On my way to buy a gift for our office group’s exchange gift, I met my gym mate in TriNoma waiting for his wife from the gym. He mentioned to me that they are working out morning and evening in two branches (The Block and TriNoma) and they are actually on their way home. I opened up to him if it’s worth the “upgrade” transferring from an ordinary Fitness First Branch to their Platinum version considering that there’s a pending increase in membership dues come January 2008 (roughly additional 95 pesos/month). He said that in a way, “yes”, since even at rush hours (5-8pm), you can still workout without having to wait for an equipment. After our talk, I decided to drop by again the branch and have a tour with a “tour guide” aka membership consultant (MC).
Yesterday was my second visit to the gym, the first was then when they were barely days old yet. I could have taken pictures on my first visit but I don’t have my camera with me (the point and shoot one not the DSLR) and my phone’s camera is too slow to grab pictures. Anyway, let me take you a virtual tour to the gym (just use your imagination :P ) from the way I was toured inside. Towels and work-out attire are available upon entry so you need not worry about what to wear and what to use for drying up.
Upon entrance, you’ll see the cardio machines facing the numerous LCD TVs on display. This is similar to the set-up of other clubs only that on this branch, they use LCD TVs. Quantity speaking, I can’t really tell if they have more cardio machines since from the first look, you’ll see that they have maximized the area on the same level of the entrance for the machines with a small space for the stretch area. The group exercise (GX) room is also on the ground floor and the size is different from what they have advertised as a larger GX room. The Block’s GX room is pretty much bigger than in TriNoma although the one at the latter has the functionality of heating the room for the Flow Yoga exercises. Moodlights are good though I prefer to have the GX room large enough to accommodate more members.
The locker room at Platinum is bigger and compared to other clubs, they have toiletries available for members. They are pretty good enough since I saw Nivea products on their toiletries and perhaps, you won’t really worry much about these unless you use a specific brand. Also, lockers are already magnetized similar to the set-up of Fitness First Mall of Asia branch. Showers’ setup are opaque glass walls similar to ABS-CBN/Ortigas branches. And as with other clubs, sauna and steam rooms are also available.
On the second floor of the gym, there are some cardio machines near the stairs, weights, stretch machines, and a “Function” platform. When I visited there, a personal trainer was having a client and doing their routines there. Also, the cycling studio is located on the second floor with new bikes different from the ones on their “ordinary” branches. As with The Block branch, there are no Cycling classes also in this branch. I was particularly curious on the weights section of the gym since I spend most of my time there. My workout consists entirely of weight training and I was surprised that there’s NO SQUAT RACK. They have one Smith Machine but I don’t use that since I consider it as a “cheat squat”. It was quite a disappointment to see that there’s no exact difference nor advantage in terms of gym facilities with this branch as with other branches.
Of course, “convenience” comes with a premium, according to my tour guide (I’ll not mention his name) here are the expenses of the upgrade:
1. 2000 pesos administrative fee
2. 3,600 pesos monthly fee (I clarified this to him because the last time I asked is that it is 3060 but he insist that it is indeed 3,600)
No credit card, no sign-up (but they’ll use their marketing spiels so you might use another’s credit card to join the club). If you are a lifestyle member (like me) in other clubs and has completed the 1-year lock-in period, the upgrade means you’ll be locked again for another year. Also, I don’t know how the “monthly workout program” works since they’ll only give 5 power pack sessions (aka personal training sessions) and the usual “Sir/Ma’am, do you want to extend this training session for <this amount>”. Geez, if standard clubs charge for 820/hour personal training session (aka 2 repetitions of the routine plus counting your repetitions while texting another client), how much more in Platinum? How much also are you willing to spend for a personal trainer who isn’t trained to be a PT at all (say nurse?). Hello? Surprisingly, according to the MC, the discount given to Mercury Drug Citibank card holders is not honored.
Sign-up perks? Perhaps, the bag and other standard Fitness First items (towels, headset, etc). Personally, I don’t recommend the upgrade. Aside from paying exorbitant fees, I don’t see it as a practical move unless money spending is not your problem. One of the reasons why I stayed in Fitness First despite the above-average monthly fees is the proximity of the club in my residence. Also, group exercises change every 3 months unlike in Slimmers World (SW) where the group exercise routines lasts for years and there are even some GX instructors in SW that attend GX in FF and try to imitate them for implementation in SW.
It’s up to you should you make an upgrade or not. I am not particularly sure how much would it be if you sign-up as a new member to FF Platinum. One flyer that I saw in the Membership Consultation tables is that the joining fee for Lifestyle Program is 10,000 pesos and for Premier (not quite sure of the name but this one is the 3 months) is 15,000 pesos. Monthly fees are above 3,000 pesos for both programs. According to the MC, what keeps Platinum “above” other clubs is the exclusivity that they are only keeping at most 1,000 members unlike in other clubs. I told to myself, so they don’t really care if other clubs get crowded as long as they get sign-ups?
Should you want to pay a visit and hear their marketing spiels, you can visit the club at the 3rd floor of TriNoma. It’s quite near PoweBooks and Toys R Us.