If you’re like me, one of the first things you do when you move to a new city is look for a new gym. Hopefully, unlike me, you actually go to your new gym after paying those hefty registration fees. In Bogota, I’ve found that most of the nicer gyms charge as much, if not more, than they do back home, but if you sign up for six or twelve months, you can often get up to a 50% discount, and services such as a personal trainer and spa and beauty treatments are cheaper. And unlike American gyms which are filled with people of all shapes and sizes wearing sweatpants, sweating, and vowing to start a new lifestyle, gyms in Bogota — at least in my experience — are filled mostly with 100 pound women and lean, muscular men who wear smart gym clothes and barely sweat. So if you don’t fit this category you may feel like the big fat, giant gringo in the room. Just think of it as a character building experience. Aside from the options listed below, there are plenty of smaller and cheaper gyms and fitness centers throughout the city, many perfectly clean and attractive, others not so attractive and definitely not clean.
Spin Center: I joined this gym about three weeks ago, and even though I’ve only gone twice, it’s nice so far. This six floor gym in Los Rosales has six floors: A reception desk and group class room on the first, free weights on the second, machine weights on the third, a cardio room on the fourth, a spinning room on the fifth and a salon/spa on the second. It’s not as nice as my gym back home, but they do offer competitive three month, six month, and 12 month plans; I paid COL$450,000 (about US$250.00) for six months, and received a complimentary fitness analysis and personal trainer session, as well as complimentary participation in group classes such as spinning, stretching, body pump, and fit ball. Beside the Rosales branch, there are four other branches: San Martin, el Chico, La Cabrera, and Niza, with Niza in the western part of the state offering the most competitive rates.
BodyTech: When I was gym shopping, I found BodyTech to be the “fanciest” gym in Bogota, with the nicest machines, nicest workout rooms, and of course, the highest rates. With 34 locations in Colombia and 10 in Bogota, BodyTech is Colombia’s largest gym chain, and you can expect to pay about COL$1,500,000 (US$800) if you purchase a one year membership while there’s a sale going on, but it’s worth it if you’re used to upscale American-style gyms. There are branches on Avenida 68, Portal 80, Cedritos, la Cabrera, Autopista 135, Sultan, Carrera 11, Autopista 170, Suba, and Kennedy. Those outside the northeastern section of the city often offer lower rates.
Hard Body: BodyTech’s main competitor has four branches in the Bogota area, including 109, 147, 170, and in Chia. Hard Body offers much more competitive rates than BodyTech, with yearly memberships running as low as COL$520,000 (US$280.00). Most branches have sauna, pool, Turkish baths, group class rooms, and relatively spacious and inviting cardio and weight-lifting rooms. If there were a Hard Body closer to my apartment, I probably would have joined.
Body Town: BodyTown is located at Calle 136 and Carrera 19, but they are quite secretive when it comes to divulging their prices over the phone. However, they charge COL$10,000 (US$5.50) a day, which leads be to believe they charge somewhere between COL$80,000-COL$100,000 (US$45-US$55) a month, with more competitive rates available for six or twelve month memberships. Body Town bills itself as a sports medical center, but it’s really just a nice gym with a spa. There are over a dozen classes, a sauna, and a shop on site.