200 Saxony Road, 92024, Encinitas, CA
Opening times: Mon – Fri : 500-2200 , Sat and Sun: 700-1900
Cost: Two free passes per person
Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA, Encinitas
Location and Entry
Magdalena Ecke is located a few kilometres east of Encinitas, best accessed with a car, which (unusually for me!) I had access to here as I was staying with a friend who kindly lent me theirs. A brave move, since I’m not used to driving on the right-hand side of the road, let alone on multi-lane busy roads – I have great respect for her having the guts to get in the car with me to give me a “driving lesson”!
The gym is split into a cardio room and a weights room, with the weights room being divided into three areas, which can broadly be summarised as 1. Free weights and cables 2. Functional equipment and floor area (with a synergy area between these two areas) and 3. A “Family Training Area” which consists mostly of resistance machines. There are also some cardio machines in the free weights area, just to confuse matters.
Like most YMCAs I’ve been to, the floor/functional training area is large and very well equipped with numerous kettlebells, TRXs, medicine balls, Swiss balls, resistance bands, foam rollers, stools, mats and BOSUs. Plenty of floorspace too for walking lunges, burpees or whatever else takes your fancy.
The barbells go up to 110lbs, although I could only find a set of straight bars. There are numerous adjustable bars including two squat racks and one Smith machine and a variety of benches including inclined ones. With racks. Dumbbells go up to 120lbs, with many weights duplicated and there is an additional rack of lightweight dumbbells too.
I found the cardio room well-equipped with treadmills, bikes, arc-trainers and ellipticals, steppers and one or two rowing machines.
I did a step class here (Tuesday morning from 9:05-10:05) taught by a friendly Rebecca. The studio is medium-sized and comfortably fit around 18 steppers. The class was choreographed, fairly fast, and I would say it is suitable for intermediate steppers. It was well attended, without being too busy. The routine was fun, although at times I personally would have preferred it if she had simply demonstrated the next move instead of just describing it in detail whilst we did a holding pattern. This would have been easier for visual learners and those of us who can step, but know the moves by different names. But all in all, well worth going to if you’re a step fan!
See full timetable.
Whilst I commend the YMCA for its policies of welcoming everyone from all walks of life and reasonably priced rates, the downside to this is that Magdalena Ecke was very busy, even in “off-peak” periods. I worked out at around 10am on both Tuesday and Thursday mornings, with Tuesday being particularly busy and hard to get on equipment, and Thursday being a little better. The only other (minor) criticism was that the underarm pull-up bars are set rather widely, with no option to take the more standard narrower grip. And if you’re tall, they might be a little short for you. However, you can also use the Synergy area for pull-ups and the bars there solve both of these problems.
An excellent well-equipped gym with a good atmosphere, if you can get there! Avoid at peak times unless you don’t mind waiting for equipment.
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