LA Fitness? 24 Hour Fitness? CHAIN GYMS? Help!

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 16, 2008 1:35 AM GMT
    I've had some bad experiences in signing up for gyms. Last gym I signed up for was when I was freshly out of high school and 18. I could barely afford those extra 30 bucks a month to go but, I sacrificed and made it through. There came a point where the gym was just horrible. The machines were old, there was leaks, the sauna and steam room never ever worked, showers had mildew, the treadmills were always under repairs. I wanted to cancel my membership and I got stuck in a horrible contract where they "auto-renewed" my contract and it was a horrible process to get out of it. I vowed to never sign another gym contract.

    I started working out at my university (FAU in South Florida) but the gym is pretty bad there too since they're building a new one that will be open next year they moved the gym into a room and literally took away half the accommodation's of a gym. Though its free, I live over an hour away from school and when I'm on campus I can barely make it to the gym since school is demanding. I could make it to the gym about 3 times a week or so if I had one near me. There's an LA Fitness about 2 blocks away and some other chain gyms in the vicinity. I live in Pembroke Pines, FL if anybody knows where that is. I don't know what to do. I could possibly afford it but I can't pick the lesser of the two evils. And those contracts are horrible! Its like your stuck in them forever. And the smaller gym I was signed up too before was horrible. Not many private small gyms in my area. I like all the fancy gym things too. Looks like I'm stuck.

    So I ask:

    What's the best gym chain? and why?

    What can I do when I'm with the intense salesman to make sure I won't be fucked again?
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    Feb 16, 2008 2:03 AM GMT
    I have a LA Fitness Membership, Most of the LA Fitness's in South Florida are fairly new, there is a one on Sheridan (I believe) near I-75 another on Hillsboro Blvd near FAU. I also had a Bally's membership, but I found their facilities to be a lot older and not so pleasant smelling. I also believe that LA Fitness has a monthly payment plan but you do not have to get a contract, you can freeze your account if you know you are not going to be able to go for a period of time and they offer student discounts. You could also look into 24 fitness though I have never been to one of them.
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    Feb 16, 2008 2:03 AM GMT
    I belong to Gold's Gym. I dont know if it is any better or worse than others because I have never belong to another.

    What you need to do with an intense salesperson is "grow some balls." I dont mean that to sound as a put down on you, but you are young and the salesperson is playing on that.

    You are just fresh from home. You are used to dealing only in social situations. Your parents made all the business decisions. Now you are out you gotta grow the balls not to be intimidated by pushy sales people.

    You dont have to be rude. But ask (and politely insist if necessary) to tour and see the facility. Tour with a critical eye. Dont be shy to inspect machines, locker room, showers...look for mildew-free curtains, door, and grouting. Look for cleanliness...dust along floor and wall edges, around machines, on fans. Watch people operating the machines to see if they look like they are in good repair.

    Ask about the terms of the contract. How much notice is necessary to terminate the contract....usually like 30 days. Also, if it has a "buyer remorse" clause. In Virginia, a person has 3 days after signing a contract to change his mind, cancel his contract and get any money back.

    If a salesperson is too pushy, just tell him you need a few minutes to think and walk away from him. He will hopefully get the message that the pressure technique is not working with you.

    If you are not comfortable, just leave. There are other gyms or you can always come back later. They will always take your money. If the salesperson try one of those "special deals" if you sign right now....well, I express my displeasure at such a tactic, then get up and leave.

    Ok, there are a few things I can think of.
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    Feb 16, 2008 2:35 AM GMT
    Em3ns saidI have a LA Fitness Membership, Most of the LA Fitness's in South Florida are fairly new, there is a one on Sheridan (I believe) near I-75 another on Hillsboro Blvd near FAU. I also had a Bally's membership, but I found their facilities to be a lot older and not so pleasant smelling. I also believe that LA Fitness has a monthly payment plan but you do not have to get a contract, you can freeze your account if you know you are not going to be able to go for a period of time and they offer student discounts. You could also look into 24 fitness though I have never been to one of them.


    I like LA Fitness, I've been to one before.

    Does LA Fitness auto-renew your contract?

    I know you can "freeze" your account for 10 dollars a month.

    Did you get a student discount? I tried to look it up online and they didn't have anything.
  • metta

    Posts: 39090

    Feb 16, 2008 2:36 AM GMT
    Honestly,

    It is going to depend on where you live. I would ask around locally which ones are better. Each chain has some clubs that are better than others. Some of the individual gyms can be good as well. I just depends on what you are looking for. Why don't you check the ones that you are most interested near you and see what one offers the best things that interest you and that you can afford.

    I belong to Bally's, since they bought Holiday Spa. They have some very nice clubs and some clubs that still need a lot of work. It just depends. I'm sorry to say that I don't know your area so I'm not able to be specific about that. Hopefully there will be some people here that are familiar with the gyms in your area. But most people that you ask are probably going to tell you to go to their gym. It is proabably better to see for yourself.
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    Feb 16, 2008 2:47 AM GMT
    metta8 saidHonestly,

    It is going to depend on where you live. I would ask around locally which ones are better. Each chain has some clubs that are better than others. Some of the individual gyms can be good as well. I just depends on what you are looking for. Why don't you check the ones that you are most interested near you and see what one offers the best things that interest you and that you can afford.

    I belong to Bally's, since they bought Holiday Spa. They have some very nice clubs and some clubs that still need a lot of work. It just depends. I'm sorry to say that I don't know your area so I'm not able to be specific about that. Hopefully there will be some people here that are familiar with the gyms in your area. But most people that you ask are probably going to tell you to go to their gym. It is proabably better to see for yourself.


