Maxim Health And Fitness. (A Review)

This post was updated on Thursday, August 14, 2008

I rejoined Maxim last month. I did a monthly unlimited because their hours and proximity can’t be beat. I figured people change, can’t businesses as well? I was so happy to find that things have changed DRASTICALLY for the better. Everything works! The staff is amazingly friendly and there is no sign of that one trainer guy who was so cruel. I am not sure what happened, but it’s great now. I wanted to write that because the review below is rather negative and this place has completely changed. I highly recommend them now.

In November of last year, right after I quit my job, Tobyjoe signed us both up at a local gym in Williamsburg called Maxim Health and Fitness. We had been members of New York Sport’s Club, which is an awesome gym especially if you live and/or work in Manhattan. There are locations all over the city, it’s convenient, and they’re clean. The staff is kind. I would have stayed there had there been a gym closer to our house. But since I wouldn’t have to be going into the city every day for work, Tobyjoe decided that we should try and move our workouts to a more local venue. That left us with Maxim Health and Fitness.

I was still a little annoyed with having to let go of NYSC. But I agreed. After all, I didn’t have any reason to continue to go into the city. I stopped buying a monthly, unlimited metro card and began working from home. Since an unlimited metro card runs a person about 80 bucks a month, our signing up at a local gym actually saved us both money, so I couldn’t very well complain about Tobyjoe’s decision to cancel with NYSC.


I have been meaning to write about Maxim for a while now. I want to go on the record for writing what I’m about to write. I am hoping that when folks search for Maxim, they might stumble upon this post and think twice about signing up. I wish we had.

I’d like to begin by saying that should Maxim step up and make some changes they could become an incredible neighborhood gym. The space itself – its natural light, the location – is outstanding. And some of the folks who work there (such as Julia, a yoga instructor) are quite friendly. But when it comes to working out and getting the most bang for your buck, Maxim falls so short. I grew more and more frustrated each and every time I visited.


In order for us to join Maxim, we either had to sign a one-year contract OR pay them 150 dollars per membership ON TOP OF the 75 bucks a month for the actual membership. Toby opted for the 150-dollar initiation fee because contracts freak us out. I find it insulting that they charge as much as they do for what they offer their members in return. On any given day there are several pieces of equipment that are out of commission and they stay that way for weeks on end sometimes. There was a bike there that was down for at least three weeks before someone decided to have it fixed. Sometimes pieces of equipment can be seen dangling from a machine. There was an elliptical machine whose HR sensor (also the actual handle) fell off and sat in the cup holder for weeks. When we left the machine was still in that condition. I guess they figured that since it was still “functioning” why bother spending the cash to fix it? There were a few machines that had broken TVs. In fact, one of them never worked for the entire duration of our membership. (This normally wouldn’t suck but I like to watch TV when I’m working out and this particular machine was one of the two there that I enjoyed using.) When I asked about it, they said, “Yeah, the company we signed up with went out of business so we can no longer order parts.” Why not start up a contract with another media venue? I have asked myself, “What is it I’m paying for here?” time and time again.

And it’s not just me. There have been several occasions where I have gotten into conversations with other members. We’ve lamented over the fact that things don’t usually work. One woman specifically asked that I continue to complain so they might consider doing something about it. I have. They have done nothing in the way of changing.

They are often out of the machine wipes one is asked to use after each work out, which means the equipment is left sweaty. Again, what is it my dues are paying for? The Williamsburg rent?


It seems that there are some people who frequent Maxim who cannot read. There are signs all throughout the gym clearly stating, “CELL FREE ZONE”. They hang before the cardio equipment, in the bathrooms, and in other parts of the gym, yet people constantly talk on the phone. Why can’t people go an hour or two without their phone? There have been numerous times I have had to listen to people gab on the phone as they work out . One time I walked in to find a guy wearing one of those matching full-body tracksuits. He was on an elliptical machine talking loudly into an earpiece. I could hear him over my own headphones. I looked at the woman behind to him who immediately made a face. “He has been talking on the phone my ENTIRE workout. I can’t even hear my music.”

“Did you complain?” I asked?

“No. Not yet.”

“I’ll do it.”

I walked over to the personal trainer (a guy who I have had issues with in the past and will talk more about later) and he said, “Well, I don’t know what you want me to do about it, I am in the middle of a training session.”

“I’m sorry. I thought you worked here.” I said.

“I do, but I’m not going to do anything about it.”

The guy continued to talk no the phone. The girl continued to huff and puff with anger and I gave him dirty looks.

(Weeks later, I saw both the cell phone guy and the personal trainer hanging out together at the gym. Suddenly, it became clear as to why the trainer didn’t want to help out.)


The part I liked least about Maxim Health and Fitness, however, is one of the full time personal trainers they keep on staff. (The guy I mentioned earlier.) He seems like a very unpleasant person. He has asked people to get off of machines mid workout, even elliptical machines (i.e. not just free weights where it makes sense). He looks as if he’s pumped full of steroids. He walks around the place as if he owns it. And if you’re not one of his paying clients good luck seeing him treat you with any amount of decency. He sets a pretty rotten tone for the place, in my opinion. But I don’t think management cares all that much.


One Saturday afternoon, after we realized that 75% of the equipment we wanted to use at Maxim wasn’t working properly, we stopped by the Greenpoint YMCA to take a tour. We were given a family fee of 75 dollars per month (the three of us can use it for that cost after the baby is born). That means that all three of us will be able to visit the YMCA for the same price ONE of us was paying at Maxim.

I went swimming there yesterday. Not only did I manage to squeeze my pregnant body into my existing bathing suit, but also I was able to swim for 45 minutes. It felt incredible even though when I got out I realized how much better I felt when I was weightless. I plan on going back again today.

The YMCA may not appear to be as fancy as Maxim, it may have old, high school style locker rooms, but the staff is friendly, it’s actually cell phone free, and the equipment works, and Steroid Head is nowhere to be found.


  1. God, I’d love to have a place to swim again – I used to do laps every day when I was in college. Sounds like the Y is a great deal.


  2. Highly recommend checking it out, Jen. It’s really nice. And, yeah, avoid Maxim as much as possible. They need to shape up, period. It’s insulting otherwise. (Although, I guess if you were to only use the treadmills and some of the free weights, it wouldn’t seem as frustrating. But a lot of the equipment I would use, low-impact, etc, that was terrible.)

    And cell phone talkers at the gym have a special reservation in hell as far as I’m concerned.


  3. I heart Murray.

    Okay – this has nothing to do with your gym but I thought it would make you feel better about renting. Have you seen the article in NYmag re bad condo developments?


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