My running friends are about to disown me.
Over the summer I spent 5 weeks trying out popular fitness places including Kosama, CrossFit, Orange Theory, 9Round, and Farrell’s Extreme Bodyshaping and summarized my experience. I nearly ditched all of our group runs so I could make time to try out these new places so they were probably glad to have me back when it was over.
The response was so overwhelming that it warranted a second round of fitness trials. Many people who commented on the post mentioned all the great places I had missed in my first review. So then I set out to do another 5 fitness places over the last 5 weeks.
The good news? I’m in great shape and experienced a lot more fun workouts! The bad news? I’ll probably be stuck buying my running friends Starbucks to make up for it.
Wait, you’ve never heard of them? Me neither! That is until someone commented about it in response to the first review. I checked out their website and was convinced I had to give them a shot. When I showed up at 5 am on that first Monday I actually wondered if they were even open. The lights were on but there were only 3 other cars in the parking lot. I had become so accustomed to walking into a place that was jam-packed. Instead, there was a near empty parking lot and little signs of life. The interior wasn’t as large as some other gyms but the tall ceilings gave it a more spacious feel. The inside was beautiful. New equipment smell, tasteful decor, clean/new everything. Very much a boutique fitness place.
Wade greeted me when I walked in and was very welcoming on my first visit. At 5 am, there were a total of 4 people (including Wade)- which seemed a bit off. Once we started working out, however, none of that seemed to matter. The workouts were a mix of bodyweight exercises and equipment-aided exercises. It’s a rotating routine where you moved around to different stations and the pace didn’t seem as “intense”. Not necessarily that the workout wasn’t as challenging, but the music wasn’t as blaring and there wasn’t as much commotion due to the small group size. For some, this intimate setting is preferred while for others, a busier setting might be more motivating.
The entire time I was there, Wade was the only trainer at the 5 am sessions so by the end we were joking as old friends. One nice touch they had that I didn’t see anywhere else (in all the other 9 places I visited) was a complimentary coffee and fruit table to grab something on your way out. Free food is the way to my heart.
Average Length of Workout: 1 Hour
$299/month (Unlimited small group personal training, unlimited cycling, and unlimited Torva5 Classes)
$195/month Unlimited cycling and Torva5 Classes
$145/month Unlimited Torva5 Classes
$99/month Unlimited Cycling Classes
Who Might Like Torva: If you haven’t been in the workout scene for a while (or ever for that matter) then Torva might be a really good place to start. It’s totally unintimidating because it’s such a small, personable space and probably because there are so few people that you won’t have that super crazy person to size up against. It felt like semi-personal training without paying the price of it. Oh and if you like 90s music, there’s a lot of that.
If you ever need athletic humility, have I got the perfect workout for you! I really don’t remember when I first started noticing these Barre fitness places pop up, but it seems they’re everywhere now. I’ll be honest, I never looked into it, knew what type of workout it entailed, or anything about it. Several people mentioned for me to include Barre in this second round so I obliged. I personally favor HIIT style, circuit training, high-cardio workouts because I feel like I’m working “harder” so I typically avoid workouts like pilates, yoga, or barre because I considered them to be “easier”.
I was wrong. Like big time.
For starters, no shoes are allowed on the floor so if you like to workout in your socks then you’ll love this. In the entire 3 days I tried Pure Barre, there was exactly one dude. I’m not saying it’s a women’s only workout or that males are excluded, but it seems that it is targeted towards women (even their website shows only women). I digress.
Barre is a workout in which you use muscles that you never knew you had. As such, these muscles become awakened in the form of intense burning and body shaking…at least that was the case for me. I was nearly in tears having to hold positions or pulse through movements of the workout. The women (and one guy) who attended were very friendly and welcoming- assuring me “it will get better”. I think they sensed my agony. For someone who thought that I was in “good shape”, Barre humbly told me otherwise. But you know what? I felt absolutely amazing after each workout. Namely out of relief of it being over, but also the sore sensation of a job well done. Also, I will never look at 3 lb weights the same way again.
Average Length of Workout: 1 Hour
Cost: After your initial intro week it’s $79 for 4 weeks of unlimited barre. Then you can choose between the “Lite” package for $105/month for 8 classes OR the unlimited package for $139/month with a 12-month contract.
Who Might Like Pure Barre: Any ex-ballet people out there? This seems like it would be a good workout for former ballerinas or gymnasts. As for the rest of us…if you’re looking for greater flexibility and don’t want to do yoga then barre is probably a good next bet. Since it is such a low-impact routine, anyone of any age or physical ability could safely engage in barre. I also think single guys who are looking for a girlfriend would love it…because math and ratios don’t lie. I’m kidding. A little.
This is about as much of an “old school gym” as it gets. I don’t mean that in a negative connotation as if they aren’t keeping up with the times, rather, I think where other fitness places like to piggyback off trends, IThinkFit has none of it.
Finding this place can be a little tricky because you take an access road behind Bob Boozer and it’s tucked between industrial-type warehouses. When you walk in, it’s a rather large indoor facility with an open floor and an area designated for weights. My first day included weight training and up until this point, I never did a “weights only” workout as part of this experiment. I’m all about cardio and I knew that cross training was good, but it wasn’t until I saw this Chris and Heidi Powell video that I realized that weight training is as important as cardio. (Fun fact: Having muscle helps speed up your metabolism). This is where IThinkFitGym has it right.
