Boston Sports Clubs Free For All

All clubs will be open to the public Wednesday.

Boston Sports Clubs at the Pru. Image by Kaitlyn Johnston.

Boston Sports Clubs at the Pru. Image by Kaitlyn Johnston.

In celebration of their 39th anniversary, all Boston Sports Clubs (BSC) locations in the Greater Boston area will be free and open to the public on Wednesday. That’s great news for non-members who want to get in a good gym workout or take a group fitness class without paying a fee. Although, if you do take part in this offer, we can’t promise that you won’t be hounded by employees eagerly trying to sign you up to a long-term contract.

The only real downside to a large chain of gyms offering a free day is that the members who pay to sweat there, the ones who already circle like hawks for the perfect elliptical during peak times, will now be competing with the general public for a spot as well. But, we digress.

From the BSC press release:

All BSC locations will allow non-members to use their facilities throughout the day and sweat it out. Attendees are invited to come try a new class, meet with instructors, and experience all the fitness facilities have to offer first hand. Whether you are new to fitness or are an exercise guru looking to mix things up, there is a challenge for every fitness level at Boston Sports Clubs. For a listing of all clubs in the Greater Boston area, visit mysportsclubs.com.

In case you’ve been under a fitness rock, you should know by now that Fitcorp was bought out by Town Sports International, the parent company of all the Sports Clubs locations in Boston, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., and New York City. Renovations of all the former Fitcorps have been under way for months.

We asked Town Sports for a statement regarding the renovations. What are they doing exactly to renovate? And why, oh why, does the cardio equipment now face each other? (It does at the Pru location and it always has at the Newbury Street location, too.) It makes for an awkward run on a treadmill when you are facing a stranger, even with your own personal television. Is it for competition or just a space issue? Is it standard in all BSCs?

BSC says that they are in the process of installing personal viewing screens on 100 percent of the cardio machines. To accommodate the electric wiring needs to make this happen, they say they had to change the layout of the equipment. When I pressed the issue, I received this statement, which actually makes a lot of sense.:

The layout of the cardio equipment varies from club to club and that we adapt those layouts to the individual clubs. We operate in vastly different spaces – from large multi-rec facilities in the suburbs to clubs with a smaller footprint in some of our urban clubs. The layout of the equipment is determined by what makes the most sense for each location and many factors go into that decision including the wiring for both the actual exercise machines and for the personal viewing screens.

The personal viewing screens of each piece of cardio equipment have allowed us to be more creative and flexible with how we arrange the machines. A lot of our competitors have shared television along one wall which then forces all the machines to be turned in one direction.

But the short answer is that not all of our clubs are similar in the layout of equipment and that it varies from location to location.

As for the renovations, Town Sports tells me that BSC has already invested $1 million in upgrades to the Prudential location ($1 million, just at the Pru!). They also installed their UXF Zone, which offers functional fitness training.

Town Sports also tells me that all former Fitcorp members have access to all BSC locations (29 in our area!), although we are not sure how long that will last. Check with your club of choice for more information.

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