Okay, so I went to the gym with my sweetie last night. Not the Crossfit gym--I'm still too broke for that--but to the gym at the local city rec centre that's been newly renovated and reopened. We figured we'd go check out the gym there and see if it would be a good longer term option since the cold months are approaching fast.
First of all, it's almost all machines. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not really a machine sort of woman. I like my free weights and find that machines often force awkward movements even when I adjust them. Part of this problem is that machines are designed for men's bodies, so they are built to men's heights and men's proportions. Some of them adjust okay, but for others, if I raise the seat so my upper body is comfortable, then my feet can't be squarely planted, that sort of thing. Bleh. I'm not a fan of the ladies-only gym concept, but I do like the idea that many of them have equipment that's sized for smaller people (I'm sure some shorter dudes would also appreciate this).
Also, the free weights they do have are nice and new, but I found myself wondering where all the rest of the dumbbells went. Above 10 pounds, there was only one pair at each weight, and nothing above 35 pounds. Seriously. And they have a rack of curl bars, but nothing over 65 pounds there. But hey, there's a big rack of small dumbbells that they can roll around for aerobics classes and not scare people by showing them that they might actually lift more than 10 pounds sometime. And don't even bother looking for barbells.
As for other equipment, well, there's not much. Some mats for doing situps and stuff, but almost no floor space for them. A pullup tower thing with optional assist, but it's so short that my partner had to fold his legs up to use it. Not a standard straight pullup bar in sight. A little rack of medicine balls, the largest being 10 pounds. A couple of skipping ropes. The ubiquitous stackable aerobic steps. They did have a back extension bench and an inclined situp bench at least.
And the dudes. The guy who was doing dumbbell bench presses with the 30s and grunting with every movement when we walked in continued to grunt and snort his way through his entire workout. Now, I'm not anti-grunting--I've been known to let out some odd noises on the last couple of reps of a hard set or when I'm pushing for a new 1RM on my deadlifts. But seriously, you don't need to groan with every rep of your lat pulldowns, dude. And I'm pretty sure I saw him kiss his biceps. Then there was the skinny young guy in doing some crazy workout he'd probably read in a fitness magazine that might have worked better for him if he hadn't done it all with 4 pound weights. I get that not everyone is strong, but I saw the kid rip out 10 pullups easily, so I'm not sure why he's messing around with the teeny weights.
Anyhow, we did a reasonable upper body workout with what we had and then headed off to the hot tub for a few minutes before heading home. All in all, it was a reasonably equipped gym for someone starting off or for people who really like machine-based workouts, but it wasn't for me. I found myself laughing at myself when we left, though, since a few years ago I would have found it intimidating and more than adequate. My partner says it's because I've grown out of that sort of setup now. He may be right. Or I may just be becoming a gym snob asshole. Heh.
So the quest for a good gym at a more affordable price continues. Our next stop will be at the large city-run athletic facility about 10 minutes from here. They are supposed to have a lot more serious equipment since they offer training programs for athletes, plus there's more aquatic facilities and an indoor track. If it seems like a good option, we'll probably go with it since the city pass would also allow us to use the pool and such at the smaller facility we were at yesterday, which would be a nice option. If that doesn't work, then we'll consider the sports centre at one of the universities in town since I will get alumna rates at that school and their setup is quite nice, but it's a pain to go there and deal with parking and stuff, so it's not my top pick based on the inconvenience factor (which tends to deter me from going as much as I should).
But I made a vein pop out on my chest, which I think is sort of cool but also makes me think that I'm a dork for getting all excited about it.