Canstar Blue’s review of gyms and fitness clubs has seen F45 Training, Genesis Health + Fitness, Crunch Fitness, Anytime Fitness, Plus Fitness, Jetts, Snap Fitness, Goodlife and Fitness First rated on flexibility & perks, atmosphere, equipment & facilities, staff availability, value for money and overall satisfaction.
Choosing a gym can almost be as much of a challenge as actually going to the gym itself, with the fitness industry exploding over recent years, giving way to gyms and fitness centres seemingly on every corner. And with so much competition, gyms have had to diversify their services in order to stand out from the crowd, with some sticking to the traditional Schwarzenegger-era setup, while others stock the latest and greatest pieces of equipment to entice people through the door, and others focus on group training.
With one in four respondents in our latest survey (25%) stating they have tried more than one gym chain, and some indicating that they have multiple gym memberships, it’s clear that choosing a gym isn’t an easy decision to make. With factors like price, location, 24-hour access, equipment, as well as staff friendliness and expertise to consider, the gym has become much more than simply a place to ‘pump iron’. So, which gyms and fitness clubs have muscled their way ahead of the pack? Our annual review has the answer.
This year, more than 1,000 gym members participated in our customer satisfaction survey, rating their gym or fitness club of choice based on the types of important factors we mentioned above. For the fourth year in a row, F45 Training has taken its place at the top of our gym ratings, with its class-based, group fitness model clearly resonating with consumers, who rated it five stars in multiple categories, including overall satisfaction.
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Here are the best gyms and fitness clubs in Australia, as rated by consumers in Canstar Blue’s 2021 review:
F45 Training topped our ratings with five-star for overall satisfaction, with Genesis Health + Fitness, Crunch Fitness, Anytime Fitness, Plus Fitness and Jetts rated four stars for overall satisfaction, while Snap Fitness, Goodlife and Fitness First were rated three stars.
In addition to five stars for overall satisfaction, F45 Training was rated five stars for atmosphere and staff availability, while Genesis Health + Fitness was the only brand to score five stars for equipment and facilities. Anytime Fitness, Plus Fitness and Crunch Fitness were all rated five stars for flexibility and perks, with Crunch Fitness also scoring the only five star rating for value for money. If you’re looking for a new gym buddy, find out what each gym chain has to offer below.
To help you decide which gym chain may be worth a visit, here is an overview of the brands in this year’s review, and what they have to offer.
F45 Training took Australia by storm a couple of years ago, with hundreds of studios opening up around the country. Based on daily group High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) programs, F45 is structured around daily classes, made of up of unique and systemised workouts with elements of high-intensity training, circuit training, and functional training. Memberships cost around $60 to $80 per week, depending on the club, making it one of the most expensive gym options out there.
For those unfazed about the cost, F45 won’t struggle to keep you motivated, with almost 30 different workout styles available, including functional strength, agility classes, boxing, and partner workouts. It may be a bit daunting for those new to the gym, but with some workouts boasting a 1,000-calorie burn, it may be worth looking into it. The regulars certainly love it.
Genesis Health + Fitness originally began as an alternative for gym-goers with weight management or other health problems, but has now expanded into a chain of gyms for people with all sorts of motivation. Offering classes under the categories of weight loss, strength and toning, cardio and muscular endurance, and wellness (core strength, flexibility, and energy levels), as well as provide a wide range of equipment, as well as group classes and personal training. Participating venues also provide childcare services and swim school for the youngsters.
Prices for a Genesis Health + Fitness membership differ from venue to venue, meaning those wanting to enquire about costs may want to call their local club.
Crunch Fitness markets itself as the original, ‘no judgments gym’, with most clubs located in and around Sydney and Melbourne. Crunch offers group fitness classes including Zumba, yoga, pilates and HIIT sessions, as well as personal training sessions for those looking for that one-on-one experience. Some Crunch Fitness locations also offer child-minding services and hydro massage beds, with Theragun massage therapy also available at select gyms.
Flexible gym membership options are available, with prices starting from $9.95 per week for a Base membership, and go up to $14.95 for a Peak membership and $19.95 for the Summit. If you want to test before you buy, Crunch Fitness offers a three-day free pass, with student discounts also available at select locations.
