Chelmsford City’s Leisure Centres and Gyms

Woman Lifting WeightChelmsford’s network of Leisure Centres now provide more fitness and sporting activities than any other gym network in Essex. If you join the Chelmsford Borough Leisure Centres you gain access to not only the Riverside Leisure Centre, with its gym, fitness classes, swimming pools and ice rink, but also Dovedale Sports Centre (gym and classes), Chelmsford Sports & Athletics Centre (larger gym, indoor running track, outdoor track and fitness classes) and South Woodham Ferrers (swimming pool, classes and gym). See Chelmsford’s Leisure Plus website for full details.

Chelmsford offers more that just a gym. As a member you now receive a fitness plan and using their Technogym equipment you can log every exercise you do to monitor your fitness and strength progress.

Full members get full use of the swimming pool and access to all classes (popular classes can be booked in advance).

A new member’s review:

“I have recently joined the Chelmsford Leisure Centres. So far I have only been to Riverside, but glad to report that it is excellent. The gym facilities are good, with modern equipment, all in good working order. There are machines and free weights, plus a lot of cardio equipment. There are also many classes, the swimming pools, squash courts, athletics track etc.

I have been given a programme to follow, and it is easy to follow it using the Technogym key – at each exercise you are told what to do (number of reps, weight etc) and then at the end of the exercises told where to go to next. All is logged into the Technogym system so at the end you can see how much cardio and weight training you have done, which muscle groups you have exercised and how each workout has compared with others – very easy to see if you are progressing as each week more calories are burned, more weight is lifted, more distance covered.

A great service. Plus free parking in the town centre too!”

This year I almost joined one of the local “commercial gyms”, but decided to give the council leisure centre a go after hearing about the forthcoming improvements (see below for more on those). I am glad to say that I have been very pleased, and impressed, with what Chelmsford offers.

The gym staff are always on hand to give advice and help setting new exercises on the Technogym system. The gym has enough equipment to mean that you never have to wait for a machine to use. While you cannot always complete your workout in the set order, there is always something available.

Cleanliness is taken seriously at Chelmsford too, the gym staff can often be seen cleaning the machines as well as advising members on exercising and also motivating people.

Chelmsford provides both off-peak and peak memberships, so if you plan to use the gym during the day you can save money. You are a little restricted to which classes you can attend, although Dovedale’s evening classes are included in the off-peak membership.

What Off-Peak Provides:

Off-peak is anytime before 5pm during the week.

  • Excel Gym and Free weight off peak times at all centres
  • Excel Gym classes off peak before 5pm at Riverside (dry side and pool)
  • Excel Gym classes any time at CSAC and Dovedale.
  • Swimming off peak at Riverside 
  • Creche 1 hour per day (Riverside only)
  • Free car parking (3 hrs max Riverside)

Weekly Offpeak Workout Example

Here is an example of how you can easily create a varied and enjoyable fitness schedule at Chelmsford. Swimming and gym can be any time during the day, classes can fit around:

  • Swim / Gym before 5pm everyday
  • Mon 19:00-20:00 – Monday Circuits – Dovedale
  • Wed 19:00-20:00 – Wednesday Circuits – Dovedale
  • Wed 10:00-11:00 – Bokwa Activity room – CSAC
  • Thu 09:30-11:00 – Running Fitness/Core Stability – CSAC
  • Thu 20:15-21:00 – Bokwa Dovedale – Esra Studio
  • Sat 09:30-10:30 – Circuits Laura Sports hall – CSAC
  • Sat 10:30-11:30 – Running Fitness Track – CSAC

Chelmsford Gyms Upgraded in 2013

Great news this week for gym goers and fitness enthusiasts in Chelmsford – Riverside Ice & Leisure Centre and Chelmsford Sport & Athletics Centre are both having their gyms updated with larger fitness areas and new equipment. Also, South Woodham Ferrers Leisure Centre is being updated too.

