Gyms in London have traditionally relied on three different periods during the course of the year to sign up members, many of whom then spend months regretting the rush of blood to their head that convinced them it would be money well spent! There is the obvious ‘New Year Resolution’ crowd, followed a few months later by the ‘Bikini Beach Body’ enthusiasts who want to get in shape before the sun comes out. Finally, as the weather turns distinctly unpleasant and the clocks change, the ‘Fairweather Fitness’ crew decide to take shelter from the elements and head to the warmth and relative comfort of a gym.
Most people who sign up to a gym membership fall into one of these three categories and gyms in London base their marketing on hitting these key periods. However, despite their good intentions, many people that sign up to a gym membership on this basis find that a few months later their motivation has faded and they are stuck with a direct debit for the rest of the year! A financial commitment that they really don’t want!
So before you sign your life away this time around, why don’t you at least consider the alternatives? With memberships to many gyms in London costing anything from £50-100 per month you could have a serious wad of cash to spend on something you really want! Here are some stats for gyms in the UK:
Virgin Active: 24 gyms. Joining fee: £100 in London, £50 outside London, though there is often a special offer on – currently you can join for £20. Monthly membership: Varies: average off-peak ranges from £35 to £46 a month, peak from £41.95 to £64 a month.
Fitness First: 166 gyms. Joining fee: None, but there is an “admin fee” of £30-£45. Monthly membership: Varies – eg, Clapham, south London – off-peak 12 months: £37.95, peak 12 months: £41.95. Bristol – off-peak 12 months: £25.95, peak 12 months: £34.95.
Bannatyne: 36 gyms. Joining fee: Typically £100-£200, though regularly discounted. Monthly membership: Varies: off-peak from £18 a month, peak from £28 a month.
Esporta: 52 gyms. Joining fee: typically ranges from £30 to £100. Monthly membership: ranges from £43 a month off-peak to £143 a month for a full tennis membership.
David Lloyd Leisure: 59 gyms. Joining fee: Typically £25 to £100, but often special promotions running. Monthly membership: Varies – off-peak adult membership typically from £40, peak health and fitness membership (includes swimming) typically from £60, full membership including rackets typically from £75.
Cannons:52 gyms. Joining fee: £25 “admin fee”. Monthly membership: From £30 a month, up to £78 a month for peak time. Cannons “Connections” membership costs £82 a month and offers access to all clubs. Four-week summer memberships valid until August 31, from £39.
How about the holiday of a lifetime for 2 weeks in the sun? Well, for less than the price of annual membership to one of these gyms in London you could easily take a friend to Mexico in 4 star luxury accommodation!
Fancy a nice big TV? Well you could buy yourself a 50″ flatscreen TV, HD ready, plus a home cinema system if you are prepared to ditch your membership and go running instead!
If you are still keen to invest the money into your health and fitness you could easily spend it on personal training instead. This also means you will have someone to keep you motivated along the way! With PT sessions costing anything from £30 upwards you could potentially afford a session a week for over 30 weeks of the year! Alternatively you could buy a pretty special set of wheels if you decide cycling is the way to go, and the bike will still be yours after 12 months!
In these uncertain financial times the boring option would of course be to save that money and get involved in free sporting activities instead. Team sports or running are popular options and although it might mean a bit of rain every now and then, wouldn’t you be prepared to get wet a few times a year in return for £1,000? Alternatively the dry option could be to go to one-off exercise classes like Zumba which is a great way to control your financial outgoings, have fun and meet people at the same time!
The real key is to be 100% honest with yourself about how much you will use your gym membership over the whole 12 months. How much are you likely to be paying per session over that period? Are there other, more fun, ways you could keep fit that don’t require you to make such a large financial commitment? Do you even know where you will be in 6 months time?