Built around 24-hour fitness, Anytime Fitness is one of the largest gym franchises in Australia, with over 500 clubs now available nationally. Most studios offer classes, personal training sessions and personalised programs, but extras will depend on the individual facility, and the time of day, of course. Prices also vary given each club is independently owned, but all have an initial $99 joining fee, as well as a $69.95 fee for the after-hours access card. The access card will gain you access to any of the gyms worldwide, after a 30-day waiting period.
Contracts are available on a 12- or 18-month basis, depending on the gym, with some gyms also offering a free trial available for those who aren’t sure about signing up straightaway. Anytime Fitness also offers an app where members can set goals, track progress and gain access to 1,000+ workouts, helping them get the most out of their fitness journey.
Australian-owned Plus Fitness has been in operation for around 20 years, with more than 220 gyms currently open around the country. Built around convenience and giving members a ‘no-nonsense’ approach to fitness. It offers no-lock in contracts, and the option to put your membership on hold for up to three months at no extra cost. Membership costs will vary from location to location, with 24-hour access also dependent on location.
Plus Fitness also gives users the option of interactive workouts, allowing for a session without the class or instructor. Via a TV, members can follow a variety of workouts, including yoga and boxing, as well as general boot camp style sessions. All users have to do is book out a room, set the workout and prepare to sweat. Plus Fitness also offers ‘master classes’, which are sessions run by personal trainers.
Starting on the Gold Coast in 2007, Jetts has expanded globally to have more than 250 gyms available for fitness enthusiasts across Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Europe. Jetts’ main selling point is a no lock-in contract, allowing users full 24-hour access to all gyms worldwide, without worrying about the commitment.
Memberships start at $14.95 per week, with free trials and discounts also available at certain locations. If you’re looking to sign up with someone, Jetts also offers ‘mate’s rates’, providing a discount to those who sign up with a friend. There is also a one-off $79 Club Access Fee with each new membership, with the option to either pay your membership via regular direct debit, or pay in advance.
Bringing fitness to an international scale, Snap Fitness gives users the added benefit of being able to use their memberships at more than 2,000 gyms across the globe. While it might not offer all the bells and whistles that other franchises will include, Snap Fitness is marketed as a ‘no frills gym’, Snap Fitness can often be found in compact areas, offering the essentials without many of the extras. Personal trainers and fitness classes are the main drawcards, although you’ll have to check with your local gym as the classes aren’t always on offer.
Similar to other gym franchises, Snap Fitness offers an app, which can be paired with the MYZONE belt, which logs your heart rate, calories burned and other readings, sending the results to your app to track your progress. The MYZONE belt is only available at certain locations however. As individually owned and operated gyms, the cost of a Snap Fitness membership may vary from location to location, with a joining fee and access card fee also generally applicable, with month-to-month or 12-month memberships generally available.
Goodlife is one of Australia’s prominent club chains, with more than 80 locations around the country, with more than three-quarters of its clubs are also 24/7. Offering a large variety of classes and challenges, Goodlife strongly promotes a friendly environment for you to work out in. Fitness classes include the likes of traditional spin classes and boot camps, as well as dance-based classes such as Zumba, plus classes for mums and bubs.
Price-wise, Goodlife memberships start from $17.99, with three types of plans available (Blue, Black & Platinum), although costs vary from location to location, with all memberships incurring a $99 sign-up fee. Goodlife also offers an app called Kubofit, which is available on both IOS and Android, to help with your fitness program. The app will keep you on track with classes, with a timetable that can be programmed to your local gym’s schedule, meaning you’ll never miss a class, and you’ll never forget what to bring.
Fitness First started out as a squash club in England before switching its focus, and has now expanded into 17 countries with hundreds of gyms open around the world. Fitness First offers a number of membership types, including Home Membership ($17 per week) for when you stick to the one gym, Passport ($25 per week) which gives you access to all Passport gyms Australia-wide, Platinum ($30 per week) and Titanium ($36 per week) with the company also offering exclusive memberships for some Sydney gyms. Some locations will also offer student discounts, but you’ll have to visit a gym to find out.
