Which gym is right for you?

The 2017 version of the West Hampstead gym guide is now available.

Last January’s article about gym memberships in and around West Hampstead proved extremely popular, so I’ve updated it here with 2014’s prices. Most rates have gone up a little (it’s an extra 95p per month at Virgin Active), one has stayed the same (Movers & Shapers), and at Bannatyne’s, membership has even come down in price. As ever, you can leave comments below or tweet me (@zenw6) your thoughts and feedback.

Luxury (£££)

Virgin Active, O2 Centre Swiss Cottage

Virgin_ActiveO2

Spacious and well-equipped, with multiple fitness studios and a pool, this is more “health club” than gym, and this is reflected in the membership cost. I can imagine just going for a dip in the pool followed by a spell in the sauna or steam room, and a rest in the café afterwards. Mmm. Not that I’m recommending this as a viable fitness regime, of course.

NB There’s also a Virgin Active in Cricklewood, for those based that side of West Hampstead.

  • Full Flexi Monthly (rolling monthly contract): £99.95/mth + £30 joining fee
  • Minimum 12-month contract membership: £92/mth + remainder of January free + no joining fee

Gloves Boxing Club, 198a Broadhurst Gardens, West Hampstead
Specialised one-to-one or group training in this friendly, unintimidating boxing gym. Read about my visit to the club in 2012. Prices vary depending on class package/ type of training.

There are many different options here, covering membership or pay-as-you-go packs of 10 or 20 classes. It’s worth chatting to the team at Gloves for the package that would suit you best, but here are some example prices:

  • 10-class pack: £125
  • 12-month contracts range from £50/mth – £125/mth
  • There are also fixed-length short-term memberships of 3, 6 or 12 months.

Movers and Shapers, 148 West End Lane, West Hampstead
Positioned as an alternative to a conventional gym, Movers and Shapers offer 30-minute intensive classes in small groups using Power Plate machines. Free trials are available if you want to find out more. Read about my experience last year here.

  • Course of 10 classes: £199
  • Course of 20 classes: £369
  • Full Monthly membership – £125 per month
  • Off Peak Monthly membership – £99 per month

No joining or admin fees; includes initial and ongoing health consultations

Until the end of February 2014, West Hampstead Life readers can claim £25 off any of the above memberships*. Simply go in to the West Hampstead branch of Movers & Shapers and mention that you saw the offer on the website.
*offer available to new customers only

Mid-range (££)

Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre, Adelaide Road, Swiss Cottage
A Camden-run sports centre with plenty of equipment – I visited on a Saturday afternoon and thought it was busy but didn’t notice queues for any machines. There are lots of classes too, though the popular ones get very booked up. The standard membership covers access to gym, classes and pool. There’s also a climbing wall, sports hall and squash courts, sessions in which can be paid for separately.

  • Standard monthly membership, with access to gym, pool and classes (no minimum contract): £51.80/mth (no joining fee in January)
  • Premium monthly membership, as above + access to sauna, steam room, and other gyms in the network (no minimum contract): £54/mth (no joining fee in January)
  • PAYG: £32.90 membership for Camden residents + one-off payments of £6.50 gym/ £4.25 swim/ £7.25 class

Bannatyne’s, Marriot Maida Vale, 4 Greville Road (off Kilburn High Road)
Bizarrely, membership here is structured around whether or not you get a towel each time you work out. There was a huge stack of them behind the reception desk when I walked in, and very white and fluffy they looked too. There’s a gym, fitness studio and 25m pool. If you’re a Kilburn-based towel fetishist, this is the place for you.

  • Minimum 6-month contract (WITH TOWELS): £58/mth (+ £20 joining fee)
  • Monthly membership (NO TOWELS), no minimum contract: £39/mth (+ £40 joining fee) – offer valid until the end of January. From February, this membership is £49/mth.

My Fitness Boutique, West Heath Yard, 174 Mill Lane, West Hampstead
My Fitness Boutique, up by West End Green, offers around 50 classes a week including Zumba, spinning, yoga and circuits. All are pay-as-you-go, so if you like trying out different classes without having to commit to a contract, this is a good choice.

Example prices (from website):

  • Introductory 5-class package (intro offer only): £25
  • Single class: £12
  • 30-day pack (unlimited classes): £75
  • 90-day pack: (unlimited classes) £165

Budget (£)

The Gym Group, Unit D2, 41 Fortune Green Road, West Hampstead
No-frills budget gym open 24/7 with card entry.

