Thursday, January 25, 2007

Gold's Gym D+

Don't be such a girly-man loser!

"It's not all about lifting weights there anymore. They have a lot of cardio equipment."

"Everyone attaches a stigma to Gold's from the 80's that it's just a bunch of guys taking steroids and lifting weights."

"What else do you need?: a rubber floor, some weights, and some cardio equipment. It has all of that."

These are all comments I've received from Gold Gym members who think that my gym standards are too high. I took all of this into consideration as I embarked on new gym territory last night after work.

(CG = Current Gym)

I didn't like the drive TO Gold's Gym from work, but was amazed by the zippy ride home.

CG is a nice distance between my residence and work. The parking is horrible during Christmas and summer because of local shopping.

The facility "tour"
From the outside, the look in is very industrial - very fitting for a gym. The reception area was nice and I was greeted kindly by one of the reception staff. Let's call her Emily. I told Emily about how much I liked my CG, but was willing to try out something else because $80 a month for free towels seems a bit expensive. I asked her if I could get a tour of the gym, thinking this was something complimentary that prospective members would receive: showing me around, telling me about the benefits of the gym, where specific equipment is located... Apparently not. Emily took me to the edge of the reception area and said, "The cardio and locker rooms are upstairs, and the weights are on the first floor." Hmmm, not the tour I had in mind, but ok. Maybe she is new.

Hans and Franz are going to pump *clap* you up.
The weight area alone is the entire size of my current gym. Special K, a Gold's Gym member, told me that Gold's has special weights that conform to your movement, giving you the best possible workout for each muscle group. That's impressive, I thought. Unfortunately, the weight room was large and it confused me. If I would have had a tour, perhaps they could have told me if the weights were arranged by target body area... (?) They obviously were not arranged by type. There were circuit weights mixed in with free weights mixed in with pulley weights. I didn't even want to search for the "special" weights my buddy Special K was talking about.

CG has circuit weights arranged on one side of the gym, pulley weights generally in the middle section of the weight room and *gasp* free weights in their own special section. Wow! The area is small, but well arranged. You do not need to go more than 3 feet to find the next appropriate machine or weight.

I'm more of a cardio girl. So, let's go UPSTAIRS!

Bikes, treadmills, elliptical trainers, Stair climbers, oh my!
...and all of them set up to face the same direction, which looks at about 10 overhead TVs and windows facing the expressway (except for the windows that are MIRRORED, so you can stare at yourself and those behind you while you work up a sweat). The windows, by the way... have they been cleaned in the last year? Ugh. I don't think so.

I'm more of a people watcher while I do cardio, and am not all about the TVs. CG has a TV at every cardio station. I think TV is distracting; it takes away from what you are supposed to be doing = exercising. But, I can appreciate those who need a TV to sweep the time away. The TVs are also adjustable, so you can move them out of the way and watch the other patrons and trainers. I've learned a lot about weight lifting, core exercise, and just people in general while doing cardio. What can I say? I'm a multi-tasker, extraordinaire!

Stretching my tolerance
There was no stretching area.

CG stretching area is one of the most popular areas of the gym.

It's a group thing
The group fitness classes looked fine. Gold's does Yoga, Gold's does a core training class. They do not have pilates, but I've never taken pilates so I can't complain. Emily tried to sell me on all of the fabulous aerobics classes, but I don't do aerobics. I don't like to clap when I exercise. The possibility that Gold's has fabulous group fitness is not enough to sell me on a membership.

CG has a LOT more group fitness classes, some of which cost extra (which I think is a rip-off). But, I've enjoyed a Wednesday morning Yoga class and they constantly run "special" classes that you can try out. Again, group fitness is not the main focus of my exercise routine, but it is nice to have options.

The noise level of Gold's is uncomfortable and out of control. There is a constant loud whizzing noise of fans. I understand they are trying to keep it cool and ventilated in there, but geez... look into some noiseless airconditioning units. Also, because the cardio equipment is older, it is by no mean noiseless. It's time they upgraded enough to be able to play music in the background.

I did complain to my CG staff last Christmas for playing annoying holiday music in the locker room, but they typically play some good background tunes - at least music that can be blocked out.

Going to the ladies.... locker room
The ladies locker room was the cleanest part of Gold's Gym. It was a bunch of lockers, some decent looking shower stalls, bathroom stalls, and a place to apply make-up/do hair if I were to go in the morning before work.

CG's locker room is fabulous. They have a towel service, build-around shower stalls without curtains, lockers equipped with locks, hairspray, deodorant, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, bamboo floor mats, floral arrangements... clearly much more that what is needed. Everyone knows the names of the housekeeping staff because they are constantly making sure everything is spic-n-span in the locker rooms. Furthermore, I know that Maria, everyone's favorite member of the housekeeping staff, is on maternity leave and is having a boy. It's like a family. Clearly more than what is needed. :)

Personal trainers
I only saw one trainer working with a client at Gold's Gym.

CG has at least 3 trainers on duty at any time, and they all wear bright red. If you have a question, you can ask them. Because I'm quite the people-watcher, I often watch the trainers work with clients and pick up tips from them. I've never used a personal trainer myself.

Are these my peeps?
If you are in denial that muscle-heads don't hang out at Gold's anymore, you are sadly mistaken. When a large majority of the gym is weight machines, you are bound to get those who main focus of exercise is weight training. Also, don't think for a second that this doesn't apply to women. I saw some pretty tough looking chicks in there too. Upon telling Special K my experience at Gold's, he referred to most of the muscular-types as "posers." Maybe, but I still wouldn't want to get into a brawl with any of them. (Luckily, I'm sure I could out-run them.)

I also got the overwhelming feeling that I was being stared at. Perhaps it was because I didn't know what I was doing, or where anything was, and people sensed that I was new. It could have also been that the guys behind me while I was on the treadmill (I saw them in the mirror) were looking at the TVs over my head. Perhaps I'm just crazy. At least when you catch eyes with some (creepy) person at my CG, they will come over and talk to you. When someone watches you in silence = scary.

I admittedly given a lot of flack to my CG-peeps. The OLD PIBTY in the locker room, the guy who shouts out Bible verses while he pumps iron, the muscle-kissing guys who flex in the mirror, the women with fake breasts and the old men who love them... But, let's face it - strange people are everywhere, and who's to say that someone doesn't think I am a freak too.

Location = B+
Tour = F
Weights = B- (Assuming I could figure out where everything is.)
Cardio equipment = D-
Stretching/core area = F
Classes = N/A (Would have to go back.)
Locker Room = C

Noise level = F
Cleanliness = D (It would have been an F, but the women's locker room was fine)
People watching (for fun)= B
People watching (for fitness) = F
Amenities /Extras = C

1 comment:

Helga said...

That's funny: I recently joined a Gold's (it's the only gym in my neck of suburbia) and I'm really happy. They have lots of good cardio equipment, nicely arranged weights, and it's not a meatmarket like the 24-Hour-Fitness in Oakland was. No fancy locker room, though, of course. But I've never had that, so I don't know what I'm missing. Ignorance really can be bliss!