Joining a fitness club can be expensive, between the start-up fee, the monthly fee, the annual fee, and other hidden costs. But you’ve got to get your workout in and, in Arizona, the heat can make an air-conditioned haven a necessity. There are lots of choices out there, but knowing what to look for will help you get the best deal.
There are YMCAs scattered all over Arizona, from Yuma to Tucson to Flagstaff, with 11 in the Phoenix area alone. Facilities and services differ by location but you can expect to find a wide array of fitness equipment, fitness classes and a pool. Many also offer classes in yoga, Pilates, martial arts and have personal trainers available to assess your fitness level. If you live in the Phoenix area, membership at the Lincoln Family Downtown YMCA gives you access to the Arizona State University Sun Devil Fitness Complex, a new facility with state-of-the-art fitness equipment. The costs vary by location and aren’t always low but many Ys offer financial assistance, if you qualify.
Back to School
A potential cost-saving alternative to more well-known choices is a local college. In Phoenix, the Paradise Valley Community College has a fitness center that is open to the public for an annual fee; you can get a discounted fee if you enroll in a fitness class. The facility has a wide variety of fitness equipment, tennis courts and a track. Personal trainers are available and classes are offered for an additional fee. Arizonans in the southern part of the state can check out Pima Community College in Tucson. You can pay an annual fee or pay by the day for access to the fitness centers at all six of the PCC campuses. At the Pima West campus, community members are required to attend a weight training orientation to learn safe use of the equipment.
The Chain Gang
There are a number of national health club chains represented in Arizona including Planet Fitness, LA Fitness, Gold’s Gym, Any Time Fitness and Curves. All offer equipment for cardio and strength training, classes and personal trainers. Planet Fitness in Tucson bills itself as “one of Arizona’s most affordable fitness centers.” They offer fewer amenities, like a spa or babysitting, in exchange for lower prices. LA Fitness is on the other end of the spectrum, with an array of extras like a pool, spa, sauna, juice bar and child care services. Curves focuses on women and, in addition to cardio and strength training, offers meal planning and personal coaches.
So Many Choices
To keep your use of a fitness club affordable, think carefully about how you will use the club, how often and at what hours. If you’re not going to go every day, you might not want to sign an annual contract. Look for discounted memberships that allow limited access to the facilities and watch for sales, where you can get the annual fee waived or a lower cost on an annual membership. Visit the places that you are considering to see which feels like a good fit and, while you’re there, ask a lot of questions. They all advertise their “low monthly rate” but may not bring up the initiation fee or annual fee unless you ask. And make sure you know if there are extra costs for things that you are interested in like using the pool, taking classes or child care services.