North County couch potatoes who say they don't have time to exercise just lost that excuse. A new gym in Jacksonville is open 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week.
Anytime Fitness opened at the end of June in the 5,400-square-foot space vacated by Blockbuster Video on Sweet Air Road. David Key and his wife, Chris, who live in Lutherville, are the gym's owners.
The gym is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and offers exercise classes and personal trainers who can help with fitness, nutrition and weight management.
The gym is staffed 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., on Fridays; and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sat. The rest of the time, members use their electronic keys to enter the building. Security cameras are in the parking lot and in the gym.
"One of the reasons I went with Anytime Fitness is that it's a proven success," said David Key. "There are 1,800 of them in the U.S. and members can use any of them if they're on vacation or traveling for business. Here in Jacksonville, I have the best equipment you can buy."
Many pieces, like the treadmills, are iPhone- and iPod-friendly and have individual screens so users can watch television using earphones. There is a Life Fitness circuit that works upper and lower body, as well as free weights.
The gym also offers classes in yoga, Zumba, spin and circuit training all of which are free and included in the monthly fee.
Key said the gym already has 250 members. Two of them — Theresa and Craig Redman of Baldwin —joined before it even opened.
"We kept peeking in the window to see if it was open and we signed up when there was somebody in the parking lot taking applications," said Craig Redman, who used to work out at Bally's in Towson. "It's hard enough to get out there and work out, but to have to drive 20 minutes and then work out is even harder," he said.
He tries to make it to the gym every day. He recently went at 5 a.m. and joined another five members who got an early start, too.
Three trainers — Erin Howard, Ellen Rozics and Lee Ann Quinn — offer new members a free personal fitness assessment and are available for individual training sessions.
"It's nice to help people get healthy," Howard said. "And most of the members are from the community, so everybody knows everybody."
To help inspire members, there is a Motivation board on which people can post goals or comments. Some recent jottings: "Pain is weakness leaving the body," "I love this club," and "Ate great all week."
Anytime Fitness is holding a Grand Opening on Sept. 29 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event includes moonbounce for kids, fitness assessments, exercise classes, food and special membership giveaways.
The gym is located at 3430 Sweet Air Road, Jacksonville. For details, call 410-667-0356 or go to http://anytimefitness.com/gyms/1714/Phoenix-MD-21131.