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Phoenix Gym (Berkeley, CA)

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Places to Go > Phoenix Gym (Berkeley, CA)



April 2009

Re: Getting fit - what was the name of that gym?

Hi - That was me with the post about Phoenix Gym and personal training. Congrats on your little one! I also have three kids and totally understand the lack of time/energy for exercise and being short on cash for extras. I worked out at Ice Chamber for 4 months and I've been with Phoenix for 4 months now. I'd be happy to talk to you about my experiences with both - no negativity, just perspective.

You mentioned possibly a personal trainer - Juliet Harris or Kelly Mills (both also moms) are really great. I haven't had a lot of exposure to Dmitri (the third owner of Phoenix), but I have had nothing but great workouts when he's led the class. All of them do personal training, all are certified and all have flexible schedules - they seem to always be there. I'm pretty sure they have information on their website about personal training. www.phoenixfitnessgym.com Their classes are MWF at 6:30 and 9:30 am. They also have a Saturday class at that starts (I think) at 10:30 am. It ha! s all made a huge difference to me. Email me directly and I'll give you my phone number if you'd like to talk. chameleonmom


The gym started by former Ice Chamber trainers is Phoenix Gym. The URL is here: http://phoenixfitnessgym.com/about.html Having been an Ice Chamber devotee and now working with Kelly at Phoenix Gym, I prefer Phoenix. All of the trainers are great and knowledgeable (I worked with each of them while they were at the IC) the workouts are outstanding, and it's just much less of a crowded scene. The level of attention and comraderie you will get is unmatched anywhere I've ever worked out, and I have been to many gyms and classes. I love this place! Check them out. Therese
The name of the gym is Phoenix Gym (http://www.phoenixfitnessgym.com/about.html ).

I belonged to the Ice Chamber and now I go to Phoenix and am extremely happy there. Whichever place you decide to join, you will get in good shape because the workouts are very effective.

Both gyms offer classes or personal training only you don't go and run on the treadmill or lift weights whenever you want. You mentioned that early morning and evenings don't work for you. Both gyms offer mid-morning boot camp classes. The Ice Chamber offers a 45 minute class M - F at 9:00 and 10:00. Phoenix's mid-morning class is an hour, M,W and F at 9:30. Phoenix also has a Saturday 10:30 class for an additional fee. The Ice Chamber has a Saturday morning class as well but it is usually tied into their evening program. The Ice Chamber requires that you do Personal Training before you join boot camp. Phoenix does not but they will give you lots of one:one attention until you learn the correct form on the basic movements. Both gyms offer personal training, if the class times don't work for you.

The Ice Chamber is really involved in kettle bell sport (endurance) and has on-going classes (for a fee) and a competitive team. Phoenix regularly uses kettle bells in their workouts but in what I consider more "old school" style (explosive movement). Phoenix is currently located in a converted barn so the inside space is pretty small (although there is a nice grassy yard). But they utilize the neighborhood as much as possible, including "field trips" to loading docks and the King track. The Ice Chamber is in an industrial section of Albany. It's more spacious and has some cardio equipment (treadmill, spin bikes). But overall the gyms have pretty much the same equipment.

The classes at both gyms are generally circuit-style where you complete a certain number of exercises in a certain amount of time. The workouts incorporate weights, body weight, cardio, balance, core, etc. and are different each time. I've had great workouts at both places but have found that I really prefer classes that are an hour. I've never felt like I could do more at the end of an hour like I have felt at the end of 45 minutes. When I was there, the Ice Chamber's classes had 15 - 25+ people in them, taught by 1 - 2 trainers. Phoenix is small - there are 8 people who regularly attend at 9:30. There are always 2 trainers (3 on Saturday) so your form gets a lot of attention. This also means you can't hide so if you don't want to be pushed, Phoenix might not be the place for you. Two of the owners of Phoenix are moms who weren't always fit like they are now. So, I feel like they really get me. And all three owners are very passionate about what they do. I never get the s! ense they are "phoning in the workout." And I love knowing they have already done the workout themselves so they know where the challenging moments are. I can't speak about the trainers at the Ice Chamber because I don't know who is training anymore.

One of the major differences between the two places however is this: Phoenix is a gym; the Ice Chamber is a lifestyle. The Ice Chamber owners, Steve and Maya, are incredibly charismatic and so inspire this zealous devotion - it's a cult of personality, really (in fact, my husband used to call it my cult). So, if you are looking for a community, with parties and competitions, where high-5s after a workout are standard, then consider the Ice Chamber. Phoenix doesn't blog about their members, they aren't throwing any parties (although they would snuggle you if your brought them cupcakes), and I haven't high-5ed anyone in ages. I have laughed my ass off though - Kelly, Juliet and Dmitri, in addition to being really talented trainers, are also irreverently funny. Makes the brutality of their workouts a bit easier to bear. (Kelly writes her own blog - not about the gym - so you could check out her sense of humor at www.fitnessfixation.com ).

If you're still not sure, I suggest you drop into Phoenix sometime soon and try a class. When I was there, you couldn't drop-in to the Ice Chamber though. But at least you would get a taste of Phoenix without the commitment. Whichever place you choose, work hard and you'll get great results. Phoenix Fan


I believe the gym you mention is Phoenix Gym and it is great! Two of the three owners are mothers and have tons of experience helping women get back into shape after having babies (including helping women with split abdominal muscles and other post-pregnancy issues). They have a 9:30 class for parents (and 6:30 for early-risers) and also do personal training throughout the day.

The classes are small so I get a ton of one-on-one personal attention, which is hard to find at other gyms and great if you are just starting out. The classes are a full hour so by the time I drag myself out of bed and get to the gym, it is really worthwhile. They coach a number of top athletes, but really they take as much (if not more) pride in the personal gains of people just starting out or just getting back in shape. They are genuinely excited when I am able to achieve something that I could not do before (pull-ups, a new rowing record, a heavier barbell weight...) sometimes with giddy clapping. They also know when to push me and when to back away slowly. I am so grateful for their coaching and I know a bunch of other people feel the same. Plus they are super witty and goofy which distracts from the pain and I get an ab workout from laughing (one of the owners is Kelly Mills who writes for the Chronicle's parenting blog ''The Poop''). Sometimes I have to yell at them for making me laugh when I am trying to do an isometric hold. I used to go to the Ice Chamber but I am *obviously* happy at Phoenix gym. Gogobetty


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