Local Experience: Gold’s Gym

rachelb

Rachel Brandenburg has her own intro below but I wanted to make sure I included mine for her as well. If I’m going to try a diet or workout regime, I typically will always ask Rachel what she thinks because 9 times out of 10 she has done/researched it. You can typically find her traveling with her very crafty husband Matt (a local business owner who makes things out of wood at @upstaterepurposed), doing outdoorsy things in/around Greenville or taking pictures of her cute dog. It’s unfortunate that on a blog you can’t hear Rachel laugh, because she has the best one I’ve ever heard.
She probably should start a podcast. In the meantime, you can follow her here at @rachelbrandenburg_fit.
-Courtney

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Hi guys! I know most of you reading this don’t know me, so I thought I would introduce myself and let you know about my health journey so far before jumping into my first review. I’m so excited! My name is Rachel Brandenburg, obligatory self-promotion @rachelbrandenburg_fit, and I am passionate about being healthy. That’s right, I’m not passionate about six-pack abs and macro counting. I’m passionate about being strong, healthy and happy in my skin and I want everyone else to be able to have that, too!

This may sound weird as there seems to be two categories of “health” people out there- the elite fit and the love yourselfers. Well, my mindset is very much in between those two places. I was very active through high school and college, so I never really had to think about what was being put in my mouth or if I exercised that day. After college, I married my super cool, talented husband, who still has the metabolism of a growing, teenage guy somehow and I quickly found out that I do not. That was not fun. I put on weight. I felt bad about myself. I felt lethargic. All those glorious things.

So, I started to try EVERYTHING. Seriously. It’s still a joke among my friends how many fitness scams I fell for. After the diet pills, teas, shrink wraps, and whatever else didn’t work, I tried this crazy new idea called eating healthy and exercise! It has changed my life. I’m still a work in progress and have goals for my bod’s strength, looks, and general athletic performance, but I’ve learned so much about figuring out what works for yourself and not falling into the trap of just trying what is currently being shoved down your throat by marketers! I want to share that with you all by doing the work of trying these places out for you so that you can make an educated decision on where you want to try out and join. Your time is precious right?! Leave it to the crazy girl who loves trying new gyms to do the leg work for ya!

I see that a handful of the reviews on the blog are for specialized gyms- which I love- but I thought I would start out with something more traditional for all those that don’t want to spend half their paycheck on a gym membership! Here we go!

WHAT:

Gold’s Gym

This is really your traditional gym structure. There is a cardio equipment section, resistance machine section, and a free weights section.

WHERE:

There are several locations, but I visited the location on South Pleasantburg Drive across from Home Depot.

1332 S. Pleasantburg Dr. Greenville, SC 29605

COST:

One visit free pass

$39.99/month with a 90 day contract and month to month payments after that.

There are more expensive membership packages available as well, but this one really has everything you need.

THE PERKS:

This place really does have a bunch to offer.

  • They have childcare! Kids Club is open Monday-Friday 8 am- 1 pm and 3 pm-9pm, Saturday 9am-3pm, and Sunday 1pm-4pm.
  • There is an indoor pool, sauna, and hot tub available.
  • If you don’t like working out by yourself all the time, they have lots of classes available. Everything from barre to yoga to boot camp to sculpt! There are more specialized classes that only come with the more expensive membership packages as well.
  • They keep the entry area stocked full of healthy snacks, drinks, and a smoothie bar. I know other places have this as well, but I was truly impressed with their selection.
  • The locker room is extremely clean and spacious. Taking a shower and getting ready for your day after hitting the gym would not be a problem here.
  • The selection of dumbbells, racks, resistance bands, kettlebells, etc. was great. I was also very impressed by the wide range of equipment available- TRX, wall balls, kettlebells, an actual power rack!
  • Lastly, when you use your free pass, they don’t prey on you like hungry lions trying to get you to join! This was an awesome change of pace for me. They are more than happy to answer your questions and sign you up if you would like, but they won’t blow up your phone every hour for the next six months trying to get your money.

THINGS OF NOTE:

  • I tend to enjoy high intensity workouts which is not the general feel of the free weights section. It is very much your typical gym environment where everyone stares at themselves in the mirror while doing slow, calculated reps. Which is totally cool! Just depends on what you like.
  • There are personal trainers available if you would like to use them. I did see a couple working with people. Generally, the trainers that I’ve seen at national gyms like this don’t seem to put a ton of effort into their clients. I would recommend getting workouts elsewhere rather than paying extra for a trainer here.

PRO TIP:

  • They do offer week long passes on occasion. When you go in to use your free pass, ask if you can do a week! If nothing else, you may get a few extra day passes!

Check out their full website and locations here:

https://www.goldsgym.com/

Local Experience: Lash Extensions at Organic Tan Face & Body

Lash extensions frightened me.

But I was still intrigued because hey, I am a female and lashes are having a bigger moment than usual right now.

I see ladies with extensions that look so good it makes you wonder if they just have really good genes or have discovered the mother of all mascaras.

Then I see ladies that look like they have tarantula legs trying to attack their faces.

I hear rumors that they will ruin your real lashes (untrue if cared for properly) or make your real lashes fall out (same as above).

