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Balham Leisure Centre
Elmfield Road, London
All In London Review
Great flexibility, facilities and trainers at Balham Leisure Centre’s Kinetika gym
Like with a lot of London-based professionals, my working hours vary, my personal commitments overtake my life and I’m away on business appointments at short notice – it’s not really ideal to be forking out a monthly rate when I can’t promise I’ll be making the most of it.
However, when I was introduced to Balham Leisure Centre’s Kinetika gym by a friend, I suddenly felt reassured with the service I could get there. Keeping all of the above in mind, I discussed my goals with a manager on the first visit – and she reassured me they could cater to my sporadic (or not-s—sporadic) needs. And if I did know I was going to be away for a few weeks, I could call in and suspend my membership until I returned, brilliant!
It was clear that the Kinetika gym at Balham came with flexibility. If I didn’t want to sign up to the recommend three-month contract, I could pay month-to-month (£43* if you’re BUPA registered, £53* if not), I was told. Or, if you’re even more dubious of how much you’ll attend, they offer a single session or five-session ticket at £3.00* and £12.00* respectively.
As a member, you will receive full and free access to the other leisure centre facilities (more detail on that later). Extras (on top of your membership fee) include the squash courts, sports clubs, treatment rooms, shop and crèche.
Once signed up to the gym, you will get a full consultation with trained members of staff (which I fully recommend). They encourage you to book in six appointments with them, which again cost nothing extra, where you can talk through your goals (whether that’s to get fit, lose weight, train for an event or tone) and monitor your progress.
There’s also a full induction to the machines and at each appointment, you’ll be able fine-tune your work outs to your needs.
Of course, there are plenty of trainers on site every day too – so if you do need help in between appointments, they are all so friendly and willing to help. In fact, a couple even talked me through 30-minute training sessions at a moment’s notice – as long as they don’t have an appointment with another client booked in, they’re very willing to help at any time.
The thing I noticed immediately at Kinetika was that I didn’t feel intimidated when I worked out there. There are people of all ages, abilities and fitness doing their thing and not once did I feel uncomfortable.
Also, if you’re lucky enough to be able to attend during off-peak hours, make the most of it. The gym is so quiet; you could literally spend hours there and not notice the comings and goings. Peak time is busier, but there’s still enough equipment to go round.
The changing areas are clean and warm, and there are plenty of showers so no one is kept waiting. The gym provides lockers before you enter for your belongings and you can purchase a safe lock at reception or bring your own. And there is ice cold water on offer and drinking fountains across the floor.
Equipment-wise, you have full access to all the usual cardio machines; from the cross trainer and treadmill to a range of bikes for group exercise or solo cycling. The solo cycle seats come in two forms – one normal and the other with a high back for anyone with lower back problems… this is something I’ve found is often over-looked in other gyms.
The resistance machines are also readily available – with some extras on the top floor if downstairs is busy.
There are also two free weights areas with dumbbells up to 50kg - and a floor exercise area with exercise balls ready for use. If you’re keen to try out the Flab-e-los vibrating machine, the staff can help you.
If you’re thinking of signing up to classes – the full timetable is available on the website. But you can try anything from Zumba to yoga and body pump. The 60-minute challenges are fun – but feel like a work-out. I genuinely felt so great afterwards; it’s very rewarding. Most classes are included in your gym membership, so you don’t even need to pay anything extra! Bonus!
And if you ever get bored there’s the swimming pool – again, included within your membership. Just check there isn’t a club going on before you arrive. They say a 30-minute swim burns more calories than a 45-minute turn in the gym. Interesting, eh?
Finally – when you’ve worked yourself to the bone and fancy a bit of relaxation, you have free access to the sauna and steam room. So I’ve taken to keeping a spare cozzie and towel in my bag just in case I have time to pop in here. After a good session on the main floor, there is nothing that feels better than slipping into that sauna for a few heavenly minutes.
The main Kinetika All-Inclusive package I mentioned above offers:
• Five one-to-one sessions with an instructor
• Unlimited use of the gym
• Workout Classes
• Health Suite
• Discount on other activities
There are also Junior packages (11-15 years), family all-inclusives, senior membership, corporate benefits and national access deals – these are definitely worth checking out if you fall into these categories.
*Rates may vary, please check with Balham Leisure Centre for up-to-date figures.
Reviewed by All In London
Published on Jul 20, 2012
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