As I walked into Thomastown 'Five Star Fitness' 24 hour gym, the pungent smell of sweat that seemed to blanket the room invaded my senses. It is a very masculine smell, complimenting the decrepit aesthetics of the building and permeating through the foyer forcefully. A throng of fitness fanatics lug bulging muscles and sweat glistened bodies through the large mixed gym.
I have braved this unbridled mediocrity because of the inexpensive cover fee. For $3.30 you are granted access to a myriad of equipment, albeit tired from heavy use, though satisfactory. The entrance diverges into two areas; the mixed gym (which is predominately male) and the female arena.
I find I am too intimidated to linger in the mixed (men's) dominion, which is rampant with testosterone- fuelled grunting, heaving and Tarzan-like chest-beating. Jam-packed with juiced-up guys about to bust out of their size 2 singlets Wolverine-style, these Neanderthals have mastered the art of weight lifting; pumping iron while the treadmills collect dust in the corner. I quickly vacate and enter the 'Women's Only' area, which is equally as confronting as the former, probably due to the obvious partiality to tight lycra, hair extensions and excessive foundation. The equipment is lacklustre, and the gym is packed to the rafters, though there seems to be a varied mix of machinery that I find interesting, and my time at the gym is thankfully prolonged by my excitement at trying such a versatile array of apparatus that other gyms rarely offer.
The exterior is reminiscent of some sort of elusive and nefarious underground dog fighting ring. If I didn't know better, I would be walking past with my head down and eyes averted, desperately trying to recall moves from my high school self defence classes. Thankfully, the complex offers nothing so sinister, with the exception of some corporeal advertisements for steroids.
Nevertheless, it is a relief to step foot in a gym and not be harassed by sales consultants about the newest (most expensive) deal on memberships. The staff at Thomastown are almost indifferent to their customers, barely offering a second glance- and it is refreshing.
It is now only $2.20 and this old woman has never felt in the least unwelcome or intimidated in the mixed gym. The lack of gym etiquette in the women's area is generally appalling though, put the bags in the cubby ladies and lay off the perfume. Don't put your stuff down on equipment someone else may want to use. Some of us are trying to exercise not just say we went to the gym.
Best deal in the area but don't let the review put you women off, you'll find better equipment and a better attitude in the mixed gym if you actually want to work out. If not, hit the women's section for the full feral pack experience.