Is The 24/7 Gym Really Cheaper Than Your Local Independent Gym?

Is The 24/7 Gym Really Cheaper Than Your Local Independent Gym?

The 24/7 Gym is Not As Cheap As You Think.

These days there is a gym on every corner, a personal trainer in every park, online options, countless yoga and pilates studios, celebrity trainers with various offers and even your local physio offering some form of exercise option. As a potential exerciser where do you start? An attractive option is your local 24/7 gym because it is convenient and cheap. Or is it?

At first it may seem like an attractive option to opt for your local 24/7 gym at 12.95 a week, but, if you dig a little deeper you soon realise this is not the best or most cost effective option for you.

The myth of cheap training. There is a perception that you are saving money by training at a 24/7 gym. Unless you are an experienced exerciser and know what you are doing this is definitely not the case. Let’s take a closer look using our mythical “Jane” (or “John”) as an example. Jane is an average mum who has been too busy with kids and career to exercise regularly and over the last number of years has packed on a few pounds, lost any strength and certainly would have trouble running out the door if the house was on fire. She decides now is the time to focus a little on herself and improve her health and fitness. She decides to join the local 24/7 gym because it’s really really convenient and is only a short distance from her house, she will definitely have no trouble going regularly. So off she tootles and walks in the door. Here’s what happens.

She is met by a lovely young lady who looks like a swimwear model her name is “Barbie”. Barbie has the company script down pat and can tell you how easy it will be to shed those kilos in only 6 short weeks and only 30min three times a week, in fact we will give Jane three free personal training sessions with Sven the 8ft Swedish hunk to start her along. Hang on, we are running a weight loss challenge in a few weeks why not join that? It’s all new and exciting Jane is feeling like this is a bargain because, after all she has three free PT sessions. She decides it’s great, where do I sign? That’s awesome says Barbie, this is really easy,  sign here and here. How are you paying? Out comes the credit card and with one swipe the new Jane is just around the corner.

That seems reasonable, bikini body here I come. Yay!

So Barbie shows Jane around the gym and explains each bit of equipment and how it works but by the time she reaches the chest press her eyes have glazed over, her brain is saying “how the hell am I meant to remember all of this” and she doesn’t really absorb anything else.

Fast forward to the first time Jane actually comes to work out. She walks in the door, Barbie is busy selling another membership to someone else because the boss is only concerned with the numbers and she has a budget to meet. No one is there to greet her and she is on her own. She wonders around trying to figure out where to start, what did she say about these machines again? After a few attempts she is feeling really self conscious because she obviously don’t know what she is doing, let’s just go and walk on the treadmill. After watching everyone else plugged into some sort of device while they workout and the muscle heads in the weights section admiring their physiques in the mirror she walks out feeling a little deflated, this was meant to be fun!

After the last experience she decides to book her first free session with Sven. Sven turns out to be great and does all the right things, she realises she actually can’t achieve the results on her own with her level of experience and signs up to his training for three half hour sessions a week at $45 a pop. 

Now lets compare that with Jane’s experience by joining an independent fitness operator. Firstly, more often than not the owner is the operator and therefore really does have a vested interest in making sure you would rather sign up with him as opposed to anyone else. He is going to really try make your experience a great one. He knows, its way cheaper to keep Jane as a client than try find a new one.

Jane wanders into the facility and is met by the owner (or senior coach) lets call him Walt. The first thing Walt will do is take Jane for a tour of his facility making her feel at ease, introducing her to other clients (because community is really important in this gym) and getting a feel for wether she will enjoy training here. (Not everyone is always a great fit and a gym which acknowledges this will create a great community. And save you a lot of wasted time and money.) Jane decides she likes the look of Walt’s gym, everyone is really friendly, other gym users, if not in class, stop for a chat and no one is plugged in to a device. Its about sharing and enjoying the space while working out. Jane would like to join.

First Walt will make an appointment to schedule her success session. Fast Forward, her appointment is now. In this session they will chat about a lot of things not unlike what Sven at the other gym would do. Then you will undergo an assessment. There are many assessments available so how Jane is assessed will depend on the facility. The point is Jane will have, by the end of this session, an accurate indication of where she is at right now. Based on this information Walt will recommend which of his three training packages will be suitable for her.

Here are her options. (once again not representative of every facility but fairly standard)

Note: These are the actual training options at Sweatmonkey.

Only group training – $44/week (5 hours of group training per week) Train indoors or outdoors or both. 

All the group training plus 9 Semi Private sessions per month – $69/week. (7 hours of training per week of which 2 hours are working to your own specific program designed around your assessment outcomes)

All the group training and 5 Semi Private Sessions per week – $99/week. (10 Hours of training every week of which 5 hours are working to your own specific programs designed around your assessment outcomes)

Total cost for the year

Option 1 $2288

Option 2 $3588

Option 3 $5148

Here’s a comparison table (to keep it simple I have used a 52 week training year)

24/7 GYM

INDEPENDENT GYM

Joining Fee

$39

$0

Door Card

$40

$0

Weekly Fee

$12.95

$0

Weight Loss Challenge (1/year)

$299

$0

Training

$135/week
3 x 30min Personal Training Sessions
TOTAL= 90 min/week

Calculated on our most expensive option
$99/week
5x60min Semi Private Sessions
5x60min Group Training Sessions
TOTAL = 10 hours/week

TOTAL FOR THE YEAR

$8071.40 (78 training hours/year)

          $5148 (520 training hours/year)

As you can see there is a substantial difference in the actual cost of training. At our most expensive option, you save yourself nearly $3000 and will have 442 hours more training hours. If you take the middle option, you are going to save nearly $4500 and have 268 more training hours.

Where are you going to see better results?

There are many other benefits to training with an independent gym which is an article for another day.