A private gym is any fitness facility that has restricted membership or access. Most private gym facilities either require a membership fee or some other qualification for membership, and the general public is not allowed to use the facility. Such gyms feature much of the same equipment as any other fitness center or gym, but the private gym may limit the number of users, meaning less wait time and less risk of damage to the equipment. More exclusive private facilities may be invitation-only facilities, meaning one cannot use the facility without being invited by the gym itself or by another member of the gym.
Private gym facilities tend to be more expensive than public gyms, but they also offer much more privacy and one on one attention. Personal trainers are often on hand to help gym users improve their workouts or participate in classes. The equipment in the facility is kept in excellent condition, partly because the fees associated with membership allow the gym to maintain or replace equipment, but also because fewer users are likely to use the equipment, meaning wear and tear will be limited.
The fees associated with a private gym usually include a monthly membership fee as well as a one-time initiation fee. Some private gyms offer discounts or waivers on initiation fees, but most private members will have to pay some sort of initiation fee that will go toward the upkeep and general maintenance of the gym, as well as toward the salaries of the various employees of the gym. More expensive gyms may offer amenities not present at public gyms, such as private changing rooms, private showers, free massage services, reserved parking spaces, reserved lockers, assigned personal trainers, and so on.
Personal trainers may also open their own fitness centers that are small, personal spaces meant to be used by only one or two people at a time. Such sessions usually focus on the individual, and the trainer will design a plan specifically for that user. The idea behind these gyms is to provide one on one coaching without the distractions of a public gym. These sessions can also be held in gyms or fitness centers, though the idea of one-on-one training must remain intact even in a public space. The most private gym, of course, is the home gym, and some gated communities even have private facilities specifically for residents of the community.
Private Gym vs Public Gym
Private gyms have stringent membership restrictions, such as residency, status, or high costs, and access is limited to those members or by invitation only. Public gyms may or may not have basic membership restrictions, but access is less limited, and often free trials are available to the general public. Other public gyms include recreation and park areas with indoor and outdoor fitness equipment and spaces for free public use.
Choosing the Right Gym
Despite having access to a private gym, some people opt for a local public gym instead. Others may have many gym choices but still seek out a private gym’s more expensive one-on-one training sessions. To determine the best fit for you, consider both the pros and cons of public and private gyms.
Private Gym Considerations
Remember, private gyms can exist in many forms. Usually, they are an option in select residences, have higher enrollment and membership fees, and have specific requirements for registration and maintaining membership.
A smaller membership population means fewer people in the gym at any given time.
Controlled enrollment ensures that you know the people with whom you will share the facility.
One-on-one services such as personal trainers provide individual attention for specific needs.
Complimentary services such as massage, saunas, or esthetician services are frequently available in private gyms included in your membership costs or as gratuity only.
Since private gyms are for a smaller number and usually specific to a limited population, the machines are typically fewer than at a public gym, which may cause a wait.
Smaller populations also mean smaller spaces; if you are uncomfortable working out a few feet away from your neighbor or fellow alumni, a private gym may feel cramped.
Timing can be tricky. Private gyms are not always open and staffed like larger gyms. While they often have extra amenities, your schedule may limit your access to them.
It can be challenging to work out with your neighbor. Whether you are friends or not, the interaction may shift the focus of your workout from gains to gab or uncomfortable avoidance since you are in such close quarters.
Public Gym Considerations
Public gyms are usually low-cost or sometimes even free, depending on the programs in your area. Public gyms are typically part of more extensive franchises and are sizeable fitness facilities. Membership may or may not be required to attend, but most people easily meet the qualifications for enrollment.
While other people may feel crowded at a public gym, some feel invigorated by others at optimum health and peak performance. Many people report ha they work harder for longer when other people are doing the same.
Community fitness classes led by skilled instructors are part of public gym culture. Classes are held at varying times throughout the day to meet different scheduling and preference needs.
Larger gyms may have more people that may potentially increase your wait time, but they also have far more equipment than most smaller private gyms. Rather than three treadmills for an entire community, a public gym may have 20 to serve the needs of its membership population.
Some public gyms are now open 24 hours. Many doctors, nurses, line workers, and others whose jobs keep them from regular 9-to-5 hours appreciate more and different hours to squeeze fitness into their busy schedules.
Depending on your goals and your level of focus, a public gym can be a very distracting place. From new people to loud music and noises, it can be challenging to keep your attention on fitness.
Public gyms sometimes offer individual training classes on top of standard membership fees, but the sessions are typically held within the general population. The attention may feel limited and awkward to those that prefer a more private setting.
Public gyms are usually busy with a lot of people. Depending on the time of day, it could be crowded, and you could have to wait. The sheer number of equipment often prevents this problem, but if you are looking for a spot in a class or a particular machine, be sure to plan your trip accordingly.
While private gms ensure that you know who you are working out next to, public gyms do not always have the same luxury. Though there are some qualifications for enrollment, negative influences can still sometimes slip through the enrollment process.