So right before the holidays I paid a visit to Organic Tan Face & Body to watch a session in person. The owner, Lindsey, is a very cool chick (you can follow her here) and I remember going to see her several years ago when she was working out of the upstairs of a house on McBee Avenue and perfecting her art of the “organic tan”. Since then, she has continued to grow her business to a spot right on Haywood Road and is just a major girl boss to admire. She even published a book  recently.

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I started getting tired ten minutes into the process, which can take anywhere from 90 minutes to 2 hours. So I can only imagine how our lash model felt. You literally just lay there and relax, which is extremely enticing to me. There are a variety of different lash looks you can go for at Organic Tan, however today our model was looking for something that still looked natural and not over the top.

90 minutes later….

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They turned out absolutely perfect and will last about 2-3 weeks. At that point, if you want to keep them up, you just schedule a fill-in appointment. The Organic Tan team also understands a busy schedule and offers online booking to make an appointment even at the last-minute.

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These babies are for sure an investment for those who want to keep the look going for longer than just a special event or photos. The initial extensions can run anywhere from $150-$230 and fill ins from $60-$100. Which is why they offer memberships and packages for frequent lashers. And if extensions aren’t your thing, they offer a Lash Lift option and also sell an eyelash growth serum.

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Go support a great locally owned business and check out Organic Tan if you are looking for not only lash services but also tanning, massage, make-up, waxing, nails or esthetic services.

— Courtney

Local Experience: Orange Theory Fitness

LINDSEY BREITWIESER: NY TRANSPLANT, CYCLEBAR INSTRUCTOR AND SWEAT ENTHUSIAST. CHECKING OUT ALL OF THE HEALTH AND WELLNESS OPTIONS THAT GREENVILLE HAS TO OFFER. @GETFITGVL
What:

Heart rate based high intensity interval training. There is a rowing, weight, and treadmill portion to each class.

Where:

Orange Theory is currently located on Woodruff Rd, but the website lists a downtown location as coming soon.

1143 Woodruff Rd.
Greenville, SC 29607

Cost:

First class is FREE!
Memberships and packages available ranging from $59-$159 per month.

Why You’ll Love It:

• When you walk in they set you up with a heart rate monitor, it all feels very high tech and exciting.
• Rotating between stations made the workout fly by.
• It’s great for all levels and it’s easy to monitor progress thanks to the points system, which are emailed to you after each class.

What To Expect:

When you arrive the friendly staff will show you through the various stations and if you arrive early enough you can even pop on the rower and get a little coaching on proper technique before you begin.

Once the class begins you’ll start at one of the three stations and the coach will guide you
through that portion of the workout. Once it’s go time, you GO! If you’re competitive (guilty) you may catch yourself trying to keep up with the people working out near you and peeking at the displayed screen to see how others are doing, but for the most part you’ll be busy keeping track of your own time and reps.

The constant movement between stations made the workout fly. The key to the workout is the coach and monitor combo. The coach is telling you when to push and what zone to be in and it almost gamifies your workout. It makes it easy to focus on achieving one goal — getting into your zone — while you workout and helps push you harder than you may realize.

Pro Tip:

*Don’t walk out with the heart rate monitor on (unless you purchased it to keep). You’ll forget that it’s on while you’re working out and it’s an easy mistake!
*Don’t focus too much on the fact that your stats are on display and definitely don’t let it
discourage you. Everyone is really only looking at it to find their points!
Check out their full site here.

Local Experience: CycleBar

Lindsey Breitwieser: NY Transplant, CycleBar Instructor and Sweat Enthusiast. Checking out all of the health and wellness options that Greenville has to offer. @getfitgvl

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What:

Indoor Cycling

Where:

Cyclebar is centrally located downtown in the newly renovated Keys Village. It’s right between the McBee Station shopping center and Main Street on McBee Avenue.

307 E McBee Ave B, Greenville, SC 29601

Cost:

Your first class is free! A la carte classes are $20 each. Additional package options available as well.

Why You’ll Love It:
  • It’s one killer workout. Riders burn anywhere from 300-800 calories in one 50-minute class.
  • There are lots of special and themed classes to keep it fun: mashup Monday, express classes, concert rides, happy hour rides and many more.
  • It’s high tech. Each bike is synced with your account when you sign up to ride. You’re immediately emailed your workout stats and playlist after each class.
What to expect: 

Expect to work hard, but leave smiling. Cyclebar has a party atmosphere, you’re “dancing” and cheering the whole time you’re working out. There is a fun dynamic lighting system, loud music, music videos, and a stats system. With so much going on you’ll probably forget that you’re working out. During the class there is one arm segment, you can choose either a four or six pound bar, where the instructor will lead you through various movements. While four and six pound bars may seem light, holding them up for 3-4 minutes is definitely a challenge!

If you’re someone that needs some distraction and entertainment while exercising or thrives on a pumped-up crowd, definitely give this a go!

Pro Tip:

*Bring your phone charger! The lockers have a USB port built in to them so you can charge your phone while you’re in class.

*Just bring yourself (and socks!). Once you arrive everything is taken care of for you: shoes are provided, water, bananas, towels, after class wipes…if you need it, they’ve thought of it.

Check out their full site here and Instagram here.