I joined LA Fitness last year following advice from my doctor to find a gym and cut down running on the road ( I am injury prone!)
A friend was with LA Fitness and I joined on special offer - £25 a month on a non committment contract - which is an excellent price for the gym. However within a few months the price went up to £30 and then £32.50. LA Fitness basically said the only way to prevent the price going up further was to sign up to a two year contract - I wasn't at all happy with this so I left.
-The gym is bright and friendly.
- All classes are included within your monthly classes and at my gym (Northern Ireland) there were an excellent variety of classes - from circuits to Pilates to yoga to spin. Classes went on during the day and up til around 8 in the evening.
- The classes change frequently - ocassionally there would be a dance class or a boxing class just starting up so you had plenty of choice
- At the gyms in NI there are swimming pools, saunas, again included in your membership fee
- Depending on your membership package you might be able to use all of the LA fitness gyms across UK and Ireland (you have to pay extra for this.)
- There is a good variety of equipment in the gym, treadmills, bikes, stepping machine, rowing machines and extensive weights/resistance equipment
- There is a online website where you can book into classes etc which is very handy to make sure you never miss you class
- Staff are very friendly, learn you name, talk to you when you come in ect. (this is also covered in the negative section as sometimes I just want peace in the gym and dont feel like talking.)
- Cleanliness: (i) often the gym was out of paper wipes for the equipment and there simply isnt enough cleaning during the day - some of the gym equipment is sweaty and disgusting ( I know everyone should take a certain amount of responsibility for cleaning up equipment after themselves but if there arent paper towels available it doesnt happen.
- Cleanliness: (ii) the mats for yoga/pilates/body pump are very grimy and look like they haven't been changed in some time
- Cleanliness: (iii) there was black mould growing in the showers. There is complimentary shower gel but to be honest half of the time this was empty.
- The sales pitch - LA Fitness are always trying to sell you something. It might be water on special offer, diet supplements, time on the sun beds. Every time you are in you the staff will try to sell you something and if they dont you certainly wont miss all the posters or the adverts on the tvs in the gym.
- Personal trainers: too many PT are around trying to talk to you, sign up, offer you a free hour. This is annoying as their salaries are based around clients (obviously) and they target people to sign up as much as possible. At a minimum of £30 per session I found it impossible to afford on top of gymmembership but I hated being repeatedly asked to sign up!!
Overall this could be a good gym if they did three things
1. Put in place a fair pricing structure
2. Improved their cleaning regime
3. Stopped trying to constantly sell things to you/get more money out of you!
Every now and again I like to live in the fantasy world of getting fit and going to the gym on a regular basis, as a result of this I have, in the past, ended up with a couple of gym memberships and the promise to myself of "this time I will use it".
La Fitness was my local gym in Sutton Coldfield and I was a member from September 2010 until September 2011. While my review will focus mainly on my local gym in Sutton Coldfield, I will point out that they have many branches all over the UK which can be found on their website www.lafitness.co.uk
I chose La Fitness as I had been a member years ago and they had sent me an email offering me a discount if I re-joined. In my memory I had enjoyed going and it was a good quality gym so why not give it a go again? The other bonus of this gym for me was that I would directly pass it every night on my way home from work so there was no excuses not to go and no need for motivation to make an effort to go as in my mind it would become part of my routine.
Signing Up for a Fitter and Healthier Life!
Being lazy and not feeling the motivation to go to the gym and take out a membership, I took the easier route of signing up online. This should have been a sign of things to come really! I visited the La Fitness website, clicked to find my local gym and after viewing the membership options I chose the one which would allow me to use the gym at any time during the day from opening to closing. There are other options such as an off peak membership which is slightly cheaper but only allows you to use the gym during the 'off peak' hours which is usually when everyone is at work and doesn't include the weekends.
Joining was easy and after choosing my membership type I simply filled in all of my name and address details. I selected to pay for my membership monthly as I had an email voucher code for a half price discounted membership for being a returning member. This meant that my monthly membership was going to be £19.99 per month instead of £39.99, paid by direct debit with the first payment being made by credit or debit card. The direct debit was easily set up by simply filling in their form online. Once all the forms we complete I was given a page to print out and take along to the gym with me where they would exchange it for a membership card and arrange a one to one session with a personal trainer as an introduction to the gym.
I should point out that in order to join La Fitness you need to be over 18, or over 16 with parental consent.
Right then, I suppose I better go and buy some trainers! Yes, you read it right, I joined a gym without even owning suitable trainers! Ah well, good excuse to go shopping!
The First Session
Ok, so one successful shopping trip later and its time to hit the gym. As I mentioned earlier, this gym was on my route home from work so I decided to go one evening after work to collect my membership card and arrange the one to one session. I took my gym clothes with me just in case they had any available while I was there.
When I arrived at the gym I parked my car in the large car park and entered the reception area. Things went well and I was given my membership card and a quick overview of where the changing rooms and toilets were. I arranged the one to one session for the following day and was given my La Fitness free gifts, which I will tell you later in the review. I was then surprised to hear that I could enter the gym and begin using my membership if I wanted. I was surprised as in the past I had to wait until I had been on a little tour of the gym and been shown how the equipment worked and how to use it safely, nevertheless I thought I might as well have a gentle session to prepare myself for the one to one the following day as again in past experience the personal trainer had really made me work.
So, my first trip to the gym in, well, a few years and I couldn't remember how the machines worked after such a long break. Plus from looking around the gym I could see that many of the machines had been upgraded or changed completely so unless you have the one to one session you are a bit in the dark on how to operate the machines. Nice and safe! During this first visit I was lucky as a nice lady helped me set the treadmill to run for 15 minutes and told me how to change the speed and gradient to suit what I wanted. This was enough for one day, I had a gentle jog and headed for home.
