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Old 10-15-2008, 04:04 PM   #1
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Default About Your Gym

I'm trying to figure out what to look for in a gym. I want to join one and I'm looking at the regular Y, but maybe another place is good for me too. I know that most gyms give you free trials and tours, but I want to know about your gym just to give me a head start. Thanks!

What gym do you belong to?

What are some of the amenities?

What do you like about your gym the most?

What don't you like about it?
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Old 10-15-2008, 04:44 PM   #2
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From my own personal experience and from friends' recommendations Ys tend to be the excellent gyms in the US. The one I went to wasn't very busy, the classes were top notch, and the gym staff was very friendly.

After I couldn't afford the Y anymore I signed up for 24 hr fitness. They have all the equipment but they were super busy and very $ driven. I never felt like a "member" there and it was a bit of a meat market. I had a really bad experience there where a male employee of their's was cleaning the women's locker room. There was no sign to warn me of this as I entered and changed. I was furious when I saw him, and he saw me naked. I complained and they manager there said "he likes to clean the women's lockers and his wife cleans the mens". I was so pissed I never went back there again.

So, I ended up joing Ballys. I found the sales people there to be super aggressive but I got a great deal for being ellusive about signing up. Their gyms tend to be really busy as well as meat markets. But the cost of going their was excellent and I was able to sign up friends and family members for under $200 each for the year. That and the full facilities were a bonus.

Now I'm in the Uk and go to LA fitness (not related to the US chain). It's a small gym, but never busy and staff is really nice. Not that that helps you.

I guess just figure out what things are most important to you and see how the gym in question measures up.
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Old 10-15-2008, 05:02 PM   #3
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I have a YWCA membership and I love it.
I like that it has one of the better weightrooms in the city, a pool with several different classes offered and land fitness classes are offered too.
There are of course men and women that use the weight room, but more women I've noticed in the fitness classes.
I like that it supports the community moreso than the private gyms and I feel like my membership isn't a waste of money when I don't use it, because it goes towards the womens shelter, employment programs and the united way.
All things I'm happy to support.
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Old 10-15-2008, 06:00 PM   #4
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I go to my city's recreation center. There is an indoor walking/jogging track, rock climbing wall, raquetball, wii fits, and full gymnasium. It is also open to all ages and abilities. I don't have kids but the kids room is also cool and has video games powered by a stationary bikes. It has all the equipment a regular gym has and also offers classes. It doesn't have the meet market atmosphere either which I like. Honestly there isn't anything I don't like about it. I love it!
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Old 10-15-2008, 06:26 PM   #5
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I work out at home and don't go to a gym anymore. I still have a Ballys membership though because it is just too cheap to give up and if I decide to join a gym later, I know it'd cost a lot more.

1) I joined Ballys in 2001 in California. It was a great gym. Large free weights section, swimming pool, classes etc. I moved to Colorado and the gym there was great too. Moved to Maryland and my closest Ballys sucks. Its small, small free weights section, no pool, etc.

2) Well Ballys has a lot of classes, most of which are free but some do require an additional charge. Some Ballys have pools which is great. I have a nationwide membership which means I can go to any Ballys.

3) I don't go so I guess I don't like it very much. What I did enjoy about it in other locations was the large free weight section, selection of classes and the ability to swim in the pool.

4) My current closest gym is very small, very cramped and gets really really busy from 4-8 Monday through Thursday. It is also not too convenient for me.
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Old 10-15-2008, 06:40 PM   #6
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Ah, I think I'm in the midst of switching gyms. I currently belong to a tiny little weightlifter's gym, the membership is 'free' with personal training. It's totally tiny, no locker room, no extras, the 3 cardio machines are always used by people circuit training, using that gym both for weights and cardio would be out. So I use that place for weights.

I also have a membership to the YMCA. I personally don't care for it. There isn't enough equipment for the amount of members, there's hardly any variety of equipment, it's always overcrowded and there's a 30 minute limit on the cardio equipment. Which is a bummer - cardio is the reason I go there. I LOVE the concept of the Y, and agree that it supports the community. It's just not meeting my expectations. All are different. It would be great for someone interested in classes or swimming, I'm not into the classes offered and the pool is always way too crowded. We do like it for the monthly family night, my husband and son always attend. I trust the childcare center fully. Towels are provided, which is nice, not all gyms do that.

I just looked at another gym today, got a free 30 day trial, just a local private gym. Beautiful, honking big, clean! Tons of equipment, TONS, a large variety of equipment, great free classes - I'm actually interested in one, first time in my life - cardio tennis, how cool is that? 7 indoor tennis courts and strangely enough, I love the locker room. I could live there - a masseuse, whirlpool, steamroom, sauna - all in the freaking locker room. I could forget to workout. Even stranger, there's a staffed bar by the pool. I could have a martini chilling by the pool. So many non-exercise diversions - my husband will kill me for spending more time at the gym. Same cost as the Y. My sister belongs there and told me she's never seen it busy, which is great cause I'm antisocial when working out.

