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gym membership costs

How Much Does a Gym Membership Cost in the UK?


The average cost of the best gym memberships in the UK is £40 monthly, depending on many factors like location, amenities, and membership type.

So you do not have to break the bank to have a gym membership. Yes, that is true, as not all gym memberships are expensive. But, even though most people understand the need for exercise and fitness, the assumed high cost keeps many of them away.

With over 3000 gyms across the UK, with different pros and cons, you are bound to find one that fits your budget and needs. However, if you only focus on looking for cheap gyms rather than getting the best value for your money, you might end up with a gym membership that you will regret.

Want to find out what to look out for when choosing a gym membership? Keep reading.

This article will discuss the average cost of gym memberships, the factors that affect them, money-saving tactics, and budget-friendly gym memberships. So, let’s get right to it.

What is the Average Cost of a Gym Membership?

The average cost of the best gym memberships in the UK is £40 monthly, depending on many factors like location, amenities, and membership type. However, this doesn’t mean that all gym memberships cost this or higher, as you can find much cheaper options. Plus, with the post-pandemic fitness surge and the high cost of living crisis, most gyms are charging less than they did pre-pandemic in a bid to keep their clientele.

You can find gym memberships for as low as £10 monthly, but there is no guarantee that these low-cost memberships will suit your needs.

Factors That Affect the Cost of Gym Memberships

There are multiple reasons why some gym memberships cost more than others, and we will discuss several of them below.

  • Type of Gym

The type of gym will determine whether or not the cost of gym membership will be high. For example, a 24-hour access gym membership will cost more than a gym that has a set opening and closing period. On the other hand, membership gyms with multiple amenities like a pool, sauna, personal training, and a basketball court will cost more than a small group training gym. Additionally, other gyms that will have varying costs of gym memberships include training gyms, boot camps, and CrossFit gyms.

  • Location

If the gym is in a high-traffic location with expensive real estate, like London, there is a high probability that the gym membership will be more costly than in a regular-priced area like Cardiff. Also, suppose the gym is in a competitive location with other gyms. In that case, the membership prices might be less costly to attract more customers, and multiple discounts will be available to take the customers from other gyms.

  • Membership Packages

The membership package you choose will determine the overall cost of your gym membership, as some membership plans cost more than others. For example, annual memberships, which enable you to make a single yearly payment for gym services, will be a little less expensive than monthly memberships that are paid monthly. Pay-as-you-go membership types, on the other hand, allow you to pay only when you go to the gym, and they cost less than the no-contract gym membership that you can cancel at any time.

  • Amenities

The number of amenities the gym offers will determine how expensive the membership will be. For example, a gym with the lasts gym equipment, swimming pool, sauna, massage therapists, and other amenities will be much more expensive than a gym with only basic workout machines. This means that if you want a gym with the most up-to-date equipment, you have to be ready to pay more.

  • Overhead Costs

The cost of running the gym is an essential factor that affects gym membership prices. Most gym enthusiasts will opt for a gym with updated equipment for a higher cost over one that needs an upgrade for less. This means that the more updated the gym equipment, the higher the membership cost. Another overhead cost is cleaning and maintenance; this ensures that the facilities in the gym are maintained and everywhere is clean. Besides, would you rather go to a clean gym that costs more or a dirty gym that is cheap?

  • Cost of fitness trainers

People who work in the gym must get paid, and the higher their experience and training level, the more they will earn. This means that if you go to a gym with popular fitness trainers working there, you will most likely pay a high membership price.

Most people that join the gym need fitness trainers to instruct them, and most times, some gyms include an additional cost for members that will need a fitness trainer. However, most gyms consider fitness trainers’ costs when calculating their membership prices.

  • Gym Size

Smaller gyms will require less maintenance and equipment, translating to less pricy memberships than larger gyms, which will cost more to rent, maintain, and update. This means that the lesser the overhead costs, the less the membership cost.

  • Facilities Costs

Not all gyms include the cost of developing and designing their facilities in their membership costs, but it is a factor that matters. Because the more expensive the facilities costs are, the pricier the gym memberships will be.

Comparing the Cost of Gym Memberships across Different Regions in the UK

The cost of gym memberships varies across the different regions in the UK and globally.

The countries with the most expensive gym memberships include Austria, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Japan, China, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iceland, Czech, and Switzerland, with average membership costs of $73 – $107 monthly.