The following evening I had my one to one session. I can't remember the instructors name but he was pretty friendly and welcoming. To begin the session we sat in a room and discussed why I had joined and what I wanted to get out of this membership. I explained that while I wasn't overweight I simply wanted to get physically fit, tone up a bit and feel healthier in general. With this he got me to stand on a machine and hold a metal bar in my hands, this machine told him my resting heart rate, weight, BMI and how many calories my body uses in a day to simply function normally without any exercise. He then picked out an A4 folded piece of card with pictures of various exercise machines on it and began writing a workout schedule for me. As he wrote everything down he explained to me that I should try to visit the gym at least 3 times a week. I figured this was possible and planned in my mind to go every other day as this was easier than setting myself certain days and it would give me variation each week.
We then left the room and headed for the gym itself, I was handed my workout card and given a quick tour of the gym and shown where everything was. He explained that I was welcome to use the water fountains to fill my water bottle and there was tissue provided to wipe the machines down after use, this was a lovely image to have in my mind of how much I would be sweating! Following the quick, and I mean quick, tour we proceeded to move around to all of the machines on the workout card and the instructor gave me a rushed overview of each machine, how to turn it on and off and input my settings, he didn't really check that I had taken in everything he was telling me and to be honest I was given so much information that I didn't feel confident about what I was doing at all. He then made sure I knew how to exercise without hurting myself and how to stretch off to avoid pulled muscles, well I'm sure knowing how to use the things properly, with confidence and a more reassuring explanation would ensure this even more! My one to one session was now complete and I was free to begin my workout. In total the session lasted about 30 minutes, including the time spent talking in the room. This was a big disappointment as the last time I had joined I remember the one to one session being a lot longer with the trainer making you complete the full workout to ensure that you knew exactly what you were doing and that you felt confident. I also remember being totally worn out for a few days afterwards! However, this time I felt fine, not even breathless and certainly not breaking into a sweat! I decided that while I was there I might as well go for it and do my first work out so off I headed to the gym area and its wondrous equipment.
The gym area itself is quite large and most of the space is taken up by many machines, this is obviously great in some ways as you never need to wait too long for a machine even in peak times, however it isn't so good in other ways as the machines are placed quite close to each other and in rows. I often found that I would be jogging with a view of someone's bum wiggling around in front of me or I would be wiggling in front of them. I found on the exercise bikes I was often distracted by the panting of a random person next to me pedalling like crazy with sweat dripping off them and flying in all directions. Ok, I know you get sweaty at the gym and you have to put effort in if you want results, but some people really took it to the extreme. The main equipment such as treadmills, exercise bikes, rowing machines and the dreaded cross trainer were all located relatively close to each other and even with the rushed overview I had been given I still found them quite easy to adjust and change settings on, however some people might not and this is where I think the instructor should have really checked that I understood what he was telling me. Each of these machines have a bar to hold onto and if you place your hands on the metal strip the machines display will tell you your current heart rate. The displays' also show calorie counters, timers and distance measurements among other things.
In the area next to all of these machines we have various weights' machines, which also contributed to my workout, although I would have quite happily skipped them given the choice as the big burly grunting men in the room were enough to put little me off completely, nevertheless I wanted to tone up as well as get fit so I resorted to taking my ipod to block out there sometimes disturbing sound effects! The weights area was connected to another exercise room containing loose hand weights, exercise mats, step boxes and blocks to make them higher should you feel the need to push yourself further. This room has mirrored walls so you can even watch yourself sweating your bits and bobs off!
Each exercise area contains TV's mounted high on the wall to watch cartoons while you work out, sometimes they have the music channels on and once or twice I remember seeing the news but it was mainly cartoons which made no sense without sound, but I was quite happy listening to my ipod and seeing Spongebob moving around as if he was listening to my music too.
So, I mentioned freebies earlier and I bet you're just dying to find out what they are! Well, first of all we have a nice looking purple sports bottle with a green lid, this sports bottle is actually quite handy and I did use it a lot, however make sure it is totally empty when you have finished using it as it does leak and I did end up with a wet passenger seat in the car when it fell on its side. Secondly we have a purple towel with the LA Fitness logo embroidered into it. This is also quite nice although it is tiny so don't expect to use it after a shower, you'll be lucky, or unlucky (depending on which way you view it) if it covered the essentials! Finally we have the purple and black backpack, this was possibly my most used freebie and certainly lasted longer than my gym membership! The backpack is a good size, as a guide, you can fit an A4 sized book in there and I have also used it for hand luggage a few times on planes, it has a few pockets contained within the bag which I found quite handy. The only thing I didn't really like was a large white LA Fitness logo on the black part of the bag, it really stood out and looked quite tacky, but hey, what more do you expect for a freebie that gives them free advertising!
La Fitness also has a couple of workout studios where you can take part in free fitness classes including yoga, circuit training and Pilates. They also have spinning classes for those who really want to push themselves on spinning bikes rather than exercise bikes. While I think it is great that these classes are free I never actually went to any as the timetable for the classes changed quite often and the classes I was interested in like Body Pump and Body Attack were held either when I was still driving from work or so late in the evening that I would have had to hang around for a couple of hours before hand.
They also offer swimming classes and family swim sessions but some of these you do have to pay extra for.
Swimming Pool, Sauna and Steam Room
The big attraction of this gym was the 20 metre long swimming pool which I thought I would use quite a lot. It looked clean and was almost always empty so plenty of space to relax and swim at my leisure. This was actually the reality of the pool as well, however I still didn't use it often as I hated the big see through glass panels backing onto the reception area. I know most swimming pools have viewing windows and in general this doesn't bother me, but when you are the only person swimming around and you see people walking past the window staring in it does feel a bit more like you are a zoo exhibit rather than someone trying to get fit!
There is a sauna and a steam room available, but I'm not much of a fan of these kind of rooms so I never used them. I did take full advantage of the nice warm Jacuzzi though on the occasions when I went for a swim.
