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Fitness First, second, third...last?
Fitness First in General
Member Name: kavics17
Fitness First in General
Advantages: Well equipped, affordable, lots of branches
Disadvantages: Management doesn't listen
I have been going to my local Fitness First (Walworth road, Southwark) for 3 years now and my initial expression has dramatically changed about the club itself. It's hard to see outside the circle but have been to a couple of branches recently and it just made me reassured that Fitness First is really not first anymore.
3 years ago it was a club where I thought only posh people were going, membership was costly (mere £48 for a full-time membership) and everyone was wearing really nice fitness clothes. Staff was friendly and the gym seemed very well equipped with nice new machines and had lots of group classes. I decided to join because I moved house and the nearest gym (Fitness First) was 7 min away from my house. I wasn't impressed by the joining fee and the amount I had to pay but as a student I got a discount meaning I paid the same amount as in my previous gym. I've been going to Fitness First regularly, at least 3 or 4 times a week, trully enjoy the classes (oh,well,not all though), and the sauna and steam room when it's not out of order (which does seem to happen quite often).
Fitness First was launched in 1993 in Bournemouth, there are 160 clubs in the UK at the moment (550 worldwide). They have blue or express clubs, platinum and black clubs-depending on the location you are, and whether they have swimming pools or not. You can try any of their branches for free before deciding to join, you just simply need to download a voucher from their website and book it at the reception in advance. Once you decided to join, a membership advisor will take time to ask you lots of questions and suggest you the best plan you should take out, it usually includes a session or two with a personal trainer and a full BUPA healthcheck. You do need to pay joining fee but nowadays they have promotions and let you join for free or for a minimum amount.
Fitness First is proud to have new-ish equipments- yes, they have done a great refurbishment in the gyms I have ever been, no complaints about that. You will be able to use cross-trainer, rowing machine, weight training machines as well as treadmill, step machine, etc. They have separate area for floor exercises and a studio for all the group activities. Membership includes free drink from the lounge and free newspaper every day you turn up at the gym (FT and Daily Mail), you can also hire a towel for £1. The lockers are big enough to keep your clothes in, there are enough shower cubicles and always shower gel and shampoo as well. Hair dryers are very powerful, and are always working.
You do need to book for the classes as it gets full very quickly, but it's just a short phonecall early in the morning .Make sure that you ask your local branch for their local number rather than their 0845 nr,as it can be costly to call them from your mobile. There are always (more) than enough personal trainers and membership advisors in the gym- if you need advice,they are there for you.
So why am I saying that Fitness First is not really first anymore? I have troubles with the management itself, after talking to them several times the same problems seem to occur. Management seems to think that they know everything better and for this reason they decide to change things without asking their members-thinking it mostly the group exercises and also the layout of the gym. They seem to have forgotten that they are for their members not the other way round-my local gym has experienced a decrease of the number of their members for this reason. It seems that their main aim is to get more and more members into their clubs but forget about their existing ones. I trully enjoy doing exercises and going to the gym-but really thinking about taking out a bit more expensive membership in a further away club just because I know they are there to please to members, for me that's as important as the equipments of the gym!
Overall: If the management would listen more, I would recommend them-until than - well, you decide!