'The motto is faster, higher, stonger. Not fastest, highest, strongest. Sometimes it's trying that matters.'

 ~ Bronte Barratt, Australian swimmer ~


If you're involved in sport — whether you play for a team, work out with a personal trainer, take a class with an instructor or exercise by yourself — at some point you will struggle to find the motivation to get moving.

Joining a gym may seem like a great idea at first. But then, things get tough. You go less often — then not at all, even though you still have seven months left on your membership.

This is how gyms make their money.

Perhaps you just didn't choose the right gym for you.

Not all gyms are the same.

Some specialise in personal training. Others are boxing gyms, focus on pilates and other fitness classes, or specialise in cardiovascular or weight training. What do you want?

Joining fees,  individual class costs — these vary widely too.

Membership rates may be calculated on how often or when you attend. Is your schedule flexible enough to get the cheaper rate?

The Australian Skills and Industry Committee report that strong growth in the fitness industry is likely to continue for the next five years with the increasing public awareness of health benefits along with the expansion of budget fitness chains being the main reasons behind the growth.

If you're thinking of joining a gym, or if you want to book sessions in person, or even online, with a personal trainer, Superprof has put together an overview of the health and fitness industry in Australia.

personal training and fitness Tanja Shaw
Personal training is a popular way to stay motivated and meet your fitness goals | Source: Pixabay - Tanja Shaw

What Services do Gyms and Fitness Clubs Offer?

The exercise and fitness business in Australia is booming.

Demand is high from clients who need more help and support from their trainers in all areas of personal health, not just exercise.

Services clients often look for in a fitness centre may include:

  • nutrition support
  • product sales, including energy drinks and equipment
  • group fitness classes (Zumba, kick-boxing, weight training, yoga, pilates etc.)
  • personal training sessions
  • support groups (e.g. running clubs, mothers' group)
  • wellness or relaxation sessions
  • body measurement and weight tracking
  • sauna, shower facilities
  • change rooms
  • creche
  • membership deals (including 24-hour access)

These days, most people are aware that good nutrition and exercise are both needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  

Advice about nutrition is one benefit of signing up to a gym.

Some health club clients go a step further and hire a personal trainer to receive tailored guidance about nutrition. Personal trainers also help you make lifestyle changes and keep you motivated.

Energy drinks, including those sold in gyms, should be treated with caution because of the sugar and caffeine content which can lead to increased chance of injury, digestion issues, headaches and loss of sleep. A personal trainer or coach with good experience can advise you about this as well.

Search for fitness classes near me to see what is available in your local area.

Can personal trainers help with nutrition?
Get help with your nutrition from your personal trainer | Source: Pixabay - Deborah Breen Whiting

Something else to consider is the type of fitness classes you want to do, or whether you only want one-on-one training.

Your decision will depend on two factors.

Your Fitness Goals

You might want to build your level of endurance and stamina, or you may feel you need to develop your physical strength.

Some goals can be met with group fitness sessions:

  • cardio results through static bicycles, rowing machines or boxing classes
  • strength and muscle building through weights sessions

More specific objectives may require the experience and support of a personal trainer:

  • injury management and rehabilitation
  • training program for weight-loss, or elite sport

Personality, skill level and personal likes and dislikes also affect the type of training you pursue.

Your Budget

As with everything, the amount of money you can afford will ultimately influence your decision.

Some gyms or health clubs have low joining fees, however, there may be additional costs for some classes, lockers or showers or they may only have basic facilities.

Larger organisations may offer a 'full access' membership, which includes all classes, pool, sauna and so on. Obviously these cost more.

A 45-minute session one-on-one with a personal trainer will also cost a lot more than a group fitness class, but the plus is you'll have the full attention of your instructor.

What Does it Cost to Join a Gym?

When paying membership fees, people need to feel they're getting value for their money.

Sometimes it can be hard to work out whether a low-cost membership is going to be more cost-efficient over time than an all-in sports centre.

At the higher end of the scale, the best 'luxe' gyms will set you back around $250 per month. High end, but not quite as exclusive, centres average out at $140 per month.

Remember, these places will probably want you to take out a 12-month membership upfront.

At the lower end of the market, you can expect to pay anywhere between $52 - $88 each month.

Why the huge range, even at the lower end?

  • Services provided: The range of classes, variety of equipment, and experience of personal trainers are all factored in
  • Location: Gyms in large capital citieis are often more expensive
  • Target clients: Corporate and business people may pay more than lower income clients or youth

Of course, it is highly recommended you compare membership rates and inclusions before you join.

Comparing Gyms

It would be impossible to list all the gyms and health clubs here, but we've chosen a few that operate across Australia to get you started.

Snap Fitness

With over 200 centres across Australia, Snap Fitness is also open 24/7.

