Gold's VS BAlly's: your opinion

  • jc_online

    Posts: 487

    Nov 13, 2007 8:55 PM GMT
    Currently I drive about 1/2 hour to Bally's. I had a membership since I lived in another state and the Bally's there was only 5 minutes from my house. A new Gold's just opened here in Noroflk, about 5 minutes from my house, so I'm wondering about your experiences with the two companies. I've been through the Gold's website and they seem like a good gym. I'm leaning toward changing becasue if it's closer I'm more likely to go more regularly and workout longer since it's closer to my house. Please give me your feedback...
  • jc_online

    Posts: 487

    Nov 13, 2007 9:10 PM GMT
    The new Gold's is having an open house tonight, so I'm going to go check them out.
  • DiverScience

    Posts: 1426

    Nov 13, 2007 9:42 PM GMT
    I don't use either, but if I were to pick I'd go to Bally's. But that's because the Gold's near me are rusty, poorly lit, use rattly weights, cold, and not very friendly.
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    Nov 13, 2007 9:45 PM GMT
    When I started to work out I joined Bally's. As the years progressed, the place became dirty, i got a staff infection, even wering shoes for water.
    the place kept going down hill--and the dues we alway increasing. And staff were also later to open or start a class. After the ceiling fell down in the locker room, it was a sign. So I went to Gold's---just down frome them. It is clean and the ceiling doesn't falls down. Great trainers and a staff that is approachable. Makes the switch. If you read about Bally's, they are in financial trouble. I hope this helps.
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    Nov 13, 2007 9:48 PM GMT
    The Bally's gyms here in Los Angeles tend to be nasty. As in, "I need a full body disinfectant after every workout" nasty. I stay away at all costs!
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    Nov 13, 2007 10:20 PM GMT
    I purchased a 3 year Bally's membership just over two years ago and regreted it. The Ballys gyms in my area are not clean, and the company seems extremely reluctant to invest in new equipment. Also, the membership was substantially more expensive than the 24 hour fitness membership I just bought. I was a member at a Golds franchise several years ago and loved it. They had new equipment, provided sweat towels, disinfectant and paper towel dispensers, and offered great classes. Unfortunately, I moved from the area and there was not another Golds gym near my new home.

    Note: There is one nice Bally's about 20 miles from where I live. It was originally a Golds gym, but was purchased by Ballys while it was still very new. I'm sure Bally's will let it go downhill.
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    Nov 13, 2007 10:23 PM GMT
    The thing about the big chain gyms is they are franchise operations and so it can really depend on the guy running the place.
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    Nov 13, 2007 10:24 PM GMT
    Be careful of BALLY's. They have one of the worst membership policies in the US and one of the worst record with the Better Business Bureau.

    I unfortunately got caught up with them when they purchased (for 2 years) Crunch in NYC. Crunch was one of the best gyms, but within 6 months of the takeover, Crunch became a vile pit of disgusting nastiness. The gym itself and the equipment went downhill fast.

    When I didn't renew my account, they "automatically" renewed it, and 3 years later, I am still fighting with them over my cancellation fee from BALLY's. Even after they sold Crunch to someone else.

    VILE company. Be very careful and read your membership agreement carefully before getting into bed with this piece of crap company.
  • JayDT

    Posts: 390

    Nov 13, 2007 10:30 PM GMT
    Personally I have a strong relationship with my peeps at Golds Gym in Down Town Los Angeles located on 7th and Fig. It's clean, well lit, very friendly staff, pleanty of equipment even during peek hours. The area is always clean. On the other hand my experiences with 24 Hour Fitness are exactly the opposite. The 24hr fitness near my apartment in Brea California, the roof is collapsing and has not been fixed in over three months. This means that the majority of the equipment cannot be used. And even if it could be used there is one peice (the Vertical Chest Machine) that has been broken since June. The staf all seem like coming to work is a chore. And I am afraid that I will get SARS from the steam room.

    J
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    Nov 13, 2007 10:45 PM GMT
    I personally think Gold's would be a better choice, in my experience.

