If you took one look at me you’d instantly conclude that I’m not someone who is likely to have a gym pre-programmed into their sat nav. I’ve been a dad for over three years now and the combination of a crappy diet and lack of sleep has lent itself to me sporting the stereotypical “dad-bod”. Imagine, then, my surprise when Total Fitness asked me to review their gym…
I’ve always been a member of a gym of some sort over the years, but in the same way I’ve always been a member of my University Alumni – I can say that I’m a member, but I can’t really say that I do anything with it. As a result of this, the gyms I’ve chosen have always been the budget gyms. The Price:Guilt-relief ratio is acceptable that way.
Total Fitness – first impressions
The branch I visited was Wigan. I’m told that they try and maintain a uniform style and feel throughout all branches so this review should reflect Total Fitness as a whole.
As I entered the gym, the first thing that struck me was the cleanliness. That sounds like an odd thing to say I know, but this place was beyond the superficial polish and was actually clean. The lighting was strong and they had an excellent balance of open space and workout areas.
The staff were great (cheers Lauren and Mark!).
In the gyms I’ve been “frequenting” over the last few years, there’s always been a very common layout. There are cardio machines in one area, resistance machines in another and then the free-weights section. Total Fitness is no exception to this tried and tested rule, but the added space between the sections gives that sense of workout-privacy that most people need. There are also two floors of machinery available, with the ground floor also hosting two squash courts and the pool area (more on that later).
Total Fitness Wigan have a supervised kids’ area too – with a TV and a small soft-play area. I was told that this is to be expanded to a full soft-play area; this is is an awesome and unique idea. They also have a kids’ movie night with Disney films for the kids, and even kids’ exercise classes. You can get your own workout in, safe in the knowledge your offspring are doing the same.
I must admit though, I struggled to find the male changing rooms, as ridiculous as that sounds. It turns out that they can only be reached by taking a detour through the pool area, or by going up to the first floor and then down a separate set of stairs there.
All the machines here – from the cardio machines through to the free-weights – are brand new. Total Fitness has invested a lot of money recently in revamping their facilities and it’s resulted in a very sleek-looking gym area with shiny new workout machines. It doesn’t just look good though – it means all the latest kit is available. This makes a difference to someone like me (though it shouldn’t, really).
There are machines for every muscle group, and they’re clearly labelled. If you’re heading the gym for a cardio session instead then I don’t think you’d have to wait for a machine – there are a lot of them!
Two huge studios take up their own section on the first floor and this is where the classes are held. There is an instructor for each class rather than it being beamed through the airwaves and displayed on a projector. The temptation to slack off or leave mid-class is lessened. Bad for a lazy git like me, good for your workout.
I had a go of all the hydro facilities (except the plunge pool, it’d likely stop my heart). Aside from some cosmetic issues in the sauna I couldn’t really fault anything there. Nothing wowed me, but it was all very much as you’d expect – clean and fit for purpose. There is an additional sauna in each changing room, too.
However, as I was there I was made aware that they’re to give the area a full renovation (by the time this is posted this should be done). They’re re-lining the pools and giving the place a routine touch-up – so I imagine at this point it would wow me. They sent me through some pictures of how the changing rooms are to look, and they’re a lot more premium:
I had the chance to sample some of the food while I was there. I thought I’d have something basic, then something off-menu that was recommended to me.
The first thing I had was a cheese and tomato toastee. It’s as if they knew me – it was packed with cheese!
The second time I ate at Total Fitness I asked for a chicken omelette. This was the best omelette I’ve ever had – sorry mum! It looked like they’d used 50 eggs for the thing, and it was packed with chicken and peppers. I was not expecting the food at a gym to be this good – in my greedy food-driven opinion, it’s worth joining just for this.
Total Fitness – verdict
I had a good experience at Total Fitness. At £45 per month it is a bit more pricey than what I’m used to with the budget gyms, but I actually think the use of the hydro facilities justifies this. If you use the gym as intended then it should be well worth it – each visit costing about the same as a pint.
The added space and higher-end machinery make the gym feel a bit more premium but it’s really down to you whether or not this will affect your workout. If I were looking to join a gym some time soon then Total Fitness would definitely be a serious contender – the sauna and steam room makes it for me.
That chicken omelette though. Get it!
Total Fitness have supplied me with a link for a free day pass. Click here to get one! 🙂
(This is a paid review but it’s entirely honest).