YMCA Gym: Pros & Cons

YMCA, YMCA Gym: Pros & Cons, The Travel Bug Bite

On January 3rd I signed up for the YMCA to help me with my weight loss resolution. It was the only gym in my area that not only had a bunch of classes but also a pool! I love to run on the treadmill but my joints can’t handle it unless I can swim afterwards so this was crucial for me.

The pricing was also great. I live in West Warwick and there are several gym options here. There’s Planet Fitness which offers ridiculously low rates such as $10 per month. Then there’s tiny fancy gyms for over $60. The nearest public pool costs $20 per month for residents and $30 for everyone else. The YMCA costs only a little more than than the pool for residents + Planet Fitness, except it offers it all in one place.


Although it get a little expensive for people over 30, the YMCA does have great prices. Isaac, my husband, is turning 31 this summer so we will be switching to a family plan to save some money. The YMCA also offers help to families with lower income. They also let you pause your membership or cancel the day before your next month payment. There are no contracts or sneaky tricks to waste your money.


One benefit of being a YMCA member is that you can use any of their gyms in the country! I was in NYC last weekend and there was one within walking distance that I could have gone to if I wasn’t being lazy. Even though I live in a small town in Rhode Island, there is a YMCA within a ten minute drive. The second closest is only 20 minutes away.

Cons – Pool Times

Why would I ever go to the slightly further YMCA? Here comes my first complaint. The pool at my local YMCA is only four lanes. This wouldn’t matter except when there’s a class or swim team practice, the pool isn’t open to the public. This happens to be most evenings so I can’t swim as much as I would like to.

A great thing about the YMCA is their willingness to improve. Two evenings of the week, my local YMCA offered family swim without the one lap lane. I was okay with swimming the width of the pool instead, but I did mention that I wish they had the lane available more often. They said of course and now they will create a lane whenever they see me come in.

I still wish swimming was possible all day every day, but their flexibility and willingness to open a lane for me means everything. I doubt that every YMCA gym is able to be so accommodating, so I appreciate attending a smaller one.

YMCA Gym Equipment

I am not the best at using all the gym machines. But I have been a member of gyms all over the world. The YMCA is by far the best gym I have ever seen when it comes to variety and quantity of machines. My local YMCA has probably 20 tread mills. Anytime I come during rush hour, it is super busy but I never have to wait.

The machines at my local place are a little old, but at sign up we were told that the new ones were coming soon. Again, I have been to gyms that had machines broken for several days. At the YMCA I have seen broken treadmills get fixed/replaced overnight.


Zumba is something that I used to be obsessed with but haven’t been able to do for a long time. The YMCA only offers classes, including Zumba, that are included in the membership cost. They also have a great variety of times that are accommodating to different schedules. Of course, they also offer paid specialized classes and ones that do require a sign-up.


I am bad at asking for help cause I’m shy and I’m working to get over this. Members get one free training session where you discuss your goals with a professional trainer and they give you an exercise regiment. They are always around to help you with machines and to give you tips. I will be working up my courage to do a session with a trainer soon!


The YMCA has been the essential piece of the puzzle in my weight loss journey. The great staff, amazing space and availability of machines at all time has kept me motivated and coming back. I recommend that everyone visit their local YMCA gym and take a look around. You may consider making this your to-go place to making your fitness dreams come true.

YMCA, YMCA Gym: Pros & Cons, The Travel Bug Bite

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