With champagne bottles drained and hangovers nursed, thoughts are turning to the New Year, and resolutions for a happier and healthier 2014.
For many Australians, joining a gym will top their list of New Year priorities, but choosing the right membership can be a minefield.
Australia's health and fitness industry is dominated by three main memberships; health clubs, 24 hour gyms, and personal training studios.
Choosing an appropriate membership means considering lifestyle factors such as time, budget and training preferences.
In Australia, 'health clubs' offer special facilities such as child minding, group fitness classes, pools and saunas.
"If you're a parent, for example, who needs child minding and prefers yoga classes to treadmills, then health clubs are a great fit," says Anthony Miles of Goodlife Edward Street, an inner-city Brisbane health club.
"Health clubs focus on creating a social space beyond the four walls of a gym," says Miles.
The additional facilities which characterise health clubs, though, do mean they have higher weekly fees.
Memberships to health clubs start at $15.95 per week
In addition, as health clubs are always fully staffed, their opening times can be restrictive.
24 hour gyms are perfect for individuals who need more flexibility in their training times.
"Training at 11pm may not suit everyone," says Matthew Pattison of Stepz Ashgrove, a 24 hour gym in Brisbane's west;
"But for a shift worker looking to wind down after a long day, that's perfect."
By focusing on providing quality equipment without the frills, 24 hour gyms are great for Australians on a budget.
24 hour gyms cost from $10.95 per week
Being largely unstaffed, though, means that 24 hour gyms may lack personalised attention.
Personal training studios are generally the most expensive form of membership, but offer one-on-one attention from a dedicated PT.
"Having a personal trainer means that you are guided through every step of your health and fitness journey," says Belinda Evans of Hotfox Personal Training, also in Brisbane's west.
Apart from exercise sessions, personal trainers can offer nutritional advice and lifestyle coaching, but these services do attract additional fees.
Fees for personal trainers will vary dependant on their industry experience and specialist services
"The main advice I would give anyone who wants to improve their health and fitness in the New Year is to trust the process," says Evans.
Being an active member of a health club, 24 hour gym or personal training studio may not achieve instant results, but it will bring lasting wellbeing for 2014.
So as the New Year begins and resolutions abound, remember to consider personal time, budgets and training preferences, to ensure a healthier future.
#Exercise & Fitness
Photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
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