Do all the bouncers in NYC pay megabucks to look that big?
January 4, 2011 1:44 PM   Subscribe

My weightlifting gym is too expensive for me. Are there any relatively cheap ($100/month) gyms in NYC, Brooklyn/downtown Manhattan preferred, that have squat racks and won't freak if I deadlift? Or do I need to readjust my expectations for what a weightlifting gym membership should cost?

My weightlifting gym in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is wonderful, clean and friendly, but it costs me $175/month, though I realize that this fee is standard for many CrossFit/weightlifting gyms. I work 8:30-7/7:30, so I need a place that's open late. I've checked out the South Brooklyn Weightlifting Club, which seemed perfect except that it closes too early for me.

I have heard that the regular gyms rely mainly on machines, don't allow deadlifting because of the noise, and some don't even have squat racks. Are there any exceptions? I see plenty of enormous muscleheads walking around the city, and surely not all of them are paying $175/month for that physique.

I'm following the Starting Strength program, if that matters.
posted by Hwaet to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Gyms all over this country are hurting badly. Membership is way down.
I do not know your exact area - but I would start talking to your current gym.

Tell them you are looking for other options - and you can not afford their gym.
Ask if there is a special, or some discount program, so that you can stay with them.

They might reduce your membership fee just to keep you as a customer.
posted by Flood at 1:53 PM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Unfortunately I don't live in NY so I can't make a specific recommendation, but I'm sure you can find something more reasonable. $175/month is absolutely obscene. Most "globo-gyms" will have at least one squat rack or power rack. They won't have bumper plates, they may have annoying stop sign plates, you may have to wait for a guy to finish curling in it before you can squat, and you may have to be stealthy about using chalk, but racks and barbells are still pretty much standard gym equipment. The prominent exception would be the Planet Fitness chain, which has no barbells or racks and will kick you out for deadlifting or actually exerting yourself, so avoid it at all costs.

I would recommend contacting the folks listed on this page. I'll bet you could also get some recommendations from the forums here or here.
posted by Anatoly Pisarenko at 2:37 PM on January 4, 2011

You might look into New York Sports Club. They have broad coverage within the city, the suburbs and elsewhere (e.g., Boston, Philadelphia, Washington). I have had a membership with them for years now, and recently downgraded my multi-club access membership to single access at the location I nearly always use. In the process I was able to reduce the monthly fee from ~$92 to $55. I'm not sure how the rates are in the city, but I do know that different locations have different membership fees (e.g., different services).

posted by cool breeze at 3:13 PM on January 4, 2011

Ah, the link didn't post.

Go here:
posted by cool breeze at 3:13 PM on January 4, 2011

I would totally second Greg Nog's suggestion of Absolute Power Fitness. It's cheap and filled with meatheads. I considered joining but, between the clanking of weights, grunting and terrible techno, my head exploded the second I walked in the door.
posted by Siena at 3:28 PM on January 4, 2011

Hahaha, Greg Nog. I used to go to that gym when I lived above it. Seconding it.

I also shall mention Otom in Greenpoint. I belonged to it when I moved to Greenpoint. My friend and I called it our old Polish man gym, because that's who we saw there, in unitards, lifting huge weights and grunting. We loved it.
posted by millipede at 4:08 PM on January 4, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks so far for the suggestions! I'm checking out some YMCAs as well as Absolute Power (cool name, broseph).

As for the suggestion that I try to talk down the price, any pointers on how I'd bring that up? This is a gym where everyone is really close - especially the lifters - so I'd feel really bad about haggling with them.
posted by Hwaet at 4:10 PM on January 4, 2011

I don't know if it's a possibility in New York, but often universities have gyms that they let the general public join (for a higher fee than students or staff, obviously). University gyms are so much cheaper than normal ones that even double fees if that's what they charge outsiders (it is at our one) are more affordable than other gyms. And they tend to have lots of free weights.
posted by lollusc at 4:38 PM on January 4, 2011

I have no idea about their weightlifting facilities, but there's a Dolphin Gym on my block (East Village) that is always advertising things like a $129 for a whole year, and the like. There are a couple throughout the city, I think, and my roommate uses them and likes them.
posted by whitneyarner at 5:34 PM on January 4, 2011

the golds gyms in my city all have racks and allow deadlifting.. $40-50 a month maybe?
posted by outsider at 5:35 PM on January 4, 2011

If you are uncomfortable negotiating, then don't - just be honest with them, and see what happens.

Just tell them you are leaving the gym soon. "I am going to stay for another week, but then I am going to change gyms. I just can't afford it here, which sucks because I like this place. I just know that there are cheaper plans at other gyms"

I mean, all that is the truth - right? And it is good to give them some notice. You don't want to just walk away, or disappear. Tell them why you are leaving, then say your good-byes as a friend a week later, and then switch gyms.

I bet they start the negotiations. They will offer a small discount to stay. Would you stay for a 10% reduction? That is when it gets tricky. Think your position through before you tell them anything. How much of a reduction do you need to stay? What are the other deals out there? Before you give your two week notice, have the numbers straight in your mind. They will draw you into a negotiation.
posted by Flood at 6:17 PM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's been about 8 years, but I used to work out at Johnny's Big Lats gym just north of Union square.

It was about $200-$300 a year. It was a small, intense place, filled with big serious weightlifters.

Maybe it still exists, maybe it doesn't.
posted by bswinburn at 7:46 PM on January 4, 2011

Check out a city rec center. The one I went to was small and a little smelly, but there were no shortage of guys using free weights and the cost is at most $75 per year.
posted by jefftang at 9:48 AM on February 24, 2011

« Older Trashy TV for you and me   |   Can I use Roku's "MP3tunes" to watch iTunes video? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.