I'd TOTALLY go gym hopping and coast for a few weeks on free trial memberships. Make sure you try them at typical peak hours if that matters to you. Be careful, some will call and pester incessantly once your trial runs out. Pushy sales suck.

Last edited by FB : 10-15-2008 at 06:51 PM.
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Old 10-16-2008, 09:00 AM   #7
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Well, I have been a member of the Y, Slim n Tone (Curves-like gym) and finally Fitness 19.

The Y - I pretty much had the same feelings about the Y as FB does. There were not enough cardio machines or even weights and I found myself waiting a lot to use on or the other. Like pp said I love the idea of the Y but it just wasn't meeting my needs. I don't use swimming as a form of exercise (just not into it) so a pool wasn't much of a benefit to me.

Slim n Tone - I joined with my SIL and went for a few months but since their focus is on circuit training, they had very few cardio machines (3 ellipticals, two treadmills and two bikes). Once I got to where I could do cardio for 30+ minutes and I was starting to build muscle, the circuit was too easy for me. They did however often offer classes and I got into Pilates there, so that was a plus.

We moved across town so I quit Slim N Tone and joined Fitness 19. I LOVE it. My membership is $9/month with no contracts. They have personal training specials all the time, contests, etc. They base their gym on being no-frills (no sauna, no pool, etc.) but just pure working out. They have a huge free weight section, very decent-sized circuit (but not based on resistance like at Slim N Tone, so you can choose your weights which allows room to build muscle), and more cardio than I could ever hope for. I never have to wait for a machine now. It is all new equipment (less than 2 years old) and I've never really felt pressured to buy PT sessions - though I have and they are well worth it the $15 per session (which I find cheap).

For me, for someone who JUST wants to go and work out, and be done with it, a place like Fitness 19 really meets those needs. I think it just all depends on what you want out of a gym.
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Old 10-16-2008, 12:06 PM   #8
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Currently I go to Lifetime Fitness. They are a national chain which has been expanding the last few years

Pros:

Entire floor of cardio equipment.
Most Classes are included. Studio ones are more but there is an option
Towels provided
Cafe available
Month to month
just happen to live close

Cons:

Slightly higher price

Personal / group training rates are kind of high

Outdoor Pool is chaotic in the summer, too many kids playing in the lap lanes

I agree on the Bally's, the older ones are too small and out of date. The newest one they built that I have been in was nicer , but located in a mall. Bad location (for parking and if you didn't like being watched because of course it was all glass)

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Old 10-16-2008, 08:40 PM   #9
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What gym do you belong to? I go to Planet Fitness

What are some of the amenities? It has a couple circuit training rooms (arm/leg machines and steppers to work on in between), tons of cardio machines, free weights, and personal trainers. They also have tanning booths for use.

What do you like about your gym the most? It's cheap ($10/month), so even if you don't go very often, it's still worth it price wise. There are a lot of machines. Most times when I get there, there aren't many other people there. Granted, I usually go between 2:30-4 every day. The staff are all wicked friendly and helpful.

What don't you like about it? The only thing I don't really like is that it's not in my town....haha.
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Old 10-17-2008, 08:46 AM   #10
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I'm lucky enough to have a fitness center at work! It's free to me, and has most of the amenities of a larger gym -- equipment, exercise classes, etc. The only thing I wish it had is a pool, so I could work on swimming. But you can't beat the price, or convenience!!
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Old 10-17-2008, 12:36 PM   #11
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I'm a member of two gyms. One is more of a "coutry club" type it has a small gym which is always over crowded and busy (the machines even shut down after 30 minutes!) but it has lots of other features that I love like the tennis courts, badminton, indoor and outdoor pool, ice skating and curling among some. Plus some really great restuarants. I use those ammenties several times a year. This club is more of a social thing for me than a workout place.

The gym I actualy go to is downtown and I love it. It's private, but the lockerrooms are clean the floor is never busy and the staff is so friendly and helpful. Everyone from the receptionist to the personal trainers try to get to know your name and are always willing to bend over backward to help out. The equipment is new and really well maintained. Plus they have an awesome lap pool which I like to use. I found the people and the staff were awesome, and my dad is a member so we I got a discount by going on a spousal membership. Creepy I know but it saves me about $30 a month.
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Old 10-17-2008, 10:29 PM   #12
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I belong to Bally's and I'm very happy with it. I've been really happy with the personal training I've received, the gym is well equipped, I almost always get the equipment I want with no waiting even during peak hours, things are generally kept in good repair and it's reasonably clean. I also haven't noticed the pushy sales aspect that other people have complained about. I've never felt pressured to buy something I wasn't interested in.

But I've been to a couple of different Bally's and they aren't all as great as my gym. For example, the Bally's I go to in Chicago when I visit my parents isn't as well equipped and doesn't seem to have as high a quality personal training staff.

