Monday, November 22, 2010

The cost of feeling good

I am sitting, typing in my exercise gear as today was The Day. The day, after four months of having let my gym membership lapse, and probably just as many pounds around the middle, I was going to suck it up and pay the 230 euro for a one-month membership back at my beloved gym.

I had put off renewing for so long because of the inflated cost. As a testament to how little I comprehended the dollar-euro exchange my first year here, I blithely handed over the 1400 last summer to join Klay. Even now, after the calculations, I don’t regret it. It’s a super gym: brand new, modern, clean, a sauna, hamman and small pool, exercise and weight equipment… yoga. I loved it.

When I inquired about my re-sign options at the end of July, I was told it was 1000 for six months, 650 for three months and 280 for a month’s membership. Zut! That’s alotta centimes.

I rationalized I could do extra Velb’ing for a couple months. Plus, it being summer, I was traveling a bit. Why have a pricey gym membership when you’re not going to go to the gym? I figured I’d splurge on the three-month membership in September. Or October.

Well, here it is, the end of November, and I finally decided my body and my psyche would be so happy to be back in downward dog. To take a quick sauna from time to time. To feel strong again.

So I set my alarm and trotted over to the gym with 230 euro. On the way, I realized, merde, was it 280?? Would I still splurge for 280? Was it worth it? You see, I can be so carefree with money on some things (shoes, bags, fancy hotels) and so cheap with others (makeup, transportation, and, apparently, gym memberships).

Oui, I’d do it! I deserved it! I would feel so good, back in an exercise regime!

But apparently the prices have augmenter. One month, in fact, costs 350 euro.

“Trois cent cinquante??” I asked. Twice. Just to make sure I was doing the translation and the math right. I was.

So I trotted back out into the misty morning. By my crude calculations, 350 euro could get me:

• Month upon month of Velib rides
• A fabulous Lululemon ensemble and some new baskets
• Five or six great dinners in the next month
• A round of 10 champagne cocktails at the Ritz
• A night at, say, the Regent Grand Hotel in Bordeaux or the Savoy in London
• A cut and highlights, and a massage or facial
• One Christian Louboutin shoe
• An LV makeup bag (which, oui, I also want)

What would you do with 350 euro? Cough it up in the name of physical health and mental sanity? Or put it towards an extra special treat?


  1. 350€ for one month!? That's just crazy. I have never regretted paying money for anything that makes me stronger or healthier but for that money you could buy a great bike, a lot of work-out clothes, or a down payment on your own gym. Gyms in Spain are expensive and I refuse to pay even 60€ a month simply because that is about 30% more than I paid for my membership in Seattle and the gyms here are about 40% shittier. I have changed my routine to push-ups (lots and lots of push-ups)and cycling. Pretty boring (push-ups, not bikes) but it's just a matter of discipline. I have more discipline than money these days.

    For 350€ you could hire a personal trainer who would beat you to a pulp in one month. For 350€ you could hire your own Jewish grandmother to follow you around and nag you to exercise all month. Get creative.

  2. Get yourself a few good yoga DVD's and do it from home, woman!:) You'll feel just as good and your wallet will feel even better!:)

  3. Buy *two* Louboutins and trot around Paris until the end of the year! That will work off the champagne cocktails.

    La Mom
    An American Mom in Paris

  4. YIKES!!!
    Hon, all ya gotta do is go up and down them stairs of yours a few extra times per diem and you are set!
    I know it's not very glam but it WORKS
    I started doing it this summer-in fact I was just about to go pick up my neighbor's NYTimes downstairs and deliver it to their door, when I read this and stopped dead in my tracks.
    It REALLY works - doing the stairs I mean.
    I pay $279 for a YEAR at the Astoria Gym Club to use their big pool.
    I think they're scalping you at this joint and raising the prices around Xmas time when everyone indulges! What's up with that?
    And what about the recession.
    Better go stand on line at H&M with yr 280 euros and get something wonderful there.
    Admittedly I have yet to see the expanding 'middle' you are referring to - M.I.A. as far as I'm concerned unless 'YOU' are a guest blogger...
    Plus Paris piscines are the BEST!
    St Germain (next to Gerard Mulot for example) cost next to nothing and are deluxe.

