Pretoria Gym Fees Compared (2019)

Whether you’re an occasional visitor or a total gym nut, you’re paying fees. How much difference in price is there across Pretoria gyms, and are you paying too much for your gym membership?

Well, the good news is that almost all gyms in the country kick off around R200 – R300 for entry-level membership. Membership fees typically cap out around R450 on all but the national chains, where fees can go up to R1,000 a month or more, if you want wholesale access and access to any branch in the country.

For the average fitness or gym nut – someone who might occasionally swim or not at all, or occasionally fiddle elsewhere around the gym – gym fees should not exceed around R350 a month in Pretoria. Fees start rising at the bigger gyms if you want access to led classes, as well as the weights area, for example. They’ll rise further if you want provincial or national membership, where you can access any branch in the country. And of course, even at the smaller gyms, fees will increase if you regularly commission an in-house personal trainer or a coach of some kind in your routine.

Look what Pretoria.co.za discovered about Pretoria gyms

We’re not going to sketch a detailed comparative table of gyms, depicting prices and comparing them apples for apples. Firstly, everyone has the same apples to compare as we discovered and, secondly, no such comparison will point to a greater imperative than your convenience. Gym is something that is ideally close by, and regular. No matter how much we want to see and be seen at some busy and seemingly more glamorous gyms, the regularity and consistency gym demands means that location (that equals convenience) is never beaten as the prime consideration. Savings in rands are never substantial enough to flout convenience as your prime consideration when choosing a gym.

Alongside this, the reality that has emerged from our research is that all South African gyms are fairly competitive and tied into one another’s pricing. No one gym presents as outrageously more expensive than any other. So Planet Fitness, for example, like Virgin Active, has an entry-level membership that goes head to head with any local smaller gym. Their premises are glitzier and more modern perhaps (and there are often heated pools at the fancier gyms) but the dedicated fitness practitioner will note that smaller gyms still in the game typically apply the same standards to maintenance and presentation nowadays, within reason.

Pretty much gone are the dingy gyms stuck in a corner downtown, with broken benches and the smell of socks. Smaller gyms today have been forced to maintain a certain standard, set by the bigger chains. Just as the smaller gyms’ ability to undercut the chains’ prices has prompted the big guns to pitch an entry-level membership, so too has the standard presented at those big chains made demands of the smaller gyms to keep up.

If glitz and glamour is important to you, then the closest branch of one of the chains is going to be your logical choice. If function is more important to you than form, and assuming the gym and its equipment is in a decent condition and comprehensive, you might actually favour a smaller gym, so that speed and access in training isn’t hampered. This way, you suffer no compromise in your training. Except usually the pool, of course. Many smaller gyms don’t maintain a pool, due to space or budgetary constraints.

Also don’t forget, where you might save R200 a month driving across town to a cheaper gym, it’s false economy. Convenience is critical to maintaining a regular gym routine. When laziness bites, the closer the gym is, the easier it is to shrug it off and get busy. Also, whatever savings you might accrue by driving further for a better deal, evaporate very easily against the current fuel prices. So while you might be looking to depress gym costs by attending a smaller local gym, if your local gym is a big chain and you’re paying say R750 a month there, driving across town to save two or three hundred a month is a non-starter, for the same reason.

Remember two things about gym: location and location!

Don’t be fooled. Your gym’s location is paramount and since all gym prices are pretty comparative even between the big guns and the smaller boutique gyms, there’s seldom any getting around the convenience of your local gym. Investigate this aspect carefully and you’re likely to note that there’s no real saving in quibbling over pennies, unless of course you’re lucky enough to have two or more gyms right in your neighbourhood.

There’s a reason the top gyms have made it nationwide, because they provide everything! That said, location trumps any other consideration, as gym is one of those things that has to be close by in order to make it easy to attend. It’s true to say that the more you pay, the greater freedom you have in terms of really owning your gym facilities. This is also usually not much of a turning point however, as the margin in which this experience manifests is so small. In other words, even downtown gyms, while they might lack a pool, can have pretty much everything else that a top franchise gym boasts. The smaller gyms also typically grant access to everything, unlike the bigger chains, that parcel out services on a pay-for basis.

Mainstream and boutique gyms in Pretoria

So is big (or small) better, when it comes to Pretoria gyms? And is an average fee of around R750 a month a pretty inescapable reality? Not at all. Our research into Pretoria gyms shows almost all gyms have a competitive entry-level membership fee. The difference is largely that the chains have glitzier premises with all mod cons, whereas smaller gyms often lack the extent of the facilities laid on by bigger outfits. Within that, each individual has to factor in their fitness goals and routine, and figure out if you can enjoy a low-cost local gym or whether you’re being hampered by not training at a bigger, shinier gym that will cost you more. The facilities provided and ease of access are prime considerations.

In a nutshell, almost any Pretoria gym you contact will list a starter price for basic membership, anything from R200 – R300. Most smaller gyms will push you up to around R550 if you do weights, aerobics and yoga regularly, let’s say. The bigger chains will pitch this same offer at around R750 a month, and that’s typically only at your branch – you don’t get national or even provincial access at that price. Most Pretoria citizens can enjoy a gym close by for around R300 a month. If you’re paying more, it should be because either your local gym is a Virgin Active or Planet Fitness and you’re obliged to pay a bigger chain’s prices, or because the local offers are lousy and you’re obliged to travel and your cost options might be limited in what you find.

Some Pretoria gym options:

There are dozens of others of course, and it’s best to ask around and actively look in your neighbourhood for a suitable venue. If you’re feeling lazy and want an engine to search for you, try https://www.fitkey.co.za/. Although it’s unlikely to give truly comprehensive results, it does list a substantial number of local gyms and will make your search easier.