Searching for a gym around Bekasi, Indonesia takes a bit of effort and perseverance. To make it less tedious, I go by these criteria: clean, equipped with basic equipment or more, no latching onto my bank account, no aggressive sales personnel, and knowledgeable general instructors and personal trainers.
GIVE ME YOUR BANK ACCOUNT
I was set for a reconnaissance of Celebrity Fitness housed at Metropolitan Mall years ago. I was told it was a good gym, taking it to mean that it was clean and complete in equipment. What I hadn’t counted on, after being held up at the reception area, was the inordinate badgering for my bank account number before they’d allow me to go in for an inspection. I just walked away.
Gold’s Gym was next. I was thrilled that a branch was opening at my area and in a mall, Grand Metropolitan, so I eagerly approached their pop-up booth at the mall to sign up as a future client. Big mistake! People were calling me regularly, harassing me to sign up for a year even though the gym wasn’t ready yet. Their modus operandi of pre-selling and locking in people for a year through credit card payment didn’t go down well with me. I dropped the plan of enrolling altogether at the gym, which opened several months later than their announced opening.
Helios at Cyberpark Bekasi was where I ended up. Although strategically located in an IT mall, Helios was nondescript compared to the first two. However, the space was big then, fitted with an array of equipment, and offered several classes ranging from spinning to Muay Thai. Payment was looser comparatively speaking – you can choose how to pay without being coerced to pay for a year. No problem with freezing your account too for work or personal reasons; you just tell a staff at the reception counter and it is done. Attending more than one spinning class or zumba or modern dance was allowed. Unfortunately, the gym downsized, cutting its space into half, which had minimal impact on one’s workout, but management became lax so cleanliness levels dropped as well as equipment maintenance. Lighting became poor; buckets on the workout floor due to leaky ceilings became almost permanent fixtures; and the cooling system was always conking out. The push factor in leaving the place altogether was when the owner decided to relocate to an area that would extend my usual travel time of 20+ min to get to the gym by more than an hour. “I’d be too tired to work by the time I got there,” I thought. My trainer wasn’t inclined to move either with Helios and transferred to a nearby gym.
My trainer moved to Go Fitness, a much smaller gym catering to the residents of Apartemen Mutiara, but was also opened to the public. It wasn’t in a mall, but it was a stone’s throw away from Metropolitan Mall. The workout space is an eighth of Helios’ but it had the basic weights equipment. Cleanliness was commendable seeing a staff sweep the floor and clean the machines, wiping them down with a wet cloth, almost every time I was working out which was four times a week. Music was not ear-jarring and the ventilation was adequate. But what a difference a year makes for everything had slid down horrendously. For instance, the staff were either sleeping on the sofa at the reception area or smoking outside of the entrance hence the overall dirtiness of the gym. The receptionist was intermittently ill; she was perpetually wearing a disposable surgical mask. Dangdut blasted from the speakers which commingled with a soap opera blaring from the sole TV on the wall. A constant thought that zipped through my mind every time I was working out was, “Was I in a gym or a ramshackle neighbourhood?” It was time to move out.
BONA FIDE GYM
It was a fortuitous event when my desire to move out coincided with my trainer being invited to work at Osbond Gym, an expansive four-month-old gym operating out of Mega Bekasi Mall. The gym floor is wide and divided into areas. There is the general floor – the first floor – fitted with the free weights machineries alongside several treadmills and cross trainers. The side wall is dedicated to barbells, dumbbells, and benches. The second floor is the shared area between the professional bodybuilders and those undergoing personal training which is separated by a railing. Popular tunes make working out a cinch and ventilation is sufficient for you to break into a sweat, but without feeling like your energy is being drained away. Lighting is adequate, naturally and electricity-powered. Water fountains, cleverly housed in red boxes at the sides of the entrances to the men and women’s lockers, help reduce the plastic waste. Cleanliness is paramount with the janitorial team mopping and wiping regularly, and polishing the machines. And I was fortunate enough to have chanced upon a membership promotion that didn’t burn a hole in my wallet. Off the gym floor, the women’s locker room is a haven with its sauna, and clean shower cubicles, toilets, and floor.
Agus’s smile says it all. He is proud to work at Osbond and eagerly urged his clients, like me, to transfer with him, which I did. He is like a kid in a candy store with all the equipment he can incorporate into my workout: kettle bells, complete range of light dumbbells, slam balls, medicine balls, health club step, battle ropes, BOSU balance trainer, ViPR, and power bags alongside the other machines.
It has been two weeks plus since my relocation to Osbond Gym, and working out is going swimmingly. I look forward to hitting the gym floor to lift, push, pull, squat, row, swing, and curl. Lesson learnt: choice of gym matters. A well-managed gym filled with a competent staff and motivated personal trainer is a good road to trek when on a fitness journey, both physically and mentally.