Well I went in this evening and joined.
The guy who came out to talk to me started out talking about this class and that class and I smiled and said, oh-so-sweetly, I'm really not interested in the classes ... here's what I want. And I laid out my list of what I was looking for, in addition to price. I basically said "Here's what I'm paying now, I won't pay more than that, I won't pay an initiation fee, I'd prefer to pay less than that."
He was, I think, a little shocked.
And then he dropped the sales spiel, gave me the facts and offered me a rate that was $5 less than what I"m paying at LA Fitness.
I can put my LA Fitness membership on hold for up to 6 months. I have 30 days to decide if I want to cancel at Gold's w/out penalty. So I'll go for the next couple of weeks and see what I think.
First impressions are: In feel, it's a much more basic gym. LA Fitness is light and airy and has lots of machines and lots of classes and lots of people. Gold's is dark (lots of dark purple and gray), fewer machines, smaller. No basketball court, racquet ball court, or pool. The cardio machines are not as "fancy" with all the bells and whistles - they support the Precor bands, but it's not super high-tech.
But ... in choice it's much more diverse. Not only are there 3 classrooms that can be used during non class time for mat work, there are a ton (TON) of free weights, barbells, a huge kettlebell area, a huge mat area, an entire rack of swiss balls in various sizes and shapes, bosu balls, 2 punching bags, a rack of resistance bands. I was also impressed to see a good number of trainers out there WORKING with their clients - one guy was teaching a girl to box (a girl about the size I used to be when I started). Another trainer, a woman, was working with the resistance bands with a client. And so forth.
I still want to go for a while to see if it's going to work for me. Part of it is just a comfort level, too. I know my LA Fitness. I know where all the machines are and where all the weights are and so forth. I'm ever so slightly resistant to change (*grin*) so this pushes me out of my comfort zone.
OTOH, I'm with ya, Tyler, on the eye-candy. There was one guy there tonight ...whoa.
So we'll see ...