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Archives for September, 2012

Gym selection

I am trying to make a point about gym selection.  Any gym that you use is a good gym.  Everyone has to try out different things to see what works for them.  I love going to Mariner Square Athletic Club but a gym membership is not about love.  It is about going to the gym.  One of our young readers recently joined a gym.  She did her research carefully and joined a gym close to work.

When I changed jobs, I did the same thing.  I encourage you to try things and join a gym that you will attend.  If you join and do not go, find another gym and ask yourself why you joined and did not go.  I did not go because of logistics.  It may look like I am slamming Bally’s but I am not.  I am pointing out things that were in my decision process.  I am a member of Bally’s and highly recommend the gym to anyone who works in the Fremont/Newark area.

I just cancelled my membership at Mariners Square Athletic Club in Alameda today.  It was very sad to for me to give up my gym.  Unfortunately for me, I rank logistics above quality when it comes to going to the gym.  Mariners Square adds 30-45 minutes to my morning commute.  Bally’s subtracts 10 minutes from my morning commute.  Mariners Square is more of a full service Athletic club that costs about $75 per month.  Bally’s is a meathead, no service club that costs about $25 per month.  For my life style, the price difference does not matter.  It is all about convenience.   Logistics can be the difference between using the gym and having a gym membership that is not used.

Here are the differences between my two gyms.  Keep in mind that I am only talking about Bally’s at the Fremont location.  I hear the other locations are better.

Mariners square

  • Clean
  • Check-in people know the names of regulars
  • Pool
  • Steam room
  • Multiple hot tubs
  • Clean sauna
  • Clean showers
  • Clean floors
  • Clean equipment
  • Towel service
  • Hangars in a locker for use
  • Weights are organized
  • Dumbbells are organized
  • Members can cycle through the equipment
  • Personal trainers are available for questions
  • Personal trainers know your name
  • Personal trainers help with your workout routines
  • Did I mention it is clean?
  • Stationary bikes have foot straps
  • Good free weight area
  • People share equipment and weights
  • People do not like to share lap lanes
  • Janitors are always cleaning things


  • Dirty – I bring alcohol to sanitize the floor where I will stand
  • Great selection of machines
  • Great selection of free weight equipment
  • The selection of equipment encourages me to try new things
  • Machines are in great condition
  • The weight room is a mess
  • The weights (plates and dumbbells) are never organized
  • People leave weights on the machines and bars, probably because putting them away is frustrating in a dis-organized room.
  • Few to no janitors
  • Sauna
  • Stationary bikes do not have foot straps for fear of theft
  • Personal trainers are not approachable, probably because they are busy and jaded.
  • Personal trainers can forget about appointments
  • People camp on the equipment, spending more time resting than working.
  • There is enough equipment to make up for people camping on the equipment
  • Did I mention the place is dirty?
  • The dumbbells are all over the place and never in order

Seeing the differences in the two gyms, it seems like I would stay at Mariners square.  If the two gyms were right next to each other, I would pay $150 per month to go to Mariners square and would not go to Bally’s if it were free.  They are not next to each other and you can’t beat location.  Bally’s is a pretty good gym.  It just looks bad compared to Mariners Square.  The guy who maintains the equipment is spectacular.  All of the equipment is in great shape.  It is not the maintenance guys fault the exercise bike straps get stolen.

My reason for selecting a gym is location.  You may like the amenities.  It is your choice.  Look around and pick a gym that you will attend.  I will miss Mariners Square but I will adapt to Bally’s.  I am sure that I will be praising the personal trainers in 6 months, after they get to know me.