Lifetime Fitness invited me to tour one of their facilities. I was expecting a gym. Boy was I in for a surprise. Lifetime Fitness centers are more of a community than a gym. Today I trekked out to Florham Park, NJ (about an hour from my NYC neighborhood) to see what all the buzz is about.
Accustomed as I am to dinky NYC gyms, I was overwhelmed by the size. I thought mapquest had led me astray. Surely this behemoth was a grand hotel not a fitness center. As I pulled in I noticed the gargantuan outdoor pool complete with water slide. It was closed up for the winter, but I could almost hear the children laughing and splashing. This looked good.
A warm welcome at the front desk and I was whisked off to meet Jordan Naftal the GM. Our tour took about 60 minutes'??the facility is huge. We started upstairs with the cardio center. Take a look'??there is never any chance of a line for your favorite piece of equipment. And guess what? No out of order signs anywhere.
Next we saw the free weight and weight machines. Spotless and plentiful. Your muscles would never be neglected. I got the chance to meet with Kevin Rakowski a Personal Trainer who gave me a fitness profile (more on that next week)'??he had lots of helpful advice and a friendly attitude. I got the feeling the staff is very well trained.
From there, off to the yoga and Pilates room. Yoga was in session so I didn'??t get a peek, but look at this gorgeous Pilates studio (note: Pilates sessions are not included in monthly membership).
I toured through the MANY studios'??two for classes like Zumba and Cardio workouts, plus a huge spinning room.
Downstairs there'??s more. Two full-size NCAA basketball courts, four squash courts and a climbing wall.
Of course, since I focus on moms, I wanted to know about childcare. The room was enormous and even had a fenced, secure outdoor area for the kids to safely run around. The kids were grouped by ages (you can bring them once they are 3 months old) and given plenty of physical activity while checked in. The two moms I met raved about the childcare.
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There'??s also a cafÃ©, a spa and well-stocked locker rooms. In fact, the locker rooms reminded me more of the facilities I saw at the Atlantis resort than any gym I'??ve ever seen. Plush towels, all the toiletries and a neat and tidy appearance.
I saved the best for last'??the aquatic portion of Lifetime Fitness had me pining for the '??burbs. There was a dedicated lap pool. Plus another huge pool for family swim and play (there was a nice indoor waterfall feature in this area). If you are a serious swimmer or if you want your child to get lessons you can do it all at Lifetime Fitness. And that's just indoors--there's also the enormous outdoor portion that I mentioned earlier. Were I a Short Hills native, this is likely where I'd spend 90% of my summer.
GM, Jordan Naftal told me there are 300 employees on staff and it showed. When I arrived the bathroom needed attention, when I swung back into the locker room 20 minutes later it was spotless. Though bustling, the club has the staff to keep up with maintenance and to give members the 1-on-1 attention. There are thousands of members at this club'??yet it didn'??t feel crowded. With 200,000 square feet you'??ll never feel claustrophobic.
When I asked about the membership and if it is family friendly, Naftal told me, '??We are an adult club that is family friendly.'? Agreed. When I worked out, I didn'??t see any sign of kids, but downstairs the childcare area, cafÃ© and halls were happily buzzing with families.
What'??s it going to run you? Right now there'??s a $0 enrollment fee. You'??ll have to pay $129 in a one-time admin fee, plus $249 monthly for a family membership. Worth it? Every penny from what I could see.
For more information visit www.lifetimefitness.com/
To find a club near you (there are more than 90 clubs across the USA) go to www.lifetimefitness.com/Life-Time-Fitness-Clubs/
Momtrends was given a travel stipend to visit this facility. Want us to check you out? We can't promise a good review, but if you cover travel fees, we'll take a look!