Monday, March 22, 2010

Break-Schmreak.

Heh, just kidding! So, of course, right after posting my "I'm taking a blogging break" post, I felt the need to, well, post. I guess I should've just left it at "taking a break from food stuff" instead of breaking from posting altogether. ANYWHO.

This post is mostly for me, but I decided to make it public anyway since I do enjoy reader feedback...

The topic? Switching gyms. Well, possibly.

Currently, I'm a member of Accolade Fitness. They started out as a Planet Fitness branch, but after all sorts of ownership nonsense, they became independently owned, broke away from the PF franchise and changed locations. And really, it's primarily the location that has been causing me to contemplate a change.

Pros:
  • $20/month membership fee, no contract.
  • Nice selection of cardio equipment, including:
  • Incline training treadmills!
  • Nice friendly staff.
  • Sauna.
  • Opens at 5am during the week, so I can exercise before work.
Cons:
  • Location. The new facility moved further west. Even though there is little traffic at 5 in the morning, there are still a crap-load of stoplights and I usually manage to hit every one, both ways, leaving me with about a 25-30 minute commute, round trip. Not terrible, but I still have to get up that much earlier to work it into my schedule.
  • Fees to take classes. Considering the low monthly membership fee, I shouldn't complain, but the idea of running to the ATM every time I want to try a group fitness class just kinda bugs me. Some class fees can be up to $15 a pop, so even if I did find a class I liked, that would quickly add up, assuming I attended every week.
  • No pool. I love to swim and would like to add it into my exercise routine, but am unable to, currently. 
  • Smaller size. Although there's a decent amount of equipment, the place still manages to get packed (especially the cardio room) at various times of day, including early mornings and weekends.
  • Limited hours. Even though I'm  primarily a morning workout person, I occasionally feel like doing random evening workouts, especially on the weekends. Fridays they close at 8pm, Saturdays at 7pm and Sundays at 6pm. There have been quite a few Sunday nights where I wanted to bust out some serious cardio after 6, but quickly talked myself out of it because I remembered the gym was already closed. 
  • Aside from limited evening hours, there are some days where I flat out have insomnia and really would rather hit the gym at 2 or 3 am, instead of laying in bed awake, doing nothing. Sounds crazy, but it's happened before.
So, with all the talk about hours, that leads me to the new place I'm considering, 24 Hour Fitness. I signed up for a trial membership and plan on checking it out tomorrow morning.

Pros:
  • Location. MUCH closer to my house and work. And the route I would take to get there would only consist of one stoplight. Estimated early morning commute? Probably 10 minutes or less, round trip.
  • Adjacent to King Soopers and across the street from my bank (not a deal-breaker obviously, but just an added bonus of the location since I tend to frequent those two places before/after the gym).
  • POOL! I've yet to see how busy the place is in the morning, but assuming it doesn't get too crowded, this is definitely a plus.
  • Large wet and dry saunas. Accolade currently has a small dry sauna which is nice, but it gets crowded very quickly.
  • Hot tub. Need I say more?
  • Free classes. Well, not "free," but included in the membership and no additional fees. They have all of the same classes that Accolade offers, but also have a "24LIFT" class that sounds almost identical to the BodyPump class I've been hearing so much about and have been dying to try! Granted, it's only offered during the day, but I'm totally open to taking time off from work, just to see what it's like!
  • More variety in equipment. I think I remember seeing 3 different types of ellipticals and 2 or 3 different stair machines, in addition to tons of treadmills and rowing machines. 
  • Kettle bells! I'm not quite ready (nor can I really afford) to buy my own kettle bells, so it would be nice to try them out at the gym first, just for fun.
  • Hours. I can literally workout anytime of day, whether it be my usual 5 am routine, a random evening or a 2 am insomnia session.
Cons:
  • Higher rate of $31/month. Still no contract though, which is nice. And after making some money-saving changes to my cell phone and car insurance plans (thanks, Geico!), I can actually justify adding $11 to my monthly fitness budget.
  • Bigger facility = more members = lack of machine availability. Assuming I stick to my 5 am schedule, this probably won't be much of an issue. It's one of those things that's generally expected at any gym, but I'll just have to wait until my trial visit to see whether or not it'll end up being a deal breaker.
  • NO INCLINE TRAINERS! AHHH! Sadly, one of the first things I noticed during my tour today was no incline training treadmill. Not a one (unless I completely missed one hiding in a corner somewhere; please let it be true!). If I decide to join, I'll definitely make that a suggestion, but essentially, no more 15-21% grade inclines for me. This means I would have to rely more on the elliptical and stair machines if I wanted to get any kind of challenging incline workout. Not the worst thing in the world, but still kinda bummed me out. I plan on buying my own incline machine eventually, but since my current gym has them, I figured I could put it off a little longer.
So that's where I'm at. I actually had a 3-month trial membership at 24 yeears ago, but couldn't afford to keep it after the trial ended. I was bummed because I did enjoy working out there. I'm glad to see that since then, they've changed their pricing options and no longer require a contract. I can't be chained down, dawg!

Aside from the location, I still love Accolade too. It's the first place I've achieved "reg" status, where some of the staff actually know my name and we can chat from time to time. I don't know any of the other members too well, but do recognize faces and enjoy the environment overall. At the same time, a change would be nice (as would pool access).

We'll see. I'll enjoy my trial membership at 24 and see how it goes. I'll definitely follow up with a decision post later this week.

2 comments:

mercurygrin said...

That's the 24 Hr Fitness I joined. :) I like it. I think the only time it's really busy is the 5pm hour when everyone is rushing there after work. Thats when I've seen people waiting to use a treadmill. Bikes and stair machines are still open though. My guess is now that the new years resolution crowd is gone, at 5am you will have no problems getting on equipment. The busiest I've seen the pool is again at 5pm on a weekday, but even then there's maybe one person to a lane. I went on both a Friday and Saturday night around 7pm and there was no one there but me in the pool.

I have yet to hit a 24SET class but have been wanting to. If you go this week let me know! And, damn, I must be blind, I didn't know they had kettle bells! I fail.

Tamara said...

@mercurygrin

Nice! I went at 5am this morning and yeah, no trouble getting on a machine :)

And had I got there a few minutes earlier, I would've snagged a lane in the pool too. I think I'm gonna try swimming on Friday morning.

The kettle bells were in the same area as the mats and ab machines.

I think I'm gonna sign up for the SET class this coming Saturday at 9am, assuming there's still space left. If not, I'm gonna aim for the one on Monday at 5:30pm. I'm really excited to try it; I feel like I've been in a gym rut lately!