Are you put-off by sky-high gym membership and expensive joining fees? Think again.
The world of fitness has changed dramatically with a whole new breed of affordable gyms where you can pay as little as £10 a month.
With many of these options, you won't have to worry about getting stuck in a contract as they don't have fixed terms.
You can pay by the month and cancel at any time as long as you give a certain amount of notice.
If you're currently in a membership contract, you should find it easier to cancel after recent intervention by the Office of Fair Trading and Trading Standards who said gyms must be more transparent about their contracts and allow customers to cancel if, for example, you are injured or lose your job.
Always make sure you ask about the contract before signing up to any gym – how long the contract is and your cancellation rights. Make sure you get these in writing and that they are the same as what you've been told in person.
Some gyms also let you freeze your membership, either for no cost or for a small re-activation fee. Ask about this if you know there will be a significant period of time where you won't be using it.
We've also found several gym companies who offer low-cost membership, flexible or even no contracts and better opening hours – some of them with 24-hour access.
Locations:There are currently 58 PureGyms across the UK from Aberdeen and Belfast to Cardiff and Bournemouth. Five more are in a pre-opening phase and a further 20 gyms are planned.
What's on offer? PureGyms give you 24-hour access (apart from three) and each gym has at least 220 pieces of brand-new fitness equipment and more than 40 classes a week are included in the fee. These include the popular Zumba dance fitness class and a newer South African dance class Bokwa. Gyms also have changing rooms, showers and training zones with equipment such as Kettlebells, Power Plate and TRX Suspension Trainers.
How much does it cost? Each gym has a different price, but membership starts from £9.99 a month and there's no fixed contract. Joining fees for existing gyms start at £10 but if you join a new PureGym before it opens, there's no fee to join and you benefit from a discounted monthly cost which stays fixed even if it increases for new customers later on.
You can also buy a day pass at any of the gyms for £5.99 as well as three, seven and 30-day passes.
Find out more puregym.com
Locations: You can uses passes at 1,200 gyms across the UK. For your nearest search using their location finder.
What's on offer? You can buy passes to gym, rather than signing up to a contract you pay for as much as you want to use. You can choose from one session, one month and three months passes. The codes are text to you via SMS. You must buy the passes online.
How much does it cost? It depends on the gym. Passes for one of sessions start usually start from £5.
Find out more payasugym.com
The Gym Group
Locations:There are 40 gyms across the UK from Glasgow and Swansea to Norwich and Reading. There are nine more gyms opening soon and three others in the pipeline.
What's on offer? You get 24-hour access to the gyms and each one offers over 170 pieces of brand-new, energy-efficient fitness equipment - 70% of their machines use no electricity whatsoever. New products include indoor cycling experience Myride and there's a range of video classes covering yoga, Pilates and dance.
How much does it cost? Membership costs from £10.99 a month and there's no contract. Some gyms have a one-off joining fee of £20 and others may offer dual membership (e.g. Glasgow has two gyms) for no extra cost. You can also get discounted prices by joining a gym before it opens or trial a gym with a £5 day pass.
Find out more thegymgroup.com
Locations: There are currently nine FitSpace gyms with plans for more. They are UK-wide from Islington in London to Sheffield, Belfast and Bournemouth.
What's on offer? The gyms offer over 100 pieces of fitness equipment and free weights. Some gyms have a spin room and dedicated weights room. Fitness classes are also included in the fee such as Circuits, Combat, Ab Toning, Indoor Cycling, Body Blast and Kickboxing – the actual classes available depend on the gym. Personal training is also available for an extra charge.
How much does it cost? FitSpace gyms offers three types of contracts. The Flex contract costs £19 a month (£19.99 in Mitcham) – there's no contract but you need to give a month's notice. Alternatively, you can opt for a Value membership at £10 a month with a 12-month minimum term, with that rate guaranteed for 18 months or you can pay £120 upfront for 12 months of membership. Note that both Islington and Woolwich have slightly higher fees and there's a £29 joining fee on all memberships. You can also request a free trial if you contact the gym.
