200 ALDERSGATE – POSSIBLY THE BEST GYM IN LONDON
When choosing a gym, it’s important to stop and actually consider what you want from a gym. If you’re looking for a budget option there are gyms out there that will offer you a minimal experience for a minimal cost. If you want to be pumping iron in a hardcore, old-school type gym, a gym like Muscleworks in Bethnal Green might suit you. However if you’re looking for the all-out Roll Like Boss type experience, we suggest taking a look at the Virgin Active ‘Classic’ health clubs. Not to be confused with standard Virgin Active gyms, the ‘Classic’ clubs are Virgin Active’s premium gyms. They are kitted-out to a whole different level and are essentially the ‘Champion’s League’ equivalent of gyms.
Membership at the Classic clubs is not cheap. In fact, some of their membership prices are eye wateringly expensive. However, there are ways to bring their membership rates down if you do your research. We’ll come back to pricing later.
There are currently six Virgin Active Classic clubs in London:
– Canary Riverside
– 200 Aldersgate
If you join one of these clubs, you’ll have access to the others as well as all the Virgin Active clubs around the world.
The Roll Like Boss team have sampled most of the Classic clubs, and they are extremely impressive. They offer a completely different experience to your average Fitness First or LA Fitness gym. Working out with the latest state-of-the-art equipment, and freshening up in the luxurious changing rooms, you’ll leave the gym feeling relaxed and recharged, which is more than can be said for some of the budget chains.
200 Aldersgate Gym Review
Examining the list of Classic gyms above, while they are all of a very high standard, it’s the new club at 200 Aldersgate that stands out. Recently built in 2012 at a cost of £8 million, this club is simply pimped out to the max. It’s hard to do justice to this gym in a review because no amount of words can describe it. A tour will literally blow your mind.
Let’s take a look at what this club offers in more detail.
For a start, 200 Aldersgate is huge compared to the majority of London gyms. No one likes waiting for equipment or other gym-goers invading your personal space. At 200 Aldersgate this won’t be a concern.
The weights area is spacious and has a great selection of high-end free weights and machines. Several bench press stations and smith machines mean that you’re rarely waiting for important equipment, even on Mondays when it’s “chest day” for what seems like every guy in the city. For those looking to add variety to their workouts, there’s a large selection of kettlebells and a designated area for TRX suspension workouts
The cardio area is vast and boasts a large number of state-of-the-art treadmills, cross trainers, bikes and rowing machines. Even during peak times, there is always equipment available. For those interested in a premium indoor cycling experience, they also have a training suite of eight ‘Wattbikes’ set up. The Wattbikes are synced up to a large monitor allowing you to race against others and monitor your performance in real time, ideal for cyclists or triathletes wanting to train at the optimal level. It’s these kind of first-rate features that set Virgin Classic gyms apart from their regular gyms.
Possibly the best feature of 200 Aldersgate is the magnificent pool, spa and sauna area. Featuring a 20 metre hydrotherapy pool, large spa, sauna and steam room, this is the place to relax after a tough workout. Features like the old school ‘Cold Bucket’ shower, the ice fountain, and the two ‘Experience’ showers which have settings such as tropical rain, thunder rain and cold mist, really make this a unique experience. If you’re not in the mood to relax, grab a SWIMTAG from reception and you can track your swim stroke and technique in the pool, evaluating your own performance and competing against others.
The changing rooms at 200 Aldersgate are another differentiating factor. They are modern, spacious and luxurious and wouldn’t feel out of place in a 5 star hotel. Molten Brown toiletries are provided and white fluffy towels are complimentary. Then even have GHD hair straighteners – in the men’s changing room! You’ll walk out of the gym feeling on top of the world.
All the Virgin Active Classic gyms offer a diverse selection of free classes such as body combat, body attack, pilates and spinning. However, unlike your average gym, the 200 Aldersgate spin room features Myride technology – a gigantic screen on the front wall projecting the world’s best rides during the class.
Lastly, there is a plush café and relaxation area with comfortable sofas and chairs, meeting rooms and iMacs. With free wifi, phone chargers, newspapers and complementary Costa coffee, you can really make yourself at home here.
This gym is the complete package and the guys at Virgin Active have really raised the bar.
Membership at the Virgin Active ‘Classic’ clubs will cost you £115 per month for a 12 month contract or £145 per month for a month by month contract, although the Kensington gym is a little more expensive. There’s no joining fee on a 12 month contract.
There are ways to reduce these rates though.
For example, company plans are significantly cheaper than £115 per month.
However probably the best way to get cheap access is through Pru Health Health Insurance. If you sign up to their Vitality scheme, you’ll get a 50% discount on the fully flexible rates so membership will cost you £72.50 per month. Given that a budget chain such as Fitness First will charge around £50 for multi gym access and extra for towels, this is great value given the difference in standards between the two organisations.
One thing is for sure – after a tour of this gym, you will never want to go back to your regular gym. For more information or a free tour of 200 Aldersgate, check out their site here