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Community Commentary Deal Family Featured Sports Travel, Shopping & Leisure Fara Illich February 1, 2011

It’s late January and my New Year’s resolution to become less fat is not going well. Needing a kick in the pants I visited three Downtown Phoenix athletic clubs in the hopes that I might be inspired to spend more time working out and less time jamming monster burritos down my gullet.
Gold’s Gym Elite at CityScape
CardioTheaterThe new kid on the block, Gold’s Gym has been in the Valley for years but the CityScape location, which opened last summer, is Phoenix’s first Elite facility. And if you think the “Elite” badge is simply a marketing carrot, you’re wrong. Downtown’s Gold’s is the most extravagant health club I’ve ever seen, and that includes the swanky Village clubs in Scottsdale and Arcadia.
Top-of-the-line equipment, first-class service, and stunning Downtown views are just a few of the perks you’ll find here. Other amenities include:
* Choose-your-own-channel cardio. Nothing is more annoying than being forced to watch “Dr. Phil” while you’re trying to push yourself through a hill climb circuit. Gold’s cardio equipment come standard with TVs, which means you can watch “Design on a Dime,” “Boy Meets World,” or whatever gets you to pedal harder, longer.
Opulent locker rooms. Individual showers with doors, carpeting, electronic locks, towel service with every membership and a lounge equipped with comfy chairs and a flat-screen TV so you can watch “SportsCenter” while waiting for your body to cool to a shower-friendly temperature.
* Cutting-edge classes. No outdated Jazzercise here, people. Gold’s offerse Spinning, Zumba, Body Pump, Body Combat, Gentle and Heated Yoga, Six Pack Abs and a bunch of other words I don’t understand. Check out Gold’s class schedule here.
* Cardio Theater (see photo). Gold’s screens movies in a surround sound theater room. Watch Best Picture nominee The Social Network while burning 2300 calories! Here are more titles and showtimes.
Gold’s will also soon offer full massage services. Laundry service is available as an add-on.
Hours: M-F 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. / Sat-Sun 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Cost: $100 initiation fee; $35 every two weeks. Call 602-368-1221 for more membership info.
LifeStart at Renaissance Athletic Club
LifeStart_logoThe hidden gem of Downtown’s workout dens and “the only true executive fitness center in Downtown Phoenix,” LifeStart at Renaissance Athletic Club is squirreled away in the lower level of the tower and home to a 25,000-square-foot fitness center complete with the following:
* New treadmills, bikes and ellipticals, all equipped with cardio theater plug-ins.
* Dedicated free weight area
* Indoor basketball and racquetball
* Outdoor tennis and track
* Personal training, massage therapy, wellness programs, screening and prevention programs
* Group excercise studio offering 4-5 classes per day ranging from Zumba and Yoga to Kickboxing and Spinning. 
* Free locker, laundry and towel service with every membership
LifeStart maintains the loyalty of over 500 members because of the presence of basketball, tennis and racquetball courts, as well as the excutive locker services. Complete with lockers, towels, lotions, soaps, shampoos and 24/hour laundry service, members needn’t pack a gym bag because everything they need to workout is already there. That’s a huge benefit.
Hours: M-F 5 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. / Sat 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Cost: $25 initiation fee; $50 per month. For membership information call (602) 256-0844.
Lincoln Family YMCA
Ah, old reliable. The Y recently dropped the MCA but don’t let the change in branding fool you: The Y is still Downtown’s most comprehensive family health and wellness facility. Programs for the kids like swimming and rec team sports, and a little bit of everything for parents, including state-of-the-art cardio and weight training equipment, fitness classes, indoor four-lane lap pool, whirlpool, sauna, steam room, raquetball, basketball, outdoor running track, computer center, full-service cafe and much more.
ymcaWhere else Downtown can you drop the kids off at swim lessons and spend an hour playing pick-up hoops with young men who are faster and more talented than you ever were? Nowhere, that’s where! Here are some other amenities you’ll only find at the Y:
Child Care:  Preschool and before-and-after school child care by fully licensed providers. The Y also offers teen leadership programs and arts and humanities courses.
Kids Camps: Summer Day Camp, Camp Sky-Y, and Chauncy Ranch Overnight Camp.
Personal Fitness Training, Massage Therapy and Fitness Assessments. The Y offers youth and adult Health, Wellness and Fitness programs aimed at keeping families healthy in a day and age when so many aren’t. 
There’s just something comforting about the Y. Don’t believe me? Read their outstanding Yelp reviews.
Hours: M-F 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. / Sat 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. / Sun 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Cost: $99 initiation, $44 each month with sweet discounts for families and ASU students. For general information call 602. 404.9622.