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Gym and a Health Club: What's the Difference & Which One is Right for You?

By HERWriter Guide
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Fitness related image Photo: Getty Images

Gyms and health clubs are great places to work out and even socialize. The key to choosing the right one depends on what you want from a club, and how committed you are to going. Gym or health club memberships tend to spike in the new year when we resolutely decide that this time we’ll join and stick with it. According to a personal trainer I spoke with at a Gold’s Gym, attendance starts to slow down by March and by summer, up to one third of new members attend less than a few times a month or drop out altogether.

This is profitable for gyms and a complete waste of money for members. So if your history of health memberships sees your attendance waning within a few months, consider a month to month option if available. It may cost a little more per month, but if you stop going, you’ll save in the long run.

Do You Want a Gym or a Health Club and what’s the difference?

A gym is generally considered to be more of a weights and machinery oriented place, where members have access to everything on the floor, personal trainers, fully equipped changing room and lockers, and sometimes have a daycare. Some have swimming pools, often indoors but this is not standard. Members focus on using weights and a wide variety of machines, from rowing machines to the elliptical, weight training devices and bikes, to treadmills. A juice bar or vending machine are commonplace.

Gyms are a great choice for people without kids or for parents whose children are too young to use the gym (gym memberships tend to be for adult-use only, or for those over age 12). But daycare is often limited and is not a standard option. Classes like boot camp, spinning, Pilates, Yoga and dance are often available for an additional fee.

A health club is larger and with many more options. Their gym floors are generally more spacious and often more varied. They also include swimming pools (usually both indoors and out), running tracks, tennis courts, personal training and tennis professionals, a spa, restaurant, extensive childcare and a huge variety of personal trainers. They generally have social activities and clubs, including tennis leagues.

Which one is best for you?

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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