There are two convenient locations near my apartment, although neither location is directly between work and home. However, the location I've been going to is only about 1 mile south of me, on the same street. There is convenient shopping in the area as well. The Trader Joe's is MUCH less impacted than the one in my area.
I was happily received by Jeff, trainer at the gym. He toured me around the gym, listened to my fitness goals, told me which classes to try. I understood after the tour that the weights are arranged by target areas (legs, arms, core, etc.). Jeff took my BMI and offered me a free training session. Um, THIS was the kind of tour I had in mind... are you listening, Golds? Jeff is a trainer, not even a membership representative, so giving me a tour isn't part of his job. (Duh, I know he was trying to sell me on the training session -- and he succeeded.)
There are two cardio areas at Ballys. The upstairs area doubles as a TV viewing room. All of the equipment faces the same direction (maybe this is the way it's done?). The downstairs cardio area is the "newer" machines. I prefer this area, although I don't like watching myself run in a mirror. Maybe exercise is all about facing yourself... all sweaty and red. At least the fans are not so loud that I can't hear music. I was unfortunately also stuck next to dreaded Mobile-phone-walker-woman. CG has a strict "No Cell Phone" policy.
Weights and other equipment (core balls, etc.) are arranged in rooms by target area. I already mentioned that.
This place is huge, so there are plenty of stretching areas. The main stretching area is larger than CG.
Ballys has 3 large studios. One is for aerobics/core/spinning, another for Yoga and another with Pilates equipment. A friend goes to another Ballys regularly for spinning and enjoys it very much. This Ballys also has racquetball, which kind of gives the place a different, competitive vibe.
The locker room, again, is older but it has a steam room, sauna, showers and a WHIRLPOOL. Hell yeah! It also has all of the extra stuff to get ready in the morning (shampoo, gel, lotion, etc), but no towel service, of course.
It's an old building, and older equipment, but it has everything that I use, and it seems like they are working on upgrading the place... putting in carpet, painting. The entire gym used to be a racquetball club, so you can tell they are redoing some of the rooms.
With such a variety of activities, it seems to attract a variety of people as well. The old guys and corporate types do the racquetball thing, the hipsters do Pilates. There is also a lap pool outside. I would much rather hang with somewhat normal people than the sad steroid induced people at another gym. Are steroids airborne?
Location = B+
Tour = A (Thanks, Jeff)
Weights = B- (Older equipment)
Cardio equipment = C
Stretching/core area = A
Classes = N/A (Would have to try it to believe it.)
Locker Room = B
Noise level = B
Cleanliness = C (Building is a little old, but I saw housekeeping!)
People watching (for fun)= C
People watching (for fitness) = C
Amenities /Extras = B