Weighing the Options, Part II

Last issue, Outside Bozeman visited three local workout facilities that were easily accessible, conveniently located, and offered a free trial period. We wanted to expand the playing field this issue, so I chose two more that seemed a bit more demanding. Maybe, like us, you’ve thought, “I can’t dance, so Jazzercise is an insane workout idea.” Or, “the Ridge is way too expensive and intimidating in size.” Well, I decided to try these gyms out and see if we couldn’t debunk a myth or two. Here’s what happened to me during my second lap on Bozeman’s gym circuit.

The Ridge Athletic Club
Wow, this place is huge. I feel a little smaller just walking in. I head toward the information desk to a smiling young woman. People sip smoothies and bask in their Ridge Member glow. I feel like I’m in another world. The facilities are new, with a nice indoor pool and the cleanest locker rooms I’ve ever seen. There’s obviously a reason it costs more than your local, 24-hour access, hotel-style gym.

During my trial run I use the pool, attend a step class, and briefly flirt with the idea of learning racquetball. The pool’s not crowded and the kids are segregated from the lap swimmers. There’s an extensive schedule of different workout classes, and the gym is open early enough for a solid session before work. I notice that it gets pretty busy in the early morning hours, and after work as well.

Overall, I feel like this gym is worth the high price tag. You can be a member at both locations (Ridge and Ridge Downtown) at the same time, and can join as a couple, family, or just by yourself. Students get a discount. The only gripe I have is the sense of superiority from some of the hoity-toity members who seem to be watching me all the time—it’s a little Stepford and I don’t think they like my dilapidated 1995 New Balance shoes. Screw it, I’m getting a $5 smoothie.

The Ridge Athletic Club
4181 Fallon

The Ridge Downtown
111 E. Mendenhall

I’m so excited, I’m so excited, I’m so… scared. I’m psyched to be doing this! My greatest hope is that the class will run purely on 80s music, with an emphasis on Genesis and Bananarama. (Don’t want to jump up and shake it when Phil gets going? Liar.)

These are my thoughts as I head to the new Jazzercise facility near the Gallatin Valley Mall. And I’m not disappointed—the class is crazy and fun. I don’t even feel like I’m working out. Sure, I have to do gruntwork like situps and pushups—those core workout items that are a far cry from dancing one’s booty off—but all in all, I find it way more enjoyable than plodding along on a treadmill listening to the same playlist over and over. I’m intrigued and invigorated and after class I call my girlfriends, encouraging them to join me next time.

The Jazzercise instructors are sweet, personable women who are focused on what they do. The routine is a little stretching, dancing, and boxing all mixed together—kinda like a bad breakup, which also burns calories and makes you sweat. There’s a new-member special and they offer a free trial session, so you can get a feel for the workout before committing to a membership.

Jazzercise Fitness Center
2320 W. Main