“One hundred people, one hundred tastes” or “every commodity has its buyer”. No, don’t worry, Aunt Kateřina, known from the book and the film adaptation of Saturnin, didn’t arrive, I’m just trying to shed light on the topic of the article. From all possible points of view, it will compare small fitness and large club fitness centers and can thus serve as a guide or guide on how and according to what to choose for those who are just preparing to visit a fitness for the first time. To make the comparison as accurate as possible, I will give two model examples of a small “family” and a large club fitter to specify what will be discussed in the following comparison.
Fitka with an area of several tens of square meters with basic equipment including several machines and stands, a set of single arms, several large dumbbells and several necessary cardio devices. With minimal or no additional services. A small bar usually offers drinks, including protein or a gainer after a workout.
Large – club gym
They are several times larger in size than a small fit, usually offering a significantly larger number of machines and dumbbells and also a much larger aerobic zone. The offer of additional services is very wide and includes both sports activities and relaxation. The bar usually offers a varied selection of various sports nutrition supplements. Rather than being fitness centers, these club fitness facilities are referred to as “health clubs”, ie places where you comprehensively take care of your health.
And now we are going to compare everything that can be compared – equipment, price, attendance, offer of additional services … We will try to take into account really every aspect that plays a role in the selection.
Before we start comparing services and equipment, it is certainly important to mention the fundamental differences in the membership system itself. There is no membership in the true sense of the word in small fairs. You can usually pay for a one-time entry or purchase one of the season tickets on offer. The offer usually includes entrance season tickets (10, 20, 30, or any other number of entries) and time passes (monthly, quarterly, etc.). In this case, it is easy for the customer to calculate and choose the cost-optimal variant according to how often he will visit the gym. Owners of entrance season tickets can usually “invite” someone else to their entrances (depending on the agreement with the owner, of course).
Club fitness works on a different principle. Individual inputs do not allow customers at all, and in order to use their services, you must become a member. This involves subscribing to a membership for a period of time (at least a month, but more often 3, 6, or 12 months) and signing a contract to commit to its performance. Membership is tied to your name and is therefore non-transferable. Long-term membership is usually financially advantageous, but if unexpected situations arise that prevent you from attending a gym (illness, change of residence), then usually your membership will be forfeited without compensation (depending, of course, on the terms of the contract, which you should study carefully).
Of course, the price you pay for a membership or season ticket will also differ significantly. In a small gym, a one-time entry can cost an average of 50 – 60 crowns (in large cities, add about another 20 crowns to this amount) and if you choose one of the season tickets, you can get with the price for one entry to the gym usually about some 20% below.
In a club gym, prices depend on the type of membership you choose. The offers are quite diverse, so the price can range from about 1500 to 3000 crowns a month. Some clubs also require a certain annual membership fee. But even a relatively high amount can mean a good investment if you really take full advantage of all the opportunities that membership offers.
Equipment, ie what you train with in the gym, is undoubtedly one of the most important criteria when choosing. Individual customer preferences vary greatly, so it’s important to know what to expect from a given type of fitter.
In a small gym, you will usually find basic machines of various ages and qualities, which sometimes serve the needs of regular training well and sometimes worse. If they are well maintained, the fact that they already “remember something” is not an obstacle, and you can do with them without any problems. There is usually a set of one-handed arms containing dumbbells from the smallest ones weighing 1 – 2.5 kg to “cats” weighing 50 kg (but in some fits there are also “fifty-five” or “sixty”). Of course, there is a large barbell and, ideally, a quality bench-press bench, a squat stand and at least one, preferably two adjustable benches. So nothing revolutionary, but on the other hand everything important that you need for honest training. Aerobic habitats tend to be scarce due to lack of space and high price of quality machines,
A large club fitter usually offers a number of completely new modern machines, which are not absolutely necessary for training, but if you want to use them, you will train well on them, because renowned manufacturers have their “know how” and machines are designed to exercise they took place in an optimal path and you could adjust their settings as best as possible to your body composition. Quality padding and smooth running are a matter of course. One arm is usually enough, but large weights are not always available (say from 40 kg upwards). There are usually a number of other equipment available – so-called bosu balls, fitballs, steppers, small medicine balls, aquahit, exercise mats, etc. In the aerobic zone you will find a number of quality aerobic devices of all kinds, usually each type in several copies, and the exception is not the ability to watch television to make minutes on cardio run faster. The complexity and variety of the offered equipment will be appreciated especially by those who train for health rather than for great performance.
There is not much space for additional services in small fitness rooms, so if any are available, they are usually limited to a small room with a solarium. However, if you have chosen a fitko only for the purpose of training and you intend to relax elsewhere and in another way, you will probably not mind at all. The coach and advisor is the person you find at the bar (often the fitter himself) and you can usually turn to him for advice. The possibility to arrange an individual training or compile a training plan is usually also available either directly from the gym owner or from one of the trainers who work in the gym.
Club fitness is based on the opposite principle – in addition to the gym, it offers a large number of other sports activities or relaxation and regeneration procedures. You can put energy into group lessons, whether it be spinning, aerobics, pilates, exercises on TRX slings, or any other activity under the guidance of an experienced instructor. Pleasant moments of regeneration promise a sauna or whirlpool as well as a solarium. Masseur services are also on offer and some clubs also have their own physiotherapist. Mothers will appreciate the possibilities of the children’s corner, where the children will have fun under the supervision for the necessary time. The gym is usually supervised at all times by a personal trainer, who is available to those who are groping when setting up the machine, or need advice on the technique of a specific exercise, and of course there is also the possibility to arrange an individual training hour with the trainer.
No, we will not discuss dining or the principles of social conversation. Now we will talk about the behavior in the gym and the habits that prevail there.
Visitors to small fitness are mostly familiar. It doesn’t have to be friends, acquaintances and neighbors, but if you go to the gym regularly, you can at least identify almost everyone from seeing, because practically the same people still go there. When you enter and greet, you will usually receive the same answer from many quarters. The clientele of small fits tends to be a bit “shabby”, so when you express yourself a little louder during a demanding workout, sometimes during a lot of effort, it doesn’t make anyone too worse, and the same goes for some banging with a disc or a barbell. Bodybuilders and, for example, powerlifters can also train here together with the usual “fitness”.
In club fitness, not only due to the large space, but also due to much greater attendance and staff turnover, everything is more anonymous. If you do not explicitly go to the gym, your communication will be limited to “good morning” and “goodbye” at the reception desk. The environment of such a fitter can withstand demanding training, after all you can hang out on the couch at home, but hardcore bodybuilders or powerlifters probably won’t get much room to do it, because they won’t have enough “iron” to train and also combine their habits with the atmosphere and fitness rules they will not.
Attendance and opening hours
The opening hours of small fittings vary and are usually sufficient for the vast majority of visitors. However, the part of “larks” who try to include their training in the early morning hours before work, and also “owls”, ie those who get into the gym late after the evening after a hard day, may be unlucky. On weekends, the opening hours may be even shorter. Fluctuations in attendance are more pronounced than in a large gym, and a large concentration of people in a small space can be very frustrating for some people. If you like an empty gym, you have to choose the right days and hours. Otherwise, you risk having to literally “stand in line” on a machine, a large barbell, or a cardio station.
Large fitters usually have much longer opening hours and clubs are non-stop, which will be appreciated by those who have to practice their training very early or even late at night (and this is not a negligible part of clients). Thanks to the large space and plenty of equipment, you don’t have to worry about peak visitors or the lack of vacancies in the gym or in the cardio zone.