end of an era

I’ve held a gym membership for about five years, now, and during that time ownership changed three times – from something I don’t remember, to American Woman Fitness, to Pure Fitness, to L.A. Fitness.

If you’ve been around The Pile for awhile you may remember the love affair I had with American Woman Fitness, which was located about three blocks from my house. That was an amazingly friendly, small, intimate space filled with all variations of Woman – fat, buff, and everything in between. They also had a high population of Muslim immigrants who worked out in full length skirts and head coverings, made possible because there were no men allowed in the facilities.

Sadly, American Woman couldn’t make it work as a business and had to shut down. Members like myself who had paid for a year in advance were transfered to Pure Fitness, which was bought by L.A. Fitness shortly after. I was guaranteed the American Woman membership rate for a lifetime, but nothing about the equipment, classes, or staff measured up to the blissful experience I had at American Woman.

So when my membership came up for renewal last week I had a tough decision to make. I was actually using my membership at L.A. Fitness, but I Hated it with a capital H.

Here’s an example of how shitty their customer service is:

One day early on in the L.A. Fitness take-over I decided to try the morning yoga class, but I don’t have my own mat. Previous gyms have provided mats so I asked the pretty boy behind the desk if there were mats available in the yoga room.

He answers, “No,” so quickly I barely have the question out of my mouth.

Other boy behind the counter looks puzzled. “I thought there were black mats in there.”

“No.” says the Pretty Boy. “We don’t have extra mats.”

Other boy says, “Then what are those black things in the gym? Aren’t those yoga mats?”

“No.” says Pretty Boy.

I’m all What. The. Hell.

Suspicious, I peak my head into the yoga room. And?


This is not an isolated incident. I’ve had other similar experiences with L.A. Fitness’ customer service, and have lamented with friends over their poor experiences as well.

Realizing I only used the gym for its treadmill, sauna, and ability to shower without wondering whether my kids have climbed the refrigerator looking for candy, I decided to let my membership lapse.

I am no longer a gym member.

I am sad about this – I do like going to the gym, but I just can’t justify the expense when all I use is the treadmill.


God is good, and all hope is not lost. A kind and generous friend is passing on her treadmill to me. The Greatest Chiropractor in the World gave me strength training exercises using my own body weight. And it’s SPRING!

Who needs a gym now? NOT ME.

3 thoughts on “end of an era”

  1. I’m in limbo about my own gym membership. I use it solely for the elliptical and treadmill. I have hopes of re-starting kickboxing classes. But I’ll tell you right now I’m not getting my $40 worth per month. *sigh* Choices.
    It sounds like you made the right one in this case. And hoorah for a handed down treadmill!

  2. Yes, I want to find out how to do the strength training exercises and who is your chiropractor? I dropped my gym membership last May and do not miss the hassle driving a few minutes. Bought a high quality elliptical which Don & I both use and love. Then we bought an infared sauna. So Jen – come on over and use them any time you can find time for free! I am still trying to learn how to use the sauna, but my wonderful hubby bought it for me and now… the trade off is he gets a tractor.

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