Friday, June 11, 2010
YOU know, I was never a big fan of the gym which explains why I can only dream of having a six-pack abs without actually making an effort to achieve it. Anyway, back in 2007, I was offered to test drive a newly-opened gym at Discovery Suites in Ortigas Centre called Balance Lifestyle Fitness Club for not just a one or two sessions but for an entire three-month period.
Yes, it was certainly one of those offers nobody can refuse. And yes, while much of it was hard work, for the most part I literally worked out a lot of sweat with my limited membership. Details? Well, everything you need to know about Balance is right here on this 2007 feature on Discovery Suites’ best-kept secret for the Manila Bulletin. Read on.
By EDWIN P. SALLAN
BALANCING a busy work schedule with the need to stay fit and healthy is never an easy thing. It certainly does not help if you’re going to a crowded gym where you’re supposed to lose calories but end up losing precious time instead.
That’s exactly what happens in most fitness club franchises that have been mushrooming like fast food restaurants in recent years. While it’s also true that a full house gym provides a somewhat competitive environment that is conducive to raising needed adrenaline levels as well as promote camaraderie among its regulars, the time spent waiting for your turn to use the treadmill as well as other gym equipment can often bring your energy level down and break whatever momentum you got going with your workout routine—not to mention the specter of missing an important appointment or two as a result.
Well, for those who are or are still on the lookout for a much better gym experience with conditions and programs that are also seem to be tailor-made for their hectic schedule, there’s a new lifestyle fitness club worth trying out. Located at the Discovery Centre of the Discovery Suites, Balance Lifestyle Fitness Club, as its name suggests, is what its Fitness Manager Ramon Rivera describes is about “the introduction or injection of stability, of control and equilibrium into the lives of our members.”
“Balance is for those who are willing to pay a premium for exclusivity, service and not having to cue up or be time-constrained on the use of a treadmill or other cardiac machines due to overcrowding,” he continues. “It is for those who opt to use the Jacuzzi, Steam Bath or Sauna after working out, and avail of hotel-grade amenities that also include clean locker rooms and Marks and Spencer toiletries. It is for those who’d also like to add, for example, 30 yards to one’s golf drive, or being able to hit a badminton smash with telling force, and not wake up with muscle soreness the next morning.”
With a pretty busy schedule myself, one membership privilege of Balance that I for one, very much appreciate, is that I can go directly to this gym without bringing any gym gear, except an athletic supporter when I need to lift heavy weights and maybe an extra pair of socks. Clean workout t-shirts, shorts and shoes (and not just any shoes, mind you, but the latest Nike Air Max and Air Pegasus varieties) are provided to those who don’t like to carry gym bags. For purposes of personal hygiene, it is still advisable to use your own workout wear but I think the availability of these gym gear is still a nice touch and certainly a big thumbs up for those who like to tone their body fat and lose calories right away after a hard day’s work.
Another thing that stands out at Balance is its state-of-the-art gym equipment made by Life Fitness, the leading manufacturer of commercial treadmill and other industrial-strength cardio, strength-training, and group exercise fitness equipment worldwide. “The choice in favor of Life Fitness brand is that they are better products, is aesthetically-pleasing and easily conforms to the theme of the Club,” Rivera notes. “The Signature Series, which has multi-lingual capability, also has an easy-to-use interactive screen monitor that is both cable and FM Radio-ready.”
Walking and running on a treadmill for 20 to 30 minutes can be a tedious affair for the uninitiated. It can be a lot less tiring when you can watch your favorite cable channel or listen to your favorite radio station right from within a Life Fitness cardio machine itself as I usually do when I do my cardio workouts here.
Other key privileges of Balance include a variety of group classes every morning including Taebo, Pilates and Yoga. There’s the calorie-busting spinning class (studio cycling) held every Monday and Thursday that I now look forward to despite its rather punishing pace because working out a big sweat is a lot more fun when it is set to the music of Blondie and Coldplay, among others.
“We also have free Wi-Fi connection for those who prefer to jog while using their internet-ready laptops and mobile units,” Rivera continues. “We also give a 10 percent discount on every Terra Wellness Spa treatment, two-hour complimentary valet parking per day at Discovery Suites, six Elite Passes for workout that you can give away and 10 percent discount on room rates and F & B outlets at both Discovery Suites here and Country Suites in Tagaytay.”
The weights that I lifted weren’t really heavy by gym rat standards but I guess the program is working so far as I recently did fairly well in a small billiards tournament that I was invited to participate. I’m usually not very good at any sport to begin with and I only signed up to, well, “do as the Romans do” but the additional strength almost carried me to the tourney’s semifinal round.
Of course that doesn’t mean that I’ll start to engage in another sport where I expect to do miraculously well. But Balance has done a good job of making me feel good about myself and be more conscious about my health and fitness—and without compromising my schedule, too. Whether it does the same for you is something you should consider finding out for yourself.