The majority of Fitness First gyms offer a huge range of classes, covering all muscle groups and fitness abilities, with the franchise also partnering with the Kubofit app to keep you on your toes, as well as to make sure you’re on time for classes.
Aside from the big gym chains listed above, there are plenty of smaller clubs you might like to consider. Other gyms that have previously made it into our ratings include:
Fernwood has been a top contender in our reviews in the past, as a premium female-only gym built around empowering women in their fitness journey. Providing a wide range of classes, free services such as breakfast, as well as childcare facilities at some venues, Fernwood aims to offer an experience that goes well beyond breaking a sweat. Complimentary toiletries, beautician therapists, massages and tanning facilities are some of the extra perks available, depending on which studio you visit.
A $199 sign-up fee is standard across most studios, with memberships starting from $22 a week, with various access types – including Standard, 24/7 and Extended Hours – all available. While not the only all-female gym available, Fernwood is arguably the most recognisable, with 70 locations open across Australia.
Founded in 1992, Curves is a one of the largest networks of fitness centres designed for women. It brands itself as a gym that embraces women of all shapes and sizes, and aims to have a practical approach to women’s diets and fitness, as well as providing a supportive environment. Curves provides basic gym services including cardio, strength training equipment, group and personal training as well as Curves specific services like health and wellness education, a nutrition program, at home workouts and online membership options.
Curves has three levels of membership available, starting with ‘at home with a coach’ and ‘in-club with a coach’, both of which are priced around $99, with the ‘in-club and at home with a coach’ membership costing around $130. Each membership option offers experienced and professional coaching advice, speciality fitness classes, monthly challenges, loyalty rewards programs, an app and access to coaches.
Founded in 2004, Viva Leisure is a Canberra-based health and leisure company that owns 11 fitness brands currently operating across Australia. The company’s focus is to bring health and fitness to as many people as possible, in a supporting and non-intimidating environment. With over 40 facilities across Australia, Viva Leisure has proved themselves a serious player in the fitness industry. Brands owned by Viva Leisure Limited include Plus Fitness, Club Lime, Fit n Fast and HIIT Republic, amongst others.
The YMCA has been a cornerstone of sports and fitness for years, with plenty of options available for social sports, after school care and gymnastics. Building upon that, the YMCA has been offering gym and fitness services for the past few years now, giving people another option if they’re not comfortable with the bigger gym franchises.
Offering a wide range of classes, including full body workouts, yoga and pilates, as well as dance class Zumba, YMCA does more than just the basics. Prices are not available online, so you’ll have to contact your local centre to figure out the costs, although YMCA does offer off-peak and concessions discounts.
Depending on what you’re looking for, YMCA may be a viable gym in its own right, despite being a community centre first, gym second.
Going to the gym can be quite a personal experience, as everyone goes for different reasons – whether it’s to lose some weight, build muscle, or even just for the social aspect. As a result, the gym should make you feel comfortable enough to sweat in, as well as make you want to come back.
Despite the benefits of having a gym membership, sticking to it can be tricky, with 22% of respondents also indicating that they don’t use their membership as much as they thought they would. This is where the cost aspect comes into it, with respondents spending, on average, about $95 per month – up from $79 last year – which will quickly add up to be a big expense.
As a result, choosing a gym will come down to how you use it. If you’re looking for something specific, chains such as F45, Snap Fitness and Anytime Fitness may be a better fit due to their classes, while Jetts may be better suited for those who aren’t sure about the gym and prefer not to sign a contract. Health and fitness are certainly a priority in today’s society, but it’s good to find a gym best-suited to your needs, so don’t be afraid to take advantage of those free trials before you put pen to paper.
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s Content Projects Lead, Dean Heckscher. He’s our resident expert on all things automotive, health & fitness, streaming and more. Dean is also one of Canstar Blue’s customer research report producers, helping to turn complicated subjects into easily-digestible information for our readers. He’s passionate about helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services.
Picture credits: Kzenon/Shutterstock.com.
Canstar Blue surveyed more than 6,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who are a member of a commercial gym/fitness club that is part of a chain (i.e. has gyms in multiple locations), where they pay a membership/attendance fee (i.e. not a free gym) – in this case, 1,010 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
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