Gym changing rooms, well that is an experience in itself! The changing rooms here are a reasonable size and they have plenty of lockers but as these lockers have no locks on them you will need to take your own padlock or take a risk if you don't have any valuables. There is a weighing machine which costs 50p to use and gives you a printout with your BMI, weight and height on it. There is a separate changing area for the swimming pool although I think most people just use the main changing area. If you walk into the swimming changing area then you will need to go barefoot or wear some of the lovely blue carrier bag style feet bags provided. There are mirrors, toilets and sinks which were always clean and fresh when I visited. There are showers located in swimming changing area. And of course, as with all gym changing rooms you will get the random women getting naked and flashing there bits about like they are amazing... in reality its actually kind of gross! I am the one who changes in a cubicle where possible or hidden under a towel when not possible!
As far as gym changing rooms go, I would say these were well looked after and thankfully there was never really a smell of stale sweat which you can often find in the gym.
So, in reality how often did I use my gym membership? Erm... I would say in a total of 12 months I used the gym and its various facilities about 12 to 15 times! My idea of going to the gym on my way home from work soon died off as I found I was often too tired after a day of printing. My main use for the gym was to kill my boredom if I had nothing to do at the weekend. I used it occasionally during the hot weather, yes, I'm sure we did have some, to go swimming after work as I found this nice and refreshing and enjoyed having the pool virtually to myself.
So, 12 to 15 times in 12 months wasn't really worth the £19.99 membership I was paying and I admit I should have known this is how it would be as I have done the same in the past. I did however get a new bag, water bottle and towel from the membership and the motivation to buy myself some new trainers when I first joined so it wasn't a complete waste!
Replacement Membership card
On top of my £19.99 per month I actually ended up paying an extra £5 as I managed to loose my membership card quite early on and needed a replacement. The receptionist sorted this out for me and I paid the £5 in cash to her. She gave me the replacement card straight away and as luck would have it I found my original one a few days later in amongst my dogs blankets of all places.
There is an overpriced shop area in the reception of the gym where you can buy anything from swimming costumes, goggles and a few sports clothes to vitamin and muscle supplements. As I said though, the shop is overpriced so unless you were desperate for the item there and then I would just wait and go to your local sports shop instead.
Membership to LA Fitness is a minimum contract of 12 months unless it is otherwise stated when you take the membership out. You can cancel it earlier than 12 months but you will have to pay an upfront payment of the remaining months fees, so you might as well keep it and get some use out of it every now and again at least. To cancel your membership you need to give 30 days notice. Cancellation is done over the phone and doesn't take long at all. I phoned to cancel my membership at the end of my 11th month to avoid having to pay for an extra month on top of the minimum 12 months. I had no problems with cancelling and the lady on the phone was understanding of my reason for not wanting to continue my membership, she did offer to give me a continued discount rate of £19.99 but I said for the amount of times I use it I would be financially better off to pay and use a public leisure centre.
The staff at LA Fitness in Sutton Coldfield are generally friendly and pleasant. If you have any questions and you can find a member of staff they will always help you out. The initial one to one session could be improved upon as it felt rather rushed and impersonal and I think if it was a person who had never used a gym before they might feel even more lost and confused than before the session!
Other members of LA Fitness in Sutton Coldfield are generally your regular Joes, I found that the majority were pretty much there for the same reason as me and wanted to either loose a bit of weight or simply get fit, most of these members were friendly and happy to help each other or even have a chat while rowing away on your imaginary rowing boat. The guys in the weight area were a little OTT for my liking and I did find them a little intimidating in their macho-ness but I got used to it and ended up laughing at their funny ways most of the time.
As with all gyms LA has its fair share of posers with their perfectly toned bodies and skimpy outfits who take their exercise extremely seriously. For me, I found these people amusing and spent my time laughing at them rather than admiring them as I could see that out of all of the people in the gym the majority were there for a reason and didn't really care what they looked like, hello, we're all there getting hot and sweaty so we can look good in public, not to look good posing around the gym itself!
The address for this gym is:
366 Gravelly Lane
It is located near to Chester Road train station and can be accessed by the number 66 bus route too.
For those with cars there is a large car park at the rear of the building which is free to use and during busy times has a man directing you towards the empty spaces.
The gym is open Monday to Thursday from 6:30am to 10:00pm, Fridays from 6.30am to 8.00pm, at the weekends it is open from 8:00am - 6:00pm which surprised me to begin with as I thought it would be more popular at the weekends.
Should You Join?
Well, if you have the dedication to go on a regular basis and get your moneys worth from your membership fee then yes, LA Fitness in Sutton Coldfield isn't a bad gym. I suspect that there are better and I do think a few improvements could be made. The machines are in generally good condition which I think is quite impressive with the lack of training you receive about how to use them properly. The staff are nice and helpful and as long as you don't mind the occasional wiggly bum in front of you and a sweaty panting random next to you on the bikes then you will be fine here.
I am only going to give the gym 3 stars as I don't like how cramped everything is and I think the initial welcome for new members isn't really that welcoming, the pool feels like a zoo with its viewing window and the shop is overpriced. Other than this though it is a pretty decent but quite expensive gym.
Thanks for reading :)
I am a member of LA Fitness Manchester, tied into a contract for a further 10 months.
When I came to renew my contract, I had complained of the things I am about to tell you but they said 'were having a revamp / renovation'. 6 months later, its the same only a little smaller as some builders were in boxing off a small area to make space for storage, probably storage of broken machines...
Lets start with the showers, the other day I went at lunch time & in the showers there was a used tampon on the floor. I advised a member of staff who was equally disgusted. I then went to a class after work, upon going to shower, the tampon was still there!!
The dispensers are never filled with shower wash. They are dirty & mouldy. There was a razor within the clear soap dispenser! Someone had obviously dropped it in & left it there - Gross!