    It's not the gym as much as it is the contract. I know LA Fitness is nice. I mean, it was just built five months ago and its the biggest one in our state which is funny because its in an area where not a lot of people live.

    Anyways, its the contract. I need to avoid getting fucked over again because I know they tend to add in a lot of BS.
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    Feb 16, 2008 3:06 AM GMT
    I started off at Ballys, then Golds and now Im at hollywood fitness since its closer to me. But now 24 Hour is building a big complex to compete with the Golds here in town. And it will be down the street from me! I am hoping that my company will pay for it since they reimburse for gym memberships 100%. Hollywood fitness is a nice little gym but could use more equipment.
  • Grimlock

    Posts: 71

    Feb 16, 2008 3:52 AM GMT
    The LA Fitness in Atlanta does not require a contract. You just need to give one or two months advance notice (I forget which) that you want to cancel. They do have a hefty initiation fee you have to pay upfront, but around here they run specials where they will reduce the fee or waive it.
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    Feb 16, 2008 5:10 AM GMT
    I don't remember having a contract like at Ballys with LA Fitness I remember them saying you can cancel anytime you want as long as you give the notice in writing and at least one month in advance. I don't have a monthly payment or a contract. I got a nice discount. I paid 3 years, but I went with my ex boyfriend in the end of 2007 and we got two, 3 year memberships for 1500.00 Even after they insisted they do not negotiate their prices. We asked to speak with the manager, we told her what we were willing to spend,(after we found out the prices) she said that they could not change their prices. We were about walk out and told her we will try another LA Fitness and she called someone and magically they could change their prices. My 3year membership received a discount for being a "student" and my ex paid the normal 3 year price. It might of been how she had to make it work or set up in the system, but the bottom line is they can give you a discount.
    So if you have a friend that also wants to join and the cash on hand try to use it your advantage. You need to make them feel like you will get what you want elsewhere.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Feb 16, 2008 11:58 AM GMT
    I keep my Bally's membership up for when I travel
    plus I've been a member there for forever so the dues are really cheap
    but LA Fitness probably gives you more for your initial buck
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    Feb 16, 2008 4:23 PM GMT
    GQjock saidI keep my Bally's membership up for when I travel
    plus I've been a member there for forever so the dues are really cheap
    but LA Fitness probably gives you more for your initial buck


    I agree, and I think I just found out there's no contracts. You just have to cancel.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 16, 2008 4:37 PM GMT
    For the specifics of each individual chain, you'd do well to investigate them personally. Their operations practices change from time to time, and, of course, it's Common Sense 101 to know that about anything you'd hear here is hearsay at best.

    It may require a smidge of effort on your part, but, it's probably time well invested to make an effort on your own to investigate what's best for you in your area.

    In my personal experience, it depends upon a number of factors:
    1. Number of gyms in your area.
    2. Location of those gyms.
    3. Hours of operation.
    4. Current specials / membership plans.
    5. Atmosphere you seek.

    Here in Dallas, 24 Hour Fitness is mostly open 24 hours and has gyms all over the Metroplex, but 24 Hour Fitness is poorly managed, and the gyms are getting run down. Pro: everywhere in the metro. Con: shitty management.

    Here in Dallas, LA Fitness is in all the burbs of The Metroplex, but, not so much in Dallas Proper. They have impeccable maintenance, awesome management, but they aren't open past 11:00 p.m.

    Lifetime Fitness is amazing, with spectacular service, unparalleleded facilities, but, not a lot of locations.

    Gold's Gym, and Powerhouse, are a couple of franchises that have been around forever, and that you can count on to be solidly maintained and to have everything you need for proper resistance training.

    Bally's, in most cities, has run down facilities, and is struggling with their business model. Adequate, but, it seems that many times they are on their last breath.

    Here in Dallas, there are some ultra hardcore gyms that have their various specialties. Metroflex, is home to many a pro bodybuilder, but, last time I heard, no air conditioning. The gym up the street from me is $10.00 per month with card key access 24 x 7, but with kind of run down equipment.

    Obviously, there are a number of variables, that you need to take under advisement for your particular situation.

    Make a spreadsheet, of pro and cons, and do your analysis of what's right for you at this time.

    Don't forget, sometimes, when you want something done right, you need to do it yourself!

    Good luck!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 16, 2008 5:12 PM GMT
    Good point Chucky. I've been to a couple of gyms in my area and I think LA Fitness is going to have to be my best for now, until my new university gym is built (which I hear is going to be just as good as an LA Fitness). I'm going today to sign up and read over the fine print clearly icon_cool.gif to hopefully start the path to loosing my last 10 pounds weight and start weight training.

    You guys really taught me one thing: ask around and investigate, investigate, and investigate.
  • BlackJock79

    Posts: 437

    Feb 18, 2008 4:32 PM GMT
    Two words for you: PLANET FITNESS! There's on in Pembroke Pines, I just looked on the website. No commitment and only $10 a month. They have all the equiptment that I need for cardio and weight lifting. You should check them out:

    Pembroke Pines, FL
    9057 Taft St.
    Pembroke Pines, FL 33024
    Phone: 954.374.0800

    Club Hours
    Monday - Thursday 5:00am - 12:00am
    Friday 5:00am - 10:00pm
    Weekends 8:00am - 8:00pm


    http://www.planetfitness.com/loc.asp?s=fl


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    Feb 21, 2008 8:28 PM GMT
    I've been with LA Fitness for about 3 years. By far the best gym. I travel a lot with work, so I've been to many. They're all pretty consistent with layout and machines. And I only pay $25 bucks a month. The enrollment fee was $100 and they broke that up into smaller payments for me, so I didn't have to drop all the money at once. And plus no contract.