Fitness Centres in Taiwan


#341

IMO many of you complaining about gyms here would do better to simply get your own equipment and work out at home if you aren't happy with the gym situation. Jump ropes can be had for NT80 at any stationary store, pullup bars and dumbbells up to 50lbs. (but not over) are easily found at ruten.com.tw and the Yahoo Taiwan auction site. Decent exercise bikes can be had for around NT10,000 or less at many local stores. If you need more equipment than that, then be prepared to pay for the privilege of using it.


#342

I have been a long time (4-5 years) member at California Gym, mostly using the Taipei Station branch. I've tried the new World Gym at Kmall a few times now, initially when it first opened, and then several times over the past 2 weeks. My first impression shortly after it opened was not positive, but I thought I'd give it a chance before I posted any comments, in case it grew on me, and to let them fix the initial teething problems...

All the weight equipment is basically exactly the same as it was from the previous location. I think only the various cardio machines have been replaced/added to. The main problem is that the space is much smaller than the previous place, so everything is crammed in (I guess the reason for the move was to reduce the rent costs).

There really isn't enough space in the free-weight area (it's MUCH smaller than before), so when there's more than a couple of people around there, everyone is getting in each other's way. EG It's difficult to workout in the dumbbell area without blocking the rack in front, so anyone else who wants to use them is held up. Some people will move out of the way a bit or pause if they see you waiting, but many won't. The various benches for the smith machines, when they are not being used, tend to be moved in front of the barbell racks, so blocking them as well.

This new location has been open, what, not even 2 months now, and already it's showing significant wear and tear. Today, I saw at least 5 different weight machines out of action (with the little red maintenance sign on) - some being broken for at least 4 or 5 days. It's a shame that they didn't think replacing some of the machines which have previously been unreliable when they moved. EG the cable station's cables are ALWAYS breaking...they had the same problem at the old site. Why didn't they take the opportunity to replace all the unreliable equipment when they moved? At the same time, it's a shame that they didn't also consider which areas are frequently a bottleneck at busier times, and add some extra machines here and there to spread the load a bit more (if space is an issue, they could get rid of those machines which are barely used).

In the men's changing room, numerous shower cubicles are currently out of order. The sauna still is a big black hole with no sign for any work being done to install it. The toilets are just disgusting, with the floor swimming in something (water? urine? who knows) and the bins beside the sit down toilets have been left overflowing on each of my last few visits (also I noticed one of the cubicle doors has been smashed/broken on my last couple of visits). The toilet area in particular would seem to be a health hazard, as you have people walking in and out of the toilets traipsing everything on the floor there into the corridor which leads from the showers to the locker area, so there are lots of people walking around barefoot, and after washing in the shower you have to walk back through this swill.

Finally the locker area itself is incredibly badly designed. The new lockers are small compared to the old ones, so if you have a bag with you, you'll probably need two lockers. The lockers don't have the taller section any more, so you can't fully hang up a coat or shirt to prevent creasing. There's hardly anywhere to sit or stand when you're changing. There's just not enough space, so everyone is bumping into each other and blocking the other lockers when they change.

Can't really comment on the staff, as I never use the PT services, though the front desk people seem OK.

I might try some of the other WG branches to see if they are any better, though they are mostly in less convenient locations for me. Ultimately, if they dont get their act together and sort out the problems, then I'll be looking for an alternative gym.

Ben


#343

My thoughts exactly, Ben. Basically, two words: bad design. I also tried to give it a chance, but it's just getting too frustrating. Anyone know of a good gym in the Danshui area (the Beitou gov't one isn't up to much)?


#344

hi, i wonder if anybody can help me. Im visiting taiwan in June for around a month and wanted some advice as to which gym i could join for for that time. i will be staying near Taipei City Hall. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!


#345

if you're not taking classes such as body combat or require any special equipment the xinyi sport center would be an affordable option for a short term gym. it's $50/hr or $1500/30 hrs. more info xysc.cyc.org.tw/Intro.asp but it's all in chinese...


