Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Working it Out

Last month my membership to ESAC expired and so did my husband's membership - in order to renew, we would have to commit to an entire year. Since we are in the process of building our own home gym, and my employer is in the process of putting in a super nice (better than ESAC in my opinion) gym right here where I work, we decided it wasn't worth the money to renew our membership.

ESAC never asked why we were not renewing, never let me know my membership was even expiring, and all my husband got was a generic email telling him his membership was expiring.

If asked, here's what I would tell ESAC are areas they need to improve...
  • Gyms need some updating - and not just the equipment. The bathrooms are gross, and the only gym I would shower at was Johnnie Dodds. Coleman's shower is gross and has no privacy.
  • If I wanted to pay $100+ more a month for 45 min 'Crossfit' classes, in addition to my membership costs, then I'll just quit ESAC and pay that amount for a real Crossfit gym. I'm referencing a program they recently started called GoPerformance. My trainer took me in the GoPerfomance gym a few times to train and I loved it. I wanted to take classes, but...they were over $100 for unlimited monthly classes. No options like 10 class packages, punch cards, etc.

    I've noticed this a lot with ESAC and think it could eventually be their downfall - with exception of the Les Mills classes, any extra classes cost extra money. In response, most members aren't willing to shell out more money for extra classes in addition to their memberships, so the classes end up going away - like their attempt at a Barre class. Since GoPerformance is also having trouble filling up classes, I'm wondering how much longer they'll keep it around.
  • They need a social media manager of some kind. Their Facebook page is worthless. And I'm not even sure if they are on Twitter. It would be great to have more updates, trainer/instructor interaction, etc. through Facebook. I think it would help them out if they could connect more with their members and build more of a community. Right now, I see ESAC as a faceless greedy company trying to swallow up every gym in Charleston - I'm sure I'm totally wrong, but it would be nice for ESAC to prove otherwise and social media is perfect for that.
  • One of the unfortunate things about quitting ESAC is losing the ability to work out with my trainer - she was AWESOME. I always looked forward to working out with her and I even upped my sessions at the end from two times a week to three because I enjoyed it so much. However, if I am not a member of ESAC, I can't work out with her at ESAC or my rate goes way up high... regardless, I had to end my sessions with her. :( However, ESAC could still be making money off of me if they would let me continue to train with her (she's not an independent trainer, but an ESAC trainer) at the same price rate -- they'd still be making money even if they're not making my membership money. But they never asked - or seem to care - that I didn't renew my membership, so good riddance ESAC.
So without ESAC, I've had to step up my self motivation and exercise work ethic and work out more on my own. In addition to running, elliptical at home, tennis and bike rides, I've been trying to keep up my strength training and HIIT with some free options:

Bodyrock.tv - If you haven't heard of it already, get out from under that rock! Almost daily they post 12 minute HIIT workout videos and sometimes include ab bonus workouts. Some workouts require equipment, but you can easily substitute for things at home or substitute for an exercise that works the same muscles but doesn't require the equipment. For example, the sandbag they use is over $100 - but I bought a $15 Old Navy gym bag and filled it with weighted bags of rice. I did break down and buy the 10 lb Ugi ball - and I love it because I use it for other workouts.

Zuzana Light - Zuzana used to work for Bodyrock.tv, but left to start her own site. She has weekly workouts that don't require any equipment. They are always challenging. I usually combine one of her workouts with one of the Bodyrock.tv workouts for a good 20 to 30 min HIIT workout.

Jenn-Fit - Jenn's fitness blog is full of great exercises you can do at home, like this UGI ball workout that I found and loved.

Blonde Ponytail - Another great fitness blog full of exercise routines, running tips and healthy eating tips. She posts her Crossfit workouts to her blog and variations on common exercises like burpees and push ups. I love her workouts because she always posts videos and/or step-by-step photos of each move so you know what to do.

Pinterest - This is a no brainer - there are TONS of workouts all over Pinterest. I've even found links to all of the Insanity workouts online. It's easy to pull up my Pinterest exercise board, pick a few pins, and have a complete workout. Love it.

In addition to these online workouts I've started using workout DVDs again (blast from the past) - however, I've had trouble in the past finding DVDs that gave me a hard enough work out. I definitely have found my match with these two DVDs I recently bought.

I've seen some of you blog about this one before, but I had no idea that Jillan Michaels 30 Day Shred could be so hard. I did her first workout and thought, "This isn't so bad". Then I tried the second one and I had to stop a few times in some of the intervals. I have yet to try the hardest one, #3, but if #2 is any indication, it will kick my butt. Her workouts are short, so they are great for days like Fridays when I just want to squeeze in a quick 20 minute workout. I bought this DVD on Amazon for like $7 - totally worth it. I'm pretty sure you can find the workouts on YouTube, but for only $7 it was nice to have my own copy to watch on my tv.

One of the fitness blogs I follow mentioned a DVD called Cathe's CrossFire. It's a long workout that covers all the bases and since the blogger mentioned it was super challenging, I thought I'd give it a try. I bought the DVD and bands to go with it on Amazon. I just tried this workout last night and oh.my.god. It was hard. I had to stop several times to lie on the ground, panting, before moving on to the next section. I loved it though - I felt challenged and today I'm sore all over in a good way. I did the entire workout plus the bonus abs included on the DVD. It has plyometrics, intervals, weights, cardio...It also has 'premixes' that mix up the different sections of the workout - so if you don't have the full hour, you can choose a 30 minute version. I went on Amazon today and checked out a few of her other DVDs (I've never heard of her until recently) and all of the reviews for each DVD says they are challenging even for advanced fitness folks. I'm thinking of getting some of her strength training DVDs so I can make sure I am still incorporating heavy weights into my workouts. I highly recommend this DVD - I'm already looking forward to trying it again because I want to get better.

I'm also taking advantage of Living Social deals as I find them. I mentioned Perfectly Fit Wellness classes in my last post - and even though the Living Social deal is over, I think they are still letting folks get the three class trials for only $25, so if you're interested, give them a call.

I also snagged a recent Living Social deal for three private Pilates apparatus classes at a local Pilates studio that I've taken classes at before.

So who needs to shell out a ton of money for a gym these days when there are so many affordable ways to workout at home or with special deals?!? :)

Are you incorporating home workouts in your exercise routines? What other resources have you found online? Do you have a favorite go-to workout DVD you use? Please share!!

Happy Tuesday!


Megan said...

Now that I live in chs, I either need to find a gym or start running outside! Let me know if you find any great workouts that do not involve a gym because I do not plan on getting a gym membership! Let me know if you need a workout buddy!

Ruth said...

Can you send me some of that motivation? I need some these days.
Jillian's workouts are killer. I did the kettlebell last week and could hardly move for 2 days.

Unknown said...

I usually bike or walk to work which ensures I get at least a mile in. My office has a gym too so I try to go at least a few times a week.
Newest follower,


Unknown said...

OMG I have the same sentiments toward ESAC! Still in contract til next June but will be leaving after that! They are a ripoff. I go to the one in Park West mostly. www.styleoyster.blogspot.com

Jess @ Blonde Ponytail said...

Thanks so much for sharing the link love. I'm so glad these workouts appeal to you!!