On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Thursday, January 6, 2011

How much would you pay for a gym?

I'm always amazed at regional price differences for gyms.

Back home in NYC, I pay $65 a month for my membership at the NYSC.  (Don't tell them I told you that - their membership prices are all hush-hush.)

My brother in suburban Illinois pays $20 a month for his (24 hour) gym.

How much would it cost to join a gym here in Cairo?  For one month, $155.28.  Or 900LE, if you prefer.  Admittedly, it would be cheaper if I were here long enough to get a longer term contract.  The price would drop to about 700LE/month for three months.  But it's not even that nice of a gym.

So, I thought about going to the local Marriott for their gym.  A single-use day pass there, though, is nearly $30 (you do get pool access with that.... but it's in the 60s here, so not exactly outdoor pool weather).

Through the American University, I have access to a "fitness center."  I have to put that in quotes because I saw it and it's slightly smaller than my office in New York.  Two treadmills, some intimidating machines with pulleys and without instructions, and a bunch of beefy guys were all jammed in there.  None of that matters, though, as much as the fact that the hours are extremely limited to just a few hours a day, and those hours are all in the afternoon.  I intentionally scheduled my class sessions for the afternoon to give me time to workout in the morning before class.  So basically it's inconvenient, tiny, populated by students (some of whom are mine), and free.  How much am I willing to pay for convenient, large, and student-free?

For now, I'm going to try the free "fitness center" and see if I can make a go of it.  If I can't, then I can always pay the $155 later.  But that is certainly money I could better spend on souvenirs, you see.  Shoes.  Jewelry.  Presents.  Chicken Big Mac.


  1. For that much money, you'd think they put together a website with functioning toolbars. I would say that it's completely out of the question to pay so much, but I don't know the circumstances of the "fitness center." Low-quality treadmills can suck all the pleasure out of a run. If you twist it another way, $155 is like three good dinners out. So turn down three classy dinner invites, and you're golden.

    As it is, I pay about $60/mo. for my suburban YMCA, which I think is ENTIRELY overpriced, but it's among the cheapest around. I do get a pool and a large weight room, but I feel like I'm getting swindled.

  2. My family YMCA membership here (Milwaukee) is $65/month, however we also have a membership at a yoga studio for my husband and myself which totals $150/month. If only the yoga at the Y would be up to par with the yoga at the studio ....

    I feel like I've missed something here, why are you in Egypt?

  3. I pay $29 a month. Of course, my gym doesn't have an arcade or cyber cafe.

  4. Oh, Mike, I'll need to go back there and take pictures of the gym. The cyber cafe is basically a few ratty chairs around an empty bar. I didn't see the arcade. I should also mention that the entire gym is on the 7th floor of an dead mall. The fitness rooms are the formerly empty store fronts. It's so depressing.

  5. I pay $120 a month! NYSC in my hood is NOT $65. Its like, $97. And for $23 extra dollers a month I want my chilled towel after my workout. Geez. Moving to the UUW is seeming like an even better bargin the more I hear!