#346

Thank you for your recommendation. Thanks for the invite and addressing me directly in this thread. I too am well educated the outcome of the "one pissed off experience like mine could kill off 30 potential customers are more" syndrome that many of my co workers are apparently neglecting with the expat's examples listed here. Not positive of the stats overall in Taiwan, but it doesn't change the crucial principle in your point. I agree with you. :bravo: I am in charge of one location. This location is in the 101 building and is an Elite location(not the same as TTS or Tong lin, Da An etc.). The pricing is more expensive than what has been spoken about here on this thread thus cutting down the overcrowding issue that most have experienced. I train my front desk staff to inform me of every expat that comes in. (even if it is someone elses turn all tours are mine when it comes to expats) I will take them at all costs to be crystal clear in the selling experience. I cannot train any other locations,(as much as I really do want to and simply cringe at some of the experiences here)but I can train my location and do so at some point every day. I can communicate in chinese and I am very direct when it comes to the top three things why people join or leave clubs. Cleanliness, Convenience, and Service. Price is not in the top 3 based on IHRSA standards but we are in Taiwan so this may change. Every expat in my club knows me and I make sure I know them as well. I have taken responsibility for the service of these particular memberships and continue this to prevent any outcomes I have seen here. I typically take sales people with me on tour so they can experience it in english first hand.

To be quite honest a tour really is not the best way to experience a club. If you decide to come here I would recommend bringing your workout clothes just to make sure of a few things. 1. Is it convenient to come with your gear? Is it a convenient location? Does the equipment do the job? Do the classes meet your needs? etc etc. Paying a little more for something that is more effective may be worth it when it comes to a fitness experience. I am certainly not NOT saying that we are at our best and there is a lot of growing we still have to do. :notworthy: I have been in this industry for 16 years and have experienced alot. I cannot make excuses for other locations and I don't dare to. Please come here for a different experience 02 8101 8018. I will be straightforward and direct. If you like it great! If not that is ok, but I will do my best to persuade. Worse case senario, you can try it out to see if it is up your alley. My name is Nick.


#347

A friend and myself are gonna try to hit up the Tai-Da gym tomorrow. I'm back in town for a couple of weeks. Still trying to finalize things before I move out here. :slight_smile:


#348

Has anyone been to any of the locations of Taipei Gym? Found it from it's website, taipeigym.com.tw. A friend and I are going to take a look at it tomorrow. My friend is just trying to start working out while I'm looking for a real weightlifters gym. He wants me to help him be less of a gurley-man! lol


#349

Hi to all,

Accidentally discovered this forum. I was actually born and sort of grew up in Taiwan but migrated to North America 20 years ago. Since then I only returned to Taiwan once in 2007.

I was a member of 24 Hour Fitness in San Francisco for 10 years and I've used all their clubs in SF, among them the Van Ness @ Post club the one I most frequented. I was also a member of Bally Total Fitness (also in SF) from 2006-2007 which also allowed me to use Crunch at the time.

After 2006, I moved to Toronto and my Bally membership allowed me to use quite a few local gyms besides the Bally gym in Toronto. But that privilege ended in 2007 and those local gyms raised heir membership so that's the end of my bally membership, also the time I moved to Vancouver.

When with 24HF in SF, I paid more in the first 2 years (already forgot how much) and after that $12/month for life. Back then, I found them not that great (however, this POV has been changed since I moved to Canada and revisited Taiwan in 2007). I love the fact they have so many locations and that their membership fees were so affordable. But the quality of their customer service was just a passing C, some worse. The rest room at the Van Ness club can be a mess during the week and a HUGE mess during weekend. The lockers in the locker room were old and lots of them have been pried open before. And things got stolen more often than it should. That actually happened to me once. When I reported this incident to the front desk, their staff was totally obnoxious, responding to me like a bureaucrat official from a corrupt country with an attitude of "I've seen this a hundred times. It's not my problem! What the F*** do you want me to do?" But they do have a very large gym facility with lots of equipments, lots of space, which I loved and I also liked the constituents of members at that club.