Of the 3 toilets, one, a different one each time, is usually out of order! The toilet roll dispensers are broken & not filled. The sinks are usually blocked, this is horrible, hair & all sorts in there.
I attend still as I am in a contract & I need to lose weight, I attend the spinning classes. The classes are usually booked up but the people do not attend, ok you may say this is expected but surely as paying customers are losing out of the benefit of the classes, surely a regular register would help? It has been suggested & they sometime now do this but the regular people who book all on a Monday and then dont attend any of them still have no incentive to cancel the classes.
The bikes are terrible, broken, wobbly, difficult to adjust to your heigh.
The room is extremely hot with constantly broken air conditioning, they have 1 fan. It has been suggested many times they purchase a new one but this is not on the cards.
At present, there is a leak in the existing spinning room. We have been moved to the extremely hot basement but its ok, they remembered to take the 1 fan they own down there to! However, the human sick looking stuff on the concrete floor is not the best thing to have facing you when your hot and about to faint!
Why dont they clean this up? Its been there for 2 weeks now and it could wash off if someone would just bother to do that? The shower senario all over again.
The music never changes, we go to classes to be motivated & yet the same boring, cheesy music plays and plays.
Anyway, I am now about to attend another boiling hot, unbearable spinning class along with the many others who complain about these things and more because we are locked into a contract!! I will not make the same mistake when my contract is up for renewal!
Please if you read this, dont make the same mistake it is very difficult to tell how it will be when you go for a quick look around.
I know its only a gym but if your serious about losing weight, dont go here, it will put you off going again.
LA Fitness do not care about their members all they want is your money. The facilities are very poor and often the spa is not working and the pool is cold. The staff are very unhelpful as are head office. No one responds to emails and when you try and cancel even if you have been a member for over a year you still have to give a months notice if you cancel your direct debit they charge you £40 for missing a payment. I would advise you to think twice before becoming a member of this fitness club it's like throwing your money in the bin!!!
I have been a member of LA Fitness for over 2 years starting at the branch in Northwich and then upgraded to allow me to visit other LA Fitness gyms around the country. This has meant that I have visited 7 or 8 gyms and while the standard of the gyms and quality of equipment does vary from one town to another the quality of customer service doesn't i.e. it's not very good.
I initially signed up for a 5 day trial in Northwich. This started off with a tour of the gym and a sit down with someone from member services to fill in a health questionnaire, find out what my goals were and to discuss whether I wanted to join. That all went fine and I was impressed with the facilities, sure it isn't as modern or large as Esporta or David Lloyd but it costs so much less: around £35/month for LA Fitness as opposed to £60 that I was charged at Esporta (no joining fee either due to a special offer). The equipment was well maintained with a good range of machines, free weights, stretching area and cardio machines. The timetable showed that there were a lot of classes to chose from although these were mostly during evenings and weekends - not much choice if you wanted a weekday day time class. One bugbear is that they didn't have any interesting tv channels, or even a sports channel subscription. I quickly get bored on running and cycling machines so like to have something to watch, but the choice of a music channel that didn't match the music being played in the gym and 2 screens showing Coronation Street (one with subtitles, one without) did not inspire me
I enjoyed the trial but got a bit fed up of the membership team hassling me every day that I went in. On each of the 5 days I was asked if I wanted to join and I received several phone calls asking me the same thing. Other friends who take up the offer of a trial or even visit as another members guest have commented the same thing
I eventually did join and enjoyed it. You are given a welcome pack which includes a booklet on exercise routines and a selection of other goodies depending on the promotion at the time - I received an exercise bag, water bottle, towel and combination lock. A member of staff will also book you in for a session to work out an exercise plan. This was a bit of a waste of time. The guy who took me through it was clearly bored and made no attempt to engage in conversation. I was rushed through the machines and walked away with another bit of card showing some exercises he thought I should do. On the whole though the experience was good: the classes were fun if a little repetitive - they have 'releases' every few months and until they do you just get the same music and the same routine. The machines were never too busy and everyone seemed friendly enough.
The problem I have with the organisation is that the front of office staff are basically sales reps and have no interest in providing any kind of customer service. You have sign the contract, they check if you have any friends who want to join at which point they stop returning your calls.
I have many examples of this in several different LA Fitness gyms with the latest one being that a friend joined the gym and was told because I had recommended her I would have a 20% fee reduction. That was 6 months ago and the money has never come off - I have called the gym 3 times and never received a call back. I mailed the gym manager and was told it would apply in one month, I used the online form to contact member services and was told it would be in three months. Two more mails were ignored. I then called member services and after many attempts to get through and a long wait time they promised it would go through at the end of the month and they would call back to confirm (surprise surprise no call back). This month I again waited an age to get through on the phone and they again promised it would be corrected and I could expect a call back, well guess what.....
I recently joined la fitness after moving back to Manchester/ Sale from Sheffield. In Sheffield I paid £32 per month, no joining fee, huge 50m long/ 3m deep swimming pool and a large and modern gym with what seemed like an infinite number of exercise classes.
When I moved back I was shocked to find unless you joined for 12 months + you had to pay £70 a month (on a 4 month contract) - plus a joining fee.
Eventually I joined on special offer - £69 for two months, no joining fee. Not bad especially considering in two months I'll probably have moved again.
Having got a reasonable rate of membership I joined - my first impression was how cramped it was though. Yes they maximize space but to even get to the changing rooms you have to navigate your way through all the fitness equipment and people working out, slightly hazardous I think.
They also have separate male/ female gyms - not sure why. A bit weird. Perhaps they don't want their members to spontaneously start making out after falling madly in love whilst exercising on adjacent pieces of equipment to each other.
Still, they have a good range and number of gym equipment there - both in terms of cardio and weights - it also seems fairly new.
The swimming pool is just the 25m one - a climb down from what I've been used to, but it still serves the purpose I want - which is of course going for a swim.
