See that woman?  Yeah… that’s not me.  I hate working out.  The first step to recovery is admitting your problem.  And the thing is, I have this person in my head who does awesome physically challenging things on a daily basis.  A few months ago, I bought a 12 foot stand up paddle board  because I could see myself as this super cool beach person who did zen-like yoga in the morning in Port Phillip Bay.  Instead, I used it twice because the water was cold and it was heavy to carry.  (Please note, there are penguins in there!)

I first realized my problem as the result of a Groupon.  Once upon a time in graduate school I saw a Groupon for a 5-day-a-week fitness boot camp.  I considered joining and attempting enlisting a friend as moral support.  Her reaction was—6am… no way.  But. after some cajoling, I won her over to do the boot camp in her location.  Hey—anyone can do anything for one month… right?

What I learned is that I am lazy.  I don’t like the physical discomfort that accompanies exertion and the second the sweat starts to break I am ready to slow that heartbeat.  The first day at bootcamp when I was pushed to the point of throwing up I knew that I could never achieve this level of workout on my own.  (Thanks Corey!)

So, when I realized that things had gotten a bit out of control healthwise here in Melbourne (those delicious wines and fancy dinners catch up to you) I wanted to commit to something that was not only near my work but that also had structure, accountability and someone to kick me into shape.  With these thoughts in mind, I focused on classes and signed up for a tour of Virgin Active.

Virgin has over 200 classes a week, which far surpasses any of the other gyms I looked into.  But the place was a bit… bright for me.  It was odd to walk into a place with such a volume of sales consultants and to see so many people signing contracts and walking out with their free gym bags.  My heart just wasn’t in it.  And when my colleague again tried pushing me into looking at City Club at the Hyatt by noting that they too had classes and that it was not your average hotel gym, I took the bait and did the tour.

For what it’s worth, the factors that influenced my decision, or in some cases the things I wish I had known, were as follows:

Virgin Active

City Club





200+ classes a week dry sauna only A$40 spa credit every month hot water in showers goes in and out
rock climbing wall no hot tub wet and dry sauna hotel guests, i.e. children and teenagers, use pool (particularly at certain times of the week)… don’t expect to do laps
state of the art equipment no permanent lockers hot tub my coworkers will see me falling on treadmills
none of my coworkers are members at Virgin Active must rent towels permanent locker that locker… it’s the tiny foot locker one—the big one gets assigned at arrival
sleeping pods and other space to relax crowded changing area unlimited fitness assessments that can somewhat work like personal training also, if you ask for a permanent foot locker upstairs near the saunas (because the women’s locker room doors are kept open to “air it out”), you will none the less be assigned one downstairs due to space and be forced to walk back and forth in front of the gym floor in your towel
more of a meat market private club feel even though the assignment of the footlocker downstairs is due to an alleged space shortage, when you pay an additional monthly fee for a large locker upstairs you will also get a foot locker upstairs
heavy on the sales clothes on arrival
membership cap and lots of space to get dressed and dry hair
tennis court that you can bring guests to for free

Let’s be honest.  I was sold at the monthly spa credit and hot sauna and signed on the dotted line with City Club.

I am proud to say that I have made it a week with five workouts in that time.  I would complain about anything work out related, but on a scale of misery as I huff and puff through that hour I would say that City Club is not so bad.  Sure, I found out that I no longer can do a single sit up, but I enjoy sweating it out for even a few minutes in the morning in the steam room and I am getting used to the routine.  I am not getting any younger, so it is time I started taking care of myself.

You might note that the item conspicuously missing from the tally above is price.  I have the good fortune of working for an employer that reimburses Melbourne gym fees at 80%.  Given this robust discount, the amount I pay is not of high importance to my decision making.  That said, the features reviewed for City Club above are for the Platinum Membership.  The Platinum Membership is A$175 per month with an additional A$20 for a permanent full locker.  I believe Virgin Active is A$135 per month plus towel rental.  City Club has a Gold Membership that is A$120 per month.  My conclusion then was that between the prices were comparable, though for the added benefit of things like gym clothes on arrival and a spa credit you could pay more than with Virgin Active.

Hope this helps others out there weighing CBD options and hope to see you at the gym.