Columbia Athletic Club
11450 98th Ave NE, 425-821-0882, Hrs: 5a-10:30p, Sat 7-8, Sun 8-8
For fear of being completely obvious, you should know that we have been members at Columbia Athletic Club (CAC) for over ten years, so this is the easiest one for me to talk about. This club has a lot to offer a wide variety of people, but my favorite thing is that it has a neighborhood feel where people take the time to know you by name. Just look at those warm smiley faces on Mark Peterson/General Manager, David Hamilton/Operations, and Alicia and Jeannie at the front desk (photo above).
Columbia is a true 'club' where you can expect a fresh folded towel when you walk in and will be able to shower in the locker-rooms without fear. They just underwent a remodel last year so much of the facility has been recently renovated and the equipment is new. I love this gym because it is the kind of place where you can bring your whole family and there is something for everyone. Let me run you through a typical Sunday morning for the Rabuchin family: We drop the kids in Kids Club while I hit the weights/cardio and Steve runs squash drills with Bali, the squash pro, on one of their three courts (there is also one racquetball court). When we're done, we grab the kids and run them around the basketball court or bring them down for a swim in the salt water pool. Then we can all hit the hot tub, shower up and sit in the lounge sipping our free coffees and hot chocolates. There's no place else in Kirkland that has so many offerings under one roof. Bonus: parking is easy and you never have to wait for equipment.
There are plenty of programs to keep you busy. For the kids they have the Kids Club, camps, swimming lessons, birthday parties, parents nights out, swim/gym (free for members!). There's an active senior membership as well that take advantage of classes like Tai Chi and "Young at Heart." Then there is a designated room for spin classes, a group exercise room (pic above) with many offerings to take advantage of (most are free, a couple are fee based), and there is also a designated space for 'Gravity' classes where there are 4 machines and one instructor. If you have never tried this workout, you should give it a go! The machines (photo below) have a rolling glide board and a unilateral-bilateral pulley system that can deliver high intensity sequences that target specific muscle groups. Steve does the 6am class with Brandi every Weds morning and every Weds night he's whining about what a tough workout he endured. Waaaaahhh!
If your post-workout soreness needs to be addressed, they have massage therapists that can get you fixed up too--maybe after your steam/sauna? There's cardio upstairs (ellipse, cybex, bikes) and downstairs (treadmills, stair-climbers). You'll find experienced trainers that love what they do and care about your goals and helping you achieve them. Some have even been there longer than I have. Top Secret-I love eavesdropping on training sessions to pick up new ideas.
pool, cardio and squash courts
free weight room, GRAVITY
Speaking of training, Brandi Ohlsen, the Fitness Director, was nice enough to do some metabolic testing on me. I had to run on a treadmill for about 10-15 minutes with a mask on my face that was measuring my breath (must be stinky at that wee hour of the morning) and oxygen levels. A bit claustrophobic but made it through. We also did some resting/fasting measurements on a different day. Turns out my VO2 max, which is the 'horsepower' of your metabolic engine and largely genetically predetermined, is considered 'well above average' (47) so thank you mom and dad! The really interesting thing about this testing is that you can determine your RMR, or resting metabolic rate. (ie the # of calories your body is using to simply run itself and just be you. Mine is 1759.) and use that to figure out how many calories you should be consuming in a day to maintain (2639 for me). Of course, this also gives you what you need to figure out how many calories and how much exercise you require to reach specific goals. For example, if I wanted to lose 15 pounds, I would need to cut 500 calories somewhere- either reducing my intake or increasing my exercise or a combination of both. Brandi recommended using this free online calorie counter. Be sure to pay attention that you are documenting your portion sizes correctly- ie, calories on the box may be for 1/2 cup of cereal. But who really only eats 1/2 c of cereal? And btw, NEVER make dietary cuts that makes your daily caloric intake below your RMR. Then your body thinks you're starving and that will really mess with the resources that your body is burning. The test also yielded my aerobic base and anaerobic threshold, which segmented my target heart-rates into 'zones'. An entire workout was generated based on my profile, which looks like a perfect formula for working on my weaker zones (zone 3-a high intensity zone used to improve aerobic conditioning....go figure!).
Ok- I love this stuff but if you read this far into the gritty details of zones and thresholds you deserve a reward! Columbia Athletic Club is going to offer a free one-week pass to the gym for our first FIVE responders. If you've been thinking about trying it out or know a friend who is, here's your perfect opportunity. Email me here if you are interested and I'll hook you up.
Memberships start at $94/mo and $400 for initiation for an individual. Right now initiation is half off thru the month of June (new promos start in July). There's also a 'flex hr' membership so those of you that don't need to come during peak hours can enjoy some savings (starts@ $58/mo indiv). The great thing for us is that CAC is so close. When something is convenient (I literally pass it 4-6 times a day) it makes it that much easier to commit to being there. You can usually find me in the free weight room pulling on my water-ski rope or doing some crazy balance exercises. Be sure to say hello. See you there?