One of my first orders of business was finding a gym. Because, well, I’ve taken about two years of grieving in a pretty squishy weight and that’s got to stop…as well as the fact I keep proclaiming my intentions to run the Paris Marathon 2015 or Marathon de Paris as they say (April 12, 2015 if you want to run with me or cheer me on!). So our 4th day here and first Saturday, the day was spent touring 5 different gyms that were in a 3 mile-ish radius of our new home. And I’m here to report on it for you future North Sea Oil industry expats.
Let me first say I expected UK gyms to be much cheaper than my US gym. I seriously go to the 2nd most expensive gym in Chicago’s Gold Coast (if not the most expensive); there is no way some gym in North Scotland would cost that much. Wrong. Seriously, everything is more expensive. Everything.
I was skeptical from the start being that this was located inside a Hilton, but then sometimes you go to really nice hotel gyms so I thought I might as well give it a go. And it’s not bad for a hotel gym, really nice pool, and two different pretty large rooms with cardio, weight machines, and free weights. But very limited classes and the classes they did have were most times held in a ballroom/conference room. Locker room was nice and spa-like thought. Just a little weird for me to use it as a full time gym. Gym comes in at an overpriced £50 per month on a yearly contract and £55 per month without contract.
This is the Robert Gordon University Sport club. Not sports, just sport. I have been asked if I ‘sport’ as well. Which obviously you can infer what that means, sorta…but how does one answer? “Yes, I sport.” or “Yes, I run and play tennis.” Just not sure how specific that answer should be and what all is included in “sport.” I digress. This club is split up between 4 levels, but has a good variety of machines, free weights, and cardio equipment. It offers a decent variety of classes, and is pretty damn cheap (for UK gym standards.) Around £44 pm (£38 pm with year long contract).
Banks O’Dee SportS Club
This gym actually has pretty much everything you need, on a budget. It has a decent class schedule, and enough cardio and weight options for everyone. The down side was: no pool for Erik and his tri-athlete dreams and it was under construction so the place was a chaotic mess. They assured us it would be finished within the month…but it was hard to visualize. This gym is no bells and whistles, but again- a pretty good gym I think. Especially for dudes just looking to work out and get out. But I kinda felt I needed to be more jacked and know what I’m doing to kick it there. Though, cost was a huge bonus. It was £32 pm with a 12 month contract. And I can honestly say if budget were my #1 concern (It should be more…but let’s be honest, it doesn’t fuel 90% of my decisions) I would definitely be joining here. I liked it in a bare-bones way.
Nuffield Health Club
This gym seemed pretty new and I know was recently refurbished. No shortage of treadmills, and while not the biggest weight selection: enough to be satisfied. There were a pretty solid list of classes and a specified spin room (no other gym had this). To join a class, you have to get a ticket/pass 15 minutes prior to the class time. They said they’ll always fit everyone, which makes the ticket process seem silly…and they warned that 15 mins prior to a start time you’d get a big queue and people standing around. They also provided towels free of charge, had a pool (and kids are only allowed in a select few hours and the pool seems largely unused) and sauna and steam room. It’s right off Union Street (city center) and with free parking, I could drive in and go to the gym and then do shopping and errands. But it’s the opposite direction of E’s office. We did get a one-day pass here, and although we didn’t attend a class (no Sunday spinning!), it was nice. This could definitely be my gym with no complaints. Of course, that means a heftier price tag. £60 pm with a yearlong contract or £66 pm with a 3 month contract.
Going forward this gym shall be known as David Banner gym….why, well because the rapper David Banner and THIS great workout-ish song he came out with. I didn’t want to like this gym. It’s over priced and pretentious. I wanted to not be such a possesionista in Scotland, not such a princess. But it sucked me in. Why? It is the only gym that has the super awesome spin bikes our old gym just got. It has more classes available than any other gym. It has earlier classes than any other gym (Erik can spin before work, and it’s on his way to work.). And it has mid-day spin classes (because I hate those over-eager 6 am spinners.) Don’t get it twisted- I only spin about once a week but I like my options. You have to sign up in advance for classes, up to 8 days, but you can join a waitlist and even last minute jump in if someone is a no-show. This is something I need to look into more- how often are classes full. Because that will really piss me off. The pool is massive, but since this like the obnoxious suburban mom gym, you can be sure there are lots of kiddos. There is also a sauna and steam room, and honestly one of the most impressive whirlpools I’ve ever seen. Also, they don’t provide towels…or they do if you pay an additional 15 quid a month (rubbish!). The gym itself is big and airy, overlooks the River Dee, and has every machine and weight option you could think of. Of course, it’s the most expensive. £70 pm for a yearlong contract, and £84 pm for 3 month contract.
There are cheaper gyms (probably the equivalent of 24 hour fitness or X-sport) but they are further from our home….and I can’t deny I like a certain degree of bells and whistles with my gyms.
So what did we decide? Well, nothing as of yet. David Banner is offering a special with £14 for 14 days that we’re going to try out starting this week. Then I think we’ll decide…leaning towards David Banner only because a) I’ve never been that great at being budget-conscious and b) since it’s just a £10 difference between Nuffield and DB- it seems £10 is worth it to have a gym between our home and E’s work, as well as one that offers more classes and early morning classes.
Let me end by saying that it seems gyms are pretty dead on the weekend. And on Sunday, there’s not a spinning class to be found. Unfortunately, a Sunday 9 or 10am spin is a thing of the past (or Chicago)…unless we join David Banner.