Everyone knows that if you want to get fit, there are a lot of options available to you.
You could hire a personal trainer, or you could simply head online and purchase some exercise equipment to fit out your very own home gym.
According to Fitness Australia, roughly 15% of Australians utilise the services of fitness centers.
That's roughly 1.7 million people hitting the gym.
So what has steered so many Australians towards gym memberships?
To answer that question, we need to understand a little more about the fitness centre industry in Australia.
There are 3 types of gyms that inhabit the industry landscape today; full-service gyms, women-only gyms, and budget 24/7 gyms.
It's the latter of the three that, over the last decade, has been majorly disruptive to the industry, especially for the full-service gyms like Goodlife Health Clubs, Jetts Australia, and Fitness First Australia, which are all owned by the Fitness and Lifestyle Group.
These gyms -- Fitness First in particular -- were known for their steep joining fees, expensive ongoing costs, and their long-term, lock-in contracts.
So when 24/7 budget franchises like Anytime Fitness, Snap Fitness, and Plus Fitness arrived on the scene, gym-goers began making the switch in droves, and many of them have never looked back.
These gyms have really changed the industry, with the market-leading Anytime Fitness having over 500 locations nationwide, and capturing just under 15% of Australias gym industry revenue.
Before you race off and spend your hard-earned cash on a membership with one of these gym chains, there are some things to think about.
In this article, we'll share with you the advantages and disadvantages of these low-cost options, detailing the reasons you might consider signing up to pay each month for a membership.
Without further ado, here are our top five advantages of the low-cost fitness centre:
1. The Price
We have to start with this one.
24/7 budget gyms gained traction because their membership joining fees and ongoing costs per month aren't overly steep.
Unlike traditional full-service gym facilities, the cost alone won't make you pass on the opportunity to join.
This is great for members of the public who are trying to keep their monthly budgets in check, or for those who only plan to visit the gym a couple of times per week.
Most of these gyms do have rules around contract cancellations. For example, some might lock you in for a minimum of 3 months when you join, so make sure you ask the representatives about their cancellation policies in the contract.
That being said, all of these gyms offer a cooldown period when you join, so if you change your mind within a certain period of time (usually 1 - 2 weeks), you can cancel and get a full refund, no questions asked.
So what exactly will it cost me to join?
Costs vary from gym to gym, and in some cases franchise to franchise, but, the market leader Anytime Fitness, charges a $99 joining fee, then a $70 fee to buy the access card (which will grant you access to all 3200+ Anytime Fitness locations globally), and the ongoing fee per week is just under $17 dollars.
If you go three times a week that's under $6 per visit.
Here's our friendly reminder to not lose the darn access card, as each time you do you'll be locked out of the gym until you purchase a new one.
Chuck that thing on your keys the second you get it and thank us later.
2. The Convenience
Something about the term "24/7" doesn't scream fussy to us, and when it comes to the 24 hours, 7 days a week gym centre, they're really not.
Some of us will remember the headaches and hassles of joining a gym that closes at 9 or 10, with even more limited hours on weekends, and having to fight for position and equipment during peak times.
These gym centres do away with all that noise, and, while there is a slight rush around peak time, the fact that you can turn up when you like means that if you're really searching for a relaxed atmosphere while you work out, you can choose a time where you know you'll only have the company of a few others.
Head there early or late enough and you might have the whole place to yourself.
A cheap gym membership is a great option for shift workers and others who operate around a flexible or erratic schedule.
The fact that you have access to each and every location for the gym that you're a member of means that no matter where you are, you can find facilities you can use to get a lift in.
3. Safe & Secure
One of the reasons why 24/7 gyms are so cheap is because they're often left unstaffed outside of regular business hours.
Because of the security risks, they've had to come up with ways to keep their premises safe while they also remain open and available to their members.
All of these 24/7 gyms require a keycard to access, and they all boast 24/7 security surveillance.
The door sensors and cameras can tell when more than one person is let into the gym with a member, so hesitate before you sneak in an unregistered mate for a cheeky lift, because you could lose your membership.
These extra measures mean you can put your belongings down without a headache while you make use of the facilities, making it that much easier to reach your fitness goals.
4. Similar Clientele
One of the best things about these gyms is that everyone is there for the same reason.
You might see the occasional novice or newbie, but they'll most likely be accompanied by a friend, but, for the most part, everyone else is just experienced gym-goers who are there to pump up a sweat.
This might not seem like a big deal, but when it comes to sharing weights or a squat rack, most of your fellow members can be trusted to follow gym etiquette, sharing what needs to be shared and making sure they're not spending too much time on the one machine.
All of this leads to an easy, comfortable experience, where you can just focus on your program and completing your goals for the session.
Not just that, most people are friendly, and if you return at the same time most days, you might find that you start recognising some of the faces working out around you.
Who knows, you could end up with a new gym buddy to keep you honest while you're both training.
5. Training Freedom & Classes
These gyms might carry a low cost per month, but you wouldn't know it walking into their space.
No matter which membership contract you choose, you can count on your 24/7 gym having the top-quality equipment and facilities you need to get the most out of your work-out.
From machines, treadmills, cycling machines, weight racks, squat racks, and more, you can be assured that the equipment you find in your gym is safe, modern and often new.
Some people think that because these gyms are so cheap that they don't hold classes each month.
This might be true in a few of the smallest gyms, or you might have to pay a little extra for the classes in others, but most of the big names in the industry offer daily classes included for free with your per month membership pass fee.
These activities range from yoga, pilates, cardio, HIIT, and more, which means if you like to train in a group, you can find classes included with your membership that suit the way you like to train.
Are Cheap Gym Memberships Right For You?
So, we know now why people might decide that purchasing a membership contract and an access key pass for a low-cost gym membership is a good idea for them, but is it worth it for you?
The people that can best use these fitness centers are gym goer's that are highly personal in their use of the facilities and equipment.
If you're seeking a membership that puts a large focus on including group training and classes, then you might be better off joining a full-service gym.
A 24/7 budget gym membership is for users that mostly spend each month training alone and who, while they might attend occasional classes, extract most of the value from their membership by the frequent use of the facilities at on and off-peak times.
Also, if you are seeking additional health and leisure services, including swimming, saunas, massage, personal training, circuit training, and highly varied group classes, then you'll be much better off with a per month membership pass at a full-service gym like Fitness First.
Whatever your personal story is, you'll feel free this year with the right gym membership, as it'll help you reach your physical and fitness peak or just to lose a bit of weight.
Whatever your fitness goals are, choosing the right membership will help you get what you want our of your training.
Once you join and start working out for a month or two, or even just a week or two, you'll start to discover a new side to yourself!
Enjoy an increase in energy levels during your day to day personal life, and contract fewer illnesses with a stronger immune system! Not to mention that you'll start looking and feeling fit and healthy.
So, that's our list of the top 5 advantages of cheap gym membership contracts and budget gyms, we hope it helped you figure out if the per month cost will be worth it!