• Members

  • For many of us, going to the gym has all the allure of going to the dentist. It's a painful chore instead of an uplifting treat. At first, it's tempting to write off our aversion to gyms as sheer laziness, but doesn't the gym itself share some of the blame? What's so enticing about "sweatin' to the oldies" in some overheated aerobics room, jockeying for an available elliptical machine, or trying to read Regis and Kelly's lips on a ceiling-mounted TV while pulling a hamstring on the weight machine? Thankfully, it doesn't have to be this way.

    Sports clubs are the country clubs of the fitness world. Much more than just a place to work out, they offer loads of amenities that make membership not only beneficial to your mind and body, but actually enjoyable. In addition to well-stocked fitness areas, many sports clubs have expansive facilities with large lap pools, racquetball and squash courts, full-service spas and even indoor climbing walls.

    Sports clubs generally aren't exclusive. Membership is more expensive than a bare-bones gym, but you're paying for the extra services and your overall comfort. That said, many sports clubs now offer low introductory rates, even waiving the standard registration fee.

    If you're still convinced that gyms are a joke, keep reading for our top reasons to join a sports club.

    In magazines like "Cosmopolitan" and "GQ," sports clubs and gyms always rank among the top 10 places to meet eligible singles, along with the grocery store and the Laundromat. But even if you're not looking for a date -- or you worry that you don't look your best in a full-on sweat -- sports clubs are a great way to meet new friends and even find new business opportunities.

    Sports clubs attract people with similar values and interests: staying active, keeping fit, personal improvement, participation in sports and classes, and more. Signing up for a group class is a great way to meet people who live in your same town who make similar lifestyle choices. Chances are you have other things in common -- education level, hobbies, kids and family -- that can form the basis of a solid friendship.

    Sports clubs also provide excellent professional networking opportunities. For city-bound executives, a trip to the sports club has replaced the golf course as the spot of choice for meeting clients. And who knows, the guy you meet in a pick-up basketball game could turn out to be a future business partner.

    Sports clubs are also surprisingly good places to find a job. If you're unemployed, try to hit the gym when working people work out, in the early mornings, during lunchtime or evenings. Membership in a sports clubs sends some resume-friendly messages: you can afford it (so you're not desperate), you have a solid work ethic, and you're committed to self-improvement.

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