Ditching Bally Total Fitness For The YMCA

I took myself to the gym tonight and I realized that I actually like going there. I haven't said that about a gym in a long time. Could it be because I switched gyms?

The old gym was Bally Total Fitness. When I first moved to LA, I liked Bally's because I could go to any of them across the city so no matter where I was, I could get in a workout. However, I spent most of my time at the one in Hollywood, which really was not a good thing since I hated going there.

It was soooo filthy and disgusting. Don't believe me? Read the reviews on Yelp. Pretty much everybody on Yelp says this gym sucks.

The worst was the locker room. It looked like it hadn't been cleaned in two years. I avoided it to the point that for real, I'd change clothes in my car before stepping foot inside it.

One time it was so nasty out on the main floor- there were puddles of sweat by the bikes- that I asked the manager what was going on. Were they at all concerned about staph infections or flesh eating bacteria and why we couldn't even get wipes to clean the machines after using them? She said she knew it was gross but they were short staffed so there was nothing they could do.

The ICING on the cake came when I was insulted by one of their wack "I'm Just Waiting For My Acting Career To Take Off" employees. You know, those employees that stare at you like you're crazy if you ask them how to use a particular machine and tell you to buy personal training sessions if you want to learn how.

Anyway, a few months ago I was putting in a 13 mile run on a treadmill. Well, Bally's has 30 minute time limits so I could get in 2.5 -3 miles and then I'd have to start over.

Somewhere between mile seven and eight one of the staff members came by and tried to give me his buy-my-personal-training sessions spiel. I declined and he snarkily asked, "So how far you running today? A mile or two?"

I replied back, "Actually, I'm doing 13 today. I'm training for a marathon so I'm almost to eight miles."

His dumb behind looked me up and down like he was assessing my body and he had the NERVE to snap, "You don't look like a marathon runner."

I really really REALLY wanted to say something mean to him but instead I think I flat out told him to go away so I could finish my run.

Yeah, between that, the filth, and all the pervy dudes staring at my crotch while I'd be on the inner-thigh weight machine, I was soooo done with Bally's.

So, where'd I end up? At the YMCA. I bought a family membership so I can take my boys to the pool, I can take a workout class and not pay extra like you do at Bally's...or I can just go work out on some of the machines. It's clean and the staff are friendly and encouraging. Me likey.

Tonight my husband took the boys swimming and I went and worked out. Every workout room has vats of disinfecting wipes and people actually wipe down the machines after they use them! Hallelujah!

I don't listen to that YMCA song when I'm there though. Tonight I was on the elliptical machine acting like I was up in a club dancing, especially when this came on:

I wanted to jump off that elliptical machine and break it down right there in the middle of the room.

I'm SO glad I ditched Bally Total Fitness. Three cheers for the YMCA!


nick said…
I'm surprised the old gym had any customers at all, it sounds pretty grim what with the filthy locker room, useless staff, sweaty machines and lewd stares. In fact it sounds like they were ticking all the boxes for a closedown mission. I guess they'd better get those acting gigs lined up before their rent's due.
Liz Dwyer said…
It's inexpensive and there are Bally's all over the city. When I lived further away from Hollywood, the gym I signed up at was pretty nice. This one has really gone downhill. It's never crowded - has like 30 treadmills so that's a plus. I never had to wait for one. However, I think I'm just older and I have much less tolerance for mess.
Elita said…
This is why I quit going to Bally's. I had way too many encounters with rude staff, as did my mother. Instead of the Y, I invested in an elliptical machine that I use in my garage and a ton of DVDs and hand weights to mix it up with. I still get emails and mailings from Bally's begging me to come back and it's been over 3 years. No thanks.
Liz Dwyer said…
You know my Bally's pain! I wish I had the space for the elliptical because I live on those things. I love them. This morning I got up and did one of those FIRM DVD's - those suckers are some work!

The Y is nice for the kids. They're living in that pool there, that's for sure.
Julia said…
Gawd, I so hate Bally's. But they sucked me in on the stupid 3 year contract. It feels so good to finally be free! I'm glad you are as well!
Liz Dwyer said…
AAGH, those contracts. I'm glad mine was up years ago and I negotiated it down to like $12/month. Still though, that's $12 too much for their mess.
1969 said…
That old gym sounds NASTY! Glad you found somewhere to workout where you enjoy going.

I love my current gym and it is clean and well maintained. The staff is great and it is'nt expensive at all.
Sundry said…
Yay! Glad you found a good place! I love the yoga and Zumba classes at my 24 Hour Fitness gyms. They're cheaper than Bally's with no extra charge for classes. They just need to put one close to my office. Cause it's all about my needs.
Unknown said…
Nice work not giving an angry response to the marathon runner comment. My response in situations like that is to first wish I could come up with something snappy like a witty American, then wishing I had a quote from Baha'u'llah about kindness to have replied with, then just using the situation as a mental exercise in detachment.

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