Chelmsford City Council are investing £1.3 million in public fitness facilities. This is in direct response to 2012 being a record breaking year for its sports centres. Whether it is the Olympic effect or their new pay as you go gym membership scheme (Leisure Plus card scheme) that has boosted numbers is not clear, but many more people are now using Chelmsford City gyms.

So, what changes can we expect to see?

Riverside Ice & Leisure Centre

Riverside has had a gym for many years, since it was built in fact, but the gym has only ever been of average quality and at busier times, it quickly becomes rather cramped. The investment will see a new area being built which will provide significantly more space.

The fitness suite at Riverside Ice & Leisure, which is called the Excel Gym and is an IFI accredited gym. It was last refurbished in 2009, will not only benefit from an expansion this Summer by increasing its size by 30% but also the installation of a new dedicated spinning studio.  The expansion will enable the gym to increase its capacity during peak times and provide a better functional training area for stretching and warming up.

Spinning is one of the centre’s most highly demanded exercise classes with over 200 people taking part every week. The new studio will allow more spinning bikes and create space for an even larger exercise programme.

See Excel Gym on the Chelmsford City website for more information.

  • Address: Victoria Road, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 1FG

Chelmsford Sport & Athletics Centre (CSAC)

Chelmsford Sport & Athletics Centre has a gym with free weights and machines. However, it is not really a gym that the county town of Essex, and the first city of Essex, could be proud of.

The gym will be relocated to the first floor and will be triple the size. The new gym will have the latest Technogym equipment installed (Technogym supplied the London Olympic Games with exercise equipment and are a very well respected gym brand). The ground floor gym will be a dedicated free weights area, perfect for athletes and powerlifters.

  • Salerno Way, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 2EH

South Woodham Ferrers Leisure Centre

South Woodham Ferrers Leisure Centre is also receiving new Technogym equipment as well as having a refurbishment. It will remain the same size. South Woodham Ferrers relaunched their exercise class programme in 2012 and this has resulted in an increase in visitors.

  • Trinity Square, South Woodham Ferrers, Essex, CM3 5JU

This really is excellent news for people living in and around Chelmsford. The Leisure Plus scheme provides affordable gyms that are now at a high standard. The commercial gyms with their expensive annual memberships has put a lot of people off the idea of going to a gym to workout in recent decades. Now this is changing and we are moving back to a situation where there are good quality walk-in gyms on offer.

For more fitness clubs and venues in Essex see our page dedicated to Health And Fitness In Essex.

  1 comment for “Chelmsford City’s Leisure Centres and Gyms

  1. Unhappy Leisure Plus Card Holder
    May 21, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    The gym in Chelmsford Riverside is good. The Dovedale and Sports Centre gyms are very basic, so I hope the improvements will see some good investment there. Even though they are much quieter during the day I would not go back.

    I do have an issue with Riverside – I am a leisure plus card holder and monthly member. This gives me FREE exercise classes. However, last week I forgot to collect my ticket. I got charged for the class.

    The teacher of the class took my name, so there is a record I attended. However, Chelmsford’s policy is that if you do not collect your ticket you have to pay the full price for the class – they assume that you did not attend.

    What’s more, after I failed to collect my ticket I was blocked from accessing the website (where you book and cancel classes). So the next class which I did need to cancel due to work commitments, I could not – because the system locked me out. I did manage to get the class cancelled after leaving a message on a telephone (the office is closed in the evenings, even though the gym is open….).

    This has frankly really pissed me off. Poor customer service and a pretty rubbish system. Basically, it cost me about £6 to attend a class that should have been free. Luckily I could use my loyalty points, but they were given as an incentive to use the gym, and now I am now loath to use them!

    Oh, and another word of caution – each venue has different off-peak hours. I went to South Woodham Ferrers at 4pm but could not use the gym as it is used by a school all day. From 5pm it is open to the public, but this is peak time. I think off-peak is after 9pm at the gym. When I signed up I was under the impression that South Woodham was a gym I could use as an off-peak member, but it is not.

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