Finally, there are also a decent range of fitness classes - but if you're a guy it's a no-no to these - they are a strictly girly affair even though guys per se aren't banned from them. With quotes - in pink - from nike woman and advertisement's for "Aleshia's dance" fusion adorning the walls and the mirrors you'll soon feel out of place. Still, might not be a bad place to find a girlfriend.
This review is purely based on my experience of the LA Fitness gym in Newark on Trent. This is the only LA Fitness gym I have been a member of, so I cannot comment on other LA Fitness gyms.
I have to say that overall my experience of LA Fitness was a terrible one and needless to say, I am no longer a member and have no intention of going to an LA Fitness gym ever again!
I joined the gym in Newark because it is very close to home and as Newark is a small place, there isn't a lot of choice here. I also thought that at £35 per month, the price was quite reasonable. It had only be open for a few years when I joined, so I was expecting good facilities.
Before I joined, I took a look around the gym and thought it looked decent enough. When you walk past the reception, it is a big open space like a warehouse and all of the cardio machines are together in one section facing a wall with several TVs mounted on it. The weight machines are spaced around the edge of the room and there is a corner for free weights and a few mats for using gym balls, etc. There are also two studios off the main room, one being a general class studio and the other for spin classes. The gym also has a pool, which is not massive, but a decent enough size to swim lengths in. The changing rooms are fairly spacious and the changing facilities are adequate - basic, but clean. There is also a sunbed room and there are a couple of rooms available for other companies to rent out and provide facilities. When I joined they were offering beauty treatments, but this didn't last long and the treatment rooms remained vacant for months.
I was referred to the gym by my brother-in-law and when somebody makes a referral they are rewarded with whatever gift is on offer at the time. When I joined it was £50 worth of vouchers for a sports shop. When I signed up I confirmed that my brother-in-law had referred me and they confirmed he would receive the vouchers. A few weeks passed and the vouchers did not turn up. I chased them up and they said they were on the way. A few more weeks passed and I chased them again and got the same response. This went on until I eventually gave up asking for them and they never materialised.
When you join you are offered a free introduction and training plan. I booked mine in for a specific day and time and when I turned up for it, I was told that the person who was due to do it was off sick. I asked why they hadn't phoned me to cancel as I'd gone there especially for the appointment and they said they must have overlooked it.
When you want to do a group class, you have to book it with reception and leave your contact details so they know who will be attending the class. I did this a couple of times and when I attended for the class, I was told it was cancelled, but again nobody had bothered to tell me.
The machines in the gym are adequate, but they weren't as modern as I was expecting for a new gym. There was usually at least one or two out of order at any one time and a lot of the headphone sockets for the TVs didn't work. I also quite often had to wait to get on the more popular machines such as the treadmills as there weren't enough for everyone.
The final straw came when they were experiencing a leak in the roof. I could not believe my eyes when they had put buckets out around the machines and electrical wires to catch water dripping from the ceiling! Yes this really did happen! By this time, I'd decided enough was enough and informed them that I wanted to cancel my membership. I was told by staff there that they would sort it out for me and I just needed to cancel my direct debit. Do not believe them if they tell you this!! About a month later I was receiving nasty letters and phone calls demanding money as they said I had not cancelled my membership properly! When I wrote to explain what had happened, they were not interested and continued to demand money. I did eventually pay up, but I was shocked to learn that AFTER I HAD PAID that they sold my non-existent debt to a debt collector and I then received threatening phone calls and letters! The debt collectors said that I was lying about paying the money even though I'd got a copy of the cheque I wrote from my bank and my bank confirmed it had been cashed! The whole matter was an absolute nightmare! I find it quite amusing that LA Fitness still send me emails asking me to go back! Not a chance!
I've been looking for a gym to join for a little while. I actually visited LA Fitness back in January, but there was no way I was going to pay £38 a month for a gym! When all I wanted to use was the gym off-peak.
However, I went back in a couple of weeks ago, and was able to manage to wangle it down to £27, which is Silver membership. This means I can use all the facilities during off-peak times (where I am, that's after 9:30am, which I'd assume is possibly the same around the country)
Yes, the gym is a bit basic, with only a certain number of inline bikes, upright bikes, cross trainers and treadmills, but there is also a section for floor work and another for weights. I haven't ventured into the weights area yet, it's a little intimidating.
The only thing that got on my nerves a little was the personal trainer. They set up your exercise regime, but they do annoy a little as they expect a lot, but they do give you an opportunity to build up to it. And if you don't know how to use any of the machines, the staff are friendly and willing to help show you how to use it.
The other bugbear is the changing room, they are spacious but the main annoying thing is that the showers only have curtains and not doors. You do get a padlock in your joining kit, and the changing rooms are near reception, but it's annoying having nowhere to hang my towel.
All in, I am pleased, just it would be nice to have a little more protection in the shower.....
Having never used a gym before, I was keen to find something that would cater to both my level of fitness and my inexperience with using fitness equippment. I knew I wanted somewhere with a pool (a swim after rigorous exercise always leaves me feeling refreshed and appropriately stretched), a sauna, a steam room (because it just makes you feel good!) and of course all the basic equippment you would expect to find in a gym.
A couple of my friends had membership at the LA Fitness gym in Henley-On-Thames. They had quite a few guest passes so my husband and I went along with them on a number of occassions to try it out before committing to a contract. As I had never been to a gym before, I was worried about not knowing how to use the equippment and feeling self-conscious in front of other people in the gym who clearly know what they're doing.
But actually I was suprised at how easy everything was to use. Each machine, or piece of equippment, has instructions and/or fitness regime suggestions near by. There are about 12 treadmills which are modern, with various programmes for different levels, speeds and slope inclination. There are about 10 rowing machines - which can also be set to varying difficulties. Exercise bikes, cross-trainers, weights etc as well as the option to join in different classes such as yoga, boxercise and aerobics. Each piece of major equippment has the facility to plug in your headphones so that you could listen and watch one of the 4 large screen TV's on the wall.
The swimming pool, sauna and steam room are also really nice. This aspect of a gym is really important to me, and I was impressed by it. The pool is not especially large - it is just an ordinary pool with 4 lanes, with blue underwater lights in the evenings which made it seem very relaxing and tranquil. The changing rooms, also, are nice. They come with showers, lockers (you need your own padlock) and hairdryers.
Then there is a cute little cafe/restaurant near the reception with sofas, tables, a conservatory and a TV. It all feels very relaxed. I have to say that I didn't think going to a gym would necessarily be an enjoyable experience, but the LA Fitness in Henley really does have a nice atmosphere to it and you enjoy working out.
The only drawback is the price. They have a number of different schemes for you to pick from, so it's best to check out the website to see which one is best for you. We've not actually become members as we can't afford it. But every time we go with our friends, we only have to pay £5 a time, which isn't very much. So if we just go once a week - we're only paying £20 a month which is ideal. Otherwise, you're looking at a ballpark figure of above £40 a month to become a member. Maybe if a few of you are considering becoming members, but wouldn't use it much, you could split the cost and share your pass, or just go with a friend and pay £5 each time.
We also got a very good deal on a package "kit" that they offer. We got a nice LA Fitness rucksack, a pair of goggles, a padlock and two water bottles for only £10. We were impressed with that!
I have been using the Oxford gym for the past year, choosing it because it was well located. I have found that, while the facilities looked good initially, they are very poorly maintained and serviced: the equipment is often dirty or broken (as are the lockers), the showers run too hot or too cold, the exercise mats are worn out. Similarly, while the charges seem reasonable initially, the company looks for every way possible to rip you off: initial advertised "loyalty" refunds are not paid, despite repeated requests; if you need to "freeze" your membership for any reason (health included) you are charged £12 a month simply for the "good will gesture of keeping the account open". The staff on the ground are pleasant enough, but Head Office staff are uninformed, unable to do anything other than tow the party line, unresponsive when contacted (as are local management) and unhelpful.
As I've always been interested in keeping fit, as often as possible, Me and my friend decided to look at a couple of gyms and see how the facilities of each were laid out and which one benefited us the most is terms of price, equipment etc. because we all know that some gym memberships can be extortionate!
We first looked at the gym LA Fitness. As we walked in we inquired about getting a tour of the gym and we were told to have a seat and an instructor will be with us shortly, we had only sat down for literally a minute if even and we had been called for the tour, which i thought was rather quick and off to a good start anyhow. As we got a look around and created more of a feel for the gym we both thought it was well laid out with a good amount of training equipment. All the machines seemed to be in good working form, very modern, and more importantly clean, the place was spotless.
After the tour that was well presented by the instructor we were really considering joining as you do so we asked some questions about the different types of memberships you can have and the prices etc.
Everything was going well and then he mentioned the options ~
Option 1 ~ Club Peak 12 months (your chosen gym, at any time) for £45.99 for 12 months with no Sign up fee which was good but no thanks! way too dear for me!
Option 2 ~ Silver 18 months for 12, 6 months free ( access to your own club and all silver clubs at any time ) over an 18 month contract for £43.33 per month. This is what they call the reduced fee for taking the longer contract, a difference of £2.66. A round of applause was brewing there, i think not either.
So as quick as the smile on our faces went up it Came up down twice as fast with those prices you'd have to be on a good wage packet! or just plain stupid to join ha ha.
Me and my friend ended up finding a great gym called Fit Space in Belfast which you can join for a joining fee of £60 and £10 a month there after for 12 months. It has everything we need without the non wanted and rarely used extras such as swimming pools etc. £10 a month isn't going to break the bank and i find that hard to beat with a big stick!
There are two LA Fitness gyms in Belfast, one in the centre of the city on Adelaide Street and the other is on Shaws Bridge in the south east of the city. My membership allows me to use both gyms and I would use the Adelaide Street gym before work and the Shaws Bridge gym in the evening.
The Adelaide Street gym is not, in my opinion, as good as the Shaws Bridge gym. This is becaseu firstly the machines are not as new and there do seem to be more that do not work. Also Adelaide Street does not have all of the machines that are in the other gym. Another minus point is that although there are four televisions, for about the last three months only one works and it only shows the music channel. This is no good for me, as I listen to my own ipod, but I usually do like watching bbc breakfast news or sky sports news in the mornings to help distract me from the pain! I am now sure what the problem with the televisions is, but I hope they rectify it soon. Another bad point is the shower area (now I can obviously only speak for the males!). There is always a curious smell, that kind of reminds me of burning hair mixed with sulphur. It is not pleasant. The shower area could really do with an upgrade.
The pool area is quite small, but it is very quiet in the mornings.
On the plus side for Adelaide Street is the fact that they always give you a complimentary towel to use. This is good, as you do not have to use your own and therefore cut down on washing! Another positive is that the area used for the personal trainers is much larger than the other gym. The spin facility is large, but the studio for classes is quite small, although they do utilise the space used by the personal trainers for some classes.
In Shaws Bridge there are more machines and there are four televisions that are all working. They are always tuned to the four main terrestial channels, BBC 1, BBC 2, ITV and Channel 4. As I mentioned I go here in the evenings and have been distracted by soccer matches on ITV before - so much so that I fell off the treadmill which was very embarrassing! There is a large are set aside for free weights and plenty of resistance machines too.
The shower areas were recently refurbished and is now excellent. The pool is bigger here than in Adelaide Street, although it is busier. There are children playing in it at the weekends, but there are always dedicated swim lanes available. The sauna and steam room are small but there is no real need for anything bigger. There is also a little jacuzzi at the corner of the pool.