    Bally's got upside down on their membership model of so many dollars down and then $12.00 a month or whatever, and consequently can't upkeep their clubs properly. Some of the older Bally's are a real mess.

    24 Hour is starting to go along that path, too, where they made money on the front end, but, not the backend.

    The business model of LA Fitness is more sound. It's 29.95 a month, or $39.95 a month, period. Their clubs are impeccably maintained, and well managed, albeit a bit pricier.

    Lifetime Fitness is the cream of the crop. Pricey, but, awesome.

    Some small gyms are good, and there might be one near you worth looking at. If you don't travel or get tied up in urban traffic, a small gym may be awesome. Small gyms will sometimes let me do things I couldn't at say 24 Hour, like train with my shirt off etc.
  • metta

    Posts: 39155

    Nov 13, 2007 11:30 PM GMT
    I'm a member of Bally's. It was originally Holiday Spa which Bally's bought. I have been a member since I was 16 1/2 years old. The gyms were taken care of better when they were Holiday Spa. I don't have a Gold's gym near me. Yes, Bally's is currently going through a reorganizaton and it appears that they are almost done. The details are not public yet.

    One of the locations near me is going through a $800k upgrade right now. Another one, went through a major upgrade last year (doubling its size) and it is now very nice. Many of the clubs need upgrading. It will be interestng to see what the plan is for the reorganization. One rumor was is that 24 hour fitness is buying 56% of their shares, which would make them the majority shareholder. Many of the clubs are being repainted different colors. It makes me wonder if the colors are 24 Hour colors....I guess I will just have to wait and see.
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    Nov 13, 2007 11:36 PM GMT
    I have found Gold's to be really clean and have a good variety of equipment.

    Sadly, the Gold's that I go to is closing down due to lack of membership, and I can't afford the only other gym that's reasonably close to me. icon_evil.gif
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Nov 14, 2007 2:03 AM GMT
    In Wichita, we don't have a Bally's (although when I was in Toronto, I thought Ballys was very cool). We had a Golds Gym, but it was in a dated shopping center and wasn't impressed (actually very disappointed) with the place when I visited it.

    Here we have premiere YMCA facilities that are the best in the country and a local chain of gyms called
    "Genesis". You generally belong to one or the other.
    I'd evaluate both from the standpoint of cleanliness,
    equipment, facilities, friendliness and price
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 14, 2007 7:32 AM GMT
    Bally's is a chain--like 24 Hour Fitness--Gold's is a franchise. Cognitively there should be a difference between a chain and a franchise in the delivery of services.

    What I am saying is simple. It depends on the market.
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    Nov 14, 2007 5:10 PM GMT
    I would love to join the Golds in my town. Ballys is about 10 miles round-trip and with the price of gas these days ($3.25 a gallon around here)...icon_sad.gif Unfortunately I can't afford the initial membership fee or the monthly fee for Golds. It sucks because I really need to get back in there.

    The upside to the nearest Ballys? Loads of muscled Hispanic men.icon_smile.gif
  • MikemikeMike

    Posts: 6932

    Nov 14, 2007 5:33 PM GMT
    I would have to say Gold's by far. It is a more serious gym in this area. As far as an initiation fee you can get it waived. Just bring in information from other gyms that do not charge one or have sent or given you competitor's rates. I have never paid an initiation fee! All gyms want to increase membership! If it doesn't work at first leave, try again especially at the end of the month. they need to make quotas like every other business.

    Same goes for car buying.

    Check both gyms out though. They both offer 1 week free promos.

    Good Luck.

    mike3
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    Nov 14, 2007 7:59 PM GMT
    I'm in Chicago, and have to say that the Bally's here reflect the prevailing feedback so far in this thread -- the upkeep/cleanliness leave something to be desired. I'm not familiar with Gold's.

    In general, I've been happiest with a gym that has clean equipment with reasonable rates, regardless if they're a chain or not. I've actually had better luck with locally owned/managed gyms, then Bally's, et al. My current gym is Chicago based and just 3 blocks from me, so I'm probably spoiled.

    All said, I guess the one value with Bally's is if you travel frequently to mid-to-major sized cities, you will always have a gym to go to.