‘You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get.’ – Michael Phelps

When you play team games or work out either alone or with a certified personal trainer at a gym, the most difficult thing is not always the physical effort, but finding the motivation within yourself to get started.

Many people are tempted to stop when the going gets tough, and this is where gyms make their money.

People sign up for a year-long non-refundable membership only to quit after five months.

Another dilemma is knowing which gym is best for you.

There are so many options, all with their own factors to consider.

You may or may not want a personal coach, the option of cardiovascular training, pilates, relaxation, step or body pump classes, and then there’s the cost.

Some gyms advertise themselves as being affordable for all, but does this mean a compromise on the scope of your training?

Others offer different stages of membership depending on the time of day you attend the gym – but would your schedule allow this?

According to Leisure DB, the 2017 State of the UK Fitness Industry Report reveals that the UK health and fitness industry is continuing to grow and that its low-cost market, which accounts for 15% of the market value, has been the main driving force for this.

So, in order to bring some clarity to anyone thinking about joining a gym or looking to find an online personal trainer, here is Superprof’s quick guide to health and fitness in the UK.

Services Offered by Gyms and Fitness Clubs

The UK health and fitness market is in full bloom.

With demand on the rise, they don’t miss a trick when it comes to their services, which include:

Nutrition advice

Energy drinks

Fitness classes near me (such as Zumba, body sculpt, yoga and kettle-ercise)

Personal training

Running clubs

Body composition measurement

Sauna and steam room facilities

Changing rooms

Membership offers

One of the main reasons people sign up to a gym or health club is nutritional advice.

According to a survey carried out by OpinionWay, three quarters of people keep an eye on their weight.

Knowing how much protein, fat and sugar you are consuming through your eating habits is just one way people work towards their target weight.

However, making changes and staying motivated is a difficult thing to do on your own, and this is why many people hire a personal trainer to give them guidance on their nutrition.

Ironically, you should be aware of the energy drinks sold in gyms, since some of these contain a lot of sugar which can undo your hard work.

The way these are marketed, with their bright colours and their explanations using exercise science can, in fact, contain a lot more caffeine than you need for an effective workout, which will affect your sleep.

The chemicals in these drinks can increase your risk of injury, as you may push your body further than it can go without realising.

Other risks include digestive issues and headaches.

Here are some fitness classes near me that you may like!

Some health clubs have spa facilities such as saunas and jacuzzis
Some gyms have saunas to help you relax after a tough workout ¦ source: Pixabay - Zerocool

Another important question to ask yourself: is it better to attend classes or have one to one personal training sessions?

It all depends on your fitness goals.

Whether you want to work on your physical strength, cardio stamina or endurance, the answer will be different.

Using equipment such as rowing machines and dumbbells to build muscle or static bicycles for your cardiovascular health can be done in a group fitness session.

On the other hand, if your goals include drawing up a training programme which is tailored to your personal make-up and objectives, you should look for one to one coaching.

The choice you make is down to the personality, tastes, physical composition and  your individual level of skill!

Your personal budget also has a large bearing on which gym you choose.

Certain organisations offer very low prices for their services, however, their facilities are only very basic, and you may incur extra costs for using lockers, for example.

Others have ‘all inclusive’ schemes which can include a pool and sauna facilities – although these come at a higher cost.

In reality, it all depends on the level of luxury you expect from a gym.

How Much do Gym Memberships Cost?

Homo-economic theory says that humans like to think rationally. This means that we compare the benefits of a good or a service to its price to find out if it’s good value-for-money.

Gym memberships are just one of the many things we do this for by calculating the cost of each gym session over time, for example.

So, when the time comes to choose a gym, which is more cost-efficient, low-cost memberships or traditional sports centres?

The most luxurious gyms charge up to £300 per month, but if you’re looking for something which is still considered ‘high-end’ without so much luxury, you can pay around £50 per month.

This might not sound like too high a price, but if you do the maths for a 12-month membership, it might not be so appealing.

If you’re content with basic facilities, low-cost gyms offer membership for anywhere between £10 and £25 monthly.

So, what influences membership costs?

  • Location: Gyms and health centres in London are a lot higher than the rest of the country
  • Range of Services: Equipment quality, level of personal training and recovery facilities
  • Target customer: Whether the gym is used for light exercise classes or by people with lower incomes

Before taking up a new sport, it’s worth comparing prices for increasing your level of fitness at a range of health clubs.

To help you get a better idea of the tariffs on offer, we’ve done some research on gyms, from the high-end to the more affordable options.

  • Better

To join Better, a chain of gyms across the UK, in the London borough of Camden, you’d pay £70 per month for an all-inclusive membership. Your membership would give you access to all pools and lidos, fitness classes, health suites and saunas, a tailored exercise programme and free two-hour childcare for one child per day.

An added perk of a Better membership is that you get access to Better gyms nationally at no extra cost.

  • Nuffield Health

For a membership with Nuffield health in Chelmsford, you’ll pay £58 per month, whereas, in Tunbridge Wells, you’ll pay £69.

Nuffield Health is considered to be high-end, and its facilities include private GP services, which are discounted for members.