On the other hand, the countries with the cheapest gym memberships include Canada, South Africa, Lithuania, Croatia, Colombia, Poland, Norway, Slovakia, and Argentina, with average membership costs of $15 – $34 per month.

Now that we have compared the cost of gym memberships worldwide let’s look at the different regions in the UK.

Like any location, you can find varying costs of gym memberships in London.

Some go as low as £10, while others, like Equinox, go as high as £350 per month. On the other hand, Northern Ireland has an average gym membership cost of £40.

After comparing the costs in the different other regions in the UK – England, Wales, East Midlands, East of England, Scotland, South East, North East, and North West, the conclusion is that even though the prices vary with region, the average cost remains the same.

How to Save Money on Gym Memberships

While gym memberships are not free, you can cut costs and save money on your gym memberships in several ways. Highlighted below are a few insights on how you can do this.

  1. Utilize Discounts and Offers

Most gyms offer countless discounts and offers, and the best way to find out about them is to ask the gyms for them. But most times, you wouldn’t need to do this as they usually advertise their discounts to attract new customers.

The beginning of the year is a good time to find gym membership discounts, as most gyms usually slash their prices for the first few months. You can ask if your local gym offers student discounts if you are a student. Additionally, there is usually a spike in membership deals just before summer.

  1. Make use of Free Trial Periods

Free trials are a good way for you to use a gym without the commitment to decide whether or not it is the right fit for you. Many gyms nationwide typically offer free trial periods—some offer a week while others offer a month. You can use take advantage of different gym free trials to work out for a couple of months and save money before finally committing to one. Plus, if you have a friend that is a gym member, they may be entitled to bring a friend along for different periods.

  1. Opt for Off-peak memberships

A good way to save money on gym memberships is to choose a membership that offers off-peak access. These are usually when people are usually at work, so the gym is not as crowded. Off-peak memberships are usually not as costly, so you can ask the gym if they offer this membership type. Besides, off-peak memberships are usually best for people with a flexible schedule as they enable you to save money while getting the workout you need.

  1. Pay on a Session-per-session Basis

Choosing a pay-as-you-go membership is a good money-saving tactic, as you will only pay for it when you go to the gym and nothing extra. This way, you avoid signing a yearly contract and wasting money if you do not show up. You can also pay for a one-off session or a series of sessions without committing, enabling you to easily change gyms. Besides, these yearly contracts are usually very hard to cancel and are usually the add-ons of most discounts.

  1. Choose a No contract membership

Nowadays, more gyms are offering no-contract memberships, and you can take advantage of these membership types to save money and limit contract commitment. With no contract memberships, the only difference is that you can opt-out at any time, but you are still obligated to pay your membership fees, whether monthly or weekly.

  1. Negotiate

Did you know that you can negotiate your membership costs? Yes, you can, except the prices are set. If you show up ready to sign up without asking questions, you might miss out on current promos. You can speak to the sales team and ensure they give you the best deal by asking specific questions about discounts and promos.

  1. Choose a Yearly Membership

Rather than a monthly membership, you can opt for a yearly one to save money in the long run. However, you should only opt for this if you are sure you will go to the gym regularly.

  1. Switch to a Basic Gym Membership

Are you paying for extra amenities like the spa, swimming pool, and massage therapy and not using them? If yes, switching to a basic membership that will allow you to use the fundamental gym equipment at a reduced cost is best. To save more money, you can also switch to a basic gym that offers the essential equipment you need with no added amenities.

  1. Opt for a Concession Gym Membership

Many local councils in the UK offer concession gym memberships in partnership with local gyms, like Better, to give access to people who cannot afford the gym—people on benefits like Universal Credit, income support, job seeker’s allowance, and housing benefit. Some gyms offer free concession memberships, while others offer discounts and offers like fitness classes and health assessments. Plus, there are a few not-for-profit gyms like Nuffield, YMCS, and GLL that you can visit to save money.

  1. Cancel Your Gym Membership

Many people have gym memberships but have never stepped foot inside the gym. If you are one of these people with a membership in the hopes that you will go one day, you should consider cancelling your membership. You can look for alternative workout methods like working out outdoors or at home that are more accessible. Once you are confident enough that you will go to the gym, you can restart your membership.

  1. Join the Gym at the End of the Month

Month-end is when most gyms want to fill their sales quotas, so there’s a high chance that they will offer low membership rates to attract new customers. You should inquire about joining for the best deal on the last week or last day of the month.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Gym Membership

Before you join the gym, you must ensure you are ready to be fully committed to your fitness goal. Once you determine why you want to join the gym, the next step is choosing a gym membership, and this can be difficult, especially with the over 3000 gyms in the UK. You can do this by looking at different gyms using the free trial to find the best one. Some factors you should consider apart from the cost to make your decision easier include the following.

