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Pros and Cons of Private Gyms

Pros and Cons of Private Gyms

When we think of a ‘gym’, we all have certain expectations. Gyms are great if you need a lot of equipment or weight, space, and options, but are not right for everyone. 

Private gyms can offer many benefits as well. Below are some pros and cons to consider before making your next move.

Did You Know? 

The pandemic has changed many things, one of which is our habits around leaving the house. For example, revenue declined 22% in gyms and health centers in 2021 compared to 2019, but increased by 66% in the online fitness industry.

However gyms continue to be an important part of our day, with over 200,000 gyms and/or clubs in US, with an industry value of over $87 billion worldwide. 

The industry has also been growing by 8.7% in recent years, reflecting the benefits of exercise for mental as well as physical health.

Why People Use Gyms 

  • Big Equipment. Most of us (75%) use the strength training machines, suggesting this is a big draw. Equipment that is large and expensive is difficult to have at your home without a dedicated space and knowledge of use.
  • Interest in health. As of 2022, 39% of people in US are gym members. This suggests almost half of us are showing an interest in our health.
  • Lose Weight. Almost half of those gym members (41%) want to lose weight. The wide array of options includes cardio equipment, circuit training, classes, weights, as well as yoga.
  • Improve physical health. The rest want to gain strength or muscle, stay in shape, or improve a medical condition. People tend to associate going to the gym with physical health and improved strength and fitness. 
  • Improve mental health. There are now also known benefits of exercise for mental health, with mediation of depression, anxiety, and stress, as well as reduced risk for Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
Exercising Pictures | Download Free Images on Unsplash

Why Use a Private Gym

  • More value. They provide more personalized services, a more comfortable atmosphere, and better results. Since only 34% of gym-goers are happy with price-performance ratio of their gym, this suggests a gap between the amount people are paying and the value they are receiving. 
  • More Flexibility. This was a benefit during the pandemic, with a la carte options and pay-by-session. According to, budget gyms and boutique studios have continued to do well despite the decline of gyms due to lower cost options. 
  • Better Results. According to a Journal of Strength and Conditioning Association study, working with a personal trainer can improve results. For example, chest press strength improved by 42% vs. 19% in self-trained individuals, and 7% vs. 0.3% increase in aerobic capacity (i.e. cardio).
  • Less intimidating. Many women find it difficult to go to gyms, with one recent UK Poll of 2,000 adults showing women are twice as likely (28%) as men (16%) to find a gym intimidating. Men are also twice as likely to feel completely comfortable in a gym (15% of men vs. 7% of women).
  • Less stressful. Even though exercising is supposed to relieve stress and anxiety, 10% of women say going to a gym increased stress, and 7% said they felt even worse afterwards.  Nearly half of women (49%) were most apprehensive about the free weights and weight-based machines. Over half the women surveyed (61%) said they would prefer to work out in a female-only space. 
  • More comfortable. Men and women alike also feel uncomfortable and not able to concentrate on their workout in gyms, and thus may not be getting the most out of their time. For example, the survey also showed reasons for finding gyms stressful include lack of exercise knowledge (26% in women vs. 16% in men), feeling uncomfortable (26% in women vs. 19% in men), and for women as though they are being stared at (22%), and for men finding equipment intimidating (17%).
Personal Trainer Pictures [HQ] | Download Free Images on Unsplash

Main Point

Gyms offer many options but can be intimidating and uncomfortable. Private gyms are more limited in options but offer more flexibility and better results. 


Katy Harris MSPH, CSCS is a Master of Public Health, Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, health and wellness business owner, and ultimate player who runs the WellLife Studio in Chapel Hill, NC.


Kolmar, Chris. “22 Fitness Industry Statistics [2022]: Trends, Growth, and Market.” Zippia 22 Fitness Industry Statistics 2022 Trends Growth And Market Comments, 30 Apr. 2022, 

Millington, Hannah. “Nearly Twice as Many Women as Men Find the Gym Intimidating.” Yahoo! News, Yahoo!, 9 Mar. 2022,

Stasha, Smiljanic. “Fitness Industry Statistics for 2021: Policy Advice.” Fitness Industry Statistics for 2021 | Policy Advice | Policy Advice, 29 Sept. 2022, 

Storer, Thomas, et al. “Effect of Supervised, Periodized Exercise Training vs. Self-Directed Training on Lean Body Mass and Other Fitness Variables in Health Club Members.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 

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