10 year member here. As much as I would like to give Next/Sportplex a good review, I just can't. My dad has been a member since the Hoover location opened in 1991. I was a 280 member and always enjoyed working out, playing basketball, and sitting by the pool. Over the past couple years however, it has gone extremely down hill. Ever since the original managers left (Warren being the nicest) and they changed names to Next, the management has just not been the same.For starters, after the name change, I was told in order to shoot baskets in the gym I would have to pay $20/month rather than $10. Doesn't sound too bad right? But during the summer, when I go most, they allow youth leagues to practice in the gym, for nearly the whole afternoon. Not just weekends or Sundays but during the week as well. I found that whenever I wanted to go shoot hoops the gym was occupied with kids/coaches. (I'm paying double to use the gym and never get to use it). Also, like I said, the management is now horrific. I recently made a cross country move, and it's been hell trying to cancel my membership. It was a very sudden move, and din't have time to get up there and cancel my membership. So my dad, who's been a member for over 20 years, has been trying desperately to cancel it for me. After telling my dad that it was cancelled (in August), I was still charged a monthly fee in September. Even my mom tried getting in touch in with, they said call back at this time and we'll take care of it. You think she ever heard back, absolutely not. She tried multiple times before someone finally informed her that he didn't work there anymore.Then they told us that we would have to contact their headquarters to completely cancel. Been over a month and we're finally getting somewhere, of course they can't get my money back for September, whatever, just get me out! So sad that it ended like this. I loved going to Sportplex from when I was 14 to about 21 or 22. I even called their gym my home-court, lots of good memories. Machines are pretty good, and usually clean. But these last couple years have been ridiculous. Get some managers that know what they're doing instead of these fools that just sit out by the pool and think of ways to keep your money in their pocket.Have to add the girl at the front desk is very nice! Always greets me when I arrive and leave the facility.
Next Total fitness offers great prices for memberships, but if you care about attending group classes or a nice clean area to do cardio, stay away from this place. The class schedule is scant compared to Gold's gym, and some classes even charge extra money which confuses me. Why can't the gym pay the instructor a nice fee to teach a class rather than have members pull out of their own wallets while they are already paying for monthly memberships? You are not going to get ANY customers by doing this. The cardio section is obviously a lot older and something about this section of the building smells like a combination of moldy walls and men's BO. Doesn't make me want to work out at all. If you are more into lifting weights, this section of the building is a lot newer and nice. However, I hardly lift weight for my workout routine so this just does not appeal to me. Sure, you can get a membership for $15/ month but if you want to take certain classes, you are paying an extra $5 for class, so your membership can easily shoot up to $60/month. I would much rather go to Gold's gym and play a flat rate of $40/month to do whatever I want. It looks like there is just a lot of work to be done at the 280 location. I tried out a yoga class and though the instructor is excellent, I couldn't help but stare at the gunk on the broken ceiling that looked like it was going to fall down on me, yikes. A smoothie bar looks like it's under construction but if it's not there yet, I don't care. I would probably get a membership here if I were a man on a budget that just wanted to lift weights all day, but I like my variety. I want to attend a variety of classes, and I want a nice, clean area to do cardio workouts instead of a gungy old building where I'm breathing in mold as I run on treadmills to dead silence. Customer service is lackluster here but typical of any other gym; a bunch of meat head guys trying to sell you a product. PS, they trick you. They offer a free 30-day membership via direct mail and their website, but you can't use it unless you sign up for a plan. If they deceive you about one thing who knows how many other things they will deceive you about in the long haul. I do not want to fork my money over who lied to me to get it.
Of the 3 Next facilities in Birmingham, this one is probably the best--whether or not that says a lot will be up to you to decide. I do like the fact that they have cardio equipment on both the main and 2nd floor levels as I mostly use the 2nd floor equipment (for no particular reason). The weight rooms on the main level are nice and I use both sets (free weights as well as the Hammer weight machines) every time I go there. The main thing I like about the 280 facility is that the sauna and whirlpool in the men's dressing room are working, unlike the Hoover and Roebuck facilities. The air doesn't work in the whirlpool but at least the water is relatively hot and I can relax in it. The sauna is hot and I like it in that I can get in a good sweat before showering and taking off. The steam room hasn't worked in months and I was told by management of Next that whenever something breaks down in the wet area, it will not be repaired--which is a shame because that was a great steam room. I have heard that a large number of people have quit Next due to them not repairing the steam rooms and whirlpools at the 3 different facilities. Once the sauna and whirlpool at 280 break down---and it's inevitable that one or both will---I will follow suit and relinquish my membership as well. I will say that the staff with Next is much friendlier than the Sportplex staff. I'm sure the management of Next is aware that Planet Fitness has bought the old McRae's building in Roebuck and will put in a facility there. You might want to reconsider your decision to NOT repair the steam rooms, saunas, and whirlpools if you want to keep your membership numbers up.
If I have to have a colon (which I do), I am so thankful for Angela. Her welcoming spirit immediately removed the anticipation of awkwardness. The treatment is comfortable and relaxing. After each session, I feel great and make better food/drink choices. The prices are reasonable and are actually saving me money from my former habits. Finally, the emotional and mental boost I've received are a surprise. I'm less anxious, more available in my relationships, and more focused. I definitely recommend a package of multiple sessions so that you can have this life-changing experience.