In a blink of an eye, over 4 years have passed since I became a gym member for the 1st time.
When I was younger, I used to mock people who pay good money just to run like a hamster on the dreadmill. I used to think that was all going to the gym was about, being a rodent and ogling at members of the opposite gender. I reckoned that most people end up not even utilizing the membership that they splurged for. I thought that there is no way in Hell, that I’ll never be that silly.
Like many other things in my Life, I was wrong. LOL
In November 2010, a friend, E (yes the same one whom I had the meh Tokyo trip with) was enticed by an Amore Fitness (“Amore”) roadshow where the promotion for new sign-ups was 24+24 mths ~ basically that means, sign up for a 2 year membership and get 2 years “free”. Payment can be made via credit card installments over the 1st 24mths. Interest free. Well duh… of cos I factored in the 2 “free” years into the charges. I can’t remember the precise amount, but it worked out to slightly less than $100/mth. It was for full access – all locations, all classes; in a mostly female-exclusive environment.
E convinced me by saying that we could motivate each other if both of us are to sign up. Well… o-k-a-y I figured, since I was getting older with my metabolism dipping, infusing my Life with some physical activity ain’t a bad thing! Besides, having a friend to go with would help! I didn’t have a credit card then (I still don’t), but E’s dad offered to handle my subscription – I just need to bank transfer him the fees each month. I bit the bait.
E was the most horrible motivational buddy ever. She would make all these plans with me to go for group classes, then stand me up like an hour or so before it was due to commence. And there were some days that she turned up so late, that class ended before she did – I had to attend alone. I was kinda shy & unsure of myself back then, so it did have significant impact. Contrary to looking forward to, I dreaded gym days.
Eventually, after a couple of months, I gave up planning to go to the gym (or doing anything else) with her… and being a lazy lump of lard, I barely went down alone either. Some months I managed like 1-2 times, some months 0. I became one of those people I scoffed – the ones who paid for a gym membership that they never used.
It was not till late 2013 (this coincides with me embarking on my journey to be a runner) that I daresay I started to make decent usage of the membership. I still don’t think that I made my money’s worth, but I did manage to average 4-6 sessions per month. On the good months, I went twice a week – classes and/or using the machines. I even used the treadmill on some days for the C25K program, which I gave up, and then later the Z25K program, which I successfully completed.
Gradually, going to the gym became integrated with my Life. It provided variety to my running + classes such as yoga and stretching did wonders to my muscles. It became a routine which I carry on till date… well ok, not at this precise moment cos I’m nursing a broken toe… but… ah well, you know what I mean!
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Anyway after an extension due to medical leave & vacations, my Amore membership is due to run its course at the end of April. I have decided NOT to continue with the brand. I have instead signed on a 36+6 membership contract with True Fitness (“TF”) – which has already commenced at the start of March, but is currently suspended for 2 mths due to my fracture.
Amore Fitness vs True Fitness
It took me awhile to decide between the 2 gyms, and I evaluated a few factors:-
LOCATION-wise, I’d say TF has more accessible clubs vs Amore. Chevron, China Square, Suntec & Parkway Parade – that’s 4 clubs that are convenient to me, as compared to Amore’s 2 clubs – Bugis & Plaza Sing (well they used to have 3, but the City Sq Mall outlet has been closed).
OPENING HOURS were also a consideration. With my increasing commitment to activities (mostly cardio training ie. swimming, running, cycling) taking up most of my evenings, I am contemplating going to the gym before work – for a stretch class, for a spin class, to use the equipment… anything. While realistically, the odds of that happen are really low cos I simply ain’t a morning person, I’d like to have the choice of doing so, should I wish. Amore opens their doors the time I’m supposed to be in the office. TF Chevron & Suntec starts their day at 6am, Parkway at 7am with classes on some mornings. ‘nuff said.
GROUP CLASSES are the main reason why I go to the gym. I do mostly yoga, StretchFit + the occasional pilates and Energy Sculpt at Amore. TF has equivalents, and on top of that, TF offers Spin classes. It’s been something that I’ve always wanted to do, and I finally did a couple of weeks ago – awesome stuff. But since I’ve got limited time each week for classes, I’d say that on that factor, both gyms are pretty much equal d(^_^)o
EXCLUSIVITY goes to Amore hands down. It’s a female exclusive gym, with only 1 location (now) allowing the men. The gym has always been comfortable to me. Never once did it feel it was over crowded, though at times the locker room does seem like a fish market (lol ~ you know the saying about women & chatter).
EQUIPMENT is pretty standard in gyms. While I haven’t really explored TF, I am willing to bet that everything Amore has, that I utilize, TF would have too. I would expect a longer wait to use the machines at TF due to the larger no. of gym goers though! The weight machines area are Amore is relatively empty most of the time – not trying to be an arse here, but it’s true that women tend to focus more on cardio machines as vs the men; but on the downside, gd luck trying to get on a treadmill or elliptical at smaller branches such as Plaza Sing.
FACILITIES are almost equal. Both have steam rooms, showers with hot water, changing rooms, sufficient lockers.. etc. However… I don’t know about other branches, but Amore shower rooms are slightly better – with doors instead of just a shower curtain at TF. As I don’t have an issue with nudity among people of the same gender, this doesn’t affect me much tbh.
Everything considered, it finally boiled down to the most important factor…
COST. This is where Amore failed badly. Due to a recent promotion, a TF membership package worked out to be about S$60.50/mth. Even then, I had hope that Amore would counter-offer something enticing to retain me – considering that I’ve been with them for 4 years. Unfortunately, despite conveying that to Amore the sales people (both over the phone & also in person) were adamant about a rate of S$130+/mth, and when pushed for a discount, the best one could do was offer me -20% off at “roadshow price”. One even tried to sell me a limited membership for S$90+/mth – for a package of 20 (or was it 24) sessions, to be used in a year. Uhmmm… kinda lame huh, considering TF one is for unlimited access at all clubs.
In a nutshell… Location – TF | Opening Hours – TF | Group Classes – Equal | Exclusivity – Amore | Equipment – Equal | Facilities – Amore, slightly | Cost – definitely TF
I’m not being endorsed in any way by TF in case anyone is wondering. Just saying things as they are and tbh, if Amore had offered me a good enough package (say $80/mth or less), I would have stayed. Female exclusivity just isn’t enough to warrant paying double in membership fees. The $$ could and will be, better spent on vacations and of cos… video games. (^_^)V
PS. Currently am receiving quite an annoying no. of calls from TF (like 1-2x each week), regarding personal training, body analysis… etc. hopefully that’s only cos I’m a relatively new member and am keeping fingers crossed that this harassment will cease soon.