Sunday, April 19, 2009

Gold's Gym

If you are among the hardcore likes of Rocky Balboa, a professional athlete, or anyone else who takes working out as seriously as possible, then Gold's Gym located at 5851 E. Speedway Boulevard is your place to pump up in Tucson. 

The layout of the gym is all business. Pictures of Arnold Schwarzenegger accompany statements like "Change Your Body Change Your Life." The cardio area is equipped with Life Fitness ellipticals, Precor treadmills, cycles, stair masters, and rowing machines. The gym also sports an outdoor pool, and aerobic rooms. 

Members are entertained by 27 Vizio flat screen TV's, five of which are tuned into Music Choice commercial free music programs. Hardcore rock blares through the speakers as members hoist the medieval looking steel Hammer Strength free-weights. 

Unconcerned with appearance, the iron at Gold's Gym looks as though it's been there since the club first opened, embodying its own "if it's not broken, don't fix it" attitude. Benches, dumbbells, and plates appear to be worn-in and scuffed. However, an intense lifter will care less about appearance when the club provides dumbbells up to 140 pounds and enough space and equipment to perform reps of any sweat drenching set. 

Gold's also offers classes for members. "We have trendsetting classes," said Frank "The Tank" Grijalva, an employee at Gold's Gym. "We reset classes every three months." Classes are changed and reset frequently to promote muscle confusion, which is designed to result in faster progress, and also the prevention of bored members. 

Popular classes include Body Pump, a 60 minute mixture of cardio and strength training, spinning, boot camp and Turbo Kick. According to Grijalva, members are becoming attracted to more aggressive, mixed martial arts classes.  

The club, which is open 24/7, currently offers a flat monthly rate of $19.99. The cheap prices and hardcore atmosphere bring weight lifters and fitness enthusiasts of all ages, "During the week, the average age is 35 to 50 years old," said Grijalva. 

However, crowds change periodically depending on the time of day, and the day of the week. 
No matter the age, one thing seems for certain, people are here for a serious workout. 

"Numbers may go up as the weather gets warmer," said Grijalva. 

Bally Total Fitness

Adjacent to the Tucson Mall, Bally Total Fitness located at 4690 N. Oracle Road, offers a well-rounded workout experience in an obviously older location. 

Complete with a decently sized cardio area and weight selection, the club attempts to offer members the same amenities as their competitors with a more seasoned appearance. The club has an indoor track, pool, aerobics room, cycling room, hot tub, and sauna, yet it is apparent that they have seen their share of use. 

The locker rooms are especially worn down, with grimy looking showers, cement floors, and metal lockers that look like they belong in a haunted abandoned school. 

However, despite the appearance of the establishment, the equipment is looked after and current. 

"The equipment is always updated every two years," said Daniel Allen, an employee at the Bally's location. "There's probably a good 1,000 machines including free weights." 

The machines include Life Fitness elliptical machines, treadmills, bikes and crew machines. 

The club also offers different classes, including pilates, yoga, cycling, as well as personal training. "We teach them in a certain way," said Allen. 

The club also has a diverse group of people who utilize the classes and amenities in different ways. "The pool is between 80 to 85 degrees," said Allen. "Cause a lot of older people use it." Bally's offers aqua aerobics every other day. 

"We're busiest between about 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., it's a mixed crowd" said Allen. "At 5 a.m. in the morning it's an older crowd." 

In efforts to accommodate the club's diversity, the location has a Spanish speaking staff, and has also collaborated with Silver Sneakers, an organization that assists with health service plans for senior citizens. 

The club is open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, open till 9 p.m. on Fridays, and from 6 p.m. till 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. 

The club is offering a monthly payment plan, starting at $34.99 a month for access to all national Bally's locations, a $24.99 per month one-club access membership, or a flat $279 one time yearly national access payment plan. 

Tucson's L.A. Fitness

Complete with a wide selection of Life Fitness and Star Trac cardio and weight lifting equipment, a four lane swimming pool, rooms for aerobics classes, cycling and racquet ball, L.A. Fitness located at 4240 N. First Avenue is one of Tucson's nicest, cleanest, and most modern places to work out. 

The cardio area is equipped with matching Life Fitness elliptical machines, treadmills, bikes and stair masters. Members are able to enjoy 11 Sony flat screens displaying CNN, and ESPN. The speakers softly blare pop and classic rock songs to help keep the calories burning. 

The large, well maintained downstairs portion of the gym is packed with more than 200 assorted weight machines, including custom L.A. Fitness dumbbells that go up to 120 pounds. 

"At night it's mostly college kids and in the morning it's mostly old people," said Cole Caygill, an employee at the gym.

Members can participate in an assorted number of exercise classes, including Kickbox Cardio, Aqua Fit, Yoga, and Mat Pilates which put the club's mats, flotation equipment, and punching bags to use. 

"Spin class and Latin Impact are by far the most popular classes," Caygill said. Latin Impact incorporates latin dance into a cardio workout. 

The club's locker rooms are also nicely maintained with wooden lockers, granite sinks and immaculate showers, sauna and restrooms. 

Located close to the the University of Arizona, popular student apartment complexes, and the Tucson Mall, L.A. Fitness is one of the city's best places to break a sweat.