For a small town, Corvallis has a lot of gyms. It’s often hard to find one that sparks your interest, so we thought we would help. With so many options, it can be useful to think of their personae as aligned with the geography they occupy. The three in the center of town are quite similar to one another—and there are the four outliers in the different corners of town.
The three in the middle of town are essentially storefront gyms: Anytime Fitness, SamFit, and Snap Fitness. All of them are similarly priced, with single memberships ranging from around $35 to $45 monthly. They share a common selection of lifting and cardio equipment. Snap does offers a second location at the southwest edge of town, which some will find useful. All are clean, SamFit idiosyncratically so, as they are owned by the local hospital. All have 24-hour access, which cannot be said of any of the outlier gyms.
Of the three, SamFit has the most space and they have a reasonable selection of classes—they had plenty of cardio equipment, but their lifting machines were downright frustrating for anyone serious. They did have plenty of space for stretching, however, so take it or leave it.
Snap Fitness has some interesting lifting and class options, and they throw in a certain amount of program review and training for free. They could use more cardio equipment, especially for peak hours, but their offerings are admirable and the gym does clear out quite quickly after peak hours. After SamFit, we wished there was more space for stretching, but it was acceptable.
Anytime Fitness is the oldest of the three gyms and their lifting machines have weights going only so high—but do not let this dissuade you. The options and ergonomics for the machines are excellent and most users do not need extreme upper ends anyhow. There is a good selection of cardio equipment and plenty of it, even at peak hours. Stretching space was middle of the pack.
As for the outliers, we start at OSU with Dixon. Our decidedly non-scientific poll indicated this was the favorite of most people associated somehow with the university—but shockingly, not everyone in town is associated with the university. So, we moved on to Fitness Over 50, a highly specialized locale that’s really worth a look for the applicable demographic.
This leaves us with two other gyms, both on opposite corners of town. Downings in southeast Corvallis is the only gym in town that not only permits power moves, but encourages them—they are what some would refer to as a classic “real” gym. They also offer many classes for other sorts of users. Rates are roughly in line with the storefront places. The owner can frequently be found manning the counter himself and he seems to have an ongoing conversation with many of the members as they come and go. The place has a down-to-earth vibe about it.
Lastly, in the northwest corner of town is Timberhill Athletic. You get what you pay for here, maybe even more, but it is more club at a higher ticket than any other in town. Some will find this attractive and some not, but they do have more members than anyone else. They offer a huge, well-maintained facility with a selection of everything, including pools and Jacuzzi. They offer many classes in rooms that are larger than some whole gyms, and for those interested, a social atmosphere to boot. In our review, only one minor flaw—and it is minor—they could use another few elliptical machines for peak hours.
Do remember as you shop to test drive at least a couple of facilities; they all encourage prospective members to do that. Also, there is good evidence that a gym should be within 10 minutes or less of home or work if it is really going to be used. Finally, make sure you ask about specials as many gyms have them at certain times.
|Gym||Individual Price/Month||Family Price/Month|
|SamFit*||$40||$65 for 1 extra person, $15 extra for each additional person|
|Dixon*||Alumni- $100 per term||Students, staff, faculty $83 per term|
|Fitness Over 50*||$49||$90 for a couple|
|Downings Gym*||$45||Student $25|
|Timberhill*||$68||Couple: $105, Family:$143|
*Prices do not include starting fees, enrollment fees, or any other fees
By Dan Arthur and Sally Starner