Someone in this thread mentioned Crunch was the best gym s/he has seen. I'm not sure I would say that myself simply because my experiences with them in SF was just a good gym but nothing particular really impressed me. The front desk staff (especially males) were often times kind of stuck up. Their equipments were not as extensive as the 24HF at Van Ness and their space is smaller than theirs, too (which is not a big deal but just my personal preference). But I understand everyone has one's own idea of what's considered the best gym.

When it comes to the local gyms in Toronto, there were actually 1 or 2 clubs that were very nice in terms of its extra amenities in the locker room, besides their large workout space and extensive equipments. Already forgot the names of those clubs. I was still paying Bally membership fees then and it was around $30+/month (can't remember exact amount). After Bally withdrew their association with those Canadian clubs, just like most things in Canada (compared to the US), you now have to pay more for the same thing.

But Bally gave me the hardest time to get out of contract after I moved to Vancouver where I have no access to Bally gym. 24HF did not do that to me when I cancelled my membership. So beware!

I just visited SF this year and revisited 24 Hour Fitness. They have membership for short term visitors and I paid $39/month. What really impressed me was the changes at the Van Ness club. There have been two different mangers since I left and they're now actually pretty high in customer service and the renovated lockers in the locker room look new, nice and big. It's clean including the restroom. But one thing about the restroom really bugs me. They decided to go green and minimized the use of papers, so you cannot find any papers in the restroom, except toilet papers in the stalls. But their faucets are still those old fashioned ones which require you to use hand to manually turn them on / off. Imagine yourself after finishing your business in the toilet stall, turning on the faucet at the sink with your still "contaminated" hand, which means everything on your not-yet-washed hands will also get to the faucet, then washing your hands with soap, and then use your clean hand to touch that same faucet again to turn it off. Got the picture? And you don't just pick up everything you left on that faucet with your "unwashed" hand previously but also everything everybody else did before you. So when people try to go green but without taking necessary measures to make it reasonable is just being irresponsible.

Visiting Taipei in 2007 was an exciting and also educating experience to me. Taiwan has changed so much. I saw a 7 day free trial on California Club web site so i decided to check it out. The first time I went there (can't remember the location), one guy took me inside the gym, sat me down. After that, a guy looked maybe in his 30's started to "talk" to me with a stern face. And throughout that "talk", he was acting like a boss / security personnel and treated me like I was going to steal something from the gym, nothing about the gym stuff, no to mention the 7 day free trial. I left feeling insulted.

A couple weeks later, I mustered up courage and went to another location. This time was a woman. Finally we were on topic of gym membership. But she totally ignored the 7 day free trial ad in their web site and continued to sell me different memberships, which all cost MUCH MUCH more than any memberships I've heard of in N America. Can't remember the $# she quoted me but all I remembered was those #s totally stunned me. I tried to remind her I really just wanted to try it out first. So she brought her manager to me. And this manager continued to forcibly sell me memberships, and tactfully changed the fee amount and length of term to try to get me buy. It was a long, extremely uncomfortable "talk". I felt like a criminal been interrogated and in the end I was actually been forced into a one week membership, and i don''t remember how much I paid.

This was not the end of it. Near the end of the one week, they said they would give me a free personal training session since it's included in my membership. To make a long story short, when that personal trainer found out I wasn't buying any PT sessions, he got his manager to continue "questioning" me immediately following his own, another long, uncomfortable "questioning" like a criminal been interrogated.

I left that gym horrified thinking I'd never ever go back to that gym again!

After all these experiences, I have to say that 24 HF really is the best gym because it offers so many locations (convenience) and sets its fees affordable to just about anyone. They may or may not have the best facilities / equipments / staff, but they're at least okay, some great. From this thread, it sounds like Taiwan still somewhat aristocrat-ize gym membership, which I personally think will change over time - or at least I hope it will.