  • £20.99/mth (+ £20 joining fee)

Fit4Less, 34a-36 Kilburn High Road
If you can see past the garish bright green walls, and aren’t bothered about classes or a swimming pool, this new no-frills gym might be for you. Friendly staff were on hand to answer questions on my visit, and personal training is available too. Initial feedback on Twitter has been positive.

  • £19.99/mth + £29.99 joining fee

Outdoor gyms: Kilburn Grange Park, Swiss Cottage, Maygrove Peace Park

SwissCottageOutdoorGym
I must admit I haven’t tried these, but they look like a great idea. According to Camden’s website, they are “suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels”, so give them a go next time you’re out for a run! Best of all, they’re free!

  • MrFrisbee

    You missed the outdoor gym at the Peace Park off Maygrove Road.

    • Good point – we’ll add it in

    • brianw100

      These ‘outdoor gyms’ seem to be just an excuse to get public money and make councillors feel they are ‘doing something’ for public health. The machines are totally impractical (my other half is a REPS level 3 trainer).

      Outdoor gyms, such as that at Peace Park off Maygrove Road should be treated as modern art, not gym equipment!

      • MrFrisbee

        You and your other half are missing the point then. They are not there to create Olympic athletes, they are there to promote activity and encourage people to do something a bit more active than sitting on their arse all day. If this is a small first step that then leads to proper exercise then great. There is no viable alternative except putting nothing there – they are vandal proof and have to be basic as a result. I do think the one in Maygrove is rather hidden as the park rarely has people in it.

      • brianw100

        I wonder whether the money could have been better spent? Perhaps arranging free ‘get fit’ classes at local Gyms? Or subsidising membership for those on benefits?

        Camden has built 9 outdoor gyms. Four questions:
        1. How much did they cost?
        2. How many people actually use them?
        3. What is the cost per user?
        4. Is that better value for money than alternative programmes for getting fit (or giving the money back to the tax payer for each individual to spend as they see wish?)

        Brian

  • Nick Hudgell

    As a member of fit4less it’s actually much better than many other gyms I’ve been to. Well looked after and plenty of good equipment!

    There is also Crossfit Evolving Kilburn that has opened up next to HSBC on KHR. Expensive (what crossfit box isn’t..) but good. The box is small, but great for Kilburn!

    • Nicky J.

      Thanks for your feedback – I was also pleasantly surprised by Fit4Less. Lots of equipment and friendly staff too.

      I didn’t know about Crossfit coming to Kilburn – will have to check it out soon!

  • Skeleton O’Rourke

    I’ve still not had a refund or even polite explanation from The Gym regarding their overcharging and reneging on pricing plans – have been charged an extra £5 per month for a couple of years now. Their conduct when I’ve queried this has been absolutely disgusting and utterly disdainful, despite my presenting them with clear evidence of the original agreement. Avoid!

    • brianw100

      I think that “The Gym” is excellent. 100yds from my house, and I am still on the £14.99/mth ‘founder member’ rate. OK, so the rate did go up from the original £9.99/mth, but only after 12 months.

      • Skeleton O’Rourke

        If they’re honouring their promise to you, Brian, that’s as it should be. For those who’ve not been treated similarly, the low cost / 12-month period before price change is not the point. They have absolutely no right whatsoever to start charging a different price, especially having used the ‘lock-in for life’ as a selling point in the first place.

      • brianw100

        I can’t see any ‘lock-in for life’ clause in my contract from ‘The Gym’, but maybe you have a different contract from me.

        I am sure that you will win your case when you take it to a small claims court.

        Let us know when you win your case.

        Brian

  • Victoria Carrington

    Can I mention the Charteris Sports Centre on Charteris Road just the other side of Kilburn High Road? It used to be council run but they closed it. Now it’s community run in partnership with two local schools. A lovely guy called Clem is overseeing the community side and there is a good if basic gym that is open weekdays 6pm-10pm and weekends 10am-6pm. The initial joining fee is I think £15 and then it is pay as you go £2.50 a time (you buy a book of 10 tickets at a go). I highly recommend it in the budget group and Clem is friendly and very good at offering training advice around the weights machines etc. They also have changing and shower facilities and local sports groups can hire out a large hall in the evenings too.

  • Simone Pallini

    does anybody knows a good and cheap place to do crossfit