Exercise Science Center Rated Best in Puget Sound

We start out with the best of intensions, but every year thousands of fitness club memberships go unused because the facility falls flat.

“One of the things people get upset about is the go to the club and they can’t get on the equipment or the equipment is broken,” said Checkbook.org’s Robert Krughoff.

Krughoff and his staff asked thousands of local consumers to rate their fitness clubs.

“And we asked them about availability of equipment, the condition of the equipment, the cleanliness of the facility, whether the staff is helpful and give good advice,” he said.

Checkbook surveyed it’s own subscribers, along subscribers to Consumer Reports.  The feedback came in from across the Puget Sound region.

Consumers rated 87 fitness facilities, from small independent locations to municipal gyms and large fitness chains.  Only four local clubs scored 90 percent or higher when it actually providing what the sales staff promised.

Those were the Ballard Health Club in Seattle, the YMCA on California Avenue SW in West Seattle, 1-2-3 Fit in Silverdale and Exercise Science Center in Fircrest.

Dozens of clubs rated higher than average and also received Checkbook’s top ratings for quality.  But some of the popular chains scored disappointingly low.

Bottom line, don’t join a fitness club based on sales promises or advertised deals.  Visit the club at the time you’ll most likely need to use it.

Check out the equipment and pat attention to the wait times.  Look for signs that the equipment and the facility is being well maintained, and spend some extra time in the locker rooms and showers and see if they’re clean and sanitary.  In other words, give the club a workout, before you decide to commit money to workout on a regular basis.

“Think hard, would I really use this?  If you can, try it out on a temporary basis or a month-to-month basis for a couple of months to find out, am I really going to use this thing,” Krughoff said.

The full report on Health & Fitness Club Quality contains more tips for finding a good facility, including a checklist of what to look for and how to get the most out of your search.

As a special service to to KOMO viewer, the complete rating will be available for a week. After the evening of Tuesday, July 24, the ratings portion will only be accessible to Checkbook subscribers.

by Connie Thompson KOMO News 4 7/17/12