This time of year I like to call the Silly Season for the health club industry. The first 3 months of the year are when most people join a health club full of best intentions with their New Year’s resolutions ringing in their ears.

The Health Club’s Sales teams are on full alert and offer the earth if you ‘join now’. But how many people actually achieve the results they yearn for when they join? Having worked in the industry for over 10 years I would guess it’s less than 3%.

So why is this? The answer is two fold. Firstly, most members do not take responsibility for their own results. Quite often they hand over several hundred pounds or sign up to a monthly direct debit of £70 or so and expect that will be enough. Normally by the time April comes around many of those who joined in the first 2 months have already stopped attending.

Secondly health clubs are not set up to help people achieve their goals. They are set up to provide facilities to exercise, some excellent, some average and some very poor. The majority of staff being taken on are very young with little to no experience charging £50 per hour to work you to a pulp in the gym without understanding the effects it has on your body.

Also, it takes much more than just exercise to optimise your health. Health and fitness is now big business and the focus is to maximise profit margins at the detriment to members results.

Health clubs can still be great places to go and exercise as long as you already know what you are doing or are very fortunate to join a club that has good personal trainers.

Now it might sound like I am anti-health clubs. That is not the case. I just feel that health clubs could provide a quality service, focus on members results and still make big profits. This would however require much better training of fitness staff, better quality staff, a more holistic approach including quality advice onnutrition, stress, mental, emotional and spiritual factors.

Indeed outside of London most the health club industry is already in decline. I believe this is due to the lack of results for members. London still continues to grow but London is one of the richest cities in the world.

So if you are considering joining a health club, what should you be looking for? Go with recommendations from people you know and people who have achieved results. If you are looking to use the gym ensure the gym has free weights, cable machines and a squat rack. You should also ask if they have Swiss Balls (of varying sizes), Foam Rolls and biofeedback units for use.

You may also wish to visit the health club at the times you are likely to use it to see how busy it is. There’s nothing more frustrating than rushing to the gym and having to weight several minutes to use the equipment you need for each exercise.

Ask if any of their personal trainers are CHEK trained. Don’t be afraid to ask for proof of qualifications and membership to The Register for Exercise Professionals. Also ask to see testimonials of successful members. Exercise and food have drug like effects on your body, so ensure you recieve expert help. Afterall, would you let a 21 year old tell you what medicines to take?

Convenience and personal preference is vitally important otherwise it makes it easier to drop out. Ensure you can access the facility quickly and easily from home or work and you are comfortable with the surroundings.

Alternatively, small personal training studios are beginning to open and are generally where the good personal trainers and CHEK Practitioners tend to go when they wish to progress their careers.