Monday, February 13, 2012

Review: L.A. Fitness on Bellflower in Long Beach

I've been a member of L.A. Fitness for about a year, and I've had a fair chance to assess my local club (2180 N. Bellflower Blvd, Long Beach, Calif.).

Generally, this is a pretty good club. It's clean, with a nice variety of weights, cardio machines and other equipment. It has an area for stretching and abdominals. The treadmills, elliptical machines and stationary bikes all have TVs attached with a choice of 10 channels (plug in your own headphones).  It has a basketball court, swimming pool and hot tub, and some exercise classes.

All in all, there's something for everyone here. Still, if you're considering joining  there are a handful of negatives to consider:

  • It doesn't open early enough on weekends. During the week, this club opens at 5 a.m, but inexplicably stays closed on Saturdays and Sundays until 8 a.m. For those who would like to get their day started with a workout first thing, 8 a.m. doesn't cut it.  One Saturday I went by the club and found I'm not making this up 15 people lined up outside this L.A. Fitness at 7:35 a.m.  Clearly, the demand is there for an earlier opening.
  • Commission-oriented sales staff. Probably the most unpleasant aspect of joining L.A. Fitness is actually joining it, because you will probably have to deal with a salesperson who seems to be training for a future on a used car lot. They give you a phony smile, have you take a seat and then proceed to try to steer you into the highest priced membership they can. Ugh. One way around this is to sign up online at Even if you don't join online, you will get some sense of the prices before you enter the club.
  • Line up for spinning. Think twice if you're considering joining this club for the spinning classes. Some of these classes are so popular that people line up 45 minutes early for them (otherwise, you don't get in). You'd think that L.A. Fitness would notice this demand and add more spinning classes but I've seen no evidence of that.

For the most part, there's enough equipment that you don't have to wait to use it. Over a year, there have been three times when I've had to wait for a treadmill, and on a visit on Martin Luther King Day, my wife found that ALL the cardio machines were in use. A few times a year is not terrible, but when checking out the club it's a good idea to visit at the time of day you'd normally use it to see how crowded it is.

The televisions on the cardio machines are a nice feature, but about one out of every 10 times, I find a TV that doesn't operate right. It's an annoyance, but it's usually easy to move to a different machine.

If basketball interests you, you can find a game here. But note that the edge of the court IS the wall.  So unless you're looking for a concussion, this is no place to go diving for a ball.

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