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Fighting Fit !!
Esporta Health Clubs (Leeds)
Member Name: Ibanez Man
Esporta Health Clubs (Leeds)
Date: 19/09/01, updated on 19/09/01 (1990 review reads)
Advantages: Great location, Classy, Great Facilities
Disadvantages: Some would say expensive
The Esporta gym, Cookridge Hall, is situated about six miles outside of the city centre. This is a big bonus, mainly because it’s not flooded with hundreds of people working out on their lunches, and also pre/post work workouts. Whilst after work can be busy, this is generally only early in the week, when all the good intentions after a heavy weekend are laid down, only to be broken down again by Tuesday ;-) I think despite the busy periods though, there is more than enough equipment to cater for all times, I very rarely am waiting on anything, especially cardio machines.
The actual gym is open from 7am till about 10pm, with the pool being left open till 10:30pm. I think this is more than enough time for even the most torturous of gym goers to fit in their workouts.
The setting for Cookridge Hall is fantastic, you have to wend your way down a choice of a couple of narrow roads, both cutting through the 18 hole golf course, with a very nice lakeside bar area. (Ok the lake is only about the size of a swimming pool, and the fountain is dodgy, but still a 10 for effort hehe) There is a nice big car park outside the front entrance, to more than cater for everyone. There is also the additional car park, for wherever you wish to park.
The whole country club persona is carried out perfectly throughout, with all the décor in the reception, bar area, and gymnasium. The reception is very classy, with nice helpful staff to help you with any queries. Any membership issues etc must be taken up with their sales team, who are also very good, and make you feel almost at home. Whilst some would class my £54 per month membership I pay as expensive, I think it is great value, as I more then get my moneys worth going three times per week. If you compare it to cheaper gyms, they just don’t offer the same facilities, so I am happy with the current costs. A young persons membership is at £13.50, and a student membership is currently £22. <
After swiping through the security system, you can then sit down, watch TV, go to the bar, or down into the changing rooms. You can also go upstairs, where they offer manicures, hairdressing etc, but I never have, and probably wont use them, so I can’t really offer any opinions on those services. Hopefully people going in there should generally be going straight into the gym anyway, so into the changing rooms.
The changing rooms are really well designed, with adequate space to get changed in. There is a TV, with a funny glass cabinet, which contains various expensive products that they sell, still it all looks good. There are enough mirrors around for the person who just needs to sort their hair out, to a couple of full length ones for the oooh I love myself I think I am chocolate, I love my muscular body people (You know who you are !!! hahaha). The lockers are very spacious, and operate on a pound coin for the locker key system. The showers are pretty decent, I think there are about 10 of them, always filled with funny coconut scented soap, which is nice. There are also free hairdryers, and a spin dry machine for your swimwear, which are both really nice touches.
The gym itself is split up over two floors, the top floor is the for cardiovascular equipment, and downstairs is the weights ‘arena’ hehe.
The cardio equipment consists of treadmills, two types of cross trainer, step machines, normal posture bikes, seated bikes, and rowing machines. There are obviously a lot more treadmills than anything else, but there always seems to be some free, which is good. Most machines, where possible, have a box for your headphones, which is linked up to the giant TV’s which is on a wall that all the machines face. You can choose between about four channels, and five radio stations. Most of the machines are also, I believe, Life Fitness ones, which are really well designed, and mostly have thin silver shee
ts on the handles, to measure your heart rate, so heart monitors are not really necessary. Also, in the corner, half behind a screen, are some differently designed cycling machines. These are used for the Reebok cycle classes they hold. They look very intense, and everyone on them always has soaking wet t-shirts, so I’ve refrained up till now ;-)
The downstairs weights room is split into two distinct areas, the machine weights, and the free weights. The machines cater for just about every need, and the only real niggles I have are a few badly designed ones, like the fly machine, and bicep curls. In a few cases, a machine will have a very similar looking one near it, but will operate in a slightly different manor, often for an advanced workout, and sometimes for physiotherapy needs, which I find really useful. The free weights section is surrounded by mirrors, which is the thing that people are always amused at when they first go, but apart from the posers, it is a really good way of focusing on your lifting, and technique. The main items are in there, being bench pressing, cable cross-overs, chin-ups/dips and a smith machine (the fixed bar bench press/squat etc machine). There is a vast array of weights, these being variable sized ones to add to bars, barbells, large dumbbells, and smaller metal dumbbells. I’d say there is pretty much enough weight here to cater for a lot of weight trainers, as there are some pretty strong guys there, but I’ve heard some complaints from some saying there aren’t heavy enough. So if you are Arnie’s brother or something, you should possibly look elsewhere ;-) The only let down about these weights, is the fact that they are all measured in pounds, which I have now got used to, but when the benching bar is in kilo’s it can get complicated working out weights exactly, although maybe computers have damaged my brain hehe. There is also a drinking fountain on each level, which is gener
ally nice and cool.
Right then, if you can still walk or move your arms, you might want to head into the pool.
The pool is a nicely heated 20 metre one, which is split into three lanes, one of these designed for the quicker swimmers. It is generally really well kept up to, despite sometimes having too much chlorine in. At the far end is a Jacuzzi (is that spelling correct ??), a steam room and a sauna. There are also a couple of rooms for sun beds/showers. My only gripe with the pool area is how slippy it is round the edges, I’ve seen a few people almost get injured on them, I’d probably suggest matting it or suchlike.
So after you’ve finished your workout, you will probably head off home, or into the bar. The bar is really nice, and they serve great food, it is a little expensive, but what else would you expect from a private country club. I think they presume we are all rich hehe, but I don’t mind shelling out for the odd one. There is also an outside seating area joined on for a nice drink in the hot weather, sometimes with a barbeque.
The club also offers many classes to take part in. I think these are mainly aimed at ladies, as they seem to be aerobics and yoga, and other similar things. They are held very regularly, and as far as I am aware you can almost always get in them.
The club has facilities for kids too, like the play zone, which caters for different aged young children. Parents can wait in certain areas for their kids too, who are involved in an activity. They also put big inflatable animals etc in the pool at certain times on a weekend just for the kids.
All in all this is an excellent club, and I would recommend anyone who lives near it to join. The gym staff are generally really friendly and helpful. When you first join you have the option of going through an induction with one of them. This was really helpful to me, as it sets you off on the right foot, a
nd should show the right and most efficient ways of doing exercise. They do offer personal training, which is around £25 per hour. A fair amount for an hours worth of training, but their well trained staff are most certainly worth it, if you can afford it.
The club also puts on quite a few evening for members to get to know each other, which I think is a great idea. I’ve not been to one, as I go up with a friend anyway, but for those training alone, I think it’s an excellent way to meet other members.
The only thing I would love to add to this gym would be some squash, or badminton courts. I’m not sure if there is room for them anywhere, but there isn’t really any sports to do their, unless you want to pop down to the driving range, but that’ll hardly get you out of breath.
All in all, this is the best gym I have been to, and I shall update if this changes :D Hope you enjoyed this op, and maybe you should consider joining this or another gym, as since becoming a member in January it has changed me quite a lot, and I am a much healthier, fitter and stronger person. For those who already go, train hard !!
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