“ Address: 250 Sauchiehall St (opposite Sainsburys) / Glasgow / G2 3EQ / Tel: +44 0844 5712966 „
This gym has been closed for a while now, and the other fitness first branch in Glasgow (on Cathcart Road) has also closed. I'm really disappointed as there is now no ladies only gym, or even a gym with a ladies only area in Glasgow. I hope someone else opens one soon!
-------- -------- -------- ---------
I first registered with Fitness First for Women on Sauchiehall Street more than 3 years ago to lose weight in time for my sister's wedding. I decided to go for this Branch, and not the mixed one in the South side of Glasgow because I felt I would be more comfortable, and because when I had made enquiries at the other branch, the staff were really aggressive in trying to force me to join, and they took my phone number and proceeded to pester me with phone calls for months, until I complained formally! To be honest, I didn't use the gym much until about a year ago, when I started to get serious about my health.
It was not difficult to join - there are often staff outside the gym, handing out leaflets or promoting discounts and deals, but if not, it's easy enough to go in and enquire - a member of staff usually takes your details and if it's a busy period, will give you a day and time that suits you, to be shown around the gym and discuss the different options for membership. I currently pay about £27 per month, but many people pay more - it's difficult as they often have different deals and a shorter membership is more expensive per month.
The location, for me, is great as it's in the city centre and is on the main shopping part of the street - this is great because if you forget something, you can pick it up from the shops. It is not so great for parking at peak times, but this is not an issue for me as I take the bus, which drops me off very close. The signage outside is quite clear and distinctive, and when you enter, you have to go up a flight of stairs, which is well lit, and which you can hear music from, which is nice :)
When you enter, you see a reception desk in front of you, where you can buy sports drinks/protein bars etc, or pick up studio timetables or leaflets about the gym, and a member of staff swipes your card through. I find the reception staff are really friendly and helpful - there are usually 1 or 2 at the desk. There are also some sofas here to relax on, and members also have access to coffee (and milk and sugar and polystyrene cups of course) an dvds which can be rented for free - to be honest, the selection is dire! There is also access to a disability-friendly toilet from here.
There are about 18 treadmills and a few cross trainers, step machines, rowing machines and exercise bikes. The quality of these is good and the machines have very rarely been out of order since I joined. There is also a free weights area, with access to a wide range of weights, weight machines, an abs area, with mats etc to do sit-ups etc on, and a power plate machine, which the gym use to charge extra for, but can now be used for free
There are 2 studios - one for spin classes (I've never been to one:/), and one for most other classes. The range of classes is very good compared to what it used to be - the class timetable can be accessed from here (http://www.fitnessfirst.co.uk/fitness-first-timetables/FF_Timetable_141.pdf). I like that some of the classes happen at times that make it possible to go after work. My current favourite classes are zumba and legs, bums and tums. The quality of the class often depends on the helpfulness of the instructor though. Most of the classes do not incur any extra charge.
THE CHANGING ROOM
The changing room has benches to sit and put your belongings on, and a great many lockers, for which you need a padlock. Since the gym revamped their lockers, I've not had a problem having access to a locker when the gym is very busy. From the changing room, there is access to the toilets - there are 3. The toilets are usually fairly clean but are quite dingy, and only one of them has a mirror in it! The toilets all contain a hand dryer too. The changing room also has hair drying areas with (surprise surprise) hairdryers, stools to sit on, mirrors and sockets (to plug in straighteners etc), and space to put your belongings on.
THE SHOWERS are accessible from the changing area. At the entrance to the shower area is a slip-proof mat, and a carrier bag dispenser for belongings. There are 4 shower cubicles. Each has a frosted glass door and a hook outside - this is useful to hand your belongings on instead of letting them get soaking wet on the floor! The doors are slightly annoying as they don't have locks and don't close properly. The showers, although they are cleaned regularly, have a mouldy, dingy feel about them :/. Each cubicle has a shower gel and shampoo dispenser. There is often a small queue for the showers after classes, and 2 of the showers never have hot water, so to avoid them does require some waiting too.
The sauna in the gym used to be a steam room; I prefer the sauna as it is not wet - so less of a safety hazard, and it just feels more hygienic. I would say though, beware of the old ladies that seem to think it's ok not to wear clothes or a towel in the sauna - bleurgh. I really feel the benefits of the sauna - I feel that when I spend 10 minutes there after my workout, my body doesn't ache, and it has made my skin a lot clearer.
In general, the gym is kept quite clean - cleaning staff can usually be seen, cleaning the toilets, the machines, the showers, or vacuuming the main gym area, which is reassuring. However, the soap dispenser in the toilets is often empty - yuck!
There are usually personal trainers around. For a 1:1 session, you have to pay extra, but when they are not doing personal sessions, they are happy to answer questions or give advice on your workouts. The gym also has other facilities that incur extra costs, like a sunbed and a hypoxi-therapy room (I'm not sure what this is!)
I really enjoy using the gym for its friendly atmosphere, great location and facilities. Some of my friends have had problems where the gym overcharges them, or keeps charging them after they've left, but I've never encountered this.
Thanks for reading!