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: http://www.lesmills.com). 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!