To work out, some people prefer a daily run outside because they think the fresh air is refreshing, others prefer workout videos they can pop into their DVD player at home and tone their thighs at their leisure. Still some look for something more in a work out, like fancy equipment, aided training, or a sense of community. And many students are finding some or all of these elements in a few East Lansing area gyms.
Similar to how workout styles and preferences are never the same, not every gym is the same. Although all offer similar equipment, they are rooted in different values. Methods, amenities, perks, costs, hours and location are all important factors when picking a gym, and these decisions are even more important in a city, such as East Lansing, with numerous gyms close to campus. Powerhouse, Synergy Fitness and Snap Fitness are all newer gyms which vary in gym personalities, each holding a different set of values on which they pride their facilities.
Powerhouse Gym: 4790 S. Hagadorn Road 134C East Lansing, Mich. 48823
Formerly known as Atlas Gym, Powerhouse is located in Hannah Plaza. When they merged with Atlas Gym in December 2007 they decided to keep the Powerhouse name and the Atlas gym management. So, Powerhouse on Hagadorn Road has next to nothing in common with the Powerhouse Gyms around the country, instead holding onto the hours, prices and ideals that Atlas started with and adding just a few changes.[powerhouse]
Students say they enjoy the gym because of its convenient location and the free parking available, which is hard to find in the heart of the city. “It’s the only gym in the general area,” senior Lyman Briggs human biology major Molly Gaiser said.
“A lot of people like it better than the old Powerhouse location because they had to pay to park and now it’s free,” Keith Gregg, a Powerhouse staff member, said.
The gym prices are meant to be for the budget conscious because about 85 percent of their business comes from college students or recent graduates. “We have mostly college students, some older, it’s a good mix,” Gregg said.
Since the merge, Powerhouse has purchased a lot of new equipment including new rows of treadmills and elliptical machines. “Powerhouse has more equipment for the type of training I like to do,” advertising senior Mike Davidson said. Karri Hobbs, Powerhouse’s manager said the merge and purchasing of new equipment has paid off, and business has gone up. “The gym is also big compared to other gyms and we offer specials at the beginning of every semester,” she said.
Hobbs has been a manager at Powerhouse for nine months. Before becoming the manager she was a member of Atlas Gym, and decided that she was always working out so it was a great job for her. “I always have to be moving and this is a really fun atmosphere,” Hobbs said.
Powerhouse’s weekly yoga, spinning and circuit training classes with one of the seven personal trainers are popular among members. When classes are not in session, members are allowed to use the back room to do aerobics on their own. “Our locker rooms are pretty nice and taken care of,” Hobbs said.
Other perks include tanning, which is an extra charge of $5 per session or $35 for an unlimited pass, per month. Hobbs said the two stand-up hexes have been quite popular, bringing in even more customers who find it convenient to tan at their location. Another benefit is gym members receive a 50 percent discount at other Powerhouse Gym facilities across the United States.
“The staff is really cool and laid back, other gyms have so many rules,” Hobbs said. “It’s a good atmosphere here, we’re not judging, we get a lot of new people, there’s not a gym click.” Davidson agrees that the atmosphere is good. “It’s not as crowded as other gyms, it’s more comfortable.”
Cost: Memberships are $349 for the year paid in full, $50 for one month, $35 per month when committing to more than one month and $10 per day. If guests arrive with member their rate is $5 for the day.
Hours: Powerhouse is open 6 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
For more information: Call (517) 827-4653.
Synergy Fitness: 2655 E. Grand River East Lansing, Mich. 48823
It may be farther from campus than Powerhouse and Snap Fitness, but Synergy Fitness offers a unique energy, method and environment. The cleanliness and beauty of the facility alone may be enough to convince a fitness buff to drive the extra mile.
“Everyone’s reaction is ‘Wow, this place is super clean and nice,” trainer and gym attendant Laken Blakslee said. Blakslee has worked at Synergy two of the three years it has been open, following owner and trainer Todd Yehl from the Michigan Athletic Club after he opened Synergy.
The equipment, workout areas, and even the locker room are decorated and kept clean, giving the gym extra appeal. Plants are positioned throughout the gym, blending nicely with the ocean blue floor and brown-toned walls. The locker rooms follow suit, with polished wooden lockers for gym-goer’s belongings. “It’s clean, away from campus and has good equipment,” clinical laboratory science senior Liz Pateryn said. [synergy]
Aside from its image, the methods of the gym are different from others in the area as well. At Synergy, personal trainers strive to preserve body structure and wellness. There are work out sheets along the walls with workout plans to guide newcomers, however it isn’t necessary to follow the fitness regime. “Todd wanted to make it more of an inviting, social atmosphere, and the majority of the members enjoy the workout,” Blakslee said.
