Last week, the Bellahouston gym was closed for 9 days whilst it was being done up – the reported benefits included:
- Full refresh
- Replacement of old equipment
- Additional free weights (including dumbbells up to 50kg, a barbell rack and 4 plate loaded machines).
- An increase in resistance machines from 9 to 16
- Olympic bar and rack.
I was there this morning, and yes, it has had a nice refresh. Nice new paint on the walls, nice brand spanking new machines and weights. The new cardio machines are great: Bikes, treadmills, cross trainers, rowers. You can play games on the machines and the TVs will work once they get them up and running. You can compete against friends on the rowers, and there are two good Watt spin bikes which are a very welcome introduction to the gym.
I’m a regular gym user at Bella, and I gave most of my feedback to the gym staff and manager, but I thought I’d get it together here too.
With one trip to the gym today, I’ve noticed there seems to have been a reduction in the equipment I tend to use:
- There used to be 3 sets of 12kg dumbbells, a set of 12.5kgs, 14kgs, 15kg, 16kgs, 18kg – so there were 8 sets of dumbbells in the 12-18kg range. Now there is just one set of 12kgs, 14kgs, 16kg and 18kgs. So there are just 4 sets of dumbbells in the mid-weight range, where there used to be 8 sets.Sure there are dumbbells going right up to 50kg…but as a 55kg female… I can’t see me using a dumbbell much more than 30kg at the most (and that would more than likely be on it’s own).
- There was an area next to the mirrors with three benches and weights, and an area near the FT Zone with a bench and weights going up to 12kgs. Now there is just one area for dumbbells over 10kg (and the same amount (2) areas with dumbbells up to 10kg).
- There used to be two smith machines, now there’s just one which is tucked away fro the dumbbell area so when you’re working out you can’t see if it’s in use or available.
- There used to be 2 kettlebells, a 12kg and a 16kg on the gym floor. Now there isn’t (apparently it’s against the rules to have dumbbells on the gym floor?!) There’s a full rack in the FT Zone, but you can’t get in there when circuits classes are on. I’m in from 630am-730am when circuits is on, so no kettlebells for me.And if the 12kgs and 14kgs dumbbells are being used, that’ll be them out of the picture for me too – with no extra sets for me to use. (There used to be a rule that barbells weren’t allowed on the gym floor, now there’s a rack of them, so perhaps they should change the rule on kettlebells too and get a rack of kettlebells for the gym floor?!)
- There used to be a cable machine in the gym and one in the FT Zone. Now there’s just one cable machine (and a very good one at that!) in the FT Zone. But again, restricted access when circuits are on. There are possibly other resistance machines which you can use instead of the cable machine, but I’m still to investigate that.
- I used to use a 15kg plate to do full body exercises where I did a sledgehammer action, or landmines. The plates now only come in 5kgs, 10kgs and massive 20kgs which are too big (in shape) to use as I used them (throwing them up above my head, then down between my legs). And the 10kg plates / balls aren’t heavy enough to give me a workout. So I need to see if I can do something else to get the same intense workout. (Perhaps the barbells, but its not the same as lifting a heavy small object above your head or around your body?) I would use a 16kg kettlebell, but oops you’re not allowed them on the gym floor!
- There also seems to be a reduction in the amount of gym balls and the floor mats have been removed and replaced by workout areas? I’m not sure if that’s a place for improvement or more of an observation.
I’m not normally ‘negative’ but I feel these were the constructive bits of feedback I had for the gym. And I felt as a regular user of the gym it’s important for me to get my point across. I did give some feedback on the barbell rack which Colin sorted right away – it had some heavy barbells on one side of the rack and lighter ones on the other, meaning it was hard to lift the heavy barbells from chest height. I suggested the lighter ones should be at the top and the heavy ones at the bottom. Sorted thanks to Colin! 🙂
I guess when you’re used to doing a workout a certain way, and the equipment changes it might take a while to get to know how to do the workout you want to do using different equipment. I’m sure once I use the gym more often I’ll get used to what’s available and can continue to get a good workout from it.
However, I do think I made a good point about the reduction of the amount of weights in the 12kg – 18kg range at Bella. Sure bring in up to 50kg dumbbells to attract new meat heads… I mean customers, but don’t reduce the amount of weights you had available in the mid-range of weights! When I go to the gym (630-730am weekdays), the gym is relatively quiet, however I can imagine when it’s busy the need for more of them will become more apparent.
There’s still some equipment still to be delivered and I’d say it is definitely a good work in progress. I probably need to spend a bit more time in the gym to get to know what’s available, but just now for me, the jury’s out. In the meantime, I’m sure that the staff and management of the gym take on customer’s feedback and continue to improve the gym in the future.
Overall, the gym improvements are good, however to make it even better, I think it’d be great if they had more mid-range weights across the gym (12kgs – 18kgs) and a rack of kettlebells. It’s quite quiet in the gym just now, it being December, but I can imagine when it gets to January and people are back exercising, they may come across a drought in dumbbells they would normally use in the gym.
Perhaps I should ask for an induction to see what all of the new equipment has to offer so that I can really use the gym to the best of it’s availability? 🙂