It was during the Easter holidays earlier this year that I decided to join a gym. I knew I really wanted to do it but didnt know where to choose. Should I choose one near my work so I can go straight from there? Should I choose the one 5 minutes from home?
I weighed up the pros and cons and finally found a great place half way between home and work. Great. I can go straight from work to home (with a very slight detour) during the week, or straight from home at the weekends. Its a great location and I knew it would make me go more.
I walked in to the building and told them I wanted to join. There was a range of options. The particular site I use is open to everyone at full cost; there is a reduced rate leisure card available for purchase but class costs are still rather high; then there is the Beaumonts Health Club membership where you pay a monthly (or annually if you choose) fee for unlimited use. I opted for Beaumonts.
Beaumonts is a unique chain of Health clubs situated within Hertsmere Leisure leisure centres in Hertfordshire. Beaumonts Health Clubs have five sites across Hertfordshire:
Bushey Grove in Bushey (01923 470 140)
Furzefield Centre in Potters Bar (01707 850 500)
Hertswood Centre in Borehamwood (020 8387 5600)
The Venue in Borehamwood (020 8386 9886)
Wyllyotts Centre in Potters Bar 01707 645 005
Beaumonts memberships offers you a no joining fee and no annual fee membership and (when I worked it out, as long as you do more than one class a week) gives you excellent value for money. When you join, they will offer you a 14 day money back guarantee just so you are sure. As a teacher, I decided to join during a school holiday period so I could try out as many of the facilities as I wanted and then decide if I wanted to keep my membership. Of course I did keep it and I also got to see which classes and programmes I enjoyed the most and which ones I wasnt so keen on. When I went back to work, I was able to pick my favourites and work out a programme for myself that I could stick to based around my work hours. In the school holidays, Im fortunate enough to be able to attend many more classes and try lots of new things.
With a Beaumonts membership, you get:
Unlimited use of Beaumonts Fitness Studio
Unlimited use of Beaumonts Fitness Classes
Free Induction session
Free Personal Programme
Free Hertsmere Leisure Card
Free use of Beaumonts Health Suite - Steam Room, Sauna,
and Whirlpool Spa, (sun beds and treatments are at an additional cost but also at a lower rate than to the public)
Free swimming at Hertsmere Leisure facilities
Each site seems to offer something slightly different. Some are also larger than others and have a greater selection of classes and additional therapies and treatments. With the Beaumonts membership, you will be able to use any site whenever you like. You can just walk in and ask to go to a class, use the gym or use the health suite or pool but its better to book studio classes in advance as they can fill up rather quickly. Beaumonts members are able to book classes 7 days in advance. The only catch with the membership is that if you wish to cancel a booked class, you must give 48 hours notice. If you give less than that and they do not manage to fill the space, you will be charged the cost of the class. That said, I have not been too well over the past few days and yesterday I cancelled a class 6 hours before it was due to start. I informed the receptionist and she assured me that I would not be charged. Im not sure why and I didnt question (obviously) it but it may be that the class I booked was a popular one and there was every certainty that my place would be filled.
I myself find studio classes the way I work my hardest. There is a huge a range of classes available including:
· Aqua aerobics
· Pedal X (Spinning)
· Bums, Legs and Tums
· Cardio Kick
· Cardio wake up
· Core challenge
· Deep Water Aqua
· Fit, Firm and Fib (dance aerobic type workout with weights)
· Fit ball (or gumball as some may call it)
· Hi/Lo aerobics
· Kick combat
· Mega step
· Pedal n Abs
· Pillage (a combination of palates and yoga)
· Step Aqua
· Stretch n tone
· Tai Chi
· The Ultimate Mix
· Total Body Conditioning
· Total N-R-G
· Total Toning
All classes are advertised as being for beginners, intermediate or advanced levels. Some classes are also suitable for pre or anti natal. In my opinion, instructors are very capable and happy to adapt particular exercises to suit individual levels. They often demonstrate a choice of movements for you to try and choose which level you are capable of. They will also give you more personal advice and support if you feel you need it.
Some of the above classes are also available in junior version. Some classes are for 8 to 12 year olds and some are for 12 to 16.
If a workout in the gym is what gets you going, Beaumonts Fitness Studios are equipped with the latest in Stairmaster & Nautilus equipment presenting a challenge for everyone - the young and not so young, the complete beginner to the dedicated athlete. Whether you're looking to keep fit, tone up, lose weight, gain weight or just enjoy working out, Beaumonts instructors can help devise an exercise programme that suits you.
Each site has a team of qualified Instructors are on hand to assist you with your workout in order that your time is spent most effectively whether in a class or in the gym.
In addition to working out, time can also be spent relaxing and pampering. Most sites have a health suite. The health suite in the site I frequently use (The Furzefield Centre) consists of a spa/Jacuzzi, a steam room, a sauna and a sunbed room. They have also just opened a treatment room where qualified staff practise a range of techniques including:
· Indian Head massage
· Body massage
· Sports injury massage
· Spray tanning
· Eyebrow shaping and tinting and lots of other primping and pruning
At particular sites you may also see added facilities such as:
· Badminton courts sports hall
· Teaching pools
· Swimming lessons
· Astro Pitch - All weather outdoor pitch suitable for football and ideal for hockey
· SideKICKS Café
· Beaumonts Bar
· Function Suites
To find out more about any of these facilities or any classes, prices and times you can go to the website www.beaumontshealthclub.co.uk and click on each the site you want to visit.
Classes can be booked in person, by telephone or via the website. Beaumonts members can book up to 7 days in advance whereas non card holders can book in person up to two days in advance (and they must pay at the time of booking). An entrance charge will be made to all Non Card holders.
When visiting the sites, if you have any comments or queries or suggestions, you can let them know by filling out a customer comment card, telling a member of staff (this will be recorded as a verbal comment or speak to the appropriate member of the centres User Group or Junior Users Group. Details of which should be displayed on the notice boards in the entrance.
*Prices Beaumonts membership is available at £45 a month. This is for unlimited use. I myself was recommended by a friend who has a corporate rate and I pay £32 a month instead. Lots of big companies are now doing this and I would advise you to check out if your employers are one of them (my friend works for Tesco so I know they are included). As I previously said, there are no annual fees and no joining fees. You will be entitled to a fitness assessment upon joining but additional re-assessments will be charged.
If you choose not to buy a Beaumonts membership the average price for a class in the day is about £5.20 and in the evening £6.30. The Health Suite is also available if you are not a Beaumonts member but at an average fee of £6 for an hour. I myself do 4 evening classes a week, a session in the fitness studio at the weekend and have 2 or 3 sessions in the health suite. Without my Beaumonts membership, this would cost me approximately £49 a week! Or nearly £200 a month! Thats an enormous saving of about £190 a month, about 4% of what I would be paying.
So, to sum up. If you live or work in the Hertfordshire area near any of the sites listed, Beaumonts membership is available to you and comes at a good price. Splitting my monthly fee over 4 weeks, I pay just £8 a week. Doing just 2 classes a week would cost me about £12 without my membership. If that sounds like good money sense to you and you want to exercise in a safe friendly environment, then check out the website or pop in to one of the centres to have a look for yourself.