Like a lot of Americans, especially those living in a city like Boston, I’m a fan of working out and going to the gym. Strange as it might seem here in Spain (or normal as it might seem in Boston) I can’t imagine not belonging to a gym.
As you may know, sometimes just getting the motivation to work out can be enough in itself, so you want to make sure you find a gym that’s inviting and makes you want to keep going back.
Now, here in Spain I wouldn’t say that people don’t work out because you can go to the big parks on any weekend and find them filled with people running, practicing yoga, skating, etc. (the weather definitely helps as well). But… gyms in general here definitely are not as popular. And you don’t have the same American craziness of everyone working out during lunch time and then eating lunch at their desks. From my experience trying out a few different gym chains here, I’d have to say that they can leave a bit to be desired….*:
- Urban Fitness and Electrification (San Bernardo area). I got electrified at least a few times every time I worked out here. Read again. Yes, shocked. The treadmills were insulated behind glass panels without much space between them and the wall. Now I’m no scientist, but I can only guess that so much energy with so many people running in such a small, closed space and so much built-up friction could be the reason. I would like to think it was just poor planning, but after a while I just got too nervous that “the big shocker” could come one day, and I quit. Aside from this, the gym itself was rather small and ordinary.
- Holiday Gym and the Whistle Blower (Bernabeu/Lista). Holiday Gym is a large chain with gyms all over Madrid. In general, these gyms are quite inexpensive and provide the basics to have a decent workout. Don’t expect anything special, and don’t expect great group classes. One of the main reasons I go to a gym is for the group classes like Spinning or BodyPump, etc. One day shortly after joining Holiday I decided to try out a Step class. Now, keep in mind that I had been going to Step classes for over 5 years back in Boston and considered myself pretty familiar with the moves… the professor was a whistle-blower. He didn’t talk much; he pretty much just blew a whistle and made crazy moves with his hands, and supposedly people were going to understand this. Needless to say, I don’t speak “whistle” and promptly left this gym.
- Fit Island and the Silence (Las Tablas). I tried out this new gym in my neighborhood not too long ago because of the location. It definitely has potential as it’s really big and has a lot of new machines. However, of the few spinning class that I tried out the professor was really new and with only a few participants, it wasn’t exactly the most motivating. Another problem I saw here was that there were no classes on Sundays (maybe this has changed by now).
….until I joined Go Fit (http://www.go-fit.es/Paginas/home.aspx) Go Fit does a great job of providing a full-service fitness center (fitness machine room, group classes, large swimming pool, sauna, children’s activity center, etc.) and a great cross-channel customer experience. How? Keep reading:
- Physical experience in the gym. The group class instructors, music, structure and overall energy are great. But Go Fit takes it one step further, adding surprises to excite its members and shake up the ordinary like Master Classes with guest instructors and special-themed classes (and I won’t forget my surprise with the Halloween dressed-up classes and contest).
- Experience outside of the gym. From time to time during the spring/summer the gym organizes group classes outside, under the sun, like during their “Olympic Days”, as well as organizes groups for running races and biking outings.
- User-friendly and updated web site. This might seem simple, but it’s not always that common to find businesses with an updated site with the latest news and schedules. Now recently, due to customer feedback, you can reserve spots in group classes through the site as well.
- Frequently-updated Facebook page with responses. Go Fit posts center updates/news and writes back to user comments and complaints. They listen to customers such as with complaints (including my own) about problems to find parking (they installed new parking this summer) and a request to have instructors names be listed on the schedule (now included).
- Interesting email newsletters. Just today I received the latest newsletter with info about signing up for a new “challenge” that the gym has set up: sign up for a team led by one of the trainers. The team that has run the most collective distance at the end of the month wins a number of prizes including workout gear and beauty prizes.
Overall, in my opinion, Go Fit provides a great overall customer experience and keeps on innovating. I’ll be curious to see what new events are in store for the coming months!
*Note: these comments do not necessarily refer to the current gym experience if the installations and/or classes have changed since I was there.