Big-box vs Sweatbox Gyms

I'm off to Vegas this weekend for a cousin's wedding, but luckily my gym membership is good there too.

An honest man has to admit, one of the distinct benefits of "big-box" gyms is multi-location accessibility -- provided you have the "all-club" membership.

I've been a member of 24 Hour Fitness since returning from my 2005/2006 tour of duty in Iraq. While I certainly get annoyed with the social atmosphere members at chain gyms like 24 produce, I've come to accept that the pros generally outweigh the cons.

Do I miss the "sweatbox" gym atmosphere? Sure. But were I still training exclusively at my local sweat box, I wouldn't be training this weekend.

Some people love chains. Others swear by their local house of pain. I suppose one day I would ideally like to have memberships to both. Right now I can't justify the cost of an additional membership, but wouldn't it be nice to have the option?

My 24 Hour membership has been there for me through three different jobs and countless travel excursions. However, sometimes I just can't stand the sight and sounds of some dork attempting to pick up on a woman next to me during my workout.

But I guess that's where focus and a trusty iPod come into play.

One also can't deny that the perk of big-box amenities is hard to refuse. Depending on the gym type, chains like 24 Hour offer weights, cardio rooms, aerobics, basketball courts, pools, spas, free classes, etc.

But on the flip side, I rarely take advantage of these perks. So there you go.

Again, both big-box and sweatbox gyms have their pros and cons. I guess my membership at 24 Hour is an indication that I prefer big-box at this point in my life. However, I do think the ideal situation is to take advantage and have access to both.

Your thoughts?

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