Tuesday, 18 August 2015

The Mighty USA

Unfortunately on my recent trip to the USA I was mostly confined to Hotel gyms.
I tried to go to Gold's Gym in L.A but did not have my photo I.D on me when I arrived and was going to have to go back and get it then return which was going to take too long (something to keep in mind if you ever visit this gym!).
What I did see however was a large warehouse layout down a fairly modest street in Venice Beach and the entry for a one-off pass was $20 (even though I had seen a deal which I referenced on arrival for a free week's trial).
I felt the young man at the desk was taking advantage of the fact I was clearly a tourist and charging me regardless and I am still unsure as to how necessary the photo I.D was, or whether once again he just was not interested in having tourists in the gym.
A bit of an inconvenient experience and a disappointment considering my excitement at visiting the famous Arnie's training ground!
The other gym I tried to access was in Manhattan and was an 'Equinox' gym.
I was interested in visiting this gym having heard whispers of these very stylish establishments.
Sadly this gym did not allow day passes and to access the facility at all you had to be a member.
I can understand the reasoning for this in trying to maintain an exclusive establishment with an air of the truly VIP- it worked. I felt suitably intrigued and unreasonably drawn to becoming a member of such a glamorous club.
Alas, from what I saw of the reception all my dreams would have been realised had I made it inside!
A beautiful layout, spacious, clean, crisp white floors and wooden desks with well presented and ever-polite American staff.
The people entering an exiting the club appeared to be equally well presented and seemed to be embarking upon a mixture of individual training and group sport/classes.

The gyms I did make it into however included the below:

San Francisco's 'Good Hotel' had a gym facility across the road within their partner Hotel's grounds.
This was a standard hotel gym with two walls being glass providing a less claustrophobic feeling and a view to an outside courtyard on the second floor.
Equipped with a treadmill, cross trainer, bike, free weights and a couple of weights machines, this gym provided all I needed for maintaining holiday fitness before a half marathon race.
There was very efficient air conditioning within this gym which was essential for working out in the summer heat.
The equipment was basic but perfectly functional. There was a T.V monitor on the treadmill for example, not top of the line but still superior to a range of equipment found in low budget gyms.
On the floor above was a rooftop pool which was heated to a very pleasant 38 degrees I would say- a little too warm for during the hot summer days but lovely in the evening. Deep enough to immerse but not long enough for laps. Definitely more of a leisure pool.

Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas had a beautiful gym facility to match it's beautiful setting.
This gym hosted two rows of treadmills about 5 abreast, a row of cross trainers and a row of bikes, along with an alcove for free weight use.
The air conditioning was exceptionally crisp and cool- a must when working up a sweat in the middle of the desert!
The equipment was top of the line, as is to be expected in the lush resorts of Vegas!
Sweat towels (and laundry bins) and bottled water were provided in a neat stack on the desk in the gym- a convenient and pleasant touch I thought.

The Warwick Allerton on the Magnificent Mile in the center of Chicago had a comfortable gym on it's 25th floor.
With two more basic tread mills, a couple of bikes and a cross trainer in the cardio area and free weights and benches in the weights area, this gym again proved sufficient for post-race holiday training.
I found the air conditioning cool enough, however the elevated location of the gym and the somewhat stuffy feeling up there seemed to affect oxygen supply and the level of perceived effort a little.
There were towels and cooled water provided along with a laundry basket for ease of use which was useful.
The view out over the city from the treadmill certainly assisted time in going a little faster!

My last port of call was Hawaii-the island of O'Ahu and staying in the Coconut Waikiki specifically.
This hotel had a small gym on the bottom level which was very well air conditioned and small but functional.
There were two basic treadmills, some free weights, three swiss balls and a bike.
Again, towels and chilled water were provided inside and this basic 24/7 gym proved just fine for my use.

Overall my experience of facilities in the USA proved entirely sufficient and the staff at every place I frequented were outstandingly helpful, friendly and hospitable which made for a truly enjoyable time away whilst keeping fit :)

Until the next adventure!

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Anytime Fitness Christchurch (Riccarton)

All Anytime Fitness Gyms seem to be pretty standard and this one was no exception.
Refer to my earlier post for Anytime Hamilton for all the details!!
Otherwise a great handy location in central Riccarton.

Friday, 31 January 2014

Mystery Gym- Mangawhai

This gym most certainly is a well kept secret!!
Whilst holidaying in the area, I had enquired about town as to whether there was a gym nearby. There were subtle murmurings about a mysterious gym which could only be located by asking the staff at a local surf-wear shop- 'Banmers'.
After locating this shop we were told that they only do 3 month memberships for $50 and no trials, but that we could 'go and have a look' with a sly smile.
We dutifully took the key to a local school and found the gym located above the sports hall.
It was small, with cardio equipment- one or two of each of the usual items- in one room and a weights room adjacent. The weights room was also fairly small but housed the usual free weights and machines and the boys in attendance seemed quite content with the equipment provided.
The aircon was just fans.
For the price (free on this occasion) and the convenience of having somewhere in such a small town it was plenty sufficient for the needs of holiday makers and longer term residents alike.
It could also be accessed 24 hours via the use of personal keys.

