The 2017 version of the West Hampstead gym guide is now available.
New Year, new fitness regime? It may be a cliché, but the statistics bear out that January is the most popular time to join a gym. If you want to make sure you’re not part of the other cliché – giving up in February – then make sure you choose the right gym for your budget, lifestyle and fitness needs. Here’s the third annual West Hampstead Life gym guide to help you.
The biggest change from last year is that Gloves Boxing Club, on Broadhurst Gardens, closed in March. It’s been replaced by HIIT Gym, which took over the premises and opened in October.
Virgin Active, O2 Centre Swiss Cottage
Spacious and well-equipped, with multiple fitness studios and a pool, this is more health club than gym, which 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.
Prices have gone up a little from last year’s rates, and this year there’s no “get the rest of January free” joining offer. Both memberships include access to the gym, classes in the studio, pool and sauna.
- Full Flexi Monthly (rolling monthly contract): £102/mth + £30 joining fee
- Minimum 12-month contract membership: £95/mth + no joining fee
Movers and Shapers, 148 West End Lane, West Hampