What type of fitness centre is best for you?

Working Out In a Gym

What type of fitness centre is best for you?

There are so many different types of fitness businesses out there – you are truly spoilt for choice. Whether you are just starting out or are a super fit athlete, there is a fitness centre out there to meet your needs.

I always suggest, getting some free passes and trying out a place for a week to see if you like the environment, the instructors and coaches, the facilities and the other members.

To help you get started, here is my top 5 personal and professional recommendations on what fitness business best suits your needs to give you the results you want.

1. Personal Trainer/Small Group Training

OK I am a bit biased with this one but this is probably a great place to begin especially if it has been ages since you last exercised and you need some personal attention with your form and movements. A good personal trainer can give you the attention you need, ensures you are exercising safely, make any corrections, give you nutrition tips and give you the confidence and motivation to stick with a training schedule. They may be a bit more expensive than a traditional gym but if you are getting value for money and seeing the results, then it is worth it.

2. 24 hour gym

If you are confident in training on your own and want the flexibility to train whenever you want (even 2:30 am on Tuesday morning), then the 24 hour gym is for you.

While there are gyms that operate specifically as 24-hour gyms, such as Snap Fitness and Anytime Fitness, some existing “full-service” traditional gyms have added 24-hour (or at least extended-hours) access, comprising of staffed and unstaffed hours.

These gyms are ideal for people who are willing to trade the bells and whistles of group classes and tailored programming for the convenience of 24-hour access, for lower costs. However as the gym is often unstaffed for several hours of the day, understanding the safety measures in place before joining is really important. Aside from accidents involving equipment, there may be other personal emergencies such as a heart attack or hypoglycaemic event, or even dangerous behaviour from a fellow patron to consider.

3. F45

There seems to be an F45 springing up in every suburb nowadays. Basically it is a functional fitness class lasting 45 minutes (hence F45). Set up in a ‘boutique’ style studio, classes focus on high intensity interval training, resistance training (or both) in a circuit-style setup, with music and trainers. No matter what F45 you go to, it will be the same workout on that day at that time.

For those who really want to be challenged, want variety and enjoy the benefits of group training, this could be worth giving a go. However outside of the session time, you cannot use the gym. The sessions are based on high intensity interval training (which means you train hard for say between 30 and 45 seconds with a rest of 10 to 15 seconds). So for those who are not experienced or need are not ready for high intensity workouts, there may be better choices for you.

4. Crossfit

The CrossFit franchise centres have a standard one-hour workout that includes a warm-up, a training session to learn a particular skill, the main session called Workout of the Day, a cool-down and a stretch. The emphasis is on natural, functional movements using large muscle groups, rather than using machines.

The competitive aspect of CrossFit-style workouts will appeal to some, as will the promise of getting fitter, leaner and stronger. However, it can be riskier than other strength-training workouts. A small 10-week study of men and women undergoing CrossFit training (combined with a “paleo” diet) found significant increases in aerobic fitness and loss of body fat. However, 16% of the group dropped out due to overuse injuries, and is it suggested that given the relatively small improvements in fitness and body composition among above-average athletes, it may not be worth the risk.

5. Ladies only

Certainly not new as women-only gyms have been around for years now, including the leading chains Fernwood and Curves. I have also noticed some larger gyms have introduced “ladies only” areas, largely in response to a perceived market need.

The main idea is to provide a non-intimidating exercise environment while still delivering the services and facilities associated with a large fitness centre. It can provide a good opportunity to meet to bond, mix and network with like minded ladies.  So if you are a bit conscious of your body and you think you would be intimidated at a mixed gym, then this could be a good option for you.