Where to work out
When you need to do something for your body instead of your mind
Study for the history test or write the English paper first? What is a student to do when the pressures become too great? Avoid the intellectual demands and give your body a workout at the gym.
But which one?
I set off on a tour of Chico’s gyms to find out where they are, what they offer and report on the atmosphere (no, I am not referring to locker room atmosphere). This is a guide, not gospel. Each gym offers something different. One note: Because of the power crunch, some of the gyms informed me that membership rates may be going up.
931 West Fifth St.
Owner(s): Mike and Annemarie Peters.
Features: cardio theater (check out the cool TV rack), full-court basketball, cycling classes and aerobics classes including kick boxing. Try out the boot camp class—one of the most popular.
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 5 a.m. to 12 a.m.; Friday 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Membership deals: Student rate: $156 per semester. Sign up for a year and get three months free. No extra charge for summer holds (yearly membership only).
Extras: Laundromat tucked into a corner (flex before you fold). Annemarie has established a new clothing store within the gym, featuring clothes from New York.
Impressions: Gold’s Gym totally threw me off. I was expecting a meat market atmosphere with big, well-muscled patrons. I thought there would be barbells clanging and grunts from power lifters. Instead I entered a quiet gym whose several patrons were intent on their workouts. This non-workout chick felt really comfortable here. The cardio theater has 10 screens and three CD players. Gold’s tends to be quiet in the morning. Students make up the majority of the membership, but they also have a sizeable non-student membership. The gym is conveniently located in the south campus area.
986 East Ave.
Manager: Terra Silverwing
Features: Curves offers circuit training and passive aerobics. Women only.
Hours: Monday-Friday 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Membership deals: $29 a month for 12 months.
Extras: Massage available; diet counseling and figure analysis.
Impressions: Curves is for women only. The circuit workout can be completed in 30 minutes, although it is a little strange to hear a voice interrupt the music with “it is time to change machines.” Most of the clients are between 30 and 65 years old but they do range in age from 15 to 82. The passive aerobics is what really interested me. Participants are hooked up to a machine that vibrates the body. The goal is to stimulate blood flow and the removal of toxins. If you find standard gyms intimidating and don’t like to spend hours at your workout, Curves could be the place for you.
1026 The Skyway
Owner(s): Gary Bright, Larry Spencer and Marie Phillips
Features: Full-court basketball, racquetball, aerobics classes and two lap pools and a co-ed spa. Child care is available by appointment.
Hours: Monday-Thursday 5 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Friday 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Membership deals: Semester rate $149. Yearly memberships are also available.
Extras: Free racquetball clinics, basketball league play and two free visits with a personal trainer. Student members are not restricted in their use of the facilities. Swimming pool lanes can be reserved up to two days in advance.
Impressions: Kangaroo Kourts is one of Chico’s older athletic clubs. It was established in 1977, when racquetball was the fitness rage. A recent remodel upgraded the entire facility, which includes a pool. The club caters primarily to families and seniors. Students make up about 10 percent of the membership. Two free sessions with a personal trainer make getting started on a workout program easy. They can help design a workout to meet your fitness goals and answer your fitness-related questions. The front desk staff is friendly. Although KK may be a little out of the way for some students, the place is worth checking out.
The Body Shop
1407 West Fifth Street
Owner: Carl Sommer
Features: Cardio theater, Cybex, Hammer Strength and free weights. No classes.
Hours: Monday-Thursday 6 a.m. to midnight; Friday 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Limited hours on holidays. Closed on major holidays.
Membership deals: Summer, semester and yearly memberships are available. Ninety-five percent of members are on the student plans.
Extras: Body Shop members can use In-Motion facilities one weekend each month and when the club is closed on major holidays.
Impressions: Leave the Lycra at home and save the makeup for class. The Body Shop is a place to work out. Bring your own CD to play over the sound system, which will be turned up as loud as members can take it. (I’d advise leaving the ’N Sync at home.) Students staff the gym. The open space is divided among weight machines, free weights and a cardio theater. It has the added advantage of being close to student dorms. Bonus for the girrlz: 60 to 75 percent of the members are male.
Chico Sports Club
260 Cohasset Road
Owner: Jeff Stover
Features: Full-service health club. Has all the bells and whistles— aerobics, yoga, weights and cardio equipment. In addition there are two pools; indoor and outdoor spas and saunas located in the locker rooms. Racquetball courts, located off of the pools, have been added. Full-court basketball.
Hours: Monday-Thursday 4:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday 4:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday 6:15 a.m. and Sunday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Membership deals: Semester memberships offered in September and February. Standard one-year memberships are also available.
Extras: Where do I start? Masseuse available by appointment for an extra charge. There is a deli to refuel after your workout, and you can take your drink out onto the sun deck by the pool. Child care center. Beauty salon. Wellness center. Chico Sports Club has a new program called “12 weeks to success". For an extra $25 members can get keyed into the Technogym. It will keep track of your workout for you and, every four weeks, have you meet with an exercise physiologist to see if the workout needs to be adjusted.
Impressions: If all the bells and whistles are for you, then CSC is worth checking out. The club is user-friendly, without a “meat market” atmosphere. The sports club’s membership is primarily families and seniors, with about 10 percent of the membership made up of students. CSC definitely has something for everyone, but the distance from campus may be a drawback.
North Valley Athletic Club
480 Rio Lindo Ave.
Owner: Scott Schofield
Features: Racquetball, weights, aerobics, cardio theater. Also: indoor pool heated year-round, tanning room, boxing room and half-court basketball.
Hours: Monday-Thursday 4:55 a.m. to midnight; Friday 4:55 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday 6:25 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday 7:55 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Membership deals: Individual student memberships start at $76 (health club only and non-prime-time hours). North Valley also offers roommate rates. Full facility rates start at $88 (individual, non-prime).
Extras: North Valley has a lounge and snack bar. It also offers CPR classes and blood screenings as scheduled. Family memberships include Tae Kwon Do classes. Kickboxing and basketball chal- lenge games are also on the schedule. A massage therapist is available; check at the desk for appointment times and cost.
Impressions: North Valley Athletic Club was established in 1978, during the height of the racquetball craze. Several of the courts have been appropriated for weight, aerobics and boxing rooms. The club is in a compact, two-story building—it’s really cool to stand on the second floor walkway and look down on people as they work out. The best part: The club offers the lowest rates in town, and it has roommate rates too.
1293 East First Ave.
Owner: Carl Sommers
Features: Cardio theater, full-court basketball, free weights, two aerobic rooms, three pools, two spas and saunas in the locker rooms.
Hours: Open 24 hours a day seven days a week.
Membership deals: Semester memberships (four months) are $175 with no limits on club use. Yearly rates are $57 per month or, if you want to pay for a year up front, $530 for the entire year.
Extras: In-Motion is Chico’s second high-end gym. Pilates, Women With Weights, a chiropractor and masseuse are all available. With three pools, In-Motion offers swimming lessons and also has the IMFAST Marlins swim team. More than 100 aerobics classes are offered each week, and the club is starting up new programs for teenagers and children. Basketball and volleyball leagues are in the planning stages.
Impressions: The image of In-Motion as a meat market should be put to rest. In-Motion’s membership is primarily families and seniors, with about 20 percent students. The club has a more relaxed feel. What’s really cool is the pool area. Two pools—a kid-sized one and the water aerobics/family pool—plus the two spas are underneath a roof that makes it feel like an open room. If you’re more into sun than swim, there is plenty of lawn space and lounge chairs available.