Find out more fitspacegyms.co.uk
Locations:Currently there are 10 easyGyms with six in London and others in Birmingham, Cardiff, Slough and Southampton.
What's on offer? Gyms have four fitness zones, dedicated studio for fitness classes which includes Les Mills classes. easyGyms also look different to typical gyms with exposed block walls and graffiti art around. Classes include yoga and Zumba to Bootcamp and Funkalates.
How much does it cost? Membership costs from £11.99 a month (London Tottenham) to £19.99 (London Oxford Street). There's no joining fee for Tottenham but generally speaking there's a £25 joining fee. Apart from the free 20-minute Freedom Zone Live classes which use gym equipment for a quick workout, classes cost £4 with a £1 discount for members.You can also buy a day pass for £5 without a joining fee and it includes one complimentary class. The Members Zone on the website is where you can book classes, change your details and add extras such as unlimited classes for £11.99 a month – if you add this when you join, there's no joining fee to pay. There's no contract on anything, but you just need to give at least five working days' notice to cancel anything.
You can pay as little as £1.99 a month to use the London Wandsworth gym when it opens in October 2014.
Find out more easygym.co.uk
Locations: Gym London runs 26 gyms across London from Enfield to Epsom but membership also offers access to 50 leisure centres in total.
What's on offer? The gyms and leisure centres everything from group exercise classes, swimming, sports courts and crèche sessions. You can also book them online, or at a reception, six days in advance from 7am.
How much does it cost? Membership costs £19.95 or £28.95 a month depending on the gym. You nominate one gym as your main one but you can use 50 others for £3 per visit or £3 to use the pool or a class. There's a £15 activation fee and one month advance payment. Day passes aren't available at the moment but they do offer short-term passes (one, five, seven, 14 or 30 days) from £10 which include swimming, group exercise classes and gym facilities.
Find out more gymlondon.org
Locations: There are currently five KlickFitness gyms in the UK – Aintree, Bromborough, Ipswich, Manchester Whitefield and Leicester.
What's on offer? Each gym offers traditional cardiovascular equipment plus spin bikes, free weights and plate-loaded equipment. They also have a freestyle area with equipment such as X.Cubes and Ropes and and a strength zone with strength-training machines. Group sessions are also included in the fee such as Group Training classes with ViPR, Suspension Training, Kettlebells and PowerBags. Gyms also offer studio classes such as Zumba, spinning and circuits, sometimes for a small fee payable to the instructor.
How much does it cost? Memberships costs from £12.99 (from £16.99 at Leicester) with a £20 joining fee and members receive a free 45-minute Klick Start induction. Guest passes are also available for £5 for one day or £12.99 for three days. Members also benefit from Klick4Free which brings together various discounts such as savings at cinemas or florists.
Find out more klickfitness.com
Locations: There are currently 14 gyms across the north of England and Midlands including Nottingham, St Helens, Hull and Wigan. Gyms in Bristol, Newcastle, Sunderland and Swansea are in a pre-opening stage while a further 16 gyms are scheduled to open at later dates including Glasgow, Leicester, Gateshead and Southampton.
What's on offer? All the clubs offer over 400 pieces of up-to-date equipment and offer 40 classes per week included in the membership. Classes are varied and include Boxercise, yoga, belly dancing and spin, depending on the gym. Some classes, such as Baby Ballet and Kickboxing, have an extra cost, but the majority are included in the fee.
How much does it cost? There are several membership options. Off-peak membership costs £9.99 a month if you can sign up for a year or £14.99 a month for a one-month minimum period. Peak membership costs £14.99 or £19.99 respectively. The cheapest peak membership is if you pay £134.91 upfront for 12 months. All options require a £20 joining fee. Gym time may vary but generally, peak hours mean Monday to Friday 6am – 10pm and 8am – 8pm weekends. Off-peak hours are 10am – 4pm daily.
Find out more xercise4less.co.uk
Prices correct at time of writing. Please check websites for any price changes.
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