I’d already mentioned in a previous post about how I was so intrigued by ‘The Gym Group’ and signed up for their new Chelmsford location. It opened on Monday and last night, at 22.00 – I went for a little look around and to have a work out. I had asked the PR company if I could have a look just before it opened and take some photos for the blog, alas the request was ignored, so you’ll have to make do with some stealthy shots I took last night.
Once you enter you have to head upstairs, this takes you to a foyer area with two door ‘pods’, a disabled entrance, and some computer terminals. The terminals allow you to sign up on the spot, or retrieve your pin code if you’ve forgotten it. The pods at the door will only let you in with your PIN code, tap that in, the pod opens, you step in, the rear closes and the front door opens. These keep people out of the gym who shouldn’t be in there, as the club is open 24/7, traditional barriers could easily be ‘jumped’, these can’t.
Once inside you’re on the gym floor, immediately to the left are vending machines, selling drinks, and also padlocks, water bottles and sports towels. There is a small ‘breakout’ area in front of these. Over to the right are the changing rooms.
These aren’t regular ‘gym’ changing rooms, there are no bespoke veneered lockers and benches, and stone floors. They are off the peg lockers, and benches and vinyl / lino floors, it’s all sparse, and simple, but perfectly adequate for the job in hand. If it’s kept clean and tidy, that’s fine by me! You will need to bring your own padlocks for the lockers, although they can be purchased from the vending machine for £3. The shower area, again, is obviously done ‘on the cheap’, but it’s all clean and does the job. My only criticism would be that I had to press the button about 4 times during my shower to turn the water back on again as it automatically switches off.
On to the gym floor itself, well, the décor is bright, and simple, and there are LOADS of machines, all brand new, and similar to those you’d find in other gyms. All of them are pretty simple to operate too.
There are a fair few weight machines on the floor, exercising each set of muscles, also tucked away downstairs is a free weights area, with some more machines down there too. It’s a fantastically well equipped gym, the only thing I did miss was a ‘tread climbers’ which they have at Virgin, but it’s not the end of the world.
I did love the fact I could be there at 22.00, or 23.00 or even 2am, it’s nice having the flexibility to go when you when you want. I shared the place with about 6 other members last night. It was nice to have a look at all the weight machines, and try them without being sneered at by the Muscle Mary’s. Everything was at my own pace, and I think I did more than I normally would do, I had all the time in the world, and I actually came out buzzing and wanting to go back.
All in all, you pay £10.99 a month (for the first year then £15.99 after), most of the other gyms in the area are £40+, you do lose the little extras, like a sauna, steam room, paper towel dispensers, posh furnishings. But ultimately, you don’t lose the most important part, The Gym! So long as it’s kept in good order, cleaned well, and maintained it’s pretty much a no brainer having a membership here. I really think this could shake things up massively for the gym market in Chelmsford, we’re not exactly an area stricken with poverty, but in these tough times the ‘extras’ like a Gym membership can be hard to justify. But for the cost of a round of drinks you get all this, you probably can’t beat it!