Kings Cross now a 24-hour fitness power-house!

Since late December Kings Cross has a new gym.  It is  called Anytime Fitness. The medium-sized gym is located on the ground floor level in the Nido Complex at 200 Pentonville Road, appropriately enough next door to the shop Cycle Surgery and Runners Need.

This opening comes at a time the Kings Cross community gym One KX has stopped operating as a gym,  just a few years after its own respective opening.  1KX will now be redeveloped as a community participation and enhancement facility.  One of the weak points of the 1KX gym was that its opening times simply didn’t suit the working population, being shut early in the evening and sparingly on weekends. Central YMCA who managed the facility on behalf of LBC Camden writes that there were problems with noise transmission to residents.

Anytime Fitness is a franchise that originated in Chicago and problems with restricted opening hours are not one of its weaknesses. This new Kings Cross gym is open 24 hours, seven days a week and on every day of the year, bank holidays included.

In central London there is only one other gym like it, a Fitness First gym near Oxford Street, which for Kings Cross residents and workers is still quite a journey on a rainy or cold day. Anytime Fitness Kings-Cross Manager Neil Croft explained to me that this new gym is a matter of equality. Restaurant owners, postal workers, railway workers, medical workers, and journalists to name but a few, may all appreciate the chance to work out late at night or early mornings.  Most parks around Kings Cross are closed at dusk, leaving little space for exercise in the evening, and the two nearest existing gyms at Kings Cross also close in the late evening.

The opening of Anytime Fitness is another first in fitness matters at Kings Cross. Argyle Square was one of the first locations to host an out-door gym facility in Camden (with Camden being one of the nation-wide pioneers). The square also was one of the few places to receive a Nike sponsored street-basketball court.   Now the Kings Cross branch of Anytime Fitness is the very first branch the franchise has opened in London (the third in the UK).

So how do they do it? Neil explains that the brightly lid gym, with see through windows from the outside, has an extremely tight camera surveillance system.  Members also get a direct telephone number to call the security surveillance team at any time.  They also receive personal alarms and there are alarm buttons provided in the gym and on monitors members can even see the surveillance team whilst talking to it. Neil says 17000 of the Anytime Fitness gyms already in operation across the world (mostly in the USA) have proven that a 24/7 opening system of this type is not only practical and in demand but also safe. Still a sign at the Kings Cross entrance reminds members to take personal communication tools with them. You don’t want to get caught in the gym alone at 3 am and be unfortunate enough to have pulled a muscle, not being able to move, and not able to call a friend for help (what the friend will say about being woken up by that fitness-eager companion at three in the morning is another matter).

Equality is also followed through in terms of access for people with mobility issues. With Kings Cross / St. Pancras now having finally become a half decent wheel-chair accessible underground station, it is nice to hear that all three gym floors are accessible by elevator, and that a special toilet and shower-room has also been provided. The equipment is standard gym equipment (treadmills and other cardio-vascular machines, resistance machines and free weights) of which some can be used by wheel chair users, but it is fair to say that it is not a gym that is specialising in equipment needs for all impairments.

Furthermore the gym is actually staffed in the day-time and instructors and personal trainers are enthusiastic to provide guidance and help. Neil explained that some of his staff are experts in exercise with cardio-vascular diseases and other health conditions.
I asked Neil what he thought of being placed at Kings Cross. He said he noticed, as in most areas in England, a disproportionate amount of fast-food restaurants, making it ever so easy for locals to become overweight and obese.

He also said that the gym provided value for money in terms of local gyms in the Kings Cross area: “Some gyms in this area charge over 70 Pounds per month. Our concept ensures that running costs are kept low, and this advantage we pass on straight to the customer.”  Memberships are valid not just here in Kings Cross but in all branches world-wide.

I was quite impressed, actually, both by the 24/7 concept and also with a little bit of pride, that once again the London Kings Cross locality appeared to have convinced investors that it is the place above all others in London for them to go and spend their money.
We already have quite a few 24 hour bars and eating places at Kings Cross.  But in contrast this 24 hour facility appears to become one of the players actually making air-polluted Kings Cross people healthier and fitter.

