It’s the beginning of the year, and one common theme or joke is people sign up the gym membership in January. This is probably true. I do think we should look long term for the fitness and health. Personally I am not a believer of new year resolution, but at the same time, I do believe in milestone, and each year end/year beginning do offer suc an opportunity to review important things in our lives: families, health, savings (401k) and so on. Or better yet, we can review it periodically.
I joined JCC back in year 2012, when I was working for a coal mining company. The company has a benefit that basically they pay 3/4 of the monthly due (membership fee), and I pay 1/4. I usually go to the J Creve Coeur for swimming and showering before lunch. I didn’t work for the company for a long time though. But I kept the membership. In fall 2014, I was looking for a job, and I almost left STL, because the employer (Nordstrom) is based in Seattle, and they asked me for onsite interview. I think around that time, in that summer our younger daughter was born, and sometimes I still take our old daughter to the J, or other playgrounds that’s suitable for her (such as this one).
I recall one September morning, I went to the J outdoor pool, and I don’t remember exactly whether I brought my older daughter or not. But I felt this is a type of community I want to live. That’s one reason I stayed in STL: another reason is my wife didn’t think it’s a good idea to move at that time, with new born baby and everything. But the stress from the day job for me was real at that time. I recall I even did some research on the neighborhoods in Seattle area, and so on. But eventually I decided not go there for the onsite interview.
J is more than a Fitness Center
I understand the J is more than a fitness center. They also have summer camps (btw, here is my post on Summer Camps in the STL area), early childhood centers, youth and team sports and other arts and programs suitable for grownups, including the mature adults too. I do understand their membership fee is a bit steep: compared to others. But they also have one of the best facilities (two fitness centers, Creve Coeur and Chesterfield), and group exercise classes. They do have scholarship for families in need. And on the spot, the membership office can offer some discount (for certain employers) or promotions. I think the money is worth it if you have kids go to their summer camp, and use their facilities for exercises etc.
For about 5 years I went there for swimming etc. (2012 to 2017?): including the years I worked for the credit card company, at that time I used the Chesterfield J as well, because it’s on the way to and back from work. I recall one front desk lady knows my name and call me by first name 🙂
One thing to remind though: always lock the lockers in the locker room. Here is a real life lesson from my 13 year old. Many years ago I heard similar stories from a friend at Washington U. gym (locker room) as well. Personally I almost always lock the lockers. And in some cases I could no longer open the locker for whatever reason, I called the custodians many times at the J. Just remember don’t try to do it before an important work meeting or work tasks 🙂
LifeTime Fitness: I saw their location next to Plaza Frontenac. I heard good things about them, but I also heard their membership is more expensive than the J. So until I win the $1 m lottery, I will stay with the J.
YMCA: I visited one YMCA (at Brentwood). Note they have many centers, and my understanding is there are two tiers of membership, one allows access to all the YMCAs, and another one limiting to the certain branch.
Last but not least, some offers free trial or day pass: I think it’s a great idea to try out.
Forest Lake Tennis Club: I heard good thing about them.
Frontenac: I just noticed the Woodsmill club joined them. Many years ago (2006 to be exact), on some Friday evenings, I go there with friends, and they have a deal ($5 or $8, not a lot of money anyway), and they have pizzas and the indoor tennis court. I think the reason why Woodsmill joined the Frontenac club is probably economical. I heard in the last 5, 6 years the tennis playing population dropped and at the same time the Pickleball is getting hot. I saw some efforts in some clubs converting the tennis court to pickleball court, in addition to opening of standalone (or commerical) places such as Chicken N Pickle and Paddle and Pickle Olivette.
Or no exercise at all
This seems worked at least for one famous person: the great investor Charlie Munger, as I heard from him on YouTube video, that he rarely exercises. But on the other hand though, I do believe he went to great length to avoid unnecessary risks, including in his older years avoiding fall at all cost. Personally I think this is rare. Note Warren Buffett, who is about 7 years younger than Charlie Munger, did have personal training in his 70s and 80s. I don’t know how he does now: Warren is about 93 years old.
Last but not least: this is something I have been thinking about for a while. I think everyone is different, ultimately it’s up to us to take care of ourselves in terms of health. We cannot depend on our partners or our kids. Also, we need to listen to our bodies and nowadays smart watches such as Apple Watch has a lot of useful feature to keep track of things including fitness.
Indoor play spaces
(stlmag) St. Louis escape rooms, bowling alleys, arcades, play spaces, and more that kids will love