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.) The lock-in is also not great when you consider that these chains may close down, like California Fitness, that went bankrupt and closed down all their outlets with no warning in 2016.
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.
Top 5 gym chains in Singapore (2019)
|Gyms||Number of outlets||Price per month|
|Fitness First||20||$170 to $200|
|Pure Fitness||3||Around $150 to $200|
|True Fitness||8||Around $100|
|Virgin Active||5||$196 to $260*|
*Virgin Active charges weekly fees. This amount is assuming a month has 4 weeks.
Fitness First has the largest presence in Singapore. To access all of them though, you will need a platinum (read: more expensive) membership. They provide workout clothes which makes it convenient for gymming after work. Also, they have a tie-up with AIA Vitality, so if you are insured with AIA, you get 20% off your gym membership fees and 100 Vitality points for every visit.
Outlets: 20 outlets at Tanjong Pagar, Clementi, Alexandra, AMK Hub, Bugis Junction, Capital Tower, Changi, City Square Mall, Fusionopolis, Junction 10, MBFC, Market Street (Raffles Place), One George Street, One Raffles Quay, Paragon, Paya Lebar, Tampines (CPF Building), The Cathay, The Metropolis and Westgate. See full addresses at FitnessFirst’s website.
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
Pure Fitness has a reputation for being the most expensive and also the most atas of all the big chains. It’s no wonder, because Pure Fitness provides extra facilities and amenities. You could walk in without bringing any gear as they provide complimentary workout gear, towels, socks and so on.
Outlets: 3 outlets at Ngee Ann City, Asia Square and Ocean Financial Centre. See full addresses at Pure Fitness’ website.
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
True Fitness is generally cheaper than the other options on the list except the now-closed California Fitness. Apparently you gotta bargain hard to shave quite a bit off the bill.
Outlets: 8 outlets at Chevron House, Djitsun Mall (AMK), Great World City Mall, Harbourfront Centre, NTUC Income Tampines Junction, Suntec City Mall, Velocity @ Novena Square, Viva Business Park. See full addresses on True Fitness’ website.
Price: Reportedly in the $100 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, Yogilates
Catered to women with a wide range of equipment from agility ladder, battle rope to kettlebells. Out of their 9 outlets, only 1 is unisex. So if you’re a lady and feel intimated and self-conscious whenever sense testosterone in the air (which, granted, there’s a lot in gyms), you can consider Amore Fitness.
Women-only outlets: 8 outlets at Bugis Junction, Hillion Mall, Heartland Mall, Jurong Point, Plaza Singapura, Seletar Mall, Thomson Plaza, Woodlands Civic Centre
Unisex outlets: 1 outlet at Tampines 1
Facilities: Steam rooms, rejuvenating lounge, sprint track
Classes: Zuma, Energy Sculpt, Yogasana, Aero Cardio, Urban Hiphop, Vinyasa Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Aero Groove, Step Groove
Virgin Active has great facilities and you also get complimentary use of workout gear. They’re quite expensive, but one good thing is that they have removed joining fees for memberships that last 6 months or longer since the start of 2018.
An upside is that Virgin Active members get discounts at F&B partners such as 10% off Boost Juice Bars and 10% off The Daily Cut bowls.
If you travel a lot (whether within Singapore or abroad), you will love it that Virgin Active memberships include free access to all five Virgin Active Clubs in Singapore, and unrestricted access to all other clubs located worldwide.
Outlets: 5 outlets at Holland Village, Raffles Place, Marina One, Tanjong Pagar, and Duo Galleria. See full addresses at Virgin Active’s website.
- 12 months: $49/week
- 6 months: $57/week
- Flexible: $65/week + one-time joining fee of $99 (minimum of 4 weeks)
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
Is it a good idea to sign up at a gym chain?
Frankly, if you just want to get fit, you don’t need to sign up at a big gym. The ActiveSG Gyms cost only $2.50 per entry and offer bare bones workout equipment. You even get to use ActiveSG credits. 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 ActiveSG Gyms) 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!
Personal finance tips delivered to your inbox!
Receive news, subscriber-exclusive promotions and guides on how to become smarter with money.
We promise never to spam you!