I now know little about Taiwan, and from reading this thread, it seems many gyms in Taiwan are still running their business similar to the way California did. It would be disappointing if that is true. But it also appears to me that Taipei Gym and Tai-Da Gym may be good choices. Can anyone share with me your experiences with them if you have any? And are there any other good gyms in Taipei that you know of?

I'm moving back to Taiwan soon and I was actually considering working for a gym. When first learning World Gym took over California, I was excited because I thought being an US gym chain, World Gym would not be like California and it'll be just like another gym in the USA. But from reading this thread, I think I may be having an unilateral wishful thinking on this one. Am I? Can anyone share your World Gym experiences with me and how much you're paying?

Speaking of working for a gym, I'm not a certified PT, can't be a sales guy since I don't know anybody there and after that all is left is just the front desk. I'm wondering how much a front desk staffer in a gym in Taipei can make? Probably not much.

Sorry for rambling so long. I'm really excited and nervous at the same time about moving back to Taiwan. It's almost like moving to a new country, so familiar but yet so distant from me. It feels like deja vous! Good thing I still speak fluent Mandarin, minus all the new language / slang evolved since I left.


#350

I am a foreigner and recently moved to Siaogong. I enjoy the outdoors and looking for some hobbies (biking, hiking, running, tennis, basketball, etc). Also, I am looking for a gym to join. Can anyone tell me where a gym is near Siaogong?


#351

Just to clarify, World Gym did not "take over" California Fitness. World Gym is a franchise. Private business men license the name and slap the signs on their facilities. Although franchises have operating rules, unless they are very tightly controlled, quality can vary.

I was the one who said Crunch was one of the best gyms I've ever been a member of, and I stand by it. They did decline steadily, however, after Bally's bought them, and then some local person after that.

The sales techniques that you criticized at length were EXACTLY what I'd experienced (to the n-th degree) at 24hr in SF, and are pretty common in the industry. There's no excuse for a sales person to be rude, but getting people to sign on the dotted line is their job, and they are very aggressive. It doesn't get much more cheap and commercial than 24hr Fitness.


#352

When did you cancel your 24 membership? The reason I ask is because California was owned by 24 up until Oct of last year so you could've gone while you were still a member of 24 back in 2007.

I went to one Taipei Gym and didn't like it; I went to the Ximen location. The place was small and very crowded, not by people but by the equipment. They do have alot of different types of machines and free weights but the place was just so small I couldn't justify working out there, no matter how cheap the membership was compared to other gyms in Taiwan. They had low ceilings that were no more than 9 feet at it's highest point and barely 8 feet at it's lowest. That might work for people who are shorter but I do alot of jerks, snatches, box jumps, etc so now so fitting for me.

Checked out World at Ximen as well and it is basically the same since they took over last year. Still your basic 24 layout just with a different color scheme. Larger space with more equipment. The price is justifiable for Taiwan so you can't simply compare it with the US gyms where there are practically gyms everywhere.

I too am moving to Taiwan at the end of the year and I'm planning on staying for a couple of years. Finding the right gym was my #1 priority. I go back quite often so I had time to check out several gyms including the government run gyms and the ones I've stated above; this year I went in Feb and then again in Apr. I checked out alot of gyms and right now I'm really leaning towards World if I don't end up enrolling at Tai-Da for school because if your a student at Tai-Da it's actually a better option than alot of the big box gyms such as World, etc. Tai-Da has a very nice facility and alot of equipment that I use. Right now if you go to workout on a single day basis it's 50 NT for a registered student and 200 NT for anyone else. I was told there are membership prices where you pay upfront but I forgot to ask about that when I was there.

Right now I"m back home in NorCal. I live in Santa Clara and go to the 24 Sport location in Sunnyvale. It's the best 24 in my opinion, at least it is among the locations closest to me. I pay $20 a year so I'm not getting rid of that membership anytime soon as I still plan on moving back to Cali when I'm stint in Taiwan is done.


#353

Hi ushneb,

Thanks for the reply.

