Lifetime Fitness Vs. LA Fitness

I need to get fit.

I’m overweight from where I want to be, and in general I’m just not very fit at all. In the past I’ve done some P90, and used the Wii fit, but those changes never really lasted. That was partially cause I injured myself. When I went back to school I joined the gym there. My workouts were sporadic because I fell back into some of my old college habits, but at least I concentrated on my school work this time and did work out.
Since graduating, I’ve been increasingly sedentary. These past two weeks I’ve been realizing I need to make changes, and have been implementing different changes to my routine as I can. Joining a gym is one of those I feel I need to make.
So I checked out the two main gyms in this area, Lifetime Fitness, and LA Fitness. I took a tour of the Lifetime facility on Crosstown and 494 on Thursday, and then LA Fitness on 7 in Hopkins yesterday.

Lifetime has an impressive facility.
It’s a little more expensive per month to be sure, but there’s quite a few member benefits that offset this like an initial fitness check. There’s several studios (I think 3?) for Yoga and other classes, tennis, basketball, and racquetball courts, tons of machines, and their own in house spa and hair salon. Inside the locker room there’s a Eucalyptus steam room. I was nearly sold except for the price and my wanting to at least check out their competitors.

So I went to LA Fitness and got a tour there as well.
It’s smaller, I believe 1/2 to 2/3 the machines of Lifetime. The pool seemed a little smaller than Lifetime’s, and unlike Lifetime they didn’t have an outdoor one. No Tennis courts, (not that I foresee myself playing tennis anytime soon.) half as much basketball space, and only one studio for Yoga and all the other classes. They have 5 racquetball courts to Lifetime’s 3, but there’s an additional charge of 5$/month to use them. I noted that because I want to get into racquetball at some point.

Both places have a dry sauna, and a hot tub. While Lifetime’s is in the locker room, LA’s is by the pool. Both places also have about the same size cycling room, and my Tim my tour guide at Lifetime pointed out they have some fans at the front wall to make it seem like you’re biking through wind. I didn’t see anything like that at LA, though it doesn’t seem like that big a deal to me right now.

There were two things that sold me. Or rather, drove me away from LA Fitness.
During each tour, I was taken through the locker rooms. At LA Fitness, the stench coming out was a little oppressive. Yeah, every workout club is going to have some level of B.O., but it was real powerful in the LA Fitness locker room. You could smell it from a dozen paces away from the locker room hallway.
The other thing was actually the General Manager, I think Omar was his name. He was the guy giving me my tour, and after the tour when he was giving me the prices he was a very pushy seller. He kept trying to sweeten the deal in order to get me to say yes and sign up, he didn’t want me to leave the building. I actually told him I wanted to take a tour of Lifetime before I made a complete decision, implying I hadn’t yet, and he just stayed pushy.

I felt like he was a con artist trying to swindle me. 

After a little bit of this back and forth I just thought ‘fuck this being polite nonsense, I’m getting out of this building!’ I basically told him “I’m done, I’m not deciding yet and I realize the deals you’re giving me are only if I sign up today.” Then I walked out to my car. It was more than a little telling to me that he wouldn’t let me take the sheet with the pricing figures on it.

The finals for pricing, at least as far as I can remember it:

LA Fitness
199$ Enrollment fee and 30$/month, +5$ for Racquetball (after waiving 50$ from fee and 15 from monthly fee)
99$ Enrollment fee and  55$/month, +5$ for Racquetball
Minimum of first and last month’s membership required to sign up

Lifetime Fitness
199$ enrollment fee (Waived for some sign up drive that was going on this last week)
Cut down the Enrollment fee to I think 65$ (Same sign up drive bonus)

The choice for me was obvious. Lifetime does have some classes that require extra payments to take, but there’s enough classes included with the membership I don’t even see it as an issue. Unlike the Racquetball fee at LA.

After my tour at LA, I made a quick stop at my grandma’s to give her a Bday present and hang with her, then I went right over to Lifetime and signed up. I did a short bit of Cardio, read the Yoga schedule wrong and realized there wasn’t a class at that time on Sunday, then enjoyed the steam room and the hot tub. Then I went back today and took my first Yoga class.
Oh. My. God.
I can already tell my left arm and both my legs are going to be real sore tomorrow. In fact at one point during the class I realized I needed to stop and just not do anything more with my arm, lest I injure my shoulder or elbow.  It was a great workout though. I talked to a few of the other participants afterwards and they said that the instructor went a bit faster than the regular instructor goes. They made me feel real welcome though, and I’m looking forward to it again.
I have an appointment on Wednesday for the beginner’s basic fitness level test, and I’m looking forward to that. It’ll help me get on a program so I can get to the fitness level I want to be at.


One thought on “Lifetime Fitness Vs. LA Fitness

  1. This is a great article that answers the exact question I’ve been deliberating all day: whether to sign-up at LA fitness or Lifetime. I just tried both of them out, and the verdict is in: Lifetime! Vastly superior locker-rooms, and the facilities generally are just a step up from those at LA fitness. Thanks for providing the perspective.

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