I love, love, love our YMCA... but every region is run independently, so YMMV. Reasons I joined the Y:
1) No high-pressure sales (training packages, diet plans, gimmicks). We didn't have to sign a term contract to commit to be members for 12 months. Many gyms around here have very strict and complex rules about how you can end your membership, but the Y is pretty straight-forward and relaxed.
2) I can access YMCA gyms around the world when I travel. I'm not really a globe-trotter, but I do like the fact that I can go to the Y in Florida when I visit my parents, or in other cities if I'm traveling for work.
3) Non-profit. The Y is a non-profit organization. Membership fees aren't less expensive than other comparable gyms in our area, but I wholly support where my money is going. They do a lot of good work in our community: employment programs; programs to promote youth sport and activity; leadership programs; youth outreach; family services... www.ymcagta.org/en/who-we-are/our-vision/i
4) Family-friendly. I don't have children yet, but I appreciate that when we do start a family, there are actives that they will be able to participate in.
5) All ages, backgrounds, shapes and abilities. I love the variety of people I workout alongside at our Y. There's something very comforting about the eclectic group of people that work out at my Y. It just feels like everyone belongs there. I found it a lot less intimidating to start out than some of the other "fitness palace" places I tried... And who wouldn't be inspired to see Pearl, our 90-year-old pool queen, who walks with a cane but takes Aquafit class every single day?!
Then there's all the reasons I love my specific YMCA location: Olympic-sized pool and separate training pool, tons of fitness classes, drop-in sports in the gym, indoor running track, table-tennis, "plus" health-club membership area, squash/racquetball/handball courts...
Edited by: KARYNWHO at: 12/30/2012 (08:34)