One of the leading health and fitness franchises in the world, Fitness First has nearly 400 clubs in 16 countries with more than a million members. Clearly, it has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1993 when it started out as a squash club in Bournemouth.
Five years after its inception, Fitness First became the very first health club operator in the UK to enter Europe. By its 11th year, Fitness First had grown into a franchise with more than a million members worldwide. Two years later, it was officially recognized as the largest health club operator in the planet by IHRSA.
Number of Locations
There are nearly 400 Fitness First clubs around the world scattered in 16 countries. These countries are Australia, Bahrain, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, and United Kingdom, where it all started. In Asia, most of the Fitness First clubs are located in business districts, targeting office workers.
Fitness First doesn’t quite match up with the number of locations of other fitness centers like Gold’s Gym, however. Also, it doesn’t have clubs in major markets like the United States and China.
Cost to Join
Membership fees in Fitness First clubs vary depending on the country. For instance, the monthly membership fees in Fitness First clubs in the UK would range from £35 to £55. Singing up for a 12-month membership would give you a monthly fee of £35 while a single month membership would set you back £55.
In Singapore, for instance, the standard membership contract is 12 months. The monthly membership dues are also quite high in this Southeast Asian country, ranging from $135 to $170 a month.
Despite the prohibitive monthly fees of Fitness First clubs, members will get their money’s worth because of the well-maintained facilities Fitness First outlets. Gym equipment are well-taken care of, and there are maintenance personnel that ensure the cleanliness in Fitness First clubs.
Workout Machine Maintenance
Most Fitness First clubs have the latest gym equipment ranging from cardio machines to free weights. A year ago, Fitness First invested in a whopping £77.5 million for the renovation of its clubs and replacement of workout machines. Thus there’s a good chance you’ll be using new workout machines anytime you step in a Fitness First club.
Unlike other fitness companies which have clubs that operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Fitness First does not have clubs that are open 24/7. Most of its clubs are open as early as 6 in the morning and close before midnight.
Fitness First chief executive Andy Cosslet has hinted recently that the company will look at extending business hours in some locations to cater to its clientele and partly to answer the increasing number of fitness clubs that operate 24/7.
Most Fitness First clubs have outstanding amenities that make working out more enjoyable and fun for its members. Standard amenities of Fitness First clubs include cardio theater where members can sweat it out while listening to their favorite workout tunes, watching shows, and even surfing the Internet. There are also Fitness First clubs that offer a single area for triathletes, where they can engage in swimming, biking, and running activities.
Almost all Fitness First clubs also have spacious freestyle area and changing rooms. Some clubs also have sauna and lounge with wireless Internet connection. However, access to these areas is limited to members who pay a premium fee.
Customer Service or Personal Fitness
Fitness First is embarking on an ambitious program to make everyone in its staff knowledgeable on fitness. In the United Kingdom, the company plans to have all its staff members—from its CEO down to its lowest-ranking employee—get fitness certification so that they can assist all Fitness First members. The company also wants all of its staff members globally to be fitness certified by 2015.
Members have access to locker rooms in Fitness First clubs. The locker rooms in Fitness First clubs are quite spacious and clean. However not all members are given towels in Fitness First locker rooms. Usually those who signed up for premium membership are the only ones with this privilege.
Most Fitness First clubs have spacious and well-maintained shower rooms. In most clubs, shower rooms come with soap and shampoo. There are also some clubs that have hair dryers and a place to iron shirt.
Overall, you can expect a good experience working out in any Fitness First gym. Fitness First clubs boast of spacious workout areas, state-of-the-art and well-maintained gym equipment, and friendly and knowledgeable staff. The only gripe that you may have with Fitness First is that its clubs are not open 24/7, yet.
|Number of Locations:||(9 / 10)|
|Membership Fee:||(7 / 10)|
|Cleanliness:||(10 / 10)|
|Workout Machine Maintenance:||(10 / 10)|
|Too Busy:||(8 / 10)|
|Amenities:||(10 / 10)|
|Customer Service:||(10 / 10)|
|Locker Room and Shower:||(10 / 10)|
|Overall Experience:||(9.5 / 10)|