The cost for personal trainers is extra, as is the yoga class that is offered weekly. Yoga classes charge $5 per class for students and $10 for both non-student and non-members.
The off-campus location doesn’t stop students from frequenting Synergy. “The equipment’s new, you never have to wait in line and it doesn’t smell like a gym,” Pateryn said.
Blakslee said the clientele is half students, half professionals, with the most popular times being before class and after work. She also said training under Yehl has improved her physical health signficantly. She was told by doctors before meeting Yehl that there was nothing but surgery to repair the state of her feet and back. “The work out completely changed my posture, how I work out and all my pain is goneā€¦ My body feels great,” Blakslee said.
She said the work out applies to how a person walks throughout their day, stands while doing the dishes and other simple tasks. “I love working here, it’s one of those places you’re proud to work at,” Blasklee said.
Cost: Synergy offers various membership packages. The basic membership, without the personal training and yoga classes included is $50 as a start-up fee with $45 per month after that.
Special: For students only, memberships are available for a $30 enrollment fee and $30 per month after that.
Hours: The gym is in operation from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
For more information: Visit its Web site, or call (517) 351-3204.
Snap Fitness: 115 E. Grand River Avenue, Suite A, East Lansing, Mich. 48823
Working out at Snap Fitness means belonging to a private club that offers amenities, perks, prizes and a clean environment. Snap Fitness prides themselves on their upkeep of their equipment and facility and limiting the amount of gym members registered.
“We don’t want the gym to be overcrowded, we want equipment to always be available,” general manager and co-owner Elizabeth Molinksy said.
Since opening on September 26, 2008 Snap has done well. One of the big perks of being a member of Snap is having 24-hour access to the facility. “You can come in any time you want, I like to work out at various times of the day,” Snap member and LCC student Mike Smith said. Members simply swipe their card when entering the gym. In order to supervise the gym, motion detectors are alerted when cards are swiped and cameras function automatically. “Motion sensors detect when there are unauthorized guests,” Molinsky said.[snap]
Snap has specific staffed hours in which members are allowed to bring guests and new members are allowed to enroll. Guests that come in with Snap members are allowed to work out for free, as long as they come in during staffed hours. “The gym’s also very close and convenient,” communications sophomore Courtney VanAntwerp said.
Members also have access to free classes and are invited to participate in promotional competitions. This month there is Fitness BINGO which involves members trying different work outs in order to win various prizes. “We always have a game going on and a ‘Work Out of the Week’ posted,” Molinsky said.
Plasma TVs are stretched across the walls and gym goers can choose the channels. Currently there is a Greek competition for a 52-inch Plasma TV for whoever recruits ten new members within their separate sororities and fraternities. Group outings are planned as well for club members. For example, members were invited for a small price to attend a Lansing Lugnuts vs. MSU baseball game on April 16. With their membership, discounts are also distributed to Snap’s members giving them free membership to any of the 1,600 Snap Fitness facilities in the US, Canada and India as well as discounts to various East Lansing businesses.
“It’s nice that you can go to any Snap Gym so those graduating don’t have to worry about spending money on their memberships,” Molinsky said. “Sixty percent of our members are students and forty percent are adults, we get a lot of faculty.”
Another opportunity for members is to become a member online, where they can maintain a profile, receive a meal plan for their goal weight and keep track of their progress. Members are offered one free meeting with a personal trainer every six months to evaluate their body mass index (BMI), among other things, and learn how to tone specific areas of their body. This information is uploaded to their online profiles.
Although many perks are available for free to Snap members, there are some that come at an extra cost including a Boot Camp work-out program, tanning, and additional one-on-one sessions with one of the three personal trainers.
“I like it a lot,” VanAntwerp said. “It’s convenient and not as crowded as other gyms around here. You can get a quick work out in.”
Cost: There are no contracts, but Snap Fitness does offer pre-paid bonus packages where cost of membership goes down as the number of months committed increase. Cost for members committing to monthly payments is a one-time enrollment fee of $149 with $34.99 per month payments. A 30-day money-back guarantee is also incorporated if members find themselves unsatisfied.
Hours: Members have access 24 hours a day, every day.
Staffed Hours: The facility is open to non-members and member’s guests during the times that staff are on-site. Hours are 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
For more information: Visit, call (517) 336-0881, or join their Facebook group.

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