The health in the US is still in a rapid decline. This is no surprise to anyone- at least I hope no one is shocked by this. Most of these issues are curable by improved lifestyle and activity. As a result, from 2008-2017, there has been an increase in the number of health clubs, gyms and fitness facilities in the US. During that time period, over 8,000 new facilities have opened up across our states and this article is meant to help you figure out what membership would work best for you and your situation.
So in my mind, the best way to decipher what may work best is to understand the different types of memberships. There are many, many different training methods and programs that would take hours to pick apart and list the pros and cons. But, there are really only 2 different types of memberships found throughout the US. Coaching memberships and facility access memberships. With each membership we’ll talk about the pros and cons of each one and bring some light to what they actually offer.
- You are purchasing guidance
As a member, you are receiving instruction for everything you do. You are never left in the dark about how to move, how to construct your workout, or how to determine what to do/what not to do. Your thinking is taken care of. For some, the last thing they want to do is have to think about what to do each day. With a coaching membership, this is already taken care of for you. You just have to show up
- You are working with a qualified individual
A coach will have the educational qualifications that helps you succeed. For our facility, our coaches maintain multiple certifications and are always continuing their education for the benefit of the member. When you have a coaching membership, you should expect the best information to help you succeed both inside and outside of the gym.
- You are paying for accountability.
A coach is your accountability partner. Sometimes it is hard enough to go through a typical work week and still muster up the motivation to go give your body the training it needs. Your coach will be able to help you work through outside stressors and give you beneficial information that helps your balance work, family, stress, etc… so you can continue to see results.
- This membership is usually more expensive upfront.
You are paying for much more than a place to workout. You are investing in all of the above things mentioned. You buy the guidance, the qualified individual, and the accountability. Not just the equipment and the space.
- It doesn’t always fit your schedule
You do not get the luxury of working out at the best time that your schedule allows. Most times you have to coordinate times with a coach for 1 on 1 or for group classes and not all of those times will fit best. Sometimes the coaching will match up great with your schedule- but in some cases there are time strains.
- You have to be willing to handle the information coming from a qualified coach
Some people do not handle constructive criticism well. But that is the job of a qualified coach. To make sure that you do things well and correctly. If you do not want quality feedback and helpful suggestions, this may not be the membership for you.
Open Facility Membership
- Your time is up to you
With a facility membership, you have full control of when you come to the gym. If your schedule fluctuates regularly, you are able to accommodate that by coming to the gym whenever you please.
- You get to do whatever you want
The best program in the world is the one that you will inherently stick to. If you prefer to do nothing but cardio, then you have the ability to do that each and every day without conflict of a coaches suggestions. If you have some well-rounded knowledge of programming and fitness, this will allow you to structure your own workouts however you wish.
- Your membership is usually cheaper
With a facility membership you are only paying for access to space and equipment. There is usually no additional cost. You are able to utilize the equipment you want- nothing more, nothing less.
- There is no accountability
If you are simply paying for access to a facility you won’t receive the accountability that is associated with having a coaching membership. Accountability to ensure you are showing up and getting proper work done inevitably will help you see results. After all, if you don’t show up, it’s hard to change anything.
- There is no structure
If you are new to the fitness realm, having a structured workout plan is detrimental to your success. Going to a facility and just going through every machine without a determined goal or without intention will not lead you to much continual results, if any.
- You generally receive very little feedback, if any, regarding movement quality and safety
Safety should be towards the top of the list when we talk about movement in any capacity. If you are unable to move well, how will you know? If you are moving incorrectly, how will you know? It is paramount that you are able to move in a safe manner and if you don’t have that feedback it could be detrimental to your longevity in this lifestyle.
As you search for a facility to embark on your new fitness lifestyle, this list may help you determine what is right for you. The main points that people will notice is that the difference between the two memberships is the price standpoint and guidance. The price standpoint is very relative. One is more expensive than the other. Yes, a coaching membership is more expensive, but look at what you get in return. It is certainly cheaper than a lot of other expenses you may run into in the future, however: monthly medication expenses, doctor bills, etc..
On the flip side, if you have a well-rounded knowledge of how to keep yourself motivated and can structure your workouts that will not leave you dreading coming back, maybe the facility membership is up your alley? The guidance aspect is a deal breaker for most, but not all. Most people want direction. They want feedback. They want to know that what they are doing is right and that they are on the right path to see results. The last thing you want to do is be spending days wasting your time going the wrong direction and getting a result that you were trying to avoid. But then again, if you have the understanding, maybe you don’t need that type of interaction with a qualified individual.
You will inevitably pick and choose the battles you want to take on. I hope this list resonates with you and that you are able to look at ALL health clubs and fitness facilities in your area before you are able to make an informed decision and commit to a club that will help you change your life!