Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Gym quest

For several years I've been searching my area for a good gym, and let me tell you, it has not been easy!

A few years back, I discovered Trastevere Fitness and it seemed like a dream come true. For those of you who don't know: the majority of gyms in the historic center of Rome tend to be small, underground, dumpy/dingy, not to mention crazy expensive considering they're poorly equipped and have limited hours (very few are open on Sunday, and if they are it's only for a few hours). But this place was brand new, well-equipped, pretty spacious, and actually had windows! Perfect, or so I thought till I started taking the classes (Don't judge me! Yes, I like aerobics classes, I even used to teach aerobics back in my day). There was one good instructor, the rest sucked, and that's putting it nicely. It was like a mix between the calisthenics we used to do in elementary school gym class and Jane Fonda's 1970s style aerobics. To top it all off, the place was run by a group of business partners, some of whom were total jackasses and had no idea how to deal with or treat clients.
So I stopped going there and gave up on gyms altogether... till now. I really miss exercising and it's high time I admit I'm just not motivated enough to go running regularly- so back to the gym quest and this is what I've found so far.

1) Trastevere Fitness still exists but I won't step foot in there again, unless the management has changed.

2) New discovery, just opened a month ago: JC Welfare (who the fuck came up with that name?). I spotted this place on my way back from Stazione Trastevere. I immediately hopped off the tram and went to check it out. It's small but fairly well-equipped. Strike one: there is no room for aerobics/toning classes, they take place in the middle of the gym, cordoned off by large white exercise balls (I shit you not). They say they plan on expanding soon in order to have a room just for classes, but I've been in Rome long enough to know that "plans" like this could take forever to become a reality. Strike two: the pricing. There's a full-time and part-time membership. For real? Come on! Why must they unnecessarily complicate memberships? Just give me: 1, 3, 6, 12 month options, that's all a person needs. I don't need a membership that only allows me to use the gym between the hours of 8:00- 2:30 OR 2:30- 9:00 pm. Strike three: The price. 80 freaking euro for a tiny gym with limited classes and hours? Puh-lease!

3) Total Body System. This gym is located in a strange place, perched on top of a hill by Stazione Trastevere, a bit out of reach but not too bad. The place is nice, spacious, clean, they have a separate room for classes. The prices seem reasonable too. As of now, this is my first choice. I'll probably sign up for a month (65 euro) just to see if I like the instructors, I'm hoping they'll waive the 25 euro iscrizione (sign-up fee) though. It seems fair to let a person test out a gym for a month without having to pay a sign-up fee, since I'm not sure I'll like the classes and will want to stay with them.

4) Pamphili Fitness Club/ Passion Fitness. This gym is a little further out of the way, but easily reached with the 8 tram or H bus. I found it thanks to a flyer that advertised a free one week trial membership, which is practically unheard of here! So I did it and I loved the classes and instructors. I didn't sign up though because I was leaving for the USA so it was pointless to commit at that point. I went back there last week, hoping to quickly get a new class schedule and a list of prices. It ended up turning into a 25 minute spiel/ordeal. The people who work there are nice but they just overly-complicate things! I asked the guy for a print-out of the membership prices and what ensued was the longest, most complex song & dance evah and a handwritten "personalized offer*"! I don't want a personalized offer, I don't need you to do the division for me on your 1983 Casio calculator, I can do it myself. Just give me the number of months and the euro amount, that's all. Really. I'm a big girl, I can break it down myself. This "personalized offer" expires after a week, which I find amusing because it just means more work for them. I got slammed with work after I paid them a visit, so that one week has come and gone and I may have to go back for updated info. They just try too hard to appear professional and to sell you memberships, I'm not a fan of pushy people. Apart from these slight annoyances, the place is nice, spacious, well-equipped. The only drawback for me is the fact that it takes 25 minutes to get their by tram/bus.

5) Centro Sportivo Aventino. Unless you want to swim, this place is pointless. Talk about complicated schedules and pricing?!? I couldn't make heads or tails of their info.

Know of any other places I should check out before biting the bullet and signing up for "Total Body System"? I'm all ears!

(*image attached for your viewing pleasure)


rinaz said...

Haha, your comment about the Jane Fonda 1970's style aerobics is amusing.

And yes, aerobics classes are really crazy expensive in Rome, what's up with that?

But trying to be more healthy, I'm content with going to the commune sports center which is near where I live, I'm not completely satisfied with the way the aerobics are taught, but oh well, beggars cant be choosers.

alex said...

I really like this blog. Looking for gym that is not expensive is so fucking hard in Rome. they are all shit. the only really quality one is the one in villa borghese but even that has 30 year old equipment and costs about a million a year to join. im in trastever fitness and i like it so far. maybe they have changed management as they seem cool to me. It is a big pet hate of Rome - if you are going to open a gym why not do it properly?????