Exercise! - Experiences Needed with Coed Gyms

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07-23-2003, 03:02 PM
I was curious as to the experiences anyone has had with coed gyms. I was previously a member of a womens only gym, but it had a lot to offer. (aerobics classes, cardio machines, wt. machines, etc.) We recently moved and now all that is available is a Curves and a big coed gym. Thus, my dilemna. I hear curves is wonderful but Ive been doing cardio and wt. training for a long time now 4-5days a week and fear I'd lose momentum going to Curves. However, Im currently quite overweight (about 60 lbs) and feel I'd be quite self conscious around a bunch of men and 105 lb. women. (how I imagine co ed gyms, could be way off base) The thing I enjoyed about the womens gym was the variety of sizes and fitness levels, so I didnt stand out as the fat chick. I know I shouldnt care and just go and do my thing, but I know me. Any experiences/advice welcome. Thanks


07-23-2003, 03:46 PM
Well...I belong to a 24 Hour Fitness - have since 1994.

We have a VARIETY of folks of all sizes and ages here...from supersized folk to 'muscleheadz' :strong: all doing their own thing - their own program. I've never seen any type of friction or people being made fun of...in fact, many of the muscle-y guys often lend a hand or a friendly tip to the newbies - and NOT just the ones who look like fitness models (we do have a couple of those type of women, and no, I'm not one of them! ;) )

On the other hand...back in the 80's I DID attend a women's-only gym...the kind with the little pink dumbbells :lol: and I gotta tell ya, in the locker room the women could be QUITE catty indeed...

My gym also has classes geared towards just about everyone...aqua-aerobics for seniors and those just 'getting back into exercise'...cardio step...yoga (called Pi-Yo - mix of Pilates and Yoga)...spinning...etc. as well as a WEALTH of free weights, weight training machines, cardio equipment, pool, jacuzzi, etc. So I'm quite happy with my gym...

Hey! You might want to check with your local gym - most offer 'free passes' for a few days, a week or two...so you can 'try before you buy' - see how comfy you are - if it's part of a chain of gyms such as 24 Hour Fitness, Gold's, World, etc., they generally have an 'online coupon' you can print out and use! Definitely worth a try...

And IMO, if you've been doing cardio and weights for awhile now, I do think that Curves and similar programs (I'm hearing of 'copycats' to Curves now popping up) might be a bit 'easy' for you...

Hope this helps! Dive in...the water's fine :)

07-23-2003, 11:17 PM
Wanted to post this - by the great Dave Draper - about choosing a gym from his book "Your Body Revival" (a very motivating book - I HIGHLY recommend it...).

Dave knows whereof he speaks - he's been a bodybuilder since the 50's...and now owns a gym in Santa Cruz - one of these days I'm going to go drive down Highway 1 and seek it out...anyway...
How to Choose a Gym

…Gyms come in all shapes and sizes: squares, rectangles, L-shaped, U-shaped, upper level, two stories. Go to the cities and they’re on penthouse floors; go to the suburbs and they cover acres, with ball courts, pools, restaurants and golf facilities. Each gym has its own personality largely based on its ownership and operating team, the neighborhood in which it resides, and subsequently, the folks it attracts. Like a mate, there’s a gym for everybody.