Here is what I would look for in a gym:
  • Location: This is key! The number one thing that I like about my gym is that I can walk to it. This convenience was key in establishing my exercise routine. Don't underestimate the importance of being able to easily get to the gym.
  • Crowds: Assuming you get a free weekly pass, go at least once during the time you are most likely to be going. How crowded is it? Are you able to easily get the equipment you want to use?
  • Peak Hours: Go at least once during peak hours (usually 6:00 PM to 8:00 on weekdays). How crowded is it? Are you able to easily get the equipment you want to use?
  • Free Weights: How many sets do they have? Do the have multiple sets in the low weights? I like to see multiple set of all weights between 5 lbs to 25 lbs because those are the ones that I, and everyone else, seems to use most often. Is there enough variety in the weight levels--I like to able to choose between 5 lbs, 8 lbs, 10 lbs, 12 lbs, 15 lb, 20 lbs, and 25 lbs. I went to one gym that had no free weights that were less than 15 lbs--that's a big problem for me!
  • Weight Machines: Are there enough of them and do they cover all the various muscle groups? Do they have duplicates of the popular machines? Are they in good repair?
  • Toys: Do they have other toys and how many? I like to see lots of the following types of equipment: BoSus, medicine balls, resistance bands and cords, steps, fitness balls, and mats. Not just one of each, but lots of these toys out and available for members to use.
  • Cardio: What types of cardio equipment do they have? How many pieces of each? Is there a waiting list to use the cardio equipment during peak hours, or, even worse, during non-peak hours? Is there broken equipment? If so, does it get fixed quickly? Do they have spinning equipment and classes? What about some of the more unusual equipment, such as a stepmills, rowing machines or hand bicycles?
  • Classes: Check out the classes that they offer and how popular the classes are (classes that aren't well attended usually indicate poor instructors--at least that's definitely the case at my gym--you can tell how good an instructor is by how many people are in the class). Do you have to sign up in advance for classes and do classes fill up? If so, how early do you have to get there to get into the classes? Are all the classes free? Do they offer a wide variety of classes? Do they offer classes in the current hot trends, such as Zumba or pilates? Are the classes at convenient times?
  • Perks: Any other perks, such as a sauna, pool, hot tub, towel service, body composition testing, metabolic rate testing, fitness tests, etc.? Check these things out. E.g., is the sauna crowded (worse, is it co-ed? hot, sweaty men=ewww!) If they have a pool, is it at least 25 yds, is it clean, is the water temperature ok (s/b a little cool to the touch) and do they keep kids out of it (or at least out of the lap lanes)?
  • Cleanliness: Is the gym generally clean? How about the locker rooms and bathrooms?
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Old 10-18-2008, 12:50 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chele615 View Post
What gym do you belong to? I go to Planet Fitness

What are some of the amenities? It has a couple circuit training rooms (arm/leg machines and steppers to work on in between), tons of cardio machines, free weights, and personal trainers. They also have tanning booths for use.

What do you like about your gym the most? It's cheap ($10/month), so even if you don't go very often, it's still worth it price wise. There are a lot of machines. Most times when I get there, there aren't many other people there. Granted, I usually go between 2:30-4 every day. The staff are all wicked friendly and helpful.

What don't you like about it? The only thing I don't really like is that it's not in my town....haha.
i agree! i love planet fitness, it broke me of my gym phobia...but now i have a gym on my school campus thats included in tuition and planet fitness is 10 miles away...but i have 4 planet fitness shirts that i wear when i work out lol
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Old 10-20-2008, 10:04 PM   #14
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I used to belong to Contour's Express, an all-women fitness experience (NOT anything like a Curves). I loved it! Even without watching what I was eating that well, I losing inches and getting really tone.

I moved, and, unfortunately, not within a reasonable commuting distance (I don't drive) to it. I certainly recommend this gym to every woman I know.

I'm currently trying to find another gym that my personality will fit in, and I'm afraid that might be in NYC. If that's the case, then I'm afraid of having to pay inflated prices. I'd like to try to avoid a gym, but I haven't quite found that one thing I like about a gym that I can do at home...
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Old 10-21-2008, 03:16 PM   #15
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I belong to 24 Hour Fitness and have had nothing but positive experiences.

There's tons of equipment and I have yet to have to wait to use something, even during peak hours. The place is very clean. The staff is friendly. The machines all work or are fixed quickly. The people that go there are normal, you see all types: thin, fat, short, tall, young, old. I was very happy to find that my gym does not have the typical "cliques" and it's certainly no meat market.

I've been very happy with my 24 Hour Fitness, but honestly all gyms can be different even if they are the same chain. I sometimes go to a different 24 Hour Fitness on the weekends and I don't care for it as much as my usual location.

Find a few in good locations for you and go check them out is the best advice imo.
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