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.

Burn Fitness

This is a 24 hour gym on the North Shore.
Parking is provided in a garage space below the gym.
The gym had a nice feel to it, large open area which housed all equipment, the usual safety features provided in 24 hour facilities, clean toilets and showers. It was modern, tidy and had cardio and weights equipment suitable for a medium-larger sized gym. The interior was light and well ventilated. Staff were friendly and the memberships were very reasonable- on the cheaper end of the spectrum. Located not too far from the end of the bridge which is good for for city-dwellers. One of the nicer 24 hour gyms I have visited, on a par with Anytime Fitness gyms but cheaper memberships.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Mangonui Health and Fitness

Whilst on holiday in the far north I had an insatiable urge for some gym time and found myself in Mangonui Health and Fitness.
The cost was $10 for a casual student pass and $15 for adults.
The gym itself is located up a bank in Doubtless Bay (Coopers Beach), it is fairly small with about 2 of each type of cardio machine, a rack of weights and swiss balls and a couple of benches for heavier weights, along with boxing bags and stationary weights machines.
The view from this gym is truly spectacular! The gym has windows running the length of all four walls so from its elevated vantage point you get a view of the entire bay and the ocean whilst working out! On warm days like the one when I was there they open the back wall which is also a large sliding door, this opens the back section up to the foliage behind the building and adds to the open-plan, fresh-air feel of the place.
Air con was limited to fans and music was emitted via a stereo and one of the staff member's ipods.
I was not around long enough to check out the classes they may run, but the atmosphere of the gym itself was lovely. I had also rung in beforehand and was told it was pretty busy..but upon arrival found only 4 people there.. I suppose this is one of the benefits of being used to a big city - being pleasantly surprised by another area's definition of busy!
The staff were friendly and unimposing.
Overall a very pleasant experience indeed.