Earlier in the year, I decided to take my fitness journey to the next level. For most of my life I had always considered myself fit, or at least active, but I really wanted to push myself. I had been regularly visiting the gym next to my house, but with this new wave of ambition, I had to compare the different types of gyms around me to determine which would be most beneficial for my new goals.
Living in a big city, I had a plethora of options. Did I want to save money at a budget gym with numerous locations? Did I want to buy classes and stick to one type of workout such as cycling, boxing or yoga? Or was I willing to splurge and join a luxury gym with desirable amenities?
I quickly learned that even if I wanted to buy classes for one type of workout, I would still be spending the same amount of money as if I just signed up for a luxury gym. So, I went back to the drawing board of deciding whether or not luxury gyms were worth the money versus their money-saving competitors. This is what I learned:
Budget Gyms Require More Fitness Knowledge
Budget gyms such as Blink Fitness, Planet Fitness or Crunch, which range from $15-$20 a month, have the bare essentials of what’s needed to work out at a gym. All of the machines and weights, whether it be for cardio or strength training, are all available for use along with other bells and whistles like an assault bike, medicine balls, squat jump boxes or jump ropes.
Although convenient, and definitely much more accessible on a college budget or for someone just getting their feet on the ground in their career, most budget gyms don’t have the option of taking classes. Aside from the additional cost of a personal trainer, classes are what actually teach you how to work out.
For me, I was always resorting to cardio because I found that running on a treadmill was easier than watching YouTube videos on how to properly do any kind of strength or athletic training. I had very little knowledge on how to actually progress in my fitness journey because I didn’t know anything about working out properly.
So, if you’re a fitness junkie and have your own workouts planned, saving the money at a budget gym might be more beneficial.
The Motivation Hits Different
Okay, so obviously not everyone can afford to splurge on a luxury gym membership. Equinox, a gym mostly located on the coasts of the United States, can cost up to almost $300 a month, and fitness studios that have classes like cycling or boxing such as Soul Cycle or Rumble can cost up to, if not more than, $30 per class.
For a young adult on a college budget, those prices can be quite intimidating, and might even spark some guilt. That kind of money could make a dent in paying off tuition or buying books, which are inevitable fees that almost all students are burdened with at some point.
Looking at the glass-half-full aspect of fitness finances, paying that kind of money almost seems to act as a silent motivator to go to the gym. Don’t get me wrong, paying $20 a month sounds a lot nicer to the wallet, which it completely is, but paying that much is also a reminder to get to the gym. I found in the past that when I was part of a cheaper gym, I could easily justify not going. Now, every time I’m feeling unmotivated, the painful reminder of how much I’m paying for a gym alone is enough to get me to go.
Not only is spending the money on a luxury gym motivating, but with it comes the feeling of community. There’s something about being very dedicated to fitness that brings people together. Understanding that there are others that are as committed to fitness as you are is motivating enough.
Being part of a budget gym might not have the atmosphere of a motivating community, because oftentimes they’re just joined to be used as a quick fix, or just in case the newly signed member gets a surge of motivation. However, in a luxury gym or by attending regular classes, there is often a mutual understanding that everyone is there because they are on a serious fitness journey.
Although some amenities in a luxury gym are agreeably nice but completely unnecessary (I’m looking at you, fancy soap and steam rooms), there are others that are truly beneficial to someone learning about fitness.
Before joining a luxury gym, I hadn’t really taken a workout class besides maybe a yoga session here and there. Once I did join, I learned that there are so many different classes available that the gym offered that I didn’t even know existed. Between athletic training, barre and classes that made cardio actually fun, I realized there was a lot more to working out than what I already did.
Luxury gyms make the effort to educate anyone who is willing to learn and commit the time. From classes to employees working on the floor who want to help you, there’s no way to not succeed. For those looking to take their fitness seriously, this amenity alone should be reason enough to make the splurge.
Both Gyms Will Teach You About Your Body
One of the most important things that I learned from both gyms is that no matter where you work out, what you pay or what amenities are available, fitness is all about learning about body and self.
Finding out your ideal workout isn’t something that comes right away, but instead, over time. You have to learn what you like mentally, what your body likes to do physically and balance that out with your goals to attain achievable success.
This balance is why researching and understanding the different types of fitness facilities and gyms you can use is so important. What works for others might or might not work for you. Either type of gym, whether affordable or luxury, should contribute to a happy and successful fitness journey.