Thursday, 17 March 2011

Fitness First Shepherd's Bush: A members review

This review was sent in to me by Steve Bailey, a Fitness First Member who lives in Shepherd's Bush, and who thinks it is the 'worst gym in London' - harsh indeed. Here's his view:

The toilets some time overflow onto the men's room floor. We dry off after a shower with the hairdryers when there are no towels as happens too often. The general manager calls the men's dressing room ``a disgrace.''

Welcome to Fitness First at Shepherds Bush, London's worst gym.

Going to the gym should be an enjoyable experience. Too often it is not at Shepherds Bush Fitness First.

Here's what I have found in my six months as a member: The showers smell and many of the soap dispensers and shelves are missing from the walls. The sinks are broken and never fixed. The area around the toilets and the urinal are some times covered in towels or newspapers to catch the overflow. The walls are mildewed. Most of the lockers do not have hangers for your coat. Towels are often not available. And more.

``I completely agree with you that the state of the men's changing room & maintenance is a disgrace,'' the General Manager wrote me in an e-mail on Feb. 2.

I can't speak for the women's room, but we in the men's dressing have become the brotherhood of the miserable. ``London's worst gym,'' I grumbled one recent morning as I used the hairdryer to dry off yet again because there were no towels. ``London's cheapest gym,'' another member offered. ``If you think it is bad in the morning, you should see it in the afternoon,'' said a third. Longtime members tell me the gym has gone downhill steadily over the last five years. If a service business depends on word of mouth, the word of mouth is about as bad as it gets at Shepherds Bush.

It doesn't have to be this way. I use the Fitness First at Covent Garden every Sunday while my daughter goes to dance. The facility is very nice. The men's room has cut flowers and a deodorizer on the sink. The only things that smell are the weightlifters. Everything works. Amazing.

I've gone to gyms for years and never experienced any as bad as the men's room at Shepherds Bush. I continue to go and hope for changes only because of the proximity to my home; unless the gym is close by, I won't use it. And as I said, the gym should be an enjoyable experience, good for mind and body.

The problems come down to two words: management and investment. Both are inadequate at Shepherds Bush.

Fitness First should either fix or close its facility at Shepherds Bush. It is providing a poor service to its paying customers and damaging its corporate brand. Fix Fitness First.

It does seem to be Fitness First, Service Last at the moment. One has to hope they fix things soon. Reading between the lines I think the old manager was given the boot which is why it's under new management and to be fair to new manager Marius I don't think he is under any illusions about the scale of the challenges the gym faces - but I'm not sure he understands how soon people are going to just start cancelling their memberships rather than wait for things to get fixed. It really has gone downhill in a big way.

1 comment:

  1. This review couldn't have been written any better.
    I have been visiting this gym on the days I pass through shepherds Bush, dredging to go due to the state.

    Over the last 6 months, they have made the improvements but the full time staff treat the gym like most of the heathens do.
    A few points I have noticed:

    The weights are left lying around, by the staff aswell. I find the people who are regular are the only ones who tend to give a dam.

    New juice junkies will try and muscle you off equipment. When told "2 more sets, or work in with me" they simply jump in and don't get up and tell you that you're done f%*k off.

    People think it's ok to use equipment without a shirt, or towel and never wipe it down. When asked to clean there sweat off, the normal response is "you need it, you clean it, not my problem "

    Not sure what culture country it is, but I don't think I have done a fortnight with out someone using the toilets and either leaving shoe prints on the seat. Or worse, missing there aim from the ceiling and getting it down the out side of the loo. Not to mention that most the guys in there think it's acceptable to never wear deodorant.

    I have brought this up with the staff, only to get the response of:
    I just work at the desk, not my area.
    I'm a personal trainer, I'm not here to police anything.
    And my fav is: we only have one person here for that, and by the end of the day it all gets done.

    Doherty Gym has a few simple rules that are in forced by any person working there.
    2 strikes and your out. Good way to weed out the CRAP, and enjoy your time.
    "if you lift it, you put it back"
    "must use a towel on all equipment "
    "if you don't want it done to you, do not do it to others"
    "use equipment correctly" -that one would work well for the toilet.
    And so on.
    The gym looks after it self, and everyone respects everyone.

    Just my 2 cents