be through humanitarian efforts within the city, teaching kids how to making movement a part of their lifestyle or supporting other small businesses.
In the same way you like to support local farmers by going to farmers markets or by shopping at local niche stores for gifts and other services, you’re supporting the commerce of your community by joining a neighborhood gym.
A Unique Social Network
I can’t exactly pinpoint this factor except that it is definitely something you’ll experience in a neighborhood gym.
Maybe it’s because all the members value the points mentioned above, therefore they stay with the gym for years (as long as they’re living in the city where the gym is located) and want to spread their love of their “gym home” with others, even if it’s people they don’t know.
I remember the neighborhood gym I worked at all throughout college having a very strong social network. I saw members move from being single, to married, to having children and other members go through really tough life obstacles such as disease, loss of a loved one and divorce. Throughout all of those events, there were always other members there rallying behind them to cheer them on, lift them up and be a friend.
If you’re new to DC or just shopping around for a new gym and it sounds like VIDA Fitness is the neighborhood place for you, give us a call for more information.
And if there’s another neighborhood gym you came from that had something awesome that you think we should have too, let us know!