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Archive for the tag “Lifestyles”

When cheaper may not necessarily be better….

A little posting primer- http://www2.tbo.com/lifestyles/health-4-you/2012/jun/19/7/report-la-fitness-to-purchase-lifestyle-family-fit-ar-417832/

Im kind of torn. I recently found out  that my gym Lifestyle Family Fitness was purchased by the Megagym La Fitness. I love my gym and my workouts there are a big part of the reason that my running has improved, that many PR’s have fallen, and that I am a stronger, fitter, runner than I was when I started my running journey last year.

At first I found this move to be surprising simply because I had never in and of itself considered LFF a “smaller gym”. The club I train/exercise in is located in Lutz (Fla) and is fairly new  with state of the art facilities. They have a lot of other locations of varying qualities throughout the area.  On a local level LFF is a big name and although I kind of new they were not huge nationally (non-existent practically) I figured they were just a big money regional chain. Long story short, I admit to not realizing that LA Fitness is a monster compared to it.  A ginormous national chain.

I enjoy my current gym and it the programs it offers, do I really want to change that?

My next reaction was to go with the mood of the many talented fitness instructors who currently work at my gym. They hate the switch, are scared by it, and many are directly opposed to it. With good reason too. LFF uses Les Mills Style Fitness Classes (Rpm or Spin, Body Pump, CX Worx) which they are trained on, and have really absorbed and developed into a solid fitness system. LA Fitness refuses to use Les Mills programs. This worries me, because I am a big fan of these programs for a list of reasons

Less Mills programs are consistent and effective. I would not have become a strong runner without them.

1) Consistency– No matter what time or what club location you take your RPM or Pump class it is basically the same. The guideline of the workout is set and you determine your level of involvement. You know an rpm class is going to be 45 minutes of hard work featuring 3 incredibly difficult heavy working tracks. You know its going to be a great interval workout. It doesnt matter if you take the class at 6 pm in Brandon or at 5:45 am in Lutz. It is the same workout guideline. Same goes for any class. Body Pump is going to be a full body, muscle group by muscle group workout. A body pump instructor cant just decide to leave out muscle groups. That isnt how the class works. Everyone is on the same page, everyone knows the rules. The workout level is on you.

2) Continuity- Les Mills classes work in conunction with each other. Body Pump/Spin are a popular pairing at my gym as as Body Pump/Body Combat. I enjoy RPM +, Pump, and CX Worx as a mega cross training workout on Saturdays. It hits my whole body, gets my corss training in, and Im done in 2:30. Guaranteed every saturday. Also, the same basic premise meets all the classes. A warmup, several tracks of varying intensity/purpose and a cool down. You can try something new and basically come in with a understanding of what will be going on.

3) Results- Stick with the classes consistently, and increase the intensity of your workouts within the guideliens and you will see results. RPM was big in the final weight loss that put in my running shape. Pump and Cx Worx have most certainly helped me lean out and make me a stronger runner.  I know people their who have gotten great results from the intense cardio workout of Bodycombat. It pays off.

4) Development- While these classes seem formulaic, the opportunity to progress is there. On your own, you can find ways to increase the intensity of all your workouts. Within the program they are constantly tinkering with new moves, new arrangements, new music, and other ways to keep you fit.

5) Instructors- I have been fortunate. I have passionate, engaging, and talented instructors. They have taken the Less Mills Formats and run with it, and inspired me to great results.

LA Fitnesses offers their own program for sure, but will they match the approach seen here? Seems like it will be hit or miss. Get a great instructor one day and you will have a great class, get a an unispired one and you will have an “eh” workout. Im usually a person who likes individuality and variety in all things. In this case, I prefer the consistency of the LES Mills approach. In this case the one size fits all kind of does it to me. Im regimented about my workouts and I dont want them to be wasted by poor class structure, inconsistent  teacher performance, or junk classes.  In short -to me- loss of Les Mills classes represents a huge loss.

LA is a huge uber gym that would doubtless have all the equipment I need, but can that make up for what I will lose?

So what do I get in return? Access to bigger LA Fitness clubs with courts and pools is certainly cool. However the biggest difference is price. My membership at LFF costs $50 a month with spin classes and all club access. I count it as a valuable fee every month. LA will be cheaper. From all the research I have done, and all the people I have talked to the LA membership is in fact- far cheaper. Like anywhere between S25-40 for the same services I get at LFF right now. No extra for group classes like I currently pay. That much cheaper a month is eye raising to me. Its money to put into my running or my waning social life. It is money I may need for a new pair of shoes or to cover my never ending variety of “Random annoying s***” that happens ” problems.

Is it worth it though? Lots to consider. Is it worth many of my fitness instructors departing? Is it worth the outside chance that one of the clubs I use being shut down? Is it worth dealing with the hassle of a big switch? On one hand I like my routine. I like the way my fitness is headed right now. I like that my gym is helping me become a much better runner/athlete. I enjoy the programs that LFF currently has thoroughly. I dont like messing with productive consistency. But, well, 15 bucks a month is 15 bucks a month? So- Is it worth it? I honestly dont know.  I love what I have now, but close minded negativity is stupidity. Especially when it comes to money. We will see

LA’s big advantage is that is cheaper, beyond that I will reman a healthy skeptic about what is going on.

According to most sources it will be thirty days or so before anything significant changes anyway. This gives me time to chew on it and focus on my July 4th race where I am aching to smash my 10k PR.

Enjoy Your Run. Enjoy  Your Workout. Enjoy Your Day :0

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Active’s Suggestions on Keeping It Cheap

I have been meaning to do this for a while. Take a fitness article about keeping things cheap, and analyze its varied suggestions and ideas to see if they are accurate, helpful, innovative, and worth implementing. This one is about “Staying Fit”, and all runners needs to stay fit to run at their best. 

http://www.active.com/fitness/Articles/5_Ways_to_Stay_Fit_Without_Breaking_the_Bank.htm

Recently I found it on active.com and skimmed through it, I thought I would take a look at their 5 suggestions Runcheap style, and offer some thoughts. 

1. Finding Cheap Gym Memberships

Active’s suggestions:

See if you can make a deal with gym through use of your company/employer

–  Part time gym memberships, where you make a deal in cost in exchange for only using the gym certain hours

Negotiate with a late night manager, who is likely to cut you a better deal

I belong to Lifestyles, which i certainly not the cheapest gym out there. You can build your own membership, but the best way to get reduced rates here is just to tell them you are leaving

Runcheap Says:

 People with jobs with companies who sponsor memberships or pay for memberships arent usually those looking to save a quick buck on the gym (although every little bit helps). It is typically those who they arent getting squat from their company looking for gym deals. As for part time memberships, I cant really speak to this except to say that bigger gyms probably dont make those deals, but I bet a smaller one would. Also,  I bet you could get a lot of leeway to using the gym at other hours once you cut the deal. Finally the late night manager idea is a good one, and I would also suggest the early morning manager, better to get people when they are tired

Runcheap’s Suggestions– If you belong to a big gym and want to pay cheaper, find a manager and tell them you are going to quit the gym. Even if you are not, gyms are desperate to keep people and initiating the conversation this way will show them you are serious and maybe prompt a better deal. I have used this before to some success.

2.  Purchase Discount Fitness Equipment

Active’s Suggestions:

Build a home gym using purchases from Craig’s List and smart garage sale-ing

Runcheap Says:

Im definitely a fan of finding equipment or fitness products on the cheap. A friend of mine just got a Craig Listed version of Insanity for half of the retail price. I bet its a good option if you know how to maneuver the site so to speak (I really dont). A garage sale is risky business for heavy cardio equipment, but if they can prove it works and you have a cheap way to move it to your location it really could be a smart way to find something good. Be sure you need it before you purchase though, dont just get it because its a deal.

Runcheaps suggestions- Play It Again Sports could also work. My suggestion would be to find something you really need, just 1 fitness item and then make the effort to find it as cheaply as possible. Pick something you know you will use, and will last long, and is not difficult to transport so you dont add to residual costs

Garage sales are great, find someone who knows how to really work them and see what they think about buying fitness equipment at one

3. New Home Gym Options

Active’s Suggestions:

–  TRX Suspension Training System for $200

–  Bowflex 2000- $1000

– Assorted Valeo Dumbbells – $15

– Check amazon.com and overstock.com for bulk/bundle deals

Runcheap Says:

Go with the dumbbells, you can always put together a good workout with just dumbbells if you are smart about it. I like TRX, but it is expensive and not that easy to use. The Bowflex price makes my head hurt, and both of the last 2 suggestions will ultimately only pay off (financially) if you stick with them a very,  very long time. Their website suggestions are possibly the best idea listed here. Even in todays internet age it still amazes me what can be found on Amazon.

Runcheap’s suggestions- Go with the dumbbells and add a set of resistant bands (usually pretty cheap), add some plyometrics in tandem with those 2 things and you can always hit a good workout without leaving your house.

Small, durable, cheap, mobile, and easy to build a great workout from. Get yourself a set.

4.  Sports Equipment 101

Active’s suggestions:

Buy it at Play It Again Sports, buy it online on sites already discussed

Runcheap Says:

I feel like what they are saying here belongs in a different place. Im certainly a fan of Play It Again Sports and it is a great place to pick up fitness gear on the cheap, but I dont get why a discussion of sporting goods is in this article? I thought it was supposed to be about staying fit. While sports certainly keep you fit, most adults arent purchasing tons of sports equipment to do so. If you are talking about kids, then that is a different story

Runcheap’s Suggestions– Nothing here, take a visit to Play It Again Sports because you never know what you can find that may help you get fit

I have purchased many sports and fitness items here at reduced rates

5.  Cheap Travel Deals

Active’s suggestions

Use “aggregator” style flight websites to find the best deals for airlines if you are headed out to destination races or events

When you find a cheap flight just book it because it wont last

Avoid flying on Friday’s or Sundays to save cost

Book a car rental reservation at the time of your flight, then attempt to find a deal later on. Look for the smallest car available at the lowest rate and try to upgrade later

Runcheap Says:

Im not really sure if people who are looking to stay fit on a budget are those planning on huge destination races, but Ill bite for the time being. I agree on using the flight “aggregators”. Plus I just learned a whole new word in doing so. Are there people who dont use these sites to book flights? I also concur with the “book it when you see a deal” mentality, airfare costs vary so greatly that you shouldnt pass up a bargain. As for Friday’s and Sunday’s, how can you avoid them? Most people work during the week, especially those looking to save a buck or 2. What they are saying may be true, but it is not feasible for a lot of everyday people.  As for car rentals? I cant admit to knowing anything about them. I have never rented a car in my life.

Runcheap’s Suggestions– Use public transportation where available. If you have just enough cash to get yourself to a destination race, make it in a city with good access to a bus/taxi/train system so you can move about without dealing with car rental nonsense. Or find a driving distance destination race, get a few friends, and carpool it.

If you have just enough money for a destination race, why waste on a car rental? Use public transportation!

Enjoy Your Run. Enjoy Your Day :0

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