Here’s a summary of determining factors to consider, and how they might suit your expectations:
· Price
A usual first consideration, but how much it costs to get the most of what you want and need should not be at the top of the list. Hopefully you’ll recognize the imperative nature and true value of your training activity and decide that you’d easily pay more for a gym that inspires.
· Location
The nearer to home, work or the center of your activities, the better. The world has become complicated and excuses fly when we’re on the wrong side of town. Time is money. Right? Truth is, there’s no excuse to put your health and well-being in second place to getting home or even going to the bank. Convenience is golden. However, don’t let it dictate joining a gym you find unlikeable just because it’s at your offramp.
· Hours
Here’s where 24-hour gyms shine. Just knowing you can go anytime you want has a great appeal. Where do you fit in? Try your best to set a time when your minutes in the gym are honored, unrushed and efficaciously applied. Smile. Be happy. Will you really train at 3 a.m.?
· Phone contact
Let your fingers do the walking for the first curious steps. If you dial a likely gym and the gym employee snaps, “What do you want?”, you might put a little question mark by that name and go on to the next facility on your list. If you ask price and the answer becomes a secret, put a check by that name and move on. Slick talk is not reserved for carnivals and used-car dealerships. We have to be sharp. Listen for honesty as you engage in conversation, whether professionally conveyed or offered through inexperienced youthfulness. Eventually you’ll want your answers made clear in a visit and a week’s worth of complimentary workouts.
· Member Volume
How crowded does your prospective gym get? This is a major consideration and can be determined only by visiting the facility at those hours when you’ll normally train. Hop on a stationary bike for a 15-minute cruise and assess your surroundings. What if this was your home training ground? A grand gym down the street with all the attractions and equipment is no use at all if you can’t work out with focus and efficiency because there are too many bodies on the floor. In fact, the anxiety that ensues is a near crisis to the serious trainer. You want to move smoothly from exercise to exercise without mobs, glares or testy attitudes. Hey, is there parking?
· Amenities
Don’t pay for a lap pool, giant sauna, lounge and aerobics room if you’re not going to use them. More is not necessarily better, and it might be necessarily more expensive. Larger gyms tend to be clubby. Is that what you’re looking for?
· Equipment
The quality and condition of equipment and the choice of the tools of the trade are central to the final decision….Enough equipment is enough; too much, poorly laid out, can be a setting for a factory and not an appealing, functional gym.
· Atmosphere
Are you standing in a muscle-building gym or a scene where boy meets girl and they hang out like it was the mall? Do you think this is cool? No? Go to the next merchant of fitness on your list.
· Management attitude
Look for respect, politeness, honest and direct answers, and an eagerness to show you around to discuss your needs and the gym’s attributes. Do you feel like a number, a dollar sign or a fellow iron-and-steel aficionado?
· Clientele
Who’s to your left, who’s to your right and can you stand them? Are they snobs; are they slobs? Do they yell, groan and bang the weights around? I’m bad. Do they tiptoe, wiggle and whimper? You want to feel comfortable, accepted, appreciated and encouraged wherever you are. You want to look forward to your time in the gym when you can focus, learn and grow. A good gym should be a refuse where you can lick your wounds, as well as a haven of energy for hard work and physical expression.
· Cleanliness
Cleanliness and neatness are 2 outstanding qualities that define the ownership and membership. They are marks of order, responsibility and respect. Perfect is not possible where people by the hundreds work and play, but a unified efford to keep the corners clean is admirable, to say nothing of hygienic. Let’s put the weights away and pick up after ourselves, encouraged by the merry ole muscle maker in a jolly voice.
Happy hunting.

07-24-2003, 02:04 AM
My gym is a small, local fitness center run by a physician. There are men and women in there of all ages, sizes, etc., and everyone (with a few exceptions) seems to get along fine. Before I joined this gym, I did Curves for three weeks ... loved it at first, but found it very limiting as far as what it could do to help me. By far, the coed gym is the better bargain financially, with lots more options and personal training, which I really need. Doesn't seem to bother me to work out with males around ... for the most part, they are more out of shape than I am. Also, I think most people are only interested in their own progress anyhow ... so, who cares what they think! :)

07-24-2003, 05:04 AM
Hi Tracy! I agree with the others — go for the real gym, even though it is coed. I was 122 pounds overweight when I joined a similar gym and quickly discovered that there were people there in all sizes and shapes and no one was paying any attention to me, anyway. It’s been more than two years now and I have never seen or heard any unkindness directed at anyone because of his or her size or fitness level. As I was losing weight, all I ever got was encouragement and congratulations. Lifting weights and doing cardio will be your best friends as you lose those 60 pounds and I think you’ll be much better off in a gym than at Curves.


07-24-2003, 11:30 AM
Thanks for all your inputs. I know you're right. I do believe I'll get much more out of the regular gym. It's really nice. In addition to the classes and equipment, they have a pool and racquetball court and lots of other amenities. I also just found out that upstairs (its a 2 level gym) is totally dedicated to women. The bottom floor is co-ed, and the top is for women who I guess like me aren't quite sure about venturing downstairs yet , lol.:o I'm gonna bite the bullet and join tomorrow. I wished my self consciousness wasnt even a factor, but unfortunately it is. I think its in part because it came on so fast. Up until 5 years ago with my first pregnancy, I was 155 lbs on a 5''6" frame, not thin, but a nice shape. Now Ive ballooned to 215 in 5 years. I love my kids, but pregnancy did not love me! :( Anyway, thanks for all the support and I'll let you know how it goes!!!!!:dizzy: