Sunday, December 29, 2013

My Beloved Gold's Gym of Lawrenceville is soon to be New Jersey Athletic Club. Read more here...

Here is the link to the letter from the gym owner describing the changes: Gold's Gym soon to be NJ Athletic Club

After reading this, I was really shocked. Gold's is one of the higher end gyms in my area. It has extensive group fitness classes with highly energetic and committed instructors, excellent fitness equipment, an enormous kid's room with friendly ladies who watch the kids and play with them (my son LOVES the Kid's Club!). They have a cardio cinema and a ladies-only workout room. For an additional monthly fee they offer boxing and tanning (the Kid's Club is also under the stepped up membership) and they have a pay-as-you-go boot camp class which is offered four times per week. On holidays they host events like kid's night with Santa and a kiddie Halloween party. They have member nights out for people to socialize, they host fundraising events which are fun and social. Not to mention it's a big, really nice facility. What is not to like about it? Believe me, I am very satisfied. This place is my home away from home. The fact that they are performing a major overhaul is surprising because the facility doesn't appear to be in need of an update. It's big but not too big that it doesn't have a warm, friendly environment and the staff and instructors know you by name if you go often enough. Obviously, the "update" is not just to upgrade equipment or do some minor renovation. This is going to be a completely different gym. I hope the attributes that make it my home away from home don't get thrown out with the Gold's Gym signage.

Firstly,  I wonder what this change means for the cost of my membership. Right now I am paying $68.48 monthly. I have the stepped up membership I mentioned before. Not cheap, I know, but I use the facility a lot and it's worth it to me. This new club intends to become, "the region's largest most successful multigenerational fitness and athletic center." I can't help worry that my dues are going to skyrocket. Someone is paying for all of the construction/renovation, afterall! And there's going to be a lot:

"The new construction adds full-court basketball, an elevated indoor track, a cheerleading and gymnastics center, karate and dance studios, and party rooms".... "a large family locker room, new juice and coffee bar, improved member lounge, and expanded mind body room with bamboo flooring and improved heating. The kids club and adult locker rooms will be renovated in early 2015."
Sounds expensive and the reassurance that membership fees will stay the same, "through completion of the construction project" sounds temporary. I guess they'll wait until after renovation to increase the rates?

Also, I hear no mention of the group fitness room (Gold's calls it the GGX room). I'm a group fitness junkie. I'm in the GGX room 5 days a week. It's slightly disconcerting that there's no mention of the plan for the group classes. Gold's has Les Mills choreographed classes, which are a lot of fun (check out their website: Les Mills offers a variety of class types: bodypump, which is a weight lifting class using low weights and high repetitions, bodycombat, which is a cardio kickboxing class, bodyattack, which is a high intensity, sports inspired cardio workout, rpm, which is the LesMills version of spin and many more. They are all choreographed by program creators and the workouts are released every three months. The instructors have training sessions during which they learn the new choreography and teach the new releases from the launch date for an entire month. Once the month is over, the instructors can mix different releases and use different portions of different releases ("tracks") from over the years to keep things fun and different and keep your body challenged. I know there are downsides to LesMills programs. I've read various reviews of people questioning the effectiveness of the workouts which is exactly what lead me to start this blog. I intend to review and rate their effectiveness based on criteria that I feel is important for a good workout.

Anywho, I am definitely caught up in the Les Mills wave right now and I am very hopeful the future New Jersey Athletic Club isn't planning to do away with their classes. The Gold's Gym facebook page just announced the other day that they are not renewing Body Jam, a LesMills dance cardio workout class for January. The post received five likes and three very upset comments from Body Jam aficionados. There is still no response from gym staff to the complaints (shouldn't they at least address them?). I can't help but think I'd feel the same if it were one of my faves they were cancelling. We'll see what is to come of this gym in the future.

I overheard some ladies in the locker room this morning expressing their grievances with the announcement and I joined in the conversation. At the top of the list of their concerns is our monthly fee and the atmosphere/friendliness of the staff. They both said they really like the gym as it is now because it's reasonably priced and the staff is very nice and friendly. We all expressed concern that those qualities would change drastically with the overhaul. An information session is being held January 6th. I plan to attend and see what I can learn. I'll keep you posted!

Saturday Night 45 Minute HIIT Tabata Total Body Toning Workout

I was exhausted when I got home from work last night. I had been up since 530 am and the previous two days I'd been getting up at 5 am to hit the gym before work. I had no desire to workout and all my family wanted to do was veg in front of the tv. As I was sitting on the couch, I thought to myself, do I really want to spend the next few hours sitting on the couch and feeling lazy? I changed into my workout clothes because I knew it would make me want to work out. I didn't have a workout planned and my gym was about to close for the night. It was pretty dark outside so I didn't feel like running outside. I've often made up my own workouts consisting of alternating cardio with strength training intervals basing them on two body parts I was focusing on that given day (Stay tuned for a post on some of my workouts!). I thought about doing something like that but then I went on YouTube and typed in HIIT workout. I selected one called HIIT Total Body Toning and Tabata Workout by Fitness Blender.

It had an interesting format that I'd never seen before; a male voice instructing the workout and giving the cues while a female followed the cues and performed the workout onscreen to a white background. Before each move, the female working out would preview the workout for you in a faded color so you saw what you were going to do but knew not to do it yet. When it was time to start a move, she would appear in bright color. There was also a timer in the top right corner of the screen counting down the seconds for each interval.

The workout consisted of a 6-minute easy warm-up to get the heart rate up and the body moving and then went into the intervals. Each interval was 20 seconds with 10 seconds of rest between each set and a total of 8 sets per move. One of the first exercises was wide-leg burpees followed by three mini squat jumps (not a full squat). I could tell that interval got my heart rate up. I wasn't used to only 10 seconds of recovery so that interval was a toughie.  During the push-up interval, I started off feeling strong but by the 4th set I was pretty fatigued and had to drop to my knees. After that,  the intervals got easier; leg reach crunches, hovers, weighted lunges, jumping jacks and double pulse squats. For the double pulse squats I had to increase the intensity by adding in a military press with 8-pound hand weights. The workout was over pretty quickly and then there was a stretch/cool down. The first couple of intervals were intense and made me think the whole workout was going to be way more challenging than it was. In the end, it definitely was not a bad work out. If I do it again, I'd definitely have to think up some higher modifications for some of the moves. If I had a heart rate monitor, I'm sure it would've tracked my heart rate as being in the fat burning zone. My heart rate was up but I'm sure it could've been higher. On the plus side, my legs and shoulders were definitely worked! (It sure beat being a couch potato!) The workouts offered by Fitness Blender are free on YouTube so they are definitely worth checking out. Next time maybe I'll try one with a more menacing titles like 1000 Calorie Workout or Brutal Hiit Workout. Overall, it certainly felt effective for a lazy Saturday night.