You've decided the time is right for your new fitness programme, bought your new trainers, now just one question remains - health club or gym?
Although it might not be obvious at first, the health club or gym argument is important. So what are the differences, and how do you make the right choice?
Health club or gym - the differences
Gyms usually have a more limited range of amenities. A wide selection of free weights, as well as machines for strength training, are the core of most gyms. You should also expect to find a range of cardio equipment.
Gyms are aimed primarily at the bodybuilding or weightlifting types, those who are looking for a good basic workout without all the extras - pool, snack bar, cr?che, etc. Overall, gyms tend to be less costly, offer fewer amenities, and cater to a younger, more hard core workout crowd.
The Health Club
Health clubs offer an atmosphere better suited to the casual exerciser interested in general fitness. These facilities can have a huge variety of equipment, weights, classes, swimming, gymnasiums, etc., so it's easy to find an activity you enjoy. If you enjoy socializing while you work out, this is your kind of place. A good health club will include:
- A swimming pool
- A spa
- Saunas and steam rooms
- Treatments rooms / beauty rooms
- Tanning areas
- Various fitness / relaxation classes
- Personal training
In general, health clubs tend to be more costly, offer more amenities, are more oriented towards service, and therefore tend to cater to an older, more affluent clientele. Which you choose will come down to your budget, the locations, and what you want from a facility.