For better or worse, Medellin is a city divided by economic classes (or stratas). Nowhere is that more apparent than at the gym.
Bodytech gym is a chain of high-end gyms located throughout Colombia’s major cities. They have the largest presence in Bogota, followed by Medellin. Within Medellin, there are currently 9 locations, half of which can be found in or around Poblado.
I first wrote about joining Bodytech gym in February 2009 after hearing reports from other backpackers at the hostel. I checked out the Vizcaya location, and bought a one week membership to start.
Soon after, I moved to Envigado and joined Dynamo gym, as it was only a few blocks away from my apartment, and much cheaper. While this gym was smaller, it was super friendly (perhaps due to the lack of space) and one of the trainers helped me regularly, at no extra charge.
Fast forward to 2010, and I’m back in Medellin, this time living for a month in Belen Malibu, which gave me easy access to Bodytech in Laureles. I signed up for a 6-month membership, which was valid at whichever location I used.
And that was important, because a month later, I’d moved to Ciudad del Rio, making the Bodytech gym at Premium Plaza shopping center the nearest one to me.
Every other day or two, I’d leave Ciudad del Rio and walk through Barrio Colombia to get to the mall. I liked the walk because it took me through a major nightlife area, and I could keep an eye on all the new discotecas being built. At last count, there were over a dozen within a few square blocks.
Bodytech is on the third floor of the Premium Plaza mall, and offers scenic views looking westward across the city toward Cerro Nutibarra, and Laureles.
The location within a mall makes it easy to run other errands on the same trip. After using the gym, I’ll usually stop in Carrefour to pick up groceries, for example.
Last week, I re-joined Bodytech at Premium Plaza. This year, I bought a 3-month membership, costing 540,000 pesos ($306). That equates to $100 per month, or double what I’d paid for access to a comparable Washington Sports Club in northern Virginia.
Despite the cost, which I still find to be too high, the gym does have a massive amount of modern equipment. Treadmills have HD televisions, and there’s a solid mix of free weights and machines. Membership also includes access to group classes, such as spinning, aerobics, and yoga.
The aerobics classes are popular with the women. Guys, you won’t want to miss the moment those classes let out.
Arguably the biggest benefit to joining Bodytech, besides the facilities and pretty girls (which, let’s face it, you’ll find at any gym in this city), is that you’ll be working out with Colombians in the upper economic levels. If you’re looking for friends in high places, or networking opportunities, this would be a good place to start.
One of the downsides I’ve found with Bodytech, versus the Dinamo gym I used in Envigado, is that it’s not the most social place. At least not for me, and not compared to a smaller gym where you’re in closer confines with people.
What do you think, are Bodytech gyms worth the high price?