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Virgin Active Health Club Wood Green
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98-100 High Street, Wood Green, London, United Kingdom
020 8889 6161
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Calling all gym virgins - get to Virgin Active!
London, England, United Kingdom
March 17, 2011
Best of IgoUgo
= On arrival = On entering the club you take a lift to the third floor and walk into the reception area. The friendly front of house staff swipe your membership card and you walk through to the changing rooms. At reception you can purchase ...
= On arrival =
On entering the club you take a lift to the third floor and walk into the reception area. The friendly front of house staff swipe your membership card and you walk through to the changing rooms. At reception you can purchase sportswear, water bottles, snack bars and various other sports equipment as well as hire towels. Most of the London clubs provide free towel hire for customers, however being one of the cheaper branches Wood Green charge £5 a month or £1 each time you borrow one.
Behind reception is a lounge area with two computers with free internet, a large TV screen showing Sky Sports News and comfortable sofas. Members can wait for friends in here, use the internet and it is also the area where staff can talk to potential customers about membership.
= Opening times =
The opening hours at Wood Green Virgin Active are very good and better than a lot of other gyms in the area. On weekdays the gym opens from 7.00 a.m. which to me seems very early, but I am assured that if the key holder isn't there on time there will already be a queue of angry gym-goers waiting outside the door! It closes at 10.00 p.m. with a last entry of 9.30 p.m.
At the weekend the gym opens from 9.00 a.m. and closes at 6.00 p.m. which is good compared with other Virgin Active gyms in London which close earlier or in some cases don't open on a Sunday!
= The changing rooms =
The changing rooms at Wood Green Virgin Active are basic but very clean and functional. Wooden benches surrounding hundreds of lockers and mirrors provide ample space for dressing without ever getting too crowded. There are also smaller lockers that can be hired out for £5 a month.
Around the edges of the changing rooms are more large mirrors with a ledge which you can use as a dressing table (I don't - I just get out of there as fast as I can!) with hair dryers, cotton pads, body cream and ear buds which are complimentary.
The showers are at the back of the changing room. There are 10 in total which is plenty considering the size of the gym and predominantly male regulars.
= The gyms =
The main gym at Wood Green is upstairs. It is a decent size with a mix of cardio and resistance machines and free weights. At the front of the gym are lots of mats to do floor work which are surrounded by free weights, kettle bells and ViPRs. In the centre of the gym are all of the cardio machines including 10 bicycles, 10 treadmills and 10 cross trainers and then towards the back are the 'men's' free weights and weight machines. I refer to the men's weights as there is a section where only men ever seem to be! The weight machines include a chest press, leg press and various machines to strengthen the upper body.
There are a number of classes which take place on the mats on the gym floor. These These 'fast classes' include V-Core (abs work out), 30 minute punch (boxing work out) and Heptathlon classes (these were introduced by Virgin and Jessica Ennis who worked on a variety of exercises which could represent the seven disciplines of the heptathlon).
The downstairs gym is smaller and quieter. Again there are some cross trainers and treadmills but there are also some step machines in the cardio area. There are three Powerplates which are one of my favourite things to use in the gym. Powerplates, for anyone who doesn't know, are vibrating machines which you can perform your exercise on and apparently the technology is six times more effective than doing the exercises on the floor. They are great for doing things like squats, lunges and stretches.
Both the upstairs and downstairs gyms have large flatscreen televisions which are programmed to the individual sound systems on the machines which means you can listen to the relevant channel if you have headphones with you. Water taps are located around both gyms and outside both changing rooms.
= The studio and classes =
The studio is a good size and can fit up to 40 people for most classes. There are many classes at Wood Green gym and most take place in the studio including:
- Body Balance - combines yoga, pilates and tai chi.
- Body Combat - non contact martial arts set to music.
- Body Pump - weight training work out to music.
- Punch - an energetic workout with dynamic punching combinations.
- Step - aerobic choreography with the aid of a stepping bench.
- Yoga - spiritual discipline with meditation.
- Zumba - Latin American themed dance.
Classes are particular busy in the evenings, especially between 6.00 - 8.00 p.m., however the gym do not seem to put a limit on how many people can attend and won't introduce a first-come, first-served system. On Tuesdays I get to the gym early for a Zumba class but people are still walking in 15 minutes after it starts and trying to slot in between people. This is the thing that annoys me most about the classes because generally they are a lot of fun and the instructors are excellent.
= The other facilities =
Virgin Active Wood Green is quite small and in comparison with some other gyms and other Virgin Actives around London, is lacking in the facilities department. First and foremost it doesn't have a pool. To a lot of gym goers this would be a huge deterrent but as someone who struggles to swim a length it doesn't bother me at all. It does have a sauna in both the male and female changing rooms which is nice as others I've been to have been mixed sex. I've used the sauna a few times myself but generally it's very underused and I've never been in there at the same time as anyone else! They have recently added a sun tanning bed (it's an upright one) in both changing rooms. Again, sadly, I've never seen anyone use it! The price starts at £3 for 3 minutes.
The free internet has been very popular since its introduction. I haven't used it myself as I don't live too far away and spend enough time on the internet at home and work, but it's good to know the facility is there! Another good thing about the gym is that it is part of Wood Green's Shopping City and shares its car park. The receptionists can stamp your parking ticket which means you do not have to pay.
Personal training works out at around £30 a session which I think is ridiculous considering the gym instructors are very helpful and you can learn anything you need to from them without a PT session. Members are entitled to a free 30 minute session with a fitness instructor every six weeks anyway which is a great, however it isn't something I make the most of!
= Cost and membership options =
When I joined there was an offer on where there was no sign up or administration fee. They were also offering the rest of the month for free which was a good incentive to sign up there and then and make the most of it! As my boyfriend works in Local Government and I live with him I was offered a reduced rate - £37.50 a month for unlimited access to the gym which also includes access to any other Virgin Active once a week. This is quite handy as Crouch End gym is only twenty minutes away from my house and if I needed to use the pool or try and different classes I can do this.
In the three and a half years I've been a member it has only gone up once and is now £39.50. This might sound a lot for anyone living outside of London but in comparison with a friend who pays £70 a month at Virgin Active Regent's Park, another who pays £66 on the London/Essex border and another who pays £100 at a gym at Canary Wharf! I believe that full price at Wood Green is around £50 a month.
= Location =
98 - 100 High Street
Wood Green Virgin Active is right in the centre of Wood Green High Street. It is easily accessible by bus routes and is less than 5 minutes walk from both Wood Green and Turnpike Lane underground stations, which are both on the Piccadilly Line. There are lots of shops and places to eat nearby, as well as a cinema next door.
Overall opinion: 4/5 - excellent but they lose a star for the lack of facilities!