Some of the bad points now - you are not automatically given a towel here, you need to have a certain type of membership. The stretch areas are pretty small and the studio and spin room are not overly large. I was disappointed that neither gym has an area big enough to be able to offer a circuits class. Some machines have been out of order for a few months - not sure why they have not been fixed yet.
I pay £28 a month membership and this allows me to use both gyms, which for me is very handy, as I can use Adelaide Street in the morning before work and Shaws Bridge in the evening as it is close to home.
There are plenty of different types of classes offered at both gyms if you prefer to go to a class rather than work out by yourself. These classes include spinning, boxercise, yoga and body pump. If, like me, you prefer to work away on the machines yourself it is advisable to get shown round by one of the members of staff and they can also work out a programme for you to acheive your goals that you can set with them. They go through your measurements and set you attainable goals if you stick to the programme. I found this very helpful.
The website (www.lafitness.co.uk) is very good, as there is a dedicated members section where you can log in and book into classes.
In conclusion, although LA Fitness is not as swanky or big as a David LLoyd, you get what you pay for and you do get value for money. As I said my membership os £28, but the local David LLoyd wanted £75 a month off me, which is just too much. The LA Fitness gyms in Belfast are clean and well maintained and to be honest do exactly what they set out to do - be good quality, value for money gyms with friendly helpful staff.
Ever since the age of 17 I have frequented many different gyms. in my younger student/new cop days it was the free, slightly musty, back of the garage station gym or the local council gym, through to my flush days of £60 per month esporta!
Due to injury and relocation I left my last gym and have recently been at the stage of wanting to rejoin.
Shopping around my local area I wasnt exactly spoilt for choice. My eyes rested on LA fitness's excellent website following a google search and my interest was piqued.
Following a brief phone call, I arranged to attend the gym along with my partner who was from out of the area and not interested in joining in the slightest. "not an issue" say they and along we go. When we first entered the immediate impression was of a calm and tidy place with excellent facilities that were kept with an obvious sense of pride. A tour of the premises revealed a warm, clean pool (none of the horrible yelping and shoulder raising that occurs when warm body meets icy pool water) sauna and steam room, along with my personal relaxing favourite. a jacuzzi!!
Moving on further to the main gym area it was apparent that the area had been set up with busy periods in mind. Never again would i que for a treadmill or bench press.
besides the studio and consultation rooms the single most impressive thing here was the "LA Spin" studio. Purely for the cleanliness and standard of equipment that it contained. I have not yet had the courage to display my gluteus "truly max"imus in such a setting but cant wait to get started once my ham strings look like that of a baby gazelle rather than a water buffalo!
following a lovely relaxing gym and swim I took the decision, fully supported by my partner to join then and there. A gym for me has been as much of a mental benefit rather than just physical and as such it made sense. it had everything i needed in a compact and rather cheap box.
So how much does it cost?
well, £32.34 for a month for myself on a corporate membership. £38 per month for non corporate. A standard £35 joining fee applies to all members but the "kick start" programme allows this to be returned in certain circumstances. Off peak and swimming only memberships are also available on quotation from each individual club.
For joining i received a starter pack full of helpful hints and tips, along with 10 free passes for my partner (nice to know he comes to see me for my company and not for the free gym!! ;o) ) and a half hour free personal training voucher. I also received a water bottle, waterproof gym bag that is proving very handy as a shower bag, a padlock for the lockers and a sweat towel.
So now to the drawback. Since joining i have been constantly impressed with the cleanlines and standard of the facilities. However the staff leave quite a bit more to be desired. If there is a problem with the kit, or if i have a general question, i look around and the gym has suddenly developed a staff sucking vortex, causing all salary receivers to vanish instantly. The training staff do not acknowledge you when you walk in and the time i have sought advice of a trainer he quite frankly appeared bored with the whole debacle and then tried to pressure sell his services to me. it was almost "if its free i dont want to know, if you'll pay me to tell you this then i'm yours".
I have often stood at reception waiting to order a drink, ask a question, or book in and waited without acknowledgement for a good few minutes and felt invisible at times.
The gym does what it says on the tin. it is perfectly adequate for my requirements and a very comfortable environment to relax in for a few hours, if only the staff were slightly mroe happy to be there!!!
Well, I have to say first here, that I am comparing LA Fitness to the lush Reebok Sports Club which I had been attending until I really couldn't afford it any more- well, actually I could, but I was fed up with only being able to go to the gym Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and cramming everything into three days.... I needed my weekend back! Also, I had been starting to use my local gym in the week, meaning I was not able to afford to eat...(not good). So I decided to downgrade to LA Fitness and go to the gym a little for 5 days a week.
Why did I choose LA Fitness?
Well, when I was choosing between gyms, I made a list of the gyms around me I could get to: Fitness First- I visited, too small, classes not workable- in their gym they had 2 huge fat pillars in the middle of the tiny workout room! And instructors who didn't seem to care. It would set me back £40 a month and I have heard they can not cancel; your contract at the end of a year. They also had very few machines and they gym seemed to be very crowded.
My local gym, well I live in Greenwich, and I could have joined all of the local gyms around me for £40 a month. But there is black mould on the walls and ceiling in the shower rooms. They also close the gym for two weeks and still take payment without warning you first. And things like the Power Plate are constantly out of action- no one has fixed it for over 2 years! I also have a long history of Anorexia and Bulimia, and my local gym is across the road from a University where many of the students there seem to have anorexia or some sort of exercise addiction- its really unhelpful to me to put it mildly- especially when they plonk themselves right next to me and keep trying to match my speed/pace/compete with me in classes.
Well, that's it, Virgin, Escorta and anything else are too far or too expensive for me. LA Fitness was the only one to go for.
What are the freebies/perks?
Well, they are not too bad- I got a rucksack with a towel, earphones, a water bottle, a padlock for the lockers and a 20% off voucher card for any product loyalty card (also when I buy 9 products I get the 10th free but I wont hold my breath on that being anything I actually want or need!) You also get a free towel when you visit for a workout- a very good idea and something I thought only my last gym (the Reebok) did. The towels are a good size, though on the thin side, do their job and are free. You also get free use of the hairdriers and free shower gel and moisturiser.
I also am able to visit any gym in the country at any time, any day of the week, can do any class -except for the paid for ones, for free and can watch TV on the big screens whilst working out.
And what do I pay?
Well, for all this, I pay £47 a month. I have got this on offer and did join in December, but wont have to pay until the end of February, as I got December and January for free (I paid for Feb in December) I also escaped joining fees and saved about £100 in all. Its a big saving financially for me but....
What don't I like about this gym?
Well, there are some good things- the fitness team, class instructors, changing room cleaners there are friendly, they teach constructively and are all professional, and do a good job, but they are sadly let down by other things:
I have yet to go to any of the LA Fitness centres and not have it smell exactly the same: B.O! I don't know how they do it?! How do they get it to smell SOOOOO bad??? its also worsened when certain members are closer- so I know its due to one or tow people refusing to wear deoderant, and ruining it for everyone else. I am not sure who here is to blame as the air conditioning is definitely on, but for some reason, a few people in the gym seem to smell a lot more then people at my local gym where in some centres (Woolwich) there just isn't enough air conditioning at all- yet no bad smell! I have seen LA Fitness advertisements for offers like nuts, seeds and protein shakes, I wish they would also introduce a deodorant.
I also wish they had a cleaner on the gym floor, as many people seem to think its OK to leave behind their sweaty towels and tissues on the machine- Yuck! I think that is gross and again, something that seems to only happen in LA Fitness gyms, not in other gyms I have been to.
I also have found that the classes I do -with the exception of the Yoga, to be all too easy. Now, I may be being harsh here- my local gym is very good- so good that there simply are no private gyms for miles in Greenwich (just a shame the facilities let them down so much) and the Reebok has been noted as "The Centre of Excellent" by the Government Fitness Association Board, so LA Fitness did have a lot to love up to- and for me, the classes have just not been hard enough for me where abs classes and aerobic classes are concerned. I did do spinning and that was the same if not greater intensity.
I dislike how they turn the showers to cold when its 15 minutes to closing. I think that is nasty and uncalled for. It in fact makes me take longer as I have to brave the showers bit by bit so they only make things worse for themselves this way.
But my main concern is that they just don't have the variety of machinery I want! They have no Stairmaster, (Rolling stairs, like a treadmill but a set of stairs instead), the have no side stepper and no Power Plate in any of the gyms I have been to which for me is gutting, as they are all very good machines to use.
I also do not think there are enough machines and you do need to que at times to use the machine of your choice. The machines themselves are all very basic "Techno Gym" machines, which compared to both my local and the Reebok gyms are really the cheapest and most basic machines. But they do work and do what's basicly required in each case.
There are upright and back supported bikes, treadmills, cross trainers, arm cycle machines, stepper machines, a few rowing machines and walking/wading machines. Oh, and plenty of weight machines, I don't use weights so I cannot comment. The pool is OK in the one pool I have been in- not too cold, not too warm, but I have only tried one pool (West India Quay).
I don't know how I will manage these next 12 months (I have 12 months of a contract left), I cannot stand the smell and that's enough to put me off! But I will be leaving after then- unless the gyms themselves decide to get in more machines (though admittedly there is no more room for them!) and start to use air fresheners! I guess in a way you get what you pay for, I use my membership to go to a gym 5 days a week, for about 3 hours a time, sometimes more, so I pay a rate of £11.75 a week which works out to about 78p per hour. I don't have to face mould in the showers or chavvy teenagers using my gym, chatting on their mobiles, or super skinny anorexic Uni students, but I think I would rather go without food and go back to the Reebok full time!
Don't do what I did- for some people, LA Fitness may work for you, but try it out first- get a one day pass from the website and visit for a day, see if you can hack it, as they are very small gyms (though not as tiny as Fitness First) and you really need to see if you think you can hack it for 12 months as once your in a contract, there is no way out.
I have mixed views on LA Fitness.
I joined in May last year 2008.
The deal i was given was £34 per month but £78 on my first month of which half (£34) would be refunded if i went twice a week for the first 8 weeks of my membership.
I did go more than the required amount of times apart from the second to last week when i came down with an illness. That was my £34 out of the window.
Having spoken to many other members in the gym, i have found that generally the membership costs are all over the place. Everyone i have spoken are paying differing monthly membership fees, and some are as low as £20. So i will be bringing this point up when it comes to my renewal!
The reason i joined LA was because i felt it offered more variety of equipment than my previous local city council gym.
My old gym was also open-plan and i much prefer to keep myself to myself and found that the layout of LA fitness suited my needs more.
Although my local branch is relatively small in comparison to the other LA Fitness branches i have seen pictures of, there are more of each machine than my local council gym and more rooms.
You don't feel quite as self-conscious in a number of small rooms, as you do in a large room full of those awful buffed up pin-heads in leotards. "That place" is away from all the cardio equipment so you don't have to look at them. (Unless you're into weights of course)
If you go before 5pm in the week, you can pretty much get on any machine you like as its rarely busy. But after 5pm you might have to wait for machines because of it being busy at peak times. This January has been really busy, full of people with new years resolutions no doubt.
The swimming pool is fairly small in comparison to other places but its dimly lit and generally quiet in the daytime - which i like.
Unfortunately from around 5pm onwards its gets busy and they have water-aerobics classes which take up all of the pool except one small lane which is not sufficient enough for the amount of people wanting to have a swim!
There is a steam room, sauna and jacuzzi with easy access to the pool.
If they are all working at the same time you will be lucky, they always have a problem at LA fitness with either the jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, or sometimes the showers are cold! :(
If i do renew my membership this year, it won't be for £34 a month.