Gym memberships – What Your Money Should Get You

What are you paying for?  Gym Membership prices broken down from my point of view (all based on Townsville economy not major metropolitan areas)

  1. The classic <$14.95 membership or under – this is a classic of big gym chains. It is designed around the 30% method. Where it is small enough amount that you let the direct debit go without noticing it too much or it is there just in case you get the motivation to go one day. They rely on only 30% of their members turning up as they aren’t equipped to handle their full membership at once. The person who comes in with this membership are the following:
    1. Experience lifters who have been doing the same stuff for a long time, don’t need anyone telling them new stuff they know what works and good luck to them
    2. Students and young people who follow an influencer or get on and follow a program they see them do and go from there. Full of headphones and selfies but to their credit incredibly consistent and diligent with their attendance.
    3. Rarely someone who has gone and paid someone to write them a program designed for them, and they are doing there best without having to spend a fortune on PTs they don’t trust etc – people performing targeted online programming

What I should expect for this price – no guidance, no equipment available in peak times, personal trainer only at the start to get you hooked, but mainly you are on you are own for you to do your own thing or jump in big classes that are choreographed and repetitious.

  1. The targeted or a little more specific gyms at $20-40 per week – These are gyms that have a specific genre or a focus. For example, maybe a powerlifting gym, bodybuilding gym or some hybrid combining the two or something I haven’t I mentioned. But here you pay a fraction more for people who are like minded. You feel a bit more welcome there is a little more support, but it is strictly pretty much that genre and nothing else. The culture is prescribed, and they do that intentionally and they aren’t looking to accommodate for everyone. This type of membership I respect because it doesn’t try and paint a picture that it isn’t, and they do this, and they do it well.

What should you expect from this type of gym – if you like what they are selling you end up in a very welcoming culture if you don’t you will feel like an outsider. Some guidance but more specific work you will need to pay (so you should be honest) but usually some welcoming people who get in and do their work, usually full of fairly disciplined people.

Outdoor fitness organisations are usually in this bracket. I have never been a fan of outdoor bootcamps, or businesses like them. Your entire fitness plan is based on the environment and secondly you are paying good money for things they aren’t long term health changes. Outdoor stuff always has a shelf life and the business doing them aren’t that invested in it. Otherwise, they would get a place of their own and really do it properly. Which to me says enough about it they model of the business. Outdoor sessions should compliment your timetable to control it.

  1. The specific or boutique membership price (>$40 per week) – This type of membership encapsulates a plethora of different types of health and fitness organisations. But more than likely it means you are paying for special and/or specific skill sets. This will cover places like pilates studios, yoga facilities, crossfit boxes, Gender Specific (ladies only) gyms and boutique facilities like Hammer Athletic. What also crowds this price range these days is the emergence of group fitness studios like Fitstop, F45 and the like.

It is way to lengthy to dissect all of these facilities and why they price the way they do. Ultimately if you are paying anywhere from $40 and up per week this is what you should be getting and if you are not, then in my opinion you should review your health and fitness situation.

  • At this rate I believe you should be getting at minimum in a gym setting – a planned and/or periodised program in small group fashion where numbers are limited where quality control can be enforced. By this I mean technique correction and education. If the numbers are too big in these groups, then form for complex movements usually go right out the window. Also, there must be some onus on the provider when the client is paying in this bracket that there must be some forethought in what they are doing day to day or week to week. You mustn’t except just rocking up and getting either flogged or left to you’re on devices with exercises you have never done before. You cannot just pay $50 for group fitness classes for making you sweat and get out of breath you have to demand more.
  • In my opinion with this type of coaching and care you need staff that are invested in the same field. Graduates in Exercise Science is always a great starting point as they have invested 3 years in to knowing more, but if the coaches don’t have that, that is ok too. If they are knowledge and constantly looking to improve by enrolling in courses and seminars trying to better themselves, you are with someone destined to improve usually resulting in you improving. If your coach has done the minimum and not looking to go further, then expect the minimum and no improvement.
  • The same goes for Pilates and yoga instructors in this bracket I’d expect to be paying for coaching and tutelage not general run the mill stuff I can see on youtube.

The bottom line is the more you spend the more you should expect. If you are paying top dollar for memberships than hopefully reading this will make you re-evaluate and ask these questions of your facility. If you are happy with-it perfect stay with it. But maybe, you just thought everyone paid that amount for that level of service well in fact there are other facilities out there providing more for the same price.

Price talk always comes with conjecture, and I understand how basics economics work with supply and demand so you can charge what the market dictates. As a client you must ask are they busy because they are good and how do you know if they are good, well ask the questions I have suggested above and hopefully this gives you some insight into picking a good facility to improve your health and fitness.

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