Wednesday, 1 June 2011

DW Sports Fitness review

A while back I gave notice to the gym that I was quitting and yesterday was the last visit, hence my review.  The reason for quitting is simply a result of my hand injury and I've hardly been in the last few months.  In previous years I have put my membership on hold for the summer months, which I could have done this time but decided I could save some money instead.

For the busy reader - my review is positive....
  • Would I re-join?  Maybe, probably.  Next time, I would check out their competition more thoroughly and maintain the balance right between cost and quality
  • Value for Money?  Yes providing you make the most of what's on offer.
  • Is it any good?  Yes I reckon, definitely but I have no experience of other gyms
  • Any draw backs?  Yes but probably not too serious
The details.....

  • In the gym there is a really good selection of machines including muscle building, cardio etc. Also "Easy Line" equipment which I think is for less able people , or just starting out 
  • The staff are trying hard to develop the business (most of them)
  • Equipment appears well maintained but not perfect
  • Normally fairly clean
  • They seek feedback and seem to act on it
  • Most staff are friendly
  • Climate level is about right
  • Steam room is a nice feature
  • First Aid response - once I witnessed the alarm going off as someone had had a mishap in the pool area.  There was an announcement over the tanoy system and all the staff responded at high speed.  Reassuring.
  • Good selection of classes (which I regret I haven't tried)
  • Good opening times
  • Good fitness plan and reviews (changed since I joined)
  • Pool and especially the steam room 
  • Some people find it a very sociable environment as friends go together and enjoy training together.  I don't operate like that.... I go there, do my stuff and go.  I like being an anonymous face if I want to be like that

  • Sometimes it gets really crowded (especially Monday & Tuesday evenings)
  • Public service discount not mentioned when I joined - I found out by chance later on.  Could have saved quite a lot of money
  • Bad behaviour of some customers, bad language, aggressive atmosphere in men's changing room sometimes
  • Mobile phones still get used in changing room, despite the prohibiting notice
  • Loud music which is mostly the same dribble.  Sometimes it's so loud, I have to turn my own ipod up so loud I fear ear drum damage
  • Trainer role is unclear having changed
  • Not always very clean in the showers and changing rooms towards the end of a day
  • The shower gel provided sometimes runs out
  • Signs of wear and tear not fixed quickly enough - blown light bulbs, broken locker keyrings, some gym machines

Other observations

In 2008 when I started at DW Sports I was over weight and stressed out, as you will have seen elsewhere in the blog.  There were lots of other people like me who were there already and so, although I may have felt a little self conscious there first of all, I must have blended in easily. 

In the early days I met with one of the trainers who gave me a programmes to follow, it was personalised for me and I was shown how to use the various machines and the weights, times, number of reps etc were all suggested.  I think the trainer had me sized up well as I had to work really hard then to do the exercises.  I suppose it involved a little bit of everything - cardio, resistance and so on but using a limited selection of machines.  I remember being told some of the machines were in pairs to work sets of muscles, also to warm up properly and cool down for a very gentle 5 minutes on a cross trainer.  With her approval, I would ignore that if I cycled there as it served the same purpose.  I guess it was this initial session that might have been crucial in giving me an all-round programme together with starting to understand some of the basic principles of fitness which opened the door to finding out more in the future.  So a big "thank you" for that.  I hope this still happens with the more recent changes at DW Sports.

From my initial general fitness programme, I found that it was running I like best of all (the rest follows from that) and pounding literally hundreds of miles on treadmills was very helpful.  On one level it is incredibly boring but there are advantages which I'll cover in another post sometime.  It also gave me a "people watching" opportunity where I would be mentally putting people into various groups - posers, would-be iron men, the flirters and so on.  

The group that was the most fascinating were the newbies and I could see myself amongst them in the early days.  They're in new sports clothing, fashionably modest.  Purposefully striding from one machine to another, while drinking from their sports water bottle.  Probably with a small towel and an MP3 strapped to their left arm.  The most obvious give away was them being in their 30s or 40s and over weight and moving awkwardly and with a real effort when it came to treadmill running.  They'd often do 10 minutes or so and then go onto something else, looking somewhat flushed and red faced.  I could see myself in them so easily!  And yet it must have been an encouragement for me - that was me a while ago and a chance to reflect on my progress.
    • DW Sports were very important in facilitating my progress but I only realise that now
    • You can only get something worthwhile out of a fitness club like DW Sports if you're prepared to put the hours in.  For someone who has enough time, maybe 10-20 hours a week, I reckon you could make some serious progress in 6 months to shift that surplus weight and transform yourself.  Ignore any niggles there (better still, report them), rise above them and just concentrate on getting fit, burning away those calories and flab.  Don't let any niggles be an excuse not to go and get fit!
    • I regret not making the most of the facilities - especially the classes which are free once membership is paid
    • I might re-join in the winter (instead of running and cycling on cold, dark, icy roads)
    Website link