One would hope that the gym will therefore liaison also with some of the local community groups, businesses and health services.

Picture  showing Daniel Zylbersztajn (left) at a inspection for Kings Cross LocalAnytime Fitness Manager (Kings Cross) Neil Croft, second from left.

About Daniel Zylbersztajn

Daniel Zylbersztajn, is since 2012 correspondent to the German independent left of centre daily newspaper taz, die Tageszeitung and Jüdische Allgemeine, and a Pilates Teacher. Born in Germany but also raised in Holland and Israel, he is a long term resident of London Kings Cross (first in 1991), involved parent, local and social activist, and positive lifestyle advocate. He also held posts in research, and conflict work, a.o. for the Palestinian - Israeli peace village Wahat al Salam ~ Neve Shalom. He holds a BA in history and politics from SOAS and two Master degrees, in Urban Sociology (Goldsmiths) and Sports Coaching (Brunel). He is founding and committee member of Coram's Fields User Group, the parent and community voice of Central London's biggest and oldest children playground and was its first spokesperson and chair. Daniel tweets under @zylbersztajn
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8 Responses to Kings Cross now a 24-hour fitness power-house!

  1. Clare Hill says:

    An interesting development. But not sure that KX has “quite a few” 24-hour bars and eateries. Can only think of McD’s on York Way (Fri and Sat only) and on Euston Road (Fri and Sat: open 23 hours!). Anything else?

  2. Daniel Zylbersztajn says:

    Clare – see our new post answering your question. One place though I was surprised to hear does not officially open as long or early as I thought. I could have sworn I have seen regularly big crowds of sport fans at The Northumberland Arms Pub in Kings Cross Rd, early morning during the broadcasting of overnight sport matches. But when I asked about this today, a member of staff repudiated this and explained they were “only” open 9 a.m. til midnight, and weekends til 2 a.m. respectively.

  3. Lisa Tang says:

    Correction on Regents Canal tow path being closed at night, it is open 24/7, 365 days a year!

    • Daniel Zylbersztajn says:

      Dear Lisa, I stand corrected. It is not so long ago, but perhaps long enough that I lifted my bicycle over a closed gate . Seems like things have changed. Staying on the fitness theme though I wonder how many would be brave enough to do their jogging at night-hours alongside the canal. Thank you for your correction, I will amend accordingly!

  4. Andrew says:

    Jeepers, I even have to be careful running down through Clerkenwell, on two occasions “youths” have thrown things at me (a bicycle on one occasion – interesting). I now run in the mornings while they are sleeping in! 🙂

  5. Daniel Zylbersztajn says:

    andrew i had boulders and rubbish bags thrown at me on regents canal runs, resorting to early morning runs was the remedy here too.

  6. Lisa Tang says:

    As a daily canal tow path user I can assure everyone there are day and night joggers. Daniel what decade was it that you had things thrown at you I have not heard of anything like that around here for at least 10 years!

    Rather than harping on the negative try to do something positive like walking from Islington to the Olympic site via the canal tow path a wonderful car free alternative route. During this walk, in November, nothing was thrown at us.

    https://kingscrossenvironment.com/2011/11/11/join-sustrans-walking-from-angel-to-the-olympic-park/

    • Daniel Zylbersztajn says:

      This is a fantastic cycle trip or walk Lisa, I too can recommend this, have done it several times sometimes only to reach Victoria Pk for museum of child-hood on other occasions all the way down to Mudchute Cuty Farm. People have to make up their own minds if travelling alone there in the afternoons and evenings is safe for them. You asked when the throwing happened? As said it was quite some time ago, not ten years, possibly around 2007 in the Rosendale Way area and happened twice (you know the balcony style over hang there? Yobs threw stuff down from there). At that time and the preceding three years I run there daily. It was always safe ecept on those two occassions. Let’s not ignore the fact that there were dispersal orders even less long ago there as well as reported robberies in the late afternoons two to three years ago (a girl was sentenced for that as reported on Kings Cross Environment by Stephan Schulte here) But overall the canal is certainly one of our real assests we all should claim 🙂 So you are right encouraging all to do the “Olympic Walk.”

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