Fitness & Beauty

Is it Worthwhile Signing Up for a Gym Membership at a Big Chain in Singapore?

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Joanne Poh

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The big gyms in Singapore have a reputation for being rather… how do we put this nicely… predatory. Not only will you be hounded to no end to sign up once they get hold of your phone number, you’ll also be nagged to take advantage of their supposed one-time-only discounts.

Meet three friends who go to the same gym and you’re likely to find that all of you are paying different monthly fees.

There’s no way to know for sure how much you’ll be made to pay at each gym. One gym might give you a discount “because” your brother works out at the same gym, while another might not budge because the salesman is having a bad day.

If you’re thinking of joining one of the bigger chains, it’s a good idea to sign up for trial sessions at several and then haggle prices at each before settling for the most cost-effective option.

Another thing to take note of is that some gyms will lock you in for 1 to 3 years, and you might have to pay a fee to quit the gym. (That’s why you see so many people on forums trying to sell their memberships to strangers.)

In addition, if the chain you’re becoming a member of has numerous outlets, you might have to pay more if you want to access them all.

Here’s an overview of the major chains in Singapore. Prices are approximate and based on the reports of other people who’ve joined—you could well receive a different quotation if you wear particularly alluring workout clothes while haggling, who knows.

 

Fitness First

Outlets: 17 outlets at Tanjong Pagar, Clementi, Alexandra, AMK Hub, Capital Tower, Changi, Fusionopolis, Market Street, MBFC, One George St, One Raffles Place, One Raffles Quay, Paragon, Tampines, The Cathay, The Metropolis and Westgate

Price: Varies, some people report paying about $170 to $200 a month. You pay more if you want access to all branches. Need to sign on for at least 1-2 years and pay a fee to exit.

Facilities: Swimming pool and sauna at certain outlets; workout clothes provided at most branches.

Classes: Hot yoga, Pilates, Gentle Flow Yoga, Dynamic Flow Yoga, Advanced Flow Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Body Pump, Bodycombat, RPM Express, Freestyle Group Training Power, Suspension Execise Class, Step, Hardcore Overload, Hardcore, Zumba, Bodyjam, Sh’bam, Interval Ride, Pro Cycling Keirin, Total Body Conditioning, Bosu, Fitball, Bodybalance, Stretch

Comments: One big strength is the sheer number of branches they have; however, you will need a platinum (read: more expensive) membership to access all of them.

 

Pure Fitness

Outlets: 1 at Asia Square. (Branch at Knightsbridge has closed down.)

Price: About $150 to $200 per month.

Facilities: Sauna, indoor running track, swimming pool, MMA zone, juice bar, complimentary workout gear, towels, socks and toiletries including toothbrushes and shavers

Classes: Circuit bliz, Bodypump, Cardio Sculpt, Stretch/Abs, Bodybalance, TRX Blast, Rip Circuit, Abs, Butt & Thighs, Cardio Sculpt, Roller Release, Yoga, Tabata, Body Combat, Bodyjam, Latino Jam, Pilates, Power Abs, Disco Aerobics, Pole Dance, Aerial Hoop, Aerial Silk, Stability Ball, VIPR, Sprint, Cycle, Sprint

Comments: Has a reputation for being the most expensive and also most “atas” of all the big chains.

 

California Fitness

Outlets: 3 at Bugis, Raffles Place and Novena (Branch at Orchard has closed down.)

Price: Cheaper at about $90 to $100 a month. Some people claim to have negotiated the price down to as low as $48, although this usually entails signing on to a lengthy contract. You also have the option to enrol on a month by month basis, but the cost per month will be higher.

Facilities: Sauna

Classes: Aerobics & Hi-Lo, Step, Zumba Fitness, Zumba Toning, Cardio Groove, Indoor Cycling, Cycling Intervals, Cycling Hills, Body Sculpt, Abs Butt and Thighs, Circuit Fit, TRX, Flex & Flo, Street 101, Supa Street 2, Jazz 101, All Dat Jazz, Burlesque, Ballet Flow, Latina Flava, K-Pop, Yoga 101, Hatha Yoga, Breathing & Meditation, Pilates, Vinyasa Flow, Ashtanga Flow, Taichi, Bodypump, Bodycombat, Bodyjam, Bodyblance, CXWork

Comments: Known for being less expensive but also less posh than the other two. Bargain hard.

