Local Experience: High Performance Gym

Can’t believe we’re talking Brazilian Jiu Jitsu… I know it sounds (probably) terrifying, but hear me out! The BJJ class at High Performance Gym is of course challenging and educational, but also filled with kind, respectful people who will welcome and assist you through the whole thing! – @thehealthiestrachel
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High Performance Gym


13 North Main Street, Suite B Mauldin, SC 29662


$125-$215 monthly. There are also drop in classes for $20 and class punch cards available.


I thought it may be beneficial to give a basic breakdown of the class structure, so that you feel more empowered to go to your first class. I know it can be so nerve-racking to walk in completely blind! The whole class is done on the mat. Forgive me, as I do not know the correct terminology to use for BJJ!

  • First up is the warm-up which started with jogging in a circle around the mat led by trainer, Clay. Jog turned into sprints, lunges, some different tumbles, etc. If you can’t do a warm-up move perfectly, that’s okay! Just do your best. There’s literally no judgement here. I did think it was cool that everything in the warm up went in a circle with Clay starting the next movement.
  • Next up was what I would call the main event of the class. Clay would demonstrate a jiu-jitsu movement and then everyone pairs up to practice that movement. I was really impressed by how much Clay explained in each demonstration- when this move would be beneficial to use, proper techniques, common mistakes, and why the movement is effective. Another thing that I noticed during this section of class is that there are zero “cliques” or friends that HAVE to be together. People switched up partners and helped each other if someone was unsure. A great benefit to being in a class of mixed levels.
  • Last was what they called rolling. Basically, it’s grappling or sparring. This goes in five-minute rounds and is used as a way to give muscle memory to the movements that you just learned in class. Another huge benefit to being in a class of all levels is that you can roll with levels above you. I could definitely see how this can prevent injury and help everyone learn.

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– The mindset. BJJ, to me, seemed like the yoga of the fighting world. While everything you are doing is obviously intense, the core of it is calm, inward, and enlightening. Clay talked about how BJJ, in America at least, started out in surfer areas so you can feel that laid-back vibe. You will definitely learn a lot about yourself, your body, strengths, and weaknesses.

– The people. The class size is not massive which was nice. There were about seven people in class, one of which was the trainer. One of the main differences here is that they do not separate you by level, as mentioned previously. Everyone practices together. This is extremely beneficial as you will be able to learn faster and there are more people there to help you figure things out.

– The trainers. Clay was the trainer for this class, but James was also in class. Clay is one of few black belts in the state of South Carolina and was extremely knowledgeable. He was also really respectful of all of his students and clearly a badass but really chill about it which is a nice change of pace from the gym world! I actually didn’t even realize James was a trainer until checking out the website after. I definitely noticed how good he was, though, and great at giving instruction.

– The self-defense tactics. I did talk to two girls who were in the class for a bit and thought what they had to say would be beneficial for those to hear that are interested but still on the fence! One of the girls started coming here after being chased while running in her neighborhood. After that, she knew it was time to learn some self-defense tactics. She now has the confidence to know that she can keep herself safe. The other class member talked about her confidence now as well. She now understands what her body can take and what it can do. She’s not nearly as scared of injury now.


– There is a strength and conditioning class as well that looked really great!

– There are also open gym hours that you can go work out on your own.


– Your first class is always free! Sign up on the website.

– Make sure your hair is up nice and tight and stay away from looser or flowy tops!

Check out their website here.


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Local Experience: Gold’s Gym


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.

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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!


Gold’s Gym

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


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

1332 S. Pleasantburg Dr. Greenville, SC 29605


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.


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.


  • 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.


  • 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:


Local Experience: Orange Theory Fitness


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


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

1143 Woodruff Rd.
Greenville, SC 29607


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.