A few years ago I decided to give up my gym membership thinking I would just work out at home. Unfortunately that didn’t work out quite as I was expecting. I think over the past two years I may have worked out at home a grand total of 5 times. It just never seemed right to sweat like that in my own living room, I should be relaxing in my pj’s reading a book instead!
Now that we’re into the New Year, I’ve been thinking about my goals for this year, and I’ve came to the conclusion that it’s time to join a gym. I loved going to a gym – there’s something so incredibly motivating seeing other people workout that makes me want to workout too. But which gym should I join?
The Free Trial at Fit4Less
On the third Thursday of every month, Fit4Less has a free trial opportunity to access the gym, check it out, use the gym etc in a no-pressure environment. So I took them up on this incredible opportunity, and this is what happened:
First I called the Fit4Less location near me to ensure that they participated in the free visit program. Michelle answered the phone and was super friendly and helpful. You know how sometimes when you call a gym and they put you on hold three times while they attend to the needs of the other members in the gym? Well that didn’t happen. Michelle was bubbly and happy, and assured me that yes, I could come by anytime that day during staffed hours. She was very nice and and must have reminded me three times to bring a water bottle. I don’t know if a gym I’ve worked out in before was ever that concerned my ability to stay hydrated, it felt really nice. I thanked her and told her I would see her in about 10 minutes.
Finding Fit4Less was easy, the outside looked just like the ads.
Michelle was at the front desk expecting me when I arrived, and buzzed me in right away. I showed her my ID, and she signed me in. Unlike other gyms I’ve been to, she did not make me feel intimidated. There were no conversations about the last time I worked out, or whether I knew how to use the equipment. I also did not have to sign my life away on a hundred different forms, nor did I have to leave a deposit or anything like that. She did ask me again if I had brought a water bottle, I assured her I did and then she helped me to locate the change rooms.
The Change Rooms
The change rooms at Fit4Less are like fitting rooms in a department store, only roomier. There’s a bench, hooks and a full length mirror to admire yourself in (admit it, you do it too). I liked that I could check myself out in privacy 🙂
So much better than changing in front of other members!
After changing, I headed to the washroom to fill up my water bottle so that I could focus on my workout. The washrooms at Fit4Less were clean and spacious, had a good supply of toilet paper, with no bad odours.
After changing, putting my clothes in a locker (bring a lock with you), filling my water bottle etc, it was finally time to do what I came to Fit4Less to do… workout!
Had I been thinking straight, I would have gone to the 30 minute express workout area to try out the suggested workout, but being a runner, I went to try out the treadmills instead. When it comes to treadmills I generally look for ease of use, the width of the running deck, the length of the running deck, the sturdiness of the treadmill (does it wobble when I run?), the availability of an entertainment system, and whether the entertainment system is easy to use.
The treadmills were all StarTrac brand, and were in good working order. I found the running deck to be wider and longer than most gyms I’ve been to, so this was a pleasant surprise. Although there are handles on either side of the running deck, they did not impede my run because the were far enough apart to leave me more than enough room to swing my arms. Actually there was A LOT of room. Sometimes I hit my hands on the arms, but that wasn’t an issue with the Star Trac. The deck was sturdy as I ran (no wobbling) and the treadmill was easy to use. Unfortunately I could not figure out how to connect my ear buds to the entertainment system, and there was not an entertainment screen attached to the treadmill. I thankfully had downloaded the latest episode of my favourite TV show so I watched that on my phone instead. There was a little shelf to rest my phone on while I ran, and because the treadmill was not wobbly, my phone stayed in place while I completed a 3 mile run.
I did not try any of the other cardio machines (bikes, recumbent bikes, ellipticals etc. because I was on a tight schedule).
In the Fit4Less strength training area there were Star Trac weight machines for every major muscle group, a Smith machine and a free weight area with various benches, and a decline bench for abdominal work. I prefer free weights over machines because machines are not made for shorter than average people like me. Because of my stature, I find that I can’t line up my limbs to be in the right places, oh the joys of being only 5 foot 2.
Instead I went to the free weight area and did a basic upper body circuit (3 sets of 10 reps):
- Overhead tricep extensions
- Bicep curls
- Lateral arm raises
- Chest Press
- Bent over row, and
- Shoulder press
The members working out were mostly considerate, though there were the usual folks who think it’s acceptable to rest on a bench while they text every person they know between sets.
The Fit4Less location I visited also had two tanning rooms, one was a stand up and the other was a bed. They also had two hydromassage beds, and an area with four massage chairs. I unfortunately did not have time to try out those amenities.
Leaving the gym
When I was leaving the gym I needed Michelle thanked me for coming, and asked me how my workout was. At no point did she did pressure me to join at all!
4Less Card ($4.99 every 2 weeks) see more here: https://www.fit4less.ca/membership/clubselection?productId=386
Black Card ($10.99 every 2 weeks) see more here: https://www.fit4less.ca/membership/clubselection?productId=385
Gyms are situated to fit your lifestyle; locations are open 24-hrs so you can achieve your fitness goals on your own time and in a low-pressure environment (no sales etc.)!
Overall I found Fit4Less to have everything I needed for a good workout, and the gym was nicer than I had expected. It was a clean, welcoming environment with no-judgement. I particularly liked the change rooms as I don’t enjoy changing in a room full of other people. I could see myself joining in the near future as the membership options are certainly affordable.
What features do you look for in a gym?
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