By Polly Keary, Editor
There are five gyms in Monroe, each with its own unique offerings.
Here is a rundown of what each gym offers, what makes it special, and what kind of deals you can get through the month of January.
17631 147th St. S.E., Suite 8
Who should go: Those with limited time, those who seek elite-level fitness, and those who prefer a lot of one-on-one attention and community support.
What you'll find: Crossfit gyms aren't like other gyms. You won't find cardio machines, a swimming pool or elaborate resistance machines. Instead, you'll find a large open space with simple equipment such as medicine balls, kettlebells, gymnastics rings and barbells.
You'll also find trainers ready to coach you through the workout of the day, which you'll complete in less than 20 minutes.
"We do functional movements performed at high intensity," said Maj Hudson, one of the gym's three owners. "The actual workout time is about 13-14 minutes."
Each morning, a workout of the day is posted, and everyone who comes in will do that workout, modified to fit personal needs and ability, with instruction and encouragement from a trainer.
Hudson swears that, though the workouts are short, just three a week will yield results.
"It's about what we do in that amount of time," she said. "You're exerting a lot more energy and a lot more power output."
What you'll pay: Membership fees are $140 per month. There are discounts for multiple household members and kids. There are also discounts for police and fire workers. The gym only takes five new clients at a time, all of whom take an orientation class. January's two classes are already full, but you can still sign up for February.
Emerald City Athletic Club
14925 Chain Lake Rd.
Who should go: Anyone on a budget, people who are motivated by competition.
What you'll find: Emerald City Athletic Club has been open in Monroe since April of last year, and is in the old Allstar Fitness building. There's a full suite of cardio machines, lots of weights and resistance machines, and there are group classes such as yoga, Zumba and spin six days per week.
Also, each locker room has its own jacuzzi, steam room and sauna.
The gym also carries a line of sports supplements, all pharmaceutical grade.
This month, make your commitment count by joining the gym's Biggest Loser competition. The winner, however, is not necessarily the person who loses the most weight, said manager Laura Stratton.
"It's a 90-day challenge, a body transformation contest," she said. "So for guys looking to put on muscle, it can be weight gain." There will be prizes for first, second and third places.
There is also tanning available.
What you'll pay: ECAC has memberships for as little as $19 a month right now. At that level, you get access to the fitness and cardio equipment, as well as one session with a personal trainer to get you going. For a little more, you can get all of that, but with two sessions with a trainer, as well as access to the group fitness classes and monthly program reassessments. But for the ultimate bargain, show up Saturdays at 10 a.m., when the gym holds free fitness seminars.
"It's a free workout for every fitness level," said Stratton.
Thrive Community Fitness
118 N. Lewis St., Suite #104
Who should go: People who work or live near downtown, people on a budget, families, early-risers.
What you'll find: Thrive Fitness has been around a long time in Monroe, and as a result, you'll probably find a lot of friends and neighbors there. There is also a circuit training room, a lot of cardio and weight equipment, a child care area, and a gym room for classes.
Locker rooms are attractive, with curtained showers and private changing areas. Bring your own towel, however, or rent one for a small cost.
There are five personal trainers who work at Thrive, as well, and rates are reasonable.
There are also a variety of classes such as power strength, yoga, spin and Zumba, six days per week. And for those who like to hit the gym before work, Thrive opens weekdays at 4:30 a.m. There is also tanning for a small fee.
What you'll pay: "Right now we do have a joining special," said assistant manager Amanda Thompson. "It's $13 enrollment for 2013, so that's a super good plan, and then it's $19.95 a month. That includes an hour with a personal trainer for a fitness evaluation." For access to classes expect to pay more per month, otherwise classes are pay-as-you-go. Child watching is extra.
Monroe Family YMCA
14033 Fryelands Blvd.
Who should go: Families, people who like a lot of variety, swimmers, people who play basketball or do other gym sports, seniors, fitness beginners, early-risers.
What you'll find: The Y is the largest of the Monroe fitness facilities. There is a basketball gym; a spin studio; a cardio classroom; a large weights and cardio machine room with a glass wall overlooking Fryelands Boulevard and Lake Tye beyond; a pool; large locker rooms and some meeting rooms; as well as child care rooms.
Also find ActiveTrax kiosks in the gym, where you can set up your own fitness program with a trainer, then print out and enter your workouts or keep track on your home computer.
The YMCA also offers a very wide variety of classes seven days a week, including yoga, Zumba, core strength, spin and more. There are a variety of classes for seniors, and a broad array of offerings for kids ages toddler to 18, including swim classes, basketball classes and more. Those typically run for several weeks and cost about $30 to sign up. There are also lots of activities such as sports camps, educational opportunities such as youth government classes, art classes, and healthy living classes for kids and families.
"We offer not only nutrition classes, but first aid, CPR, a babysitting class for teenagers getting into babysitting jobs," said Tracy Sambol at the Monroe YMCA. "We have a night out once a month so the kids can come here while the parents go out."
Children can stay in the adventure zone while parents work out at no extra charge.
Teens can come after school to the teen activity area for free.
The gym opens weekdays at 4:30 a.m.
What you'll pay: If your income is average or higher, the YMCA is among the more expensive offerings in town, with individual memberships around $56 per month for a single adult and $91 a month for a family with two adults and children who are all at the same residence. There is usually a joining fee, as well, but it is waived for the month of January. For people with low incomes, membership dues are adjusted on a sliding scale. Your membership gets you into all five Snohomish County YMCAs; to access all of the YMCAs in the Puget Sound, buy a triangle membership for just a few dollars more.
14711 Fryelands Blvd., Building B
Who should go: Independent exercisers, people with unpredictable schedules, people who work swing shift or graveyard, people who travel.
What you'll find: Anytime Fitness has a comprehensive suite of fitness equipment, including treadmills and other cardio machines, resistance machines and weights.
There are also some classes, tanning and private showers.
The gym is staffed Monday through Thursday and for four hours on Saturday. Otherwise, you're on your own.
When you join, you'll get a key that not only gets you into the Monroe Anytime Fitness, it gets you into about 2,000 Anytime Fitness gyms worldwide, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"We have a lot of members that work swing shift at Boeing, or in health care where people work odd hours, and a lot of the corrections officers work odd hours," said Greg Garka, owner. "It's nice to have 24-hour access, where they can work out and take a shower at odd hours."
There is also one-touch emergency care access and remote monitoring of surveillance systems to ensure your safety.
What you'll pay: Typically there is a joining fee, a key fee and monthly dues, but there are some deep discounts this month.
"We do a $0 enrollment plus your first month free, all the way to the end of January," said Garka. "It's about $140-$150 savings." But if you can make it down there Wednesday, Jan. 9, you'll save even more.
"It's our annual 12 hour sale, the biggest sale of the year," said Garka. "It's $1 to join, and you don't have to pay for the key that gives you 24-hour access, which is usually $49. So they walk in, sign up and walk out and don't spend more than a $1."
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