  • Bannatyne Health Club

Joining Bannatyne Health Club in Milton Keynes will set you back £32 per month for a 12-month full membership, and £47 per month without a contract.

When it comes to working out, there are options for all budgets!
Low-cost memberships mean there is no excuse not to keep fit ¦ source: Pixabay - PublicDomainPictures

This membership is all-inclusive and gives you access to professional advice as well as a tailor-made training plan.

  • PureGym

PureGym has centres all over the country – and most of them are open 24 hours a day.

It offers low-cost memberships without tying you into any contracts, and you can expect to pay up to £25 a month.

Cheap Gym Memberships: Good Value or Dodgy Gym Classes?

It’s not unusual to worry about the quality of a service when the price is low.

You may doubt the security of a low-cost gym, or not trust the small print when it comes to injury prevention and general safety.

So, how does discounted fitness perform against the alternative options?

It would be impossible to list every gym in the UK, so, we’ve had a good look at prices and membership options for some of the cheapest clubs.

  • The Gym

The Gym offers contract-free monthly membership from £10.99 with no joining fee, or a pay-as-you-go service for classes and day passes.

For £29.99 a month, you can have access to every The Gym across the country.

Their centres are also open 24/7 – so you can gym whenever you like!

  • PureGym

As we saw before, PureGym membership costs up to £26 per month, work on a contractless basis, and you have 24-hour access to their facilities.

So, what do you get for your money?

Your membership will give you full access to the gym equipment as well as free entry to classes – and they do a 20% discount for students.

Keep fit for less with the many low-cost gym options available in the UK
Keeping in shape doesn't have to break the bank ¦ source: Visualhunt - skeeze

They also offer a free exercise induction, changing and shower facilities, air conditioning and an app to book and cancel classes!

  • Xercise4Less

Xercise4Less only charges from £9.99 per month and offers different tiers of membership.

For £9.99, you get an off-peak membership, meaning you can use the facilities from 10am-4pm on weekdays and any time on weekends.

For £14.99, you have the freedom to go to any Xercise4Less gym in the UK whenever you like.

They also do a 20% discount for students and offer the choice of signing up to a contract.

So, you shouldn’t have to steer clear of any low-cost gyms because of their price – just check out the facilities for yourself.

These gyms do have high-quality equipment, however, they usually don’t have the added extras that other gyms do such as the option of a personal fitness instructor or swimming pools.

This is understandable since it would be impossible to pay a coach who has worked hard for their personal training certification to become a personal trainer a decent wage when membership only costs £10 per month.

However, you may want to hire a personal fitness trainer when you’re getting started since misusing gym equipment can cause injury.earning about your physiology and how to make your body strong is a continuing education, and someone with a personal trainer certification will be able to tell you a lot more about your aerobic and physical capabilities as a fitness specialist.

As a fitness professional, your personal trainer will carry out a fitness assessment, where they will measure your body and take note of your fitness as well as asking about your exercising habits.

This will help them create a fitness program tailored to your body and your objectives, whether they are to become healthier or reach a certain weight.

Your personal training program will be adapted to include workouts which target the areas you wish to improve and give you tips on how training techniques can help you to train more efficiently.

Learning about your physiology and how to make your body strong is a continuing education, and someone with a personal trainer certification will be able to tell you a lot more about your aerobic and physical capabilities as a fitness specialist.

Zero risk does not exist!

There are many pros and cons to low-cost fitness:

Advantages of low cost fitnessDisadvantages of low cost fitness
Affordable pricesNo personal coaching
Flexible hoursRisk of injury
Simplicity of useNo one to motivate you
Freedom in your trainingRisk of hitting a dead-end with no guidance
No-frillsExtra services may cost extra

So, a low price shouldn’t scare you away. What matters is what is on offer for your money – are the changing rooms clean? Is the equipment in good condition? Am I capable of training alone?

Ladies-Only Fitness Training Gyms

For the sixty years that health and fitness have been a focus of the general public, women have been the largest consumers of gym services and they’re also the most targeted by marketers.

The beauty of a well-kept body sells products.

For this reason, photographs of athletic women are often used to attract new customers on brochures and on the internet.

Ladies gyms may not aleays be as well-equipped, but they offer you a safe space to work out for the same price
Stress-free fitness at female-only gyms ¦ source: Pixabay - StockSnap

So, gyms and fitness club exclusively for women do exist – and they thrive.

But what attracts people to use them and why are they so successful?

First of all, ladies-only gyms offer the same high-quality facilities and mid-range prices as mixed gyms, meaning that if you feel more comfortable in a single-sex environment, you can choose one of these gyms without having to pay any more money.

Ladies gyms aren’t always completely separate businesses, sometimes they operate as part of a mixed gym with a female-only area.

As for budget fitness, low-cost ladies’ gyms are a little higher priced, simply because the clientele is limited.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of options to explore when it comes to choosing the perfect gym for you!

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I'm an active energetic person. I enjoy long-distance running and have taken part in many organised events including the 2016 Prague Marathon. I'm a keen skier and love open-water swimming, when the weather is right!