I was lazy and sat on my butt all winter. I'm dreading going to the Hamptons given my current physical state and know I need to join a gym, but don't want to get sucked into a long contract since I plan on assuming my position on the couch once the weather gets cold again. What are my options?
Liz, East Village
First of all, what do you mean by "cold again"? For the second weekend in a row, New York has had rain, probably ruining the plans of many Hamptons-goers. We're not sure it ever wasn't cold. Are you there, Summer? It's me, Ask Gothamist.
Plenty of New York's popular gym chains offer month-to-month memberships, although if you're only planning to join for three months you might want to be careful. While monthly rates at New York Sports Club (McGym, as it's known to many) can be less than $100, you might have to pay an initiation fee which, amortized over the summer, could pump up your bill more than your muscles.
In Park Slope, the local branch of the YMCA charges only $47 per month (call to find out if they are currently charging an initiation fee). The new YMCA branch in Chelsea is similarly inexpensive and the state of the art facility compares with some of the city's finer gyms and even boasts a 25-yard pool.
If you're really in a pinch, try hiring a personal trainer. For the same price as a summer-long gym membership, you can usuallly get a week or two of services to help whip your butt into shape. Knowing a) that you've paid for sessions and b) that someone is waiting for you at a gym can be strong motivators. Ask Gothamist recently began seeing a personal trainer and can't recommend him enough. Sessions last less than an hour and have so far helped immensely in our battle of the bulge. Check out Patrick Panico's website for more information.