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Fitness | Jim Rat

Spectrum Club Lives Up to Its Name

November 16, 1998|GARY METZKER

Beware. The Jim Rat is snooping around Southern California, looking at the best and worst in health clubs. Jim isn't just any rat. He's been teaching for four years at various clubs in the area. He is a member of the International Dance Exercise Assn. and is certified by the Aerobics and Fitness Assn. of America.

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The Spectrum Club advertises itself as being in Manhattan Beach. It isn't. It's in El Segundo, but if that's the worst thing I can find wrong with the place, that's not too bad.

Inside this 65,000-square-foot facility, which opened in 1987, are some of the finest equipment and instructors anywhere.

There are three aerobics studios here. Lisa Austin teaches the Tuesday morning "Power Pump" class in Studio 1. A former track coach at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, she is lean and her muscles are well-defined. At her class Tuesday, she told us what muscles we should be working and she is a stickler for posture, two components that are so important when teaching a muscle-building class. Tuesday evening, I was still feeling the workout.

At 9 a.m. in Studio 2, Donna Vale was exhorting her students to lift those legs a little higher as she started a low-impact class on one of the bounciest wood-sprung floors I have ever grapevined on. At 9:30, a cycling class was kicking into gear. This place is busy.

Karen Richardson has been the group exercise manager since the club opened. She oversees more than 110 aerobics classes including aqua (in a 25-yard pool), cycling on 43 bikes, yoga and kick boxing.

"The people at this gym demand a hard class, but they also like fun," Richardson said.

More than 20 personal trainers are available to help with the Cybex and Icarian machines. Glistening free weights are made by Hoggan. For the cardiovascularly inclined, take your pick from three VersaClimbers, 31 LifeCycle bicycles--14 of them recumbent--five StairMaster step mills, two Reebok elliptical machines, 14 Precor ellipticals, three rowers, three NordicTrack ski machines, 15 StairMasters, five Trotter treadmills, eight LifeFitness treadmills and a basketball court.

To soothe aches and pains, the Spectrum Club has a sports medicine center; for top-of-the-line clothing and shoes, there's a pro shop; to bring out the beautiful you, there is a spa; and for the hungry you, there is an impressive snack bar.

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If you have a gym or health club you think the Jim Rat should scope out, fax to (213) 237-4712 or e-mail health@latimes.com.

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The Rat Trap

On a rating of one to four RATS, four being best, here is how the Jim Rat rates the Spectrum Club:

* Parking: There are two parking lots and they are well-lighted, but don't expect to park right out front. ****

* Locker rooms: Squeaky clean. Towels are provided, but they'll set you back $40 for the year. The shower areas are nice, and there are whirlpools, steam rooms and dry saunas. ****

* Juice bar: Let's see, should I have the chicken pesto pasta or a sandwich or maybe a bowl of hot oatmeal to go with my designer water? You get the idea. ****

Spectrum Club, 2250 Park Place, El Segundo; (310) 643-6878. A single-day pass is $15. Basic membership is $62 a month plus a one-time initiation fee of $325 for the deluxe package. Add $10 if you want to play racquet sports. The standard package gives you fewer benefits for $62 a month plus a onetime initiation fee of $150. Once again, add $10 if you want to play racquet sports. Club hours are 5 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 5 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday; and 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.

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