"When did you cancel your 24 membership? The reason I ask is because California was owned by 24 up until Oct of last year so you could've gone while you were still a member of 24 back in 2007."

I cancelled 24HF in 2006 so ...

It's disappointing to learn that Taipei Gym is too small. You mentioned World at Ximen, so just how much World charge now?

Do you mind telling me a little more about all the gyms you've checked out, including the government run ones, in terms of their fees, facilities, cleanliness, etc etc? The Tai-Da gym has only one location, correct? Are the members mostly their students and faculty members?

You said you actually pay $20 a YEAR for 24HF in Sunnyvale. How did you get that rate and when? It's hard to believe there's such a rate (Not that I'm saying you're lying. Is just that it's such a low rate).


#354

From Taipei Gyms website it looked like there were 3 locations but [strike]I could only find addresses for 2 of them and[/strike] I only went to 1; looks like the site has been updated with all addresses now taipeigym.com.tw/. When I walked in, there was no one at the counter and it turns out that the guy there was riding a stationary bike. I guess he was the owner because I'd be pretty upset if I found out an employee of mine was not doing what I'm paying them to do. Anyways, he said it was 300 NT for a day pass so I asked him if I could take a walk around before I worked out. I walked around and it was bad so I left. Apparently the price is so low for a reason.

At World Gym I sat down with a girl who was giving me pricing and if I remember correctly it was somewhere along the lines of $2000 a month and that was for using that location only. If you wanted to use all the locations in Taiwan the price was higher. But I told her straight off the bat that I was planning on moving to Taiwan for a few years and wasn't actually moving until November so she didn't try to sell me right there and then for obvious reasons. In the end, even if I were to join World I would probably go to the one closer to where I live and not Ximen. She had mention some other pricing structures to me but I can't remember them right now. I guess it's the price you have to pay for a fully equipped gym.

Of the government gyms I went to, I've been to the one in Neihu which is closest to where I live and the one in Ta-An district which is only a year old and is one of the newer locations; it's right outside of Tai-Da. These government gyms charge 50 NT per hour of usage that is the same for every location. There are however different types of seasonal memberships at different locations. I think the Neihu one charges $4500 NT for 3 months and includes usage of both the gym and the pool as opposed to the Ta-An gym where $1500 NT gets you 30 1 hr passes to use the gym; they actually don't have anything that includes both gym and pool. At least that's how it was when I was there last month. There are one of these gyms in every district if I'm not mistaken. I only went to these 2 because 1 was close to me and the other because I wanted to check out the gym at Tai-Da; ended up going to the Ta-An gym near Tai-Da mainly because my friend and I couldn't find the Tai-Da gym until the second time we tried.

There is only one Tai-Da gym and it appeared to me that most people using the facility were students. But I'm sure faculty members also have access. For me personally, I like the Tai-Da gym. So much so that I'd take classes there just so I can use the gym. I was planning to take classes anyways but the class I need might not be offered in the fall unless they have enough students who want to register for the same class, otherwise it wouldn't be worth it for them to have. Like I said before, someone here mentioned that they also offered membership type plans instead of day passes but I didn't ask when I was there so I don't know the pricing.

Before I signed up for 24 I was a member at a much smaller chain called Fitness USA; they had 4 locations in all of NorCal in SF, Daly City, Sunnyvale, and Milpitas. But when they closed the Sunnyvale location I was forced to either drive to Milpitas everyday to use the gym or find somewhere else; I live in Santa Clara. I was only paying $48 every 2 years so I stuck with them at first but without having a local facility to use, even $48 was too much. So my friend, who was also a member, and I decided to sign up at 24; this was back in Dec of 2004. The 2 of us chose the prepay option and got the first 3 years for a total of $1200, so $600 each, and the annual renewal after that was $20 a year. So I've been paying that $20 a year for the past 3 years. I have All Club access to 24 locations at Sport level or below which is fine by me since Super Sports and Ultra Sports really make no difference unless you use machines exclusively and like not bringing your own towels. To be honest it was just a waste of money, in my opinion, to pay anything extra for access to Super or Ultra Sport locations. I've been to a few Super Sports and like my Sport level 24 in Sunnyvale better. 2 years ago when I went to NYC for New Years, they had a promo that month for access to all levels so I checked out 2 of the Ultra Sports in NYC; Derek Jeter branded locations I think. The facility was small and nothing like how an Ultra Sport is supposed to be; 100,000+ sq-ft with all the amenities you can imagine like the one they have in Ventura.