For your $57 joining fee and $12.95 per week membership you have access to all classes and equipment, and the franchise also claims to have access to the best personal trainers in Australia.

They offer all the basic gym gear, plus a few nice touches, including hairdryers and private showers.

Anytime Fitness

Another 24 hour access centre, you'll find this group in every corner of Australia as there are over 3000 franchisees. Anytime Fitness prides itself on safety, which is why your joining fee of nearly $200 includes an after-hours access card.

For your monthly fee of $70, you can not only enjoy all classes and equipment, but you have access to the online AF Health Hub, the Anytime Workouts App and Anytime PT Online.

Fitness First

A wide range of memberships are available, from Platinum ($39 a week, access to all centres) to Home ($19 a week, access only to your nominated centre). Joining fees are $99 standard and you can choose to be on a contract or prepaid membership.

Which fitness centres have pools?
Many fitness centres also have pool facilities as part of your membership | Source: Pixabay - David Mark

There are over 50 types of group classes, depending on the Fitness First centre, and pools and saunas are available as part of your membership in selected locations.

Jetts 24 Hour Fitness

Jetts is a top scorer when it comes to value for money and flexibility. One of the few gyms in the industry to offer a 'no lock-in contract', members can attend any location and can cancel their membership any time without fear of cancellation fees.

Memberships start at $14.95 per week (plus joining fee) and allow 24-hour access to cardio and weight zones, plus a range of classes.

Paramount Recreation Club

Super exclusive, this Sydney gym only allows for 250 members! Approximately 120 classes are on offer each week, with no more than 8 people per class, and include anything from pilates to skipping or meditation.

Membership starts at $45 per week (no contracts) and the top level also provides access to social events, massage and a kiosk.

LA Fit

On the other side of the country, in Perth, LA Fit Studio is a specialist fitness centre offering Lagree ('Pilates next level') and Rhythm Ride classes starting at $55 per week for two classes.

Value Versus Dodgy

It is natural to assume a low price means poorer service, doubtful security or lack of safety, however, it's not always the case.

A discounted fitness program may not offer all the nice perks and bonuses, but if you have trainers with experience, you can still obtain good results.

How much are gym membership fees?
A gym does not need a room full of fancy equipment to achieve member results | Source: Pixabay - Skeeze

Don't feel you have to avoid cheaper gyms. Ask for a tour and check out their facilities — you may be pleasantly surprised. While they may not have a pool or automatic access to personal trainers, their equipment should be high-quality and well-maintained.

It is always possible to hire a personal trainer yourself, particularly at the beginning to make sure you're using the correct technique. A few one-on-one training sessions may mean the difference between sustaining an injury, or long-term results.

If you do decide to hire a personal trainer, however, make sure you check their certification.

The personal training experience should include:

  • an initial fitness assessment (body measurement, questionnaire about your exercise routines)
  • goal-setting (improve health, attain a certain weight)
  • a personal training program, adapted to target your needs and regularly updated

In addition, personal trainers should also be able to provide advice on nutrition and improve your knowledge of your body's physiology and your aerobic and physical boundaries. So, when they set their fees, you're not only paying for their face-to-face time but also their expert knowledge.

Low-cost fitness options have a number of pros and cons:

Affordable feesNo one-on-one training
Flexible hoursPotential risk of injury
Straightforward and simple to useNobody to help motivate you
Freedom in trainingTendency to give up
No frillsExtra costs for additional services

Make sure you understand exactly what you're getting and check the facilities. Is everything clean? Is the equipment well maintained? Can I do this by myself?

If everything checks out, you may have found the right gym for you.

Women-Only Gyms and Fitness Classes

Statistically, women are the largest consumers of gym and fitness classes, so it stands to reason they'd be the target demographic for the fitness industry marketers.

New clients are attracted by fit-looking bodies on advertising brochures and online ads.

Where are the women only gyms?
Female-only gyms are preferred by some women | source: Pixabay - Scott Webb

Fitness centres with a strict 'women only' policy are becoming more common — and are very popular.

What makes them successful?

Single-sex gyms, like the Fernwood chain, have the same facilities, classes and packages as mixed gyms, however, their members report they feel more comfortable and receive more support in this environment. Often classes will also be more flexible around mothers attending with children, and will often have a creche on site.

Some gyms will be mixed, but have a female-only space as well.

On the down side, limited clientele may mean higher membership fees for female-only gyms.

Whether you're after the complete luxe experience, a basic hard-core workout with minimal frills, personal training sessions, or an online training option, you are highly likely to find a perfect gym not far from where you live in Australia.

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Kellie is an editor, a children's writer, blogger and a teacher. Any remaining time she has is spent on a dragon boat.