 

Virgin Active

Outlets: 1 at Raffles Place

Price: $85 bi weekly / $170 a month not including GST. $199 sign up fee

Facilities: Steam room, ice room, Himalayan salt inhalation room, MMA zone, Sleep pods

Classes: Kinesis, MMA, Yogilates, Powerplate, Grid Active, Grit Strength & Core, Grid Fit, Powerplate, Piloxing, Cycle Interval, Bodypump, Hot Yoga, Zuu, RPM Express, Zumba & Weights, Ankorr, Kettlebell, Pilates, Grid Active, Vipr Vibes, Grid Lean, Bodycombat, Aerial Hatha Yoga, Sprint, Fire Trainer, Powerplate Box, Impact, Grid Lean, Piloxing Knockout, Pilates, RPM, Zumba Step, Restorative Yoga, Grit Cardio, Vcore, Yoga Core, Bosu Blast, Power Yoga, Zumba

Comments: Great facilities, very posh, but also expensive.

 

True Fitness

Outlets: 7 at Chevron House, Djitsun Mall, Great World City Mall, Harbourfront Centre, NTUC Income Tampines Junction, Suntec City Mall, Viva Business Park

Price: Reportedly in the $110 range.

Facilities: Steam rooms, rejuvenating lounge, sprint track

Classes: Body Stretch, Bodystep, Bodyattack, Bodycombat, Bodypump, Cardio Sculpt, Cardio Shape Circuit Training, CXWORK, Muay Thai, Multi-Step, Muscle Mania, Piloxing, Power Pump, Sculpt & Abs, Step, TBT, True Body Tone, Beginner’s Dance, Bodyjam, Bokwa, Cardio Dance, Essential Dance, Hot Slim, Jazz, Jazz Funk, K-Pop Dance, KPopX Fitness, Latin Jive, Latin Rumba, Sexy Belly, Sh’bam, U-jam Fitness, Zumba, Cycology, Extreme Ride, ICE, ICE Mambo, ICE Circuit, Interval Ride, Pilates, Anti-Aging Yoga, Bodybalance, Core Yoga, Dynamic Yoga, Flex, Flexi Yoga, Gentle Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Hot Yoga, Pilates Ball, Power Yoga, Sivananda Yoga, Solar Flow Yoga, Tai Chi Basics, Traditional Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Yin Yang Yoga, Yoga Ball, Yoga Basic, Yogalates

Comments: Generally cheaper than the other options on the list except California Fitness. Bargaining hard can shave quite a bit off the bill.

 

Is it really a good idea to sign up at a big gym?

Frankly, if you just want to get fit, you don’t need to sign up at a big gym. The ClubFitt gyms cost only $2.50 per entry and offer bare bones workout equipment. Or you could just run and do body weight exercises.

The main advantage of signing up for a big gym chain is the convenience of being able to work out near your workplace, especially if you’re in the Raffles Place area where there are zillions of branches. You can just pop in during lunch or before or after work.

In addition, you get nice facilities (don’t expect to find a sauna at ClubFitt) and an array of classes, as well as a sense of community if you like to compare muscles/make friends with your fellow exercisers.

Still, signing up for a membership at a big chain is not cheap, and you’re usually looking at paying about $100 to $150 every month for a few years.

With new players like Anytime Fitness around, where you can get a membership for less than $100 a month, and literally workout anytime you like, these big chains don’t seem all that appealing after all.

Unless you’re already someone who works out regularly, you probably want to see if you can actually get into the habit of exercising regularly, before you sign a long-term contract at one of these gyms.

Just make sure you haggle hard and inform them if you’re a student or have a friend or family member who is already part of the gym, as these might get you a discount.

Which gym do you use? Tell us in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.

  • Leonard Kishore Fabian

    Thanks for this article, really makes me consider joining branch gym. I work out at clubfit, its not bad but I thought i could try a these big gym for a change i think i might find out more on true since its around my price range.