Sorry for the long winded response but fitness is the #1 priority for me and finding a good one that's close to where I will reside is extremely important which is why I went to all these places. I got into Crossfit a couple of years ago and because of that there are certain types of equipment that I need which is why I like the gyms that I did. Not perfect but I'll find a way to make it work.

My name is Ben, by the way and it's nice to meet you. :slight_smile:


#355

Hi Ben,

Nice to meet you, too. Mike here.

Thanks for the in-depth description on the gyms you've checked out. I really appreciate that.

I'll also do my own checking out on the government gyms, Tai-Da Gym, Taipei gym and whatever gym I'll see potential. And the hardest part is still the fees there, so much higher than N. America. Your 24 Sports annual renewal fee of $20/year is still shockingly low to me. I signed up in 1997, and after the first 2 years, my fee was $12 / month. I thought that monthly fee was low enough, so never paid any attention to the fee after that first two years. And you just helped me realize just how low it can be. That also tells you how much profit a gym chain can make after reaching 24HF level of accessibility.

I'm not familiar with Crossfit but it sounds like something I can try. I've been losing (muscle) weight in the last 5 years due to some significant unfavorable changes in my life situations plus two injuries in the last two years in a row. And the fact that I've been working out for a long time also makes the standard kind of gym weight-lifting workout not as effective as I'd like it to be. So maybe I should look into Crossfit to see if it'll be a good fit for me. I only hope my injuries, despite already healed, won't come back to haunt me. Perhaps starting from lower intensity then work up from there.

All that is if I can find a gym that I'll comfortable joining. I'm moving back to Taiwan partially due to family reason, instead of having a job there. So I'll have to get a job first and then take things from there. The average income in Taiwan is still lower than that in the US, but their gym membership fees are so much higher (I understand it's because there aren't as many gyms there), to me that's the #1 deterrent.

Thanks again for the reply

Mike


#356

Hey Mike,

Crossfit is amazing. It truly is for everyone because it scales so easily. Anyone can do it so it doesn't matter if you're 8 years old or 80. The main site is crossfit.com and there are wod's, (workout of the day), that are posted every day. They can range anywhere from a cakewalk to an 'are you sh*tting me?' levels of difficulty. It doesn't necessarily focus on heavy weight training but more along the lines of metabolic conditioning. There are alot of exercises the average gym goer wouldn't know how to do so they have video demos of how to perform certain exercises. Check it out and it'll open up a whole new world to you, fitness wise.

Ben


#357

Hi Ben,

You mentioned world gym quoted you 2000 TWD a month, was that price offered if you signed a "half year/yearly contract"? Or just one single month? I just paid 3500 for one single month due to my short stay.

P1ay


#358

I strongly urge anyone to try and find a local community centre gym. These are 50nt an hour and have everything you need. The likes of World Gym just rip people off. 3,500 a month is crazy. Even if you go every day of the month that's still 100nt per go!


#359

I honestly don't remember. But I want to say it was for the yearly contract. I've been meaning to see what World Gyms policy is for signing up in the US and using their membership abroad. But their website is not very informative at all. I've emailed them with no response. They have a twitter account that hasn't been used. Their Facebook page seems like somebody just set it up and left it sit there.

For such a big company I'd think they'd put more effort into their PR.


#360

Did a Google search (World Gym travel card) and found the following information:

World Gym's are individually owned franchises, not one big huge company. There is only limited reciprocal club use.