Be Strong. Be Fit.


Gym Watch – Big Gyms by Number 7

May 16th, 2011 · No Comments ·


Mun’s Note: This excellent guest post is contributed by Gus Ghani who is a fitness instructor in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

7 Characteristics of Big Gyms

It is difficult to miss any big gym at your local high street or in a shopping mall because these gyms spend a lot of time and money to market their brand. If you missed their huge advertisement billboards or doubted their credibility, you need not worry because big gyms are persistent, and they have been known to recruit well-known celebrities as their brand ambassador to grab your attention.

The 7 common characteristics of the big gyms are as follows:-

  1. There are 200 or more registered gym members.
  2. The floor space is at least 5,000 sq. ft.
  3. Apart from having dozens of the statutory cardio machines (treadmills, cross-trainers & stationary bikes), the full range of weight-training equipment and free-weights, there must be an exercise studio which offer group classes such as aerobics, yoga, and spin.
  4. Member’s lounge area.
  5. Free use of locker & towel.
  6. A team of more than a dozen uniformed fitness instructors and a handful of personal trainers.
  7. One or two full-time marketing staff.


The 7 Highs

Big gyms are marvelous when they have the following:-

  1. Spacious training area with a wide array of various types of up-to-date exercise machines.
  2. TV screens with headphones for use during cardio workout.
  3. A swimming pool.
  4. A sauna or steam room.
  5. Free Wi-Fi services.
  6. In-house nutritionists to offer members free advice.
  7. Branches available nationwide and/or worldwide.

The 7 Lows

Big gyms may not be best option under the following considerations:-

  1. Ironically, having more floor-space at big gyms does not necessarily mean more training space. Too many machines and too many members can nullify the effects of having bigger floor-space, and more importantly, the restrictive space means you waste to a lot of energy maneuvering in between the exercise machines and at the same time, getting out of the way of other sweaty members.
  2. Surprisingly, even the big gyms have limited weight-training equipment and free-weights, so be prepared to wait your turn during peak hours.
  3. You cannot register in advance for group classes because it is based on a first-come-first-serve basis.
  4. The big and trendy gyms tend to be noisy due to the loud music played through their over-head speakers. Another source of noise in the gym is either from member’s hand phones ringing, or from the members talking on their mobile phones. These kinds of noises can easily make fellow members lose their concentration and focus during difficult exercise periods.Eye-Contacts-in-Big-Gym.jpg
  5. Forget privacy when you work-out because all of the big gym’s training areas are situated out in the open space or in a studio which can accommodate group exercise classes: Apart from the changing rooms, men and women can mingle freely everywhere.
  6. There is a high ratio of members-to-staff in the big gyms.  This means that the gym staff will not have much time to monitor the progress of any one individual member, but rather, the emphasis is on the individual member to conduct their own work-out without professional supervision. For an extra fee of MYR80-MYR180 per hour, the member can engage in the services of an in-house Personal Trainer: To make best use of a Personal Training (PT) session, , both the trainee and the trainer must be able to concentrate fully on realizing the PT work-out programme in the limited time allocated. However, keeping focused on the job at hand is not easy for the trainee when there is no privacy (see previous point 6). The trainer, on the other hand, will need to make an extra effort to ensure the flow of the PT work-out does not clash with other members who are simultaneously also doing their own work-out.  In short, a member who needs personal attention or service needs to pay extra for it, and even then, the condition under which a personal training session is conducted is far from ideal as indicated above.


7 Questions to Ask Yourself BEFORE Joining a Big Gym

  1. What are your fitness goals? Your answer to this question will determine what kind of machines and facilities which you will need from the gym.
  2. Are you looking for a long-term, medium-term or short-term membership? The membership fees of big gyms tend to be cheaper if you can commit for longer period and make payments in advance. On the other hand, the fees are more expensive for shorter membership tenure.
  3. Ask for a no-obligation free trial without any strings attached. This is a good way to gauge first-hand the condition of the equipment and the competency level of their fitness instructors.
  4. Informally confide with existing members of your intention to join the gym and ask them for their opinion – you will be surprised at how much useful information you can gather from such source which gym staff may otherwise not want you to know.
  5. Are there any fees imposed if the member wants to terminate the membership prematurely? Some gyms offer members the option to suspend their account for up to three months without any extra charges, or transfer the membership to another person with some sort of transfer fee.
  6. Are there any seasonal or membership-drive promotions or early bird discounts on offer. Don’t be afraid to ask for freebies and goodies as big gyms do provide corporate gifts ranging from rucksacks to free spa visits.
  7. Last but not least, choose a gym near your workplace if you plan to work-out after office hours and let the peak hour traffic jam subside while you do your thing in the gym.

In the end, the decision to choose to join a gym is a personal one. Apart from the usual factors of the gym’s location, the fee structure and the facilities offered, we should, perhaps, also consider if we are comfortable about the level of privacy and personal attention which the gym can provide us in order to achieve our fitness goals. For me, whether I am a member of a big or small gym, having enough space and privacy to conduct my work-out without any interruptions is what suits me best.

In Part 2, I want to share with you My Fantasy Workout: Is it a dream or does it really exist?


Guest Blogger: Gus Ghani Occupation: Fitness Instructor

Mun’s Note: Many thanks to Gus who has shared much insight about choosing a gym. If you would like to have your article being featured here, please let me know.  Cheers.



Category: Gym Going

If you like this or other articles in this blog, Subscribe to today. It is free.
Scroll down to leave a comment. I really want to know what you think.
0 responses so far ↓
  • No comments yet. May be you can help kick things off by leaving yours here. Cheers.

Leave a Comment