When assessing potential fitness centres people often base their decision almost entirely on the monthly fees. While this is important, it should by no means be the deciding factor. Other areas such as facilities, location, staff, atmosphere and security should form a part of your decision. And when considering the financial side, it's worth bearing in mind that fees can mean much more than simply the monthly fees you will pay.
Of course the monthly fees are important - typically they can run anywhere from ?15 - ?100 per month. But it's important to also look at the other financial implications. Many fitness centres have a joining fee. Again, these vary widely, but are typically in the range of 1 - 2 months up front. Also important is the nature of the contract.
While most gyms offer twelve month contracts, some can run up to three years. If you are certain you like the place and that you won't be moving anytime soon, that's fine, but if your life is somewhat unpredictable that could be a problem. Similarly, check the small print and know what the penalty clauses are if you have to cancel your membership early - sometimes you will have keep paying the remainder of the contract even if you no longer use the facility.
What you get for your money can also vary. While some clubs offer all-inclusive memberships, others expect you to pay additional charges for a whole range of services - classes, use of the pool or spa etc. For those who travel regularly, big chains can sometimes be a good choice - membership can often include free, or at least reduced, reciprocal memberships to clubs all over the country, or indeed all over the world.