In the past years, I've gone to several gyms, and each has been a let down in one way or another. I won't name the gyms here, because if you are reading this, you are interested in Epicenter.
The first gym I went to was acceptable, also in Downtown Seattle. But over time, I got discouraged by the dirty locker rooms and the extremely high turnover of the personal trainers. In the space of a year, I went through four personal trainers, three of whom were fired by the company. Each time I got a new trainer, I had to spend about three sessions just adjusting to the new style and methods. I was also annoyed by the pushiness of the sales staff. I joined Epicenter over a month ago. So far, the facilities are immaculately clean. I haven't used trainers there, so I can't speak to that, but I asked about it, and they said all but three of their trainers have been there since the opening. And I haven't been asked to buy a single supplement yet.
The second gym I went to was also downtown. It was poorly lit, the showers lacked privacy, and the one trainer I used didn't seem to care whether I achieved results or not. There were also major issues with billing, and after three months, I stopped working out there. Epicenter's facility is spacious and well lit, and the showers are in individual stalls. The clientele keep to themselves while you are in the locker room, so you feel more comfortable. I did a demo session with a trainer, and also eavesdropped on the trainers as they worked with clients, and they seem enthusiastic and professional. They give good advice, and would recommend them. Their billing system still needs time to test itself on my bank account, but so far, there have been no problem with transactions.
The third gym was on top of Queen Anne. I chose it because I lived close to it at the time. It was the worst of the three, with old equipment, inaccessible classes, and downright surly staff. I had no motivation to work out there. Epicenter has nice equipment, including the much-touted cardio machines with attached DVD players. I haven't used them, as I don't own a pair of headphones, but I like watching sports with the sound off as I use the elliptical trainer. The classrooms are nice, and I am particularly impressed by the heated yoga room and the kick boxing studio. I wish the classes were offered later in the day, but they primarily serve people who work downtown, and it is possible that they might not get the turnout required for late evening classes. The gym is quite dead by around 8 pm -- incidentally, that means that late evenings are a great time to workout. The staff answer questions well, and already recognize me as I come in. When I was at the other gym, I asked to have my body fat percentage checked, and they treated me as if that was an invasive personal request that was totally inappropriate for a gym. Epicenter gave me an orientation that included a body fat check. Some people might not be comfortable with details, but the trainer who gave me the consultation treated the subject with tact and sensitivity.
It took a year for me to return to the gym after the horrible experiences described above. Epicenter is wonderful because I have few complaints. I've been motivated to go, and have been in five times a week for the past month. I see myself achieving results, and I doubt that could happen at any of the old gyms.