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  • Writer's pictureKatie Gavin

Pros and Cons of Commercial Gyms

With the new year in full swing, many people are hopping on the bandwagon and joining a gym. While there are many gyms to choose from, we could break them down into two different categories: Private and Commercial. A private gym is typically owned by an individual or a small group of people and is often located in a home, a dedicated space or in a private building (think any Crossfit gym, private training, or SAA!), while a commercial gym is usually a larger facility open to the public, usually located in commercial spaces such as malls or strip malls, and owned by a larger corporation or business (think Lifetime, Planet Fitness, L.A. Fitness)


While I might be biased on being part of a private gym, there are definitely pros and cons to being a part of a commercial gym. Lets start with some pros: 


  • Usually open for many hours of the day, so whether you want to get in a super early workout, lunchtime workout, or late night workout, odds are that the commercial gym is open

  • Wide Range of Equipment- From machines to free weights to a wide array of cardio equipment, you will most likely find the most equipment in commercial gyms

  • Other amenities such as swimming pools, hot tub, cold tub, sauna, sometimes tanning beds, showers and lounges. In some there are even cafes where you can grab something to eat afterwards

  • Commercial gyms are very frequent in the fact there are a lot more to go around than private gyms so the odds of having one close to you are very high, which may impact the reason you even go to the gym

  • Usually low cost- planet fitness is known for only being $10 month and odds are very high that commercial gyms are cheaper than private due to the fact that there are many more members able to join without membership cutoffs


Don’t get too excited, there are most definitely cons to anything, especially a commercial gym such as:


  • While commercial gyms are usually bigger, they tend to be a lot dirtier as it is harder to clean that big of a space and make sure that everything is spotless at any given time

  • With no membership caps, commercial gyms are likely to get crowded at rush hour times of the day like before work and after work when most people want to get their workout in

  • No privacy- Private gyms offer a higher level of privacy due to the fact that they are smaller and less people are working out at any given time 

  • There are a variety of people which can be, well, good and bad. Usually in a private gym there is a niche where people go there to do workouts a certain way or a certain type of training, where as commercial everyone there is probably doing something totally different form each other, You can have a crossfitter and a bodybuilder working out next to each other, or, worst case, people who don’t even know what they are doing and you’ll be seeing stuff you never thought your eyes could see. I know we’ve all see those instagram videos

  • There is less likely a sense of community- you probably don’t know a lot of people or maybe just the regulars that go at the same time as you, but odds are you don’t know their name and likely keep to yourself while working out.


While there is a good amount of reasons to go to a commercial gym, personally I have always thrived in a community aspect where people like minded go to workout. You just can’t beat the sense of inclusion you feel while going to a private gym. However, I do love to experience the commercial gym setting once in a while and be able to use facilities that I am not used to. There is obviously no right answer for anyone on what they should choose as I encourage everyone to try something at least once.


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