  • Operating Hours

The opening and closing hours are very important, but it is almost always overlooked. You need to consider the hours to ensure that the gym you choose will be open when you want to work out. On the other hand, there are 24-hour gyms available, but they usually do not always have staff on standby, which is also something to consider.

  • Demand

You need to consider whether or not the gym is in high demand, as this will influence the number of people you will find at the gym at any time. If you do not like full gyms, it is best to opt for less popular gyms to avoid waiting in lines for equipment.

  • Accessibility and Location

The location of a gym is very important because the distance from your home or workplace is a huge factor in whether or not you will be committed. A gym can be completely furnished, but your chances of going will be minimal if it is too far away. A good plus is choosing a gym with multiple locations, enabling you to visit any location close to you on any given day.

  • Amenities

Depending on the particular features you are looking for in a gym, you must ensure that the one you choose is equipped for your needs. If you are interested in boxing, you need to opt for a boxing gym, same goes for if you want a gym with updated weight machines and multiple sets of dumbbells. Other amenities that you can find in most gyms include massage therapy, fitness classes, daycare, a sauna, basketball courts, and tennis courts.

  • Cleanliness and Maintenance of Facility

Look at how clean the general workout area and dressing rooms are. Are cleaning supplies available to ensure people wipe down equipment before and after use? Do they provide fresh towels or are people required to bring theirs? Answering these questions will give you a general idea of how clean the gym is.

Additionally, you must ensure that the gym you choose regularly maintains and updates its equipment.

  • Membership Freezing Offering

If you want to freeze your membership at any time, you should consider a gym membership that offers a freezing membership feature. With this feature, you will be charged a lower rate. This is better than cancelling your membership and paying cancellation and start-up fees when starting your membership again.

Benefits of Having a Gym Membership

There are many benefits of joining the gym, and a few of them are highlighted below.

  • It keeps you motivated and improves your health.
  • Gym memberships offer access to a wide range of health information.
  • It encourages socialization and community building.
  • It enhances confidence and weight management.
  • You will have access to a plethora of equipment.
  • It improves sleep and relieves stress.
  • It increases energy levels, balance, and flexibility.
  • It enhances posture and reduces pain.
  • Gym memberships allow you to develop positive habits.

Budget-Friendly Gyms in the UK

Now that we have discussed the cost of gym membership in the UK in detail let’s look at some available budget-friendly options.

  1. PureGym

This fitness chain brand has over 200 facilities across the UK, from London to Manchester and Edinburgh. They boast of being one of the few gyms that offer affordable membership rates to users. All PureGym facilities have standard equipment, like cardio machines, a completely stocked weights area, weight machines, spin bikes, and others. Their joining fee typically ranges from £5 to £30, and the memberships start as low as £15.

  1. The Gym Group

The Gym Group, just like PureGym, is a fitness chain brand with over 100 facilities in England, Scotland, and Wales. Unlike the former, their joining fee is a bit high depending on the membership package and location – up to £25. On the other hand, membership rates start from as low as £13 to £32 monthly.

All their gym locations have basic gym equipment and a “Do It” gym membership that enables them to be open 24/7. Besides, they offer multiple fitness classes like weight training, boxing, HIIT, cycling, body conditioning, etc.

  1. Xercise4Less

Xercise4Less offers no-contract gym memberships and more than 300 free gym classes. However, there are only 11 gym locations currently open. This gym also offers a ladies-only area – where women can feel safe while working out. It comes with standard workout equipment and personal trainers but is not open 24/7 like The Gym.

  1. Better

Better offers multiple leisure centres, swimming pools, and gyms across the UK with over 200 facilities. They have different affordable gym memberships for you to choose from, like the Better Health UK membership, Better Health Saver, student membership, concessionary membership, and others. You can visit their locations with any of these memberships and participate in multiple fitness classes.

  1. EasyGym

EasyGym is a budget-friendly gym owned by the easyJet group. They have Bradford, Basildon, Camberwell, London, and Slough facilities. Their joining fee is £10 for a monthly membership of £19.99, while the off-peak membership rate is £12.99 monthly.

Additionally, most easyGym locations are equipped with top-of-the-line workout machines, and they have exclusive gyms in London and international clubs in France.