Maybe you’re one of those people who pop in a P90X DVD and go ballistic right there in your living room. That is so not me! Call me an extrovert, a show-off, or whatever you want but I like to be where the people are. I have the hardest time motivating myself to work out at home. Sometimes it’s just the act of leaving the house and going to the gym that gets me fired up. Other times, it’s the camaraderie of a class or workout partners. Often, it’s just being surrounded by complete strangers, all with a common goal of getting healthy and strong, that helps me get my crazy on.
I found all those things when I recently visited Club Sport San Jose. In addition to being a top-notch facility with helpful and happy employees (almost too happy…what are they putting in the water over there?!), Club Sport also offers a supervised Kids World, pools, steam rooms, a diverse selection of equipment, enough fitness classes to meet almost anyone’s preferences and schedule, and the list goes on.
My 9-year-old twins, Jack and Liam, were also invited to take part in this review so today I’ll cover a full spectrum of the gym’s facilities and offerings.
Now, I have to say, if you have small kids, there is one sure-fire way to get your pre-baby body back and that is, find a gym with childcare! When the boys were toddlers, I practically ran to the gym every day just to have an hour to myself.
Added bonus: I was burning calories, boosting endorphins, and creating a healthy lifestyle and body during this “me time”!
Unfortunately, the gym in my hometown had a pitiful kids area. A teenage girl sat them in front of the TV while she talked on her phone. It was horrible! So the boys were totally spoiled by Club Sports 7,000 square foot Kids World with its video games, craft zone, toys galore, and even one of those awesome climbing jungle gyms (the tube type that every mom on the face of the earth has at one time or another squeezed herself up into the furthest corner to rescue a screaming/scared/lost child).
While the boys were having a blast in Kids World, I received a tour of the facility and then headed over to one of Club Sports many fitness classes, Rock the RIDE, their self-proclaimed “party on a bike” class!
I attend brutal spin classes each week and I even have my own spin bike in my home gym. But I gotta say, never in my life have I done choreography on a spin bike! I’ll admit that it was weird but it was also strangely satisfying. Almost like the time went by more quickly. Brooke, the instructor, had us doing knee to elbow crunches, swaying movements, and even a modified push-up — all while still spinning. My one and only concern with this class would be for the awkward peeps who lack all rhythm and could possibly hurt themselves trying to coordinate so many moving limbs all at once but for the rest of us, this class was awesome! I burned 550 calories in the one hour class (which is on par with my other classes) and yet I honestly didn’t feel like I worked as hard as I do in my other classes!
I think it had something to do with the spin studio’s giant screen which is a great distraction when you’re cycling hard for an hour! Rock the RIDE had us watching music videos the entire class. There were a few points where I got totally sidetracked from the workout because I was watching the videos — but for the most part, it was a nice addition!
Speaking of calories burned, Club Sport also offers a heart rate monitor system where your heart rate shows up on the screen at the front of the class! Talk about incentive! One thing about spin classes is that you can really phone it in, if you want to. Since you control the intensity right there on your bike, it’s easy to just dial back the resistance and take it easy the whole class — which is, of course, a bad idea! With the displayed heart rates on the screen in the front, it felt like there was a bit more accountability (and let’s be honest, the chance to compete!).
After my sweat-tastic class, I headed to the gym’s kettlebell zone. Although the selection was limited, they have a good array of weights and no one else seemed to be using them so it wasn’t a problem for me. Adjacent to the kettlebells is an amazing TRX station with plenty of cables in a nice, open area. Love it! At this point, my kids had been taken to the pool for a private swim lesson and I headed to the spa. Yes, they have a spa! Tell me, where else can you drop your kids off in a safe, pleasant environment while you go get a massage?! Sold.
The full-service day spa is small (in comparison to everything else!) but well-appointed. With plenty of treatment rooms and a zen-like waiting area, I enjoyed the tranquility of this little haven in the midst of such a gigantic facility. My massage was lovely and Martha, my practitioner, made me feel so relaxed and rejuvenated (which seems like it should be a given, considering I was there for a massage, but not all spas get it right!).
I especially loved the added touch of water and a chocolate waiting for you when your massage is over. Come on, who doesn’t want to have chocolate while they’re basking in the serenity of a full-body massage?! Will power, be damned.
After a wonderful steam in the steam room, I got dressed and headed over to the pool to retrieve my kids (oh right…my kids!). They went on and on about how fun they had playing in Kids World, showed me their crafts, and gabbed about learning how to play water polo with their swim instructor, proudly telling me of the nicknames she had given them (Lefty Liam for his ability to play a left-handed “tosser” position and Jumping Jack for his feats of strength as goalie). I was impressed that the swim instructor showed flexibility when she saw my kids were not that interested in a “proper” swim lesson (they’re on a swim team and swim four times a week) and instead, exposed them to a new sport. That kind of service, quickly adapting and meeting the needs of the client, is a great display of exemplary customer service.
With excellent swim and fitness programs, super clean facilities, and being easily accessible, Club Sport has quickly become a hub of family activity in the South San Jose area. But what I also noticed is that it’s also a place of community. Everyone in the spin class knew each other and shared many inside jokes (and I noticed that Brooke, the instructor, made it her mission to make me feel comfortable and “in the loop”). As I walked through the lobby when I first arrived, I couldn’t help but notice a group of members sitting around some low tables, surrounded by balloon bouquets, laughing and talking. Look a little closer and I see they’re celebrating someone’s birthday — complete with fresh fruit and whipped cream (nice one!). They looked like they were all great friends and even as we left four hours later, some of them were still there, gabbing away!
Most people think gyms are cold and intimidating. And the truth is, many of them are! They’re full of ogling beefcakes with no manners, mean girls on the elliptical in way too much spandex (and somehow not enough at the same time…), and stark rooms full of iron and metal. Ugh! No thanks!
I was impressed with how open, bright, and aesthetically pleasing Club Sport was but I think what struck me the most was a sense of belonging and connection among the members. Whether it was the birthday group in the lobby, my fast-friends in spin class, or listening to the many conversations happening around me in the change room, I was delighted to see a gym that has done a great job of creating community.
DISCLAIMER: I was given complimentary access and services in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own and 100% honest. Those who know me, know that my standards are incredibly high and I don’t give compliments lightly (I’m working on it!).