But I think that was just because I had industrial-sized fans blasting around me, a luxury I no longer have.
So now I run outside and can pretty much strength-train anywhere. However, I still have a gym membership, and this is why:
Sorry about the blurry picture, but this is a Jacob's ladder. It basically winds around so you can continuously climb up it. This is a tough workout -- 15 minutes is already a lot to me!
While it may look scary, it actually doesn't start moving until you're near the top. This way, if you get tired, it stops moving. It figures all this out because you're required to strap your waist in and adjust it per your height. Don't worry, it's an easy step!
This ab machine is also pretty neat. To use it, you put your knees on the platform (bottom) and your elbows on the two bends at the top. Then you grip the handles and slide your knees toward your chest. This works abs and obliques if you turn the platform like shown in this picture.
I LOVE these "HOIST" brand weight machines, because the seat moves as you do the moves! Not sure if that makes it more effective, but I do love involving more of my body in weight training. This one is a shoulder press.
This rope-pulling machine has got to be my favorite. The rope winds around so you can continously pull on the rope as if you're climbing. The settings range from 1 (min) to 7 (max). I usually put mine at 5 for about 3-5 minutes, though I can do 7 for a few minutes. The rope can be adjusted from vertical (shown) to horizontal to get a different upper body workout.
Finally, there's this thing. It's not an elliptical. It's not a stepper. It's sort of a hybrid. This machine is quite a bit more difficult than the ellipitical in that you need to stride with both your legs AND arms. It is unforgiving if you don't have the correct form (i.e., it won't move otherwise). I've been using this machine a lot these days!
Don't get me wrong... I still bike, elliptical, do mat work, stretch, and even run like I have always done at gyms, but these extra little gems make the experience so much more interesting and challenging at times. I think my overall fitness depends on variety like this.