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Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt.
Hers: All-in-One Women's Only Gym in Heliopolis
With an overwhelming demand for private, women's only workout areas at mixed gyms in Cairo, it makes sense that women's only gyms should be opening up more regularly over the city. Recently opened in Heliopolis as part of the Samia Allouba family, Hers offers a new gym exclusively for female clients. Conveniently located above a crèche and complete with an on-site branch of beauty salon, Nail Fashion, Hers strives to cater for all busy ladies' fitness and beauty needs.
Brightly lit from the outside, the glass fronted downstairs area of the building is dedicated to the unique children's play and fitness centre, My Gym, whilst the staircase and upper floor is strictly off limits to men.
The gym area is small and spotless, with state-of-the-art machines tightly packed next to one another. With just a few treadmills and a couple of cross-trainers, the cardio section of the gym is somewhat limited, but adequate. Usually reserved for men anyway, the range of free weights is almost non-existent, but is made up for by an abundance of weight machines to work out every muscle. Although made to feel spacious by its sleek contemporary decor, personal space is undoubtedly in short supply, particularly during peak times. At the time of our visit, upbeat music was pumped from the speakers for motivation whilst flat screen TVs hung overhead.
Separate rooms are dedicated to spinning sessions and group fitness classes. Operating from 11AM till 10PM, classes offered include everything from belly-dancing and Zumba, to yoga, Pilates and even toning classes.
The changing, locker and shower rooms are immaculate and roomy, leading the way to the luxurious recreational facilities. With dim lighting and earthy decor, the warm, bubbling Jacuzzi is a tempting place to recuperate. In the same inviting style, the sauna and steam room are ready and available for use at any time. The shape of the venue leads you back round to the reception, where a range of glittering jewellery is displayed for sale, outside the on-site Nail Fashion spa which offers a vast selection of beauty treatments.
Day use of the gym is 100LE and full memberships range from 800LE-4200LE for periods of up to a year. Along with an initial body assessment, nutritional advice, a personal training session and one free, vibrating Power Plate trial (65LE/hour), membership allows access to the equipment, fitness classes, the sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi; as with most gyms, guest access is dependent on the length of membership taken.
Disappointingly, the gym itself isn't much bigger than a women's only room in other mixed gyms. However, with a relaxing, totally women's only 'girl power' ambience, on-site spa and beauty facilities, Hers provides far more than just a place to work out in private.
Gyms in Cairo tend to be either mixed, or ladies-only; very rarely do we come across men’s only fitness establishments in the city. Under the same ownership as popular women’s only chain, Hers, Balance Gym caters for men, and only men.
Right next door to Hers’ New Cairo branch, Balance is also on the upper level of restaurant complex, Emerald Empire. With full-length windows stretching across the front, the gym benefits from a great people-watching view, as well as being visible from afar.
The roomy reception area is filled with energetic, welcoming staff, as well as an incredibly well-stocked display of protein, vitamins, energy boosters and fat burners for both men and women. Just inside, a snack bar is notably hosted by the cafe franchise, Chez Edy.
The long, open-plan workout space is lined with full length mirrors on one side to add a spacious feel. Furthermore, the industrial, exposed pipes on the ceiling and the contemporary grey hues, coupled with orange-red accents throughout make for a surprisingly masculine aesthetic.
Top-of-the-range equipment is neatly organised into cardio and strength sections, with a well stocked and kept free-weights section for some serious iron-pumping. Due to the gym’s popularity, peak times may feel a little cramped and the distinct smell of 'man' becomes increasingly noticeable. There is also a glass-walled room dedicated to spinning classes, as well as a separate studio for a range of fitness classes.
At the far end of the gym, the locker rooms are spacious and well kept, with a relaxing spa area complete with a Jacuzzi, steam room and sauna.
For such decent fitness and relaxation facilities, we were surprised to find the membership prices so reasonable. At the time of our visit, a running promotion discounted a year membership to 2200LE from 3000LE. Included in this price are a whopping 24 personal training sessions, 12 guest invitations, two months, optional, freezing and six follow-up sessions. A six month membership is 1800LE, including 12 personal training sessions, six invitations, one month freezing and three follow-up sessions. The shortest membership, 3 months, includes six personal training sessions, three invitations, seven days freezing and two follow-up sessions. Special discounts are also offered to married couples, where the woman is joining Hers.
With such attractive prices, Balance Gym is likely to increase in popularity – and rightly so – but may quickly become over populated. As it stands, this men’s only fitness man-cave provides body-conscious men with well-stocked work-out areas, complete with top-of-the range equipment at affordable prices.