I did two days of weight training and the last day was “Fit Camp HIIT” which was by far my favorite workout. It was a mix of weight and cardio in 3 rotations over the course of the hour. It was so painfully good- the kind where you’re drenched in sweat and barely breathing by the end.
What I also appreciated was the diverse group of people I met. It was probably 50/50 male and female with people of all ages. Anyone can come hang at IThinkFit and fit right in.
Average Length of Workout: 1 Hour
Cost: $150/month with at least a 6-month commitment includes free consultations/follow up, meal planning and unlimited classes.
Who Might Like IThinkFit: If you’re someone that likes to primarily do cardio, then you can benefit from coming here. If you’re someone that likes to primarily lift, then you can benefit from coming here. They have a lot of more traditional exercise equipment mixed with some newer technique. As one of the members puts it, “It’s a no gimmick gym.”
Unlike other places where I could just “jump in” by signing a waiver, Chas Devetter insisted that I come in for an initial consult which included a quick tour, fitness questionnaire, and a swag bag with gym goodies. Again, Free stuff is the way to my heart. I’ve known forever that “you can’t out train a bad diet” but that’s precisely what I’ve been doing for the last 8 years and in the 15 minutes that we spent talking, I’ve resorted to changing my diet. (At least for the week I was there and hopefully beyond)
I tried a mix of the group training and semi-private training. It incorporated body weight training, weight training, rowing, strength training, and some cardio. Honestly, it was very similar to other places in terms of the types of workouts and the community atmosphere. What I think sets them apart, however, is how much emphasis they put on making fitness unintimidating. They offer a beginner’s only class and the semi-private classes let you slowly assimilate into fitness without being thrown into the mix with former collegiate athletes. I think many people would love this and could stick with a program.
Additionally, all the trainers are extremely personable, friendly, and gracious- especially when it came to correcting form without making you feel like a nimrod. It was just a genuinely nice gym with nice people 🙂
Average Length of Workout: 45 minutes-1 Hour
Cost: Large group is between $129-$179/month and semi-private rates are between $279-$309/month
Who Might Like Devetter: In my opinion, Devetter is a place that provides a sustainable fitness model. They focus on a diet that I think most people can follow and do a good mix of cardio and weight training. I could tell they’re really passionate about helping you make lifestyle changes that you can stick with- both nutritionally and physically. If you’re truly a beginner or need a mind shift in how you view the fitness/diet relationship (like me) then Devetter is that gym you’re looking for. Unfortunately, they are no longer open.
Show of hands, which of you have preconceived stereotypes about Jazzercise and the type of people who do Jazzercise? *Raises Hand* I feel that Jazzercise is the butt of all the fitness jokes, but what’s that old saying…don’t knock it until you try it. I would say that’s true of Jazzercise.
I walked into Jazzercise unsure if I would fit in. Not that I didn’t think they would be accepting, but would I find other people in my age group? Surprisingly yes, there were lots of young women and women of all ages. Stereotype #1 broken. Then I wasn’t sure if I would like the workouts or if they would feel like those cheesy 70’s aerobic workout videos. Surprisingly I enjoyed them, it was not exactly what I imagined (although to be fair, some of it was) and the moves are a combination of regular workout movements and ballet moves. Stereotype #2 broken. My last thought was if we were just prancing around, would the workout actually feel challenging and would I be breaking a sweat? I can say I was definitely sweating and feeling the burn. Stereotype #3 broken.
Unlike other places where there were men (Barre included), there were only women the entire time I went to Jazzercise. With that said, I noticed that several women came here with their gal pals and everyone was generally friendly and welcoming. I’m also super impressed by the instructors and how much choreography they have memorized for about 8-10 songs that were used in each workout.
I’m not going to lie, I thought I would feel silly and out of the place the whole time. I only felt it about 30% of the time and it was mainly me laughing at myself. Jazzercise is meant for two types of people: 1.) those with coordination and 2.) those without coordination, but no shame. I’m the latter.
Average Length of Workout: 1 Hour
Cost: Depending on Location and Commitment, it ranges from $48-$64/month.
Who Might Like Jazzercise: If you ever were a former dancer or a 17-year-old that used to dance in your bedroom mirror for hours (speaking on behalf of a friend) then Jazzercise might be the place for you. There’s a slight learning curve to the dance moves and terminology, but I was able to catch on by the end of the first week. You will laugh, even though it’s directed at yourself. And if you haven’t noticed, Jazzercise is by far the most affordable option out there.
Since all the places I visited were user suggested, I definitely took a step out of my comfort zone to try some of these out. But I’m glad I did. Sometimes you favor a workout style and avoid “other” places because of preconceived stereotypes or false assumptions. That certainly was the case for me.
Perhaps you, too, will try something out of your fitness norm and fall in love with it. If you have and liked something (that you didn’t think you would) then I want to hear about it!
Also, did we see each other at any of these places??? Let me know by commenting below!