Which is the best gym in Preston?
To find the best gym in Preston you must consider the different kinds of gyms that are available for you to join.
This is the second part of our series of articles.
There are 4 different types of gyms that you can join
- A Budget gym: £10-£30 per month
- A High-End Gym: £40-£100 per month
- A Small Personal Training Studio with 1-1 classes: £5 pay as you go -£200 per month
- A Hybrid Training Gym with small group personal training and classes £200-£300 per month
Over the next few weeks, we are looking, at each gym and scoring them based on our “Training Experience” criteria.
The sales team at each gym will tell you that their gym is best, but that is not based on any sort of clear, customer-based experience.
Here we are going to review each kind of gym to give you a good idea of the experience you will get in each of the gyms.
Our intention is that this should help in making an informed choice when working towards your health and fitness goals and finding the right environment for you to thrive.
Last week we looked at the Budget Gym, this week it is the High-End Gym that gets the review treatment.
The criteria –
Training Experience Score: The quality of the training experience using 4 criteria each scored out of 5 points.
- Environment: Feeling safe from judgment and feeling safe from harm – scored based on a gym that feels friendly and accommodating which would be a 5 versus intimidating and unwelcoming, which would be a 0. Safe from harm is scored based on the safety of the coaching, set up, and kit to keep people free from potential injury.
- Kit: scored by usefulness and quality of the kit along with its availability through the day including peak times, not necessarily amount of training kit
- Coaching: scored by professional coaching qualifications and experience of the coaching staff – higher professional qualifications equal a higher score and experience of coaching throughout the session.
- Cleanliness & Amenities (changing facilities) – unavailable or dirty amenities scores a 0, great amenities and cleanliness is a 5
The total score for each gym is out of 20
This week, we will look at the High-End Gym…
High-End Gym £40-£100 per month
All gyms are businesses that aim to make a profit, but they go about it in different ways.
The high-end gym is similar to the budget gym as it is driven by profit per gym site.
The high-end gym, however, aims at a different target market with a higher income bracket.
The high-end gym, therefore, has a bigger budget and is willing to spend more money and reinvest in the gym over time.
The gap between budget and high-end gyms is a continuum with lower expenses and investment at the budget end and higher costs and investment with the high-end gym.
The high-end gym might have a membership price of £60 and if they have 8,000 members, like the budget gym example from last week that is £480,000.00 per month and £5.76 million per annum.
The costs of running this gym are obviously higher due to staffing, high-end kit and amenities.
This type of gym does aim to make the training environment more appealing than the budget gym. Much like going to a 4-star hotel versus a 2-star hotel.
The characteristics of this gym tend to be
- More staff presence than most budget gyms – the level of assistance can be hit and miss depending on the gym and motivation of the staff
- Lots of kit, and usually to a good standard. Some kit can get busy at peak times but this type of gym usually has the budget to accommodate all the newest kit and popular trends.
- Nice cafes, seating areas and changing rooms
- Usually access to other niche areas such as hairdressers, physiotherapists, and sports clothing
Essentially you are paying a higher membership fee than a budget gym for nicer surroundings including kit, amenities and a higher income bracket of people.
The problem with all other gyms still applies here in that you are essentially renting access to a big room of nice kit, but your motivation and ability to use it is assumed and not necessarily catered to in your membership fee.
To take care of that you would need to hire a trainer at the gym.
Environment Score 2/5
The high-end gym scores higher on the “emotional safety” factor than the budget gym because of the type of person this gym tends to attract. However, this type of gym is still largely associated with feeling uneasy for similar reasons to the budget gym. Especially for those that lack gym knowledge or experience.
a) Just the number of people especially at peak times can be intimidating and unwelcoming
b) There can be limited ongoing support offered by staff which increases the feeling of discomfort
c) Despite the great looking kit following any sort of plan difficult due to the gym layout which adds to a feeling of unease as you are forced to do exercises that you weren’t actually planning on doing or you don’t feel confident doing
d) As with the budget gym the weights area is often filled with unwelcoming and intimidating members who tend to act with an air of superiority rather than welcome.
Kit Score 4/5
High-End gyms spend money on great kit. This is one of their most significant selling points.
A BIG space filled with lots of awesome, fancy kit.
The amount of kit is used as a selling point during your tour to get you to join. However, this can be daunting for people with limited gym and exercise knowledge.
Because there is so much kit, members to usually generate the habit of staying in a “safe zone” where they know what they are doing with a few bits of kit but this limits their workout variety, progress, and results. This approach also decreases motivation as the same routine becomes boring and doesn’t get results long term as changes are needed.
High-End gyms usually have moderately to good measurement tools in place to track your progress. They may have body composition measures on offer for little or no extra costs and lots of these gyms now have Heart Rate tracking up on screens in the gym that is read of a heart rate belt you wear during your workout.
The high-end gym does have all the tools and to a high standard but doesn’t necessarily help you implement them and support you over time. So motivation can waver after the novelty of the nice kit wears off.
Coaching Score 2/5
There are Personal Trainers available in high-end gyms which offer a personalised service so that the gap of support and the confidence to go and use certain bits of kit you wouldn’t otherwise is available. You will often find enthusiastic new trainers that have plenty of energy to put into their clients and want to work hard for you. Trainers are normally new to the industry which means the good trainers will be high on passion and energy.
On the downside, the turnover of Personal Trainers in gyms is very high and the quality is often low due to low industry standards and only 6 weeks of education needed to become a Personal Trainer. This coupled with no CPD requirement in the PT industry for ongoing certification can leave you open to poor levels of professionalism and service when hiring a Trainer.
Here it is best to look for a trainer with at least 5 years experience training people like you who have acquired certification and qualifications since becoming a personal trainer outside the Personal Training Industry.
Personal Training Industry qualifications are ok but these again are not regulated and are usually taught by other Personal Trainers. We would also recommend a Trainer with at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Science or a related field.
Good extra qualifications to look for are
Masters Degrees or Post Graduate Qualifications from a University
UK Strength and Conditioning Association Accredited Coach (ASCC)
British Weightlifting Qualifications
Psychology Based Qualifications such as NLP or courses accredited by the British Psychology Society (BPS)
Nutrition Based qualifications such as Precision Nutrition or International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN )
Cleanliness & Amenities Score 4/5
The high-end gym usually has this area well in hand. The changing facilities are usually modern and good quality, the necessary level of cleaning and maintenance week by week is also usually in place.
The high-end gym is obviously a good step up in the quality of your surroundings and environment including training kit and amenities. Where it is lacking is helping you implement all the useful kit and quality surroundings. You will be largely left to your own devices to progress your training and implement a plan that will be required for progress and results.
To get around this you can hire a trainer in the gym, but this may not be the best place to find a quality Personal Trainer due to their inexperience and limited education.
High-End Gym Overall Score = 12/20
Training Experience Score 60%
Jack & Patrick have worked out of Gyms for the last 15 years and now own and run Thrive: Optimal Human Performance Personal Training Gym in Bamber Bridge, Preston PR5 6EW. Momentum Business Park next to B&Q.
Your chance to get the full health & wellness experience.Get Started Today