Choosing A Health Club

I originally wrote this a few years ago for another site but, I’m not sure how many people read it. Might be good to share with your friends who are on the New Years Resolution kick.

The progression of the club environment in my lifetime has been an interesting one. We have progressed from the early gyms that were simply places with weights inhabited by this odd subculture of those who lifted them. Most who lifted weights were considered a bit odd. Females were seen with the frequency of unicorns. The next generation of gyms were also the first of the supposed miracles. The Nautilus Center. I think most of us over forty at one time or another belonged to a small storefront-type Nautilus center that had a row of twelve machines and promised a miracle. The lesson was, and still is, if it appears too good to be true, it probably is. I don’t believe any Nautilus Centers survived although the equipment line still exists today. Next came racquetball clubs and finally the big fitness centers. The club environment today is dominated by large players with multiple clubs across the country. These clubs provide one-stop shopping for the fitness enthusiast. Clubs provide personal trainers, an array of machines, a cornucopia of cardiovascular equipment, and group exercise classes. Clubs have become less of a Mom and Pop operation and more of a corporate entity.

The truth? Most health clubs are in the membership business, not the health business. Clubs provide a well-equipped location but, probably hope you don’t show up. The best-trained and best-compensated people in most club chains are the sales force. They won’t take attendance or call if you aren’t around for a while. Don’t choose the biggest or the best, choose the most convenient to your home or work. The number one correlation to workout consistency is proximity.

The personal training boom has been great for the fitness industry. Personal training has actually made the big club chains more customer-centered. Not because they are trying to be nice but, because personal training allows clubs to often double membership related revenues. Many clients will easily spend 3-5 times the cost of memberships in personal training fees. Personal training has become big business. Five years ago personal training was a temporary job done while figuring out how to get a real job. Now personal trainers willing to work hard can earn six figure incomes while doing something they love.

The bottom line.
1- Chose a club near your home or work to increase the probability of attendance.
2- Get a workout partner. Partners help compliance. It’s easy to stay in bed when no one is waiting for you. It’s also easy to head to the bar after work rather than the gym when no one is waiting for you.
3- Think about group sessions with a trainer. Most clubs will offer a better rate on small group or what some call semi-private personal training sessions.

The key is to find a convenient gym, get there and get a workout. The more convenient, the better.

If you are in the Boston area, stop by Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning at 225 East St in Winchester or visit We have the best personal trainers and small group training available anywhere in the world.

One Response to “Choosing A Health Club”

  1. Great post Mike. It is amazing how affordable your pricing is! My wife and I would definitely sign up. That price for 2 hours a session, amazing. Wish I had something like your place when I was a high school athlete.

    Happy Holidays and love the blog.

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