Cheryl Hersey: Gym Memberships are Changing
Are changing, writes Bestfit’s fitness industry guru, Cheryl Hersey.
Whether you are gym junkie or not, you are likely to be aware of the ever-increasing number of fitness options in your local area. Consumer choice has never been stronger and gyms and studios are fighting it out for members. We’re also seeing the growth of fitness experience networks, which challenge the traditional membership by allowing unlimited or pay-as-you go access to every venue on their database.
For those of us who are used to having a monogamous relationship with our gym this might seem like a headache. But these platforms open up your fitness routine to fresh options and the ultimate variety of workouts. As you are exposed to more gyms and studios it’s less likely you’ll find that one perfect venue, instead favouring elements from different places. If that’s the case, why not approach your gym relationships a little differently?
If you’re based in the capital you will probably have heard of Class Pass, which has caused a rollercoaster of emotions in London’s fitness community. The initial delight of the £79 a month, unlimited class offer, which included some of the city’s most exclusive gyms and boutiques – think 1Rebel, Athlete Lab and Boom! Cycle – was tempered when several high-end boutiques threatened to pull out. This month they’ve further upset members by hiking the membership by 40% to £110 a month, but for those who love to mix it up and visit different venues, it boasts advantages over a single site, fixed contract, from both a price and variety standpoint. Class Pass been hugely popular to date and generated huge media interest, which is only set to continue.
Most recently, Sportsetter has joined the ranks, launching in London on the back of success in Finland and NYC. Search the extremely slick app by personal preference, fitness goal and locality for the exercise you want to do and SportSetter finds you gyms, classes or sporting activities to match. Unlike Class Pass, there’s no subscription, you simply buy passes for the sessions you want to attend, for which Sportsetter has negotiated a discounted rate. Sportsetter say their aim is to simplify the process of trying something new, avoiding paperwork and hidden fees. If you want to know more about Sportsetter I can highly recommend the website video where a man in a canoe on a treadmill gets hit in the face with a fish.
It’s not just Londoners who can access these gateways, PayasUgym, the original membership-free fitness platform, offers good nationwide coverage with over 2,000 gyms and 30,000 classes in its network.
As the fitness market has grown, we as exercisers have become savvier. We are clearer about what we want and what we don’t want. Of course, fixed gym memberships are perfect for many, but the growth of other network platforms offer further choice and control, for a similar monthly fee.