  5. I second Anonymous!
    For 350€ you could hire a personal trainer who would beat you to a pulp in one month. For 350€ you could hire your own Jewish grandmother to follow you around and nag you to exercise all month.
    Get creative.

    or just climb those stairs...

  6. NO. Do not spent it on exercise! Walk, velib, run outside - and be thankful you're not in Southern Minnesota, where it's not freezing rain all over the 12" of snow we got last week.

    And buy yourself something totally fabulous with that 350 Euro to remind you of Paris.

  7. There is NO WAY I would spend 350 euros (am I getting this right? Is that really $475 USD for a MONTH at the gym?) Even before I started living frugally and counting every penny, I wouldn't have spent that much, and once my debt is repaid, I probably still wouldn't splurge on it.

    You live in Paris (granted, it's COLD out there!) and you have the most beautiful city in the world to exercise in. Hop back on that Velib, Amy (oh, and do the champagne cocktail at the Ritz; that sounds amazing).

  8. My mental health would always direct me towards the shopping/eating/fun ways of spending money and would shy away from anything resembling painful exercise or body movements that do not come naturally to me.
    I walk miles a day, no Velibe ( I do wish there were ) , and I am not a big eater, I lost 20 lbs when we arrived and it never came back.
    Which only makes me worry that if I were to live somewhere else, Paris, NY, would it come back then??
    So my answer is, save the money .. forget that gym ..

  9. I could not spend 350 euros on a month-long gym membership (and this is coming from someone who works out in a gym 5 days week)! Get outside and run or powerwalk x days a week to places in the city that you want to see or are hilly. Once you put your headphones on, you will be moving without thinking about it.

  10. Judging from the web site, Klay's a really beautiful club. Maybe the middle road would be preferable - not Klay, but not crunches on your rug, either - namely, a cheaper club.

  11. I know, I know, you guys are right. But I'm surprised there's not at least one person out there who would go for it! Health! Sanity! Strength? Is any price too high. (OK, oui, apparently...)

    I agree: walking, Velibing, push-up'ing... all which I already do. Without the great music and energy at the gym, I'm just sort of lazy when it comes to really pushing myself. So my walks and rides are more leisurely and push-ups, well, I'm up to six.

    The stairs are good - you're right, Carol. And Anon, laughing is good for the abs, too - thanks for making me laugh with the Jewish granny joke!

    See you guys at the Ritz! In my Louboutins!

  12. WOW. 350 euros is quite a hefty price for one month!? Even if you went every day, still does not seem worth it. I have been to Klay to take a look and found it very 'euro-chic' but not 350 euro's worth!

    Come with me to my yoga (11 euros if you purchase 15!!)

    PS. There's a deal at Club Med for 150/month, my Italian just joined. I myself will stick with velibing, *laughing* and yoga

  13. Good lord, given what people make in this country, I don't know how anyone but the trust fund babies afford a long-term membership there! Outrageous. Keep up what you're doing, throw a little yoga and maybe a hip-hop class in there (there are many!), and you'll get your money's worth!

  14. Wow, my one month membership at the gym in Italy was 50 Euros. They even let me come in on the 4 extra days between my one month expiration date and the day I left Italy. I was certain it would be like 10 Euros a day more, but no, the Italians figured a few days would not hurt! And in Paris . . . I suggest, 'les Cercles de la Forme or Club Med Gym' certainly not as chic as your gym, and certainly not more then 100 Euros for a month. That said, sounds like you have lot of better things to be doing with your money then going to the gym. Enjoy my dear. xo Erica

  15. It's too much. Get some small free weights and exercise bands and a whole pile of dvd's..get them from the library to try them out to see which ones you like.

    Or find a cheaper gym, maybe do without the pool (all that chlorine wrecks your skin, hair and health) and hammam.