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Heath clubs upping their game making now a great time to join

Nothing like healthy competition to lighten your stress and your wallet.

If you live in the 209 there arguably isn’t a better time to join a health club.

Not only are there a growing slew of boutique gyms such as for CrossFit, boxing, and yoga to name a few but the traditional health clubs have upped their game.

That’s because Fitness Evolution — the new kid on the block — is mirroring the footprint of InShape Health Clubs.

InShape for years has ranked among the best privately owned health club organizations in the country.

Fitness Evolution has come along and is now giving them a run for the money.

The result is InShape is meeting the challenge head on breathing more life into clubs, emphasizing what sets them apart and engaging in a price war of sorts.

Fitness Evolution and InShape are already going head-to-head in Turlock, Stockton, Modesto and Lodi. Within a month or so they will be going head-to-head in Manteca.

Fitness Evolution will open its new 30,000-square-foot club at the former Best Buy in the Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley anchored by Bass Pro Shops about the same time InShape completes a major remodel — including the addition of an outdoor swimming pool — at its East Yosemite Avenue location.

I’ve belonged to the InShape East Yosemite location since 1991 back when it was Manteca Racquetball Cub except for a three-month period in 1997.

I’ve belonged to Cal Fit on North Main Street since January of 2012.

A week ago I joined Fitness Evolution. My membership allows me to access all of their clubs.

A few days later I upped by membership at InShape from Gold to Platinum meaning I can access all of their locations as well save two spots In Sacramento

For me, it is a bit of heaven on earth. I’m almost exactly a 1.5-mile jog one way to Cal Fit as well as the East Yosemite InShape and the new Fitness Evolution.

And it’s only costing me $85 a month including the fees that lock in the monthly rates.

Thirty years ago when I got into Jazzercise seriously it cost me $30 for a monthly pass to Donna Shaw’s classes in Roseville and Lincoln that took place over the course of six days a week in four different locations including a union labor hall, an IOOF Hall, a converted park pavilion in Lincoln that had concrete floors, and the dance room of the Madiu Park Community Center in Roseville. All you got for the $30 — and too me it was well worth it —was the instructor’s time and music. There were no towels, no mattes, no step, no free weights, no child care, no machines, and certainly not add-ons like swimming pools and tanning beds. Save for the free weights and occasionally a mat as well as a towel when I don’t bring my own, I have no use for the other stuff. I’m there for the group exercise class.

 Keep in mind the deals may change somewhat but I’m locked into Fitness Evolution that — after all costs are factored in — comes to $20 a month. My InShape membership is now at $40 per month and nothing more while Cal Fit is at $25.

Some of the pricing is apple to apples or more precisely Ambrosia apples to Gala apples. But a lot of it is oranges to apples. I could easily spend at last 25 percent less at InShape and still access a lot of clubs that offer things that Fitness Evolution doesn’t. And in both cases I could have gone with a one gym option meaning only the Manteca locations for a lot less. If you are a machine junkie only you probably won’t see much of a difference between the two.

Remember, however, this is not a two-horse race in Manteca for traditional gyms. There are two others Cal Fit and 24 Hour Fitness.

Cal Fit is a horse of a different color being a tad more old school and smaller. What I like about it besides having its own distinct personality is the fact the group exercise room has rubber flooring. That is a big deal if you tend to jump around and are leery of hardwood floors that aren’t swept regularly to prevent from becoming slippery.

The relative smallness of Cal Fit is appealing for many of its clients.

That said, even Cal Fit is stepping up its game by adding spin cycles along with a spinning class.


There literally may not be a better time to join a gym and start making exercise a regular part of your life in the 209 and especially Manteca.