We tried the Lakewood Gym this morning.
After trying the probably-seven-times-as-big 24 Hour Fitness in the same neighborhood, I can pretty much say: Meh.
In my gym search, I want the optimal amount of anonymity (enough not to feel gawked at, but not enough to feel ignored by staff), a good amount of features, quality machines, a convenient location, and a good price.
I wanted to try a non-superchain gym, because I thought it'd feel more "neighborhood bar" than "trendy nightclub." But I guess I got what I asked for. Despite roughly equal patron to square foot ratios, the smaller Lakewood Gym felt less anonymous. It may have been the ubiquitous mirrors. Or the sheer size. But despite the fact that 24 Hour Fitness looks like the hamster pen in an experimental psychology lab from the outside, the knowledge that everyone there has a mission felt good. That, and the hot, tight SMU girlies working out at 24 Hour Fitness will be way more, um, inspirational than the surlier, older Lakewood crowd. Lakewood has a tanning bed, but 24 Hour has group classes (a yoga class of which Austin did last night and enjoyed) and a much wider -- and newer -- selection of machines. Lakewood had private shower stalls, but 24 Hour's locker room was newer-feeling (and since I generally won't be working out when I'm on my way to work or elsewhere, the shower's not a big deal). While Lakewood doesn't have an aggressive sales team, it was kind of refreshing to have someone
checking my credentials at 24 Hour Fitness.
I might give Lakewood another chance, but I have to say, the hamster pen looks pretty good. We'll see how negotiable they are on dues.