Studio Fit- Balclutha

After finding the pools in Balclutha not open until 1pm on a Saturday, I wound up working out at Studio Fit!
The gym is in an old church with all the original trappings still in tact- original carpet, one toilet and shower and a small changing room next to the gym space.
The gym has no reception and is accessed by client keys so can be used 24 hours a day.
The owner of the gym was utterly delightful, she let me pay later online and was extremely friendly, it was evident she personally knew all of her clients who were in the gym with me.
The other members were all also exceptionally welcoming :)
The equipment was a collection of various brands, old and new, it was a small space and relatively cramped but there was everything one would require for a workout and plenty of space to get it done.
For such a small town it was certainly adequate and I had a thoroughly enjoyable workout for $7!

Snap Fitness- Invercargill

On a recent trip down south, I did a trial session at Snap Fitness in Invercargill.
The staff member who showed me around was extremely helpful and friendly :)
Snap Fitness is a 24 hour 7 day a week gym with multiple branches across the country, it has all the usual safety features such as cameras and alarms for working out after hours.
The equipment provided was very modern and easy to use, not at all clunky like some of the other 24 hour gyms around.
The gym itself was spacious and well laid out with good air conditioning and lots of windows and light.
The gym is also expanding to an upstairs area to accommodate a masseuse and fitness classes.
The staff member also followed up with an enquiry as to how my experience at the gym was which was very efficient.
The only slight downfall in my opinion was that there were only 3 showers and these were a little cramped and required a short wait to use them. Since I wasn't there in peak hours I imagine the wait may become a little longer also.
Other than that the gym was in a great central location and on a whole was a very pleasant experience!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

A Side Note-French Gyms!

Recently I travelled to Europe for a few weeks and needed a few days cross training in gyms over there whilst in training for the Auckland Marathon.
I had heard of course that French women were renound for never breaking a sweat but I didn't expect it to be so true!!
I visited two gyms, one in Paris right in the city and one in Uzes-a small village in Provence. In both cases I encountered startlingly few women. In the Paris gym there was a grand total of one and the men in the weights room looked utterly shocked as I ventured through the doors away from the cardio equipment.
In terms of the quality of the gym, I paid 22 Euros for a casual pass (very standard over there) and it was of about the same calibre gym as the University of Auckland Gym- functional but no frills. There was an entire room dedicated to cardio, plenty of equipment there, a separate room for weights and another couple of bare rooms for classes and paired sports. Fans were the apparent form of ventilation- I was there in summer and it was incredibly warm inside!
The gym in Uzes ('Cocktail Tonic' it was called) was much smaller with only one treadmill, a couple of cross trainers and bikes and the standard free weights and bench equipment. I paid 9 Euros here, the staff were very friendly and engaging. The space was small but sufficient and what I would have expected for a small village. Once again the gym was filled with men and excluding myself I saw one other woman. One of the men seemed so surprised in fact he approached me to shake my hand simply for being there- most amusing!! Very warm again but sufficiently ventilated for the time of year.
Other than these gyms I visited the gym facilities in all of the hotels we stayed at, they were very useful and of the same quality as could be expected from 4-5 star hotels in NZ. I found these essential when travelling especially when I had to do my long runs and didn't know the streets or felt unsafe running alone in a foreign country.
Running in France was also a different experience. Whereas in NZ most runners will exchange a smile or wave, I was not acknowledged at all on the streets there. There were also noticeably less women running in general.
The summer heat was a challenge, even more so in Italy and Hong Kong where even in the early hours of the morning temperatures had already reached those expected in the height of summer in NZ.
Hong Kong was incredibly humid and almost impossible to run in- stepping out of the hotel produced an sheen of sweat on one's face along with grit almost instantly on the skin...ideal place to have an air conditioned gym!

Genesis Fitness Remuera

This gym offers parking right outside and is situated next to a large rugby field. The gym itself is very modern and clean looking with an extensive amount of cardio equipment which takes up the whole downstrairs area. One wall of this area is a large window which looks out over the rugby field. It is used as a showroom for new 'Nautilus' equipment on occasion so members get to try the newest innovations. Upstairs is the weights area with a whole room dedicated to this-the amount of weights equipment is abundant. One whole wall of this space is also a wondow overlooking the rugby fields which offers a lovely open-plan feel.  Upstairs is also a room for spin classes and a large open space for other classes or for the use of members when no classes are taking place. There are a variety of classes available along with circuits and personal training regimes.
The changing rooms are very nice with electronic locking lockers and hairdryers, they have a modern and clean feeling about them.
Trying to get in touch with this gym via email proved unsatisfying however, I never recieved any replies to any of my enquiries so it was best to just go in.
Genesis offers various memberships ranging from 3 month terms to the usual longer periods, all at fairly reasonable prices.