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Fitness centers bending over backwards to keep members

Posted April 5, 2009

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— The financial crunch has some gyms feeling the burn. Several Triangle workout facilities are reporting a recent drop in memberships.

Some gyms seeing drop in membership Some gyms seeing drop in memberships

"I think we definitely experienced some slowness due to the economy,” said Tony Buglak, regional president of Gold's Gym.

Buglak says business is down about 15 percent at Gold's five Raleigh locations. As a result, fitness classes and staff have been cut. However, the facilities are doing what they can to keep people working out.

"We've had people who have lost jobs and come in and told us they lost jobs and we've worked with them. We've given them two or three months free and let them back on their feet,” Buglak said.

At the YMCA, officials say business is up by about 7 percent but so is the need for financial assistance.

"Every branch in the Triangle has a financial assistance department. So we don't turn anybody away based on finances,” said Jon Mills, with the YMCA.

While memberships are down at some fitness centers, officials say existing members are using the facilities more often. Working out can be a great stress reliever for some people.

“When stress happens, you want to eat badly. You want to start doing the bad vices, rather than the good vices. This is a good vice that really does make you feel better,” Buglak said.

YMCA officials say one reason they have seen an increase in memberships is because they are not just a gym, but a community organization that offers programs for people of all ages.


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  • ambidextrous cat Apr 7, 2009

    Aw, thank you recession, now I can become healthier!

  • HappyGirl08 Apr 6, 2009

    Well I considered joining curves but then didn't. I'm sure its a nice facility, etc but I decided while the cost wasn't all that bad, walking out doors, using my treadmill and videos was still cheaper.

  • Newshound Apr 6, 2009

    when i got laid off i signed up at the rex wellness center in wakefield. It really has helped with stress relief and making me more healthy in the process. I go 4 days a week alternating from swimming/water classes to the fitness equipment each day. They even set me up on a personal workout program to meet my needs. I do pay a little more for it but there is no contract. I love the facilities. all brand new, large water facilities(which i enjoy the most)

  • furburg Apr 6, 2009

    Peak Fitness aint bending over, I lost my job back in June and they didnt want to hear it all they wanted was their money, or their going to ruin my credit.

  • Me again Apr 6, 2009

    My wife and I go to Fitness19. The staff is excellent. The equipment is new and they'll take care of your kids. My wife and I a total of $25 and there is no contract. Can't beat it.

  • Weaker Pelosi Apr 6, 2009

    I am for sure an outdoors exerciser. I bike once a week at Umstead Park and Crabtree Lake, on Sat or Sun, run 8-12 miles a week and powerwalk at least once a week. I do crunches and lower ab workouts every other day. I have never joined a gym and am in good shape. Can't imagine being in a gym for workouts, especially during beautiful weather. I need an outdoor gym like bowflex or something, but am afraid it will become an expensive clothes rack.

  • offconstantly Apr 6, 2009

    yeah i just love the 25$ twice a year "equipment fee". yeah umm that makes sense, the gym has been open for only a year, same equipment in it every day, no new stuff, same machines.

  • just laura Apr 6, 2009

    I'm not sure why going to the gym means you are pretending to be buff. I joined the gym back in late January. I had been going for almost daily walks at that point, but the weather wasn't always willing to work with me. So I joined Planet Fitness for $10 a month. I go to the gym five to six times a week, and I like having access to not only all the cardio machines (I'm getting MUCH better work outs than I did just walking), but also to the weights. I would have had to spend a fortune getting all the weights I now use.

    So, for me, the gym is a fantastic bargain and a great way to get complete workouts.

  • texasncgirl Apr 6, 2009

    I for one enjoy going to my gym and is a price that is hard to beat. I'm pretty strapped for cash myself but $38/mo is worth it when I have a place I can go and unwind after work or school and blow off some steam by working out. It has been a great stress reliever and well worth it..for me at least!

  • my05cents Apr 6, 2009

    howdiditgettothis - i agree with you. we've been members of the Y (mom and dad, and 2 kids) for 6 years now. new members were getting their signup fee cut in half (some special promo in jan, feb, maybe march) - for our 6 years of loyalty, our monthly fees were raised. mind you, its a church-based organization, so they get lots of tax breaks. i hate taking my kids there to swim as usually only the kiddy pool is open. i suspect that if lifetime fitness ever opens in the north raleigh area, we'll probably drop our Y membership and go w/ that facility. i've been to the Cary Lifetime Fitness with a friend and love it. Members can bring in guest each month (like 3 or 4 families) and there is not extra fee. i had a guest pass and took a friend of mine (and her kids) and was told that only the mom was free, not the kids. they also offer onsite salon facilities.