    These are just my views as an (ex) customer.  I'm not a qualified fitness instructor and it's just based on my experience.  If you're reading this and want to get fit, it is for you to decide how best to go about this but I recommend taking proper advice as I did.  For some, it might be wise to talk to your Doctor first.

    Extra - 29th August 2011  I just wanted to add I have on a couple of occasions tried to get a response from DW Sports about this blog post - just to make sure it is factually correct and to help me avoid misleading anyone.  They have not responded which I think is a poor show and disappointing.


    1. I know that fitness is fitness but to me there is somthing artificial about gyms.
      I do all my exersise outdoors, rain or shine...also no Walkmans, i-pods or whatever. I need to be attuned to the sounds and sights around me.
      However, each to their own.
      Oh,by-the-way, nice to have found your blog again,Doug. I was thinking that perhaps someone had upset you and you had pulled the blog!

    2. Hi there,
      Many thanks for finding my blog again, I've missed your comments. I needed to change the blog name quickly as it conflicted with another person's blog which had been around longer.

      You're right about "fitness is fitness". I see gyms as a means to an end. I might go back in the winter if running and cycling proves difficult. Having said that, nothing beats a run out into the countryside at 5am at this time of year (apart from a 4am run!).

      Thanks again.


    3. Whether you are a fan or an athlete, the most vital and comprehensive knowledge about any type of sports can only be clearly understood through the best sports books written either by the champion athlete or a veteran coach. They are the most reliable persons because they have experienced the best and worst of the games and the ins and outs of every game
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    4. Thanks Emelyn - an excellent point.

    5. This is a topic that is near to my heart... Many thanks!
      Where are your contact details though?
      My blog post : customer care

    6. North Shields what can I say, looks looks its run by a bunch of kids!!

      Lets start with the management team:

      General manager nice guy, however no communication with staff as they seem clueless and looks like he could do with a good nights sleep.

      Assistant manager Kevin Nolan, bully, rude to staff and seems to have anger issues.

      As for the rest miserable, fake and unfriendly.

      The equipment is ok and its a nice size however just the atmosphere and lack of education and experience from the management staff to a lot of customers make the whole experience distasteful.

      The cleaners never seem to stop and take the brunt of the work and customers complaints. I've seen management been very rude to them in front of customer and treated like rubbish.

      Health and Safety wise, I have never seen so many weights and equipment lying around on the gym floor. I'm just waiting for someone to seriously trip and injure themselves.

      Some of the reception staff are friendly and polite but still require a lot of customer care training.

      Before I joined I didn't think too much of it at the time but I kept getting phone calls and pestered to join even though I said I was going to join. Once I did I took the free PT session which turned out to be nothing more than a very basic gym introduction. When I recommended some friends and handed over information about themselves they were hounded to join and it came across that the Sales Manager only cared about the money and not the customers needs and satisfaction luckily they didn't make the same mistake as me to join.

      Once my membership is up I will be definitely be moving elsewhere.

      I really hope all "Chain Fitness/Health Clubs" are not run and feel this way!

    7. Thank you Anonymous for your comment. Probably best to avoid mentioning anyone by name personally - I did think about deleting the whole comment because of that but have left it on there. You've painted a sad picture and I don't blame you for moving elsewhere once your membership is up.

      I get the impression that staff working in fitness clubs are badly paid and that could be the root of the problem. Good quality, bright, enthusiastic people with nice inter-personal skills will get snapped up by employers prepared to pay a decent salary.

    8. Sad to say that for financial reason i need to quit my DW Sports Gym account as will as for my son
      but when i contact Costumer service the insist me to make another month payment even if i am not using the gym as i am away from the country.

      I found it a reap off from the members.

      1. Hi Anonymous 28 October 2015
        This is really disappointing, although I have heard this before about how they make if a little difficult to leave, often squeezing a little more money out of customers. It would be interesting to hear from DW Sports on this - have they responded to you at all?