Phil and I joined Spectrum back in July, which is a local chain of gyms in San Antonio. The one closest to our house is literally so close it's within walking distance (although come to think of it, we haven't walked there once yet). Our favorite feature about it, aside from the normal gym perks like individual flat screens on the elliptical & treadmill machines, a full array of strength training equipment, multiple classes, state of the art locker rooms with showers, razors/lotion/soap provided, etc. is the POOL! They actually have 2 swimming pools-- one lap pool which is in a covered area with multiple lanes for exercise, and another outdoor pool which is just for play. One side of the pool has a children's area which is no deeper than about 2 ft, then in the center is a big water slide and on the other side is the deeper area for hanging out, and where the slide empties out (only about 4 ft deep). This pool has been great for us to lounge by on the weekends, work on our tans, etc. We love it!
Another great feature of the gym that we enjoy is the HealthMiles program. I had been a member before the wedding of this same gym and they did not have this program before but I really think it's a great incentive. They give you a pedometer to start, and for every day that you use it, you get "miles" which are basically points towards a reward system. They have levels of steps (0-7000, 7001 - 12000, 12001 - 20000, 20,000+) and you get different amounts of miles depending how many steps you take that particular day. I tend to make the 12,000 step area each day (if I work out) because by the time I leave work on any given day I typically only have about 4,000 steps. Phil has an entirely different situation. His work is considered a "campus" so even walking from meeting to meeting amounts to a great number of steps every day. So he typically hits 20,000+ every day (if he works out). Once you get to 6,000 miles you enter level 2, where you're awarded $25 to use towards prizes or your membership dues, 2 free fitness assessments, and a water bottle. Phil already hit this level, and when he hits the next level he gets $50 (on top of his $25), a t-shirt, a few personal training sessions, etc. The higher you go, the better the prizes. You can also do other things to earn miles. For example, each of us did a Fitness Assessment with a personal trainer at the gym a few weeks ago. Because Phil was considered "Ideal" overall, he earned an extra 2000 points. Because I was considered to be in the level just under ideal, I did not get these points. They recommend doing these assessments every 6 months to track change so you can bet I'll be back in February! Also, you can take "measurements" and you get points for entering them as well. Extra points if you're in the "Ideal" category. Turns out I am considered under-weight and my BMI index is below ideal, so I didn't get those points either. So, as I sit here with a 1/2 gallon of ice cream and a spoon, I know that it's in really my best interest... anything to reach the next level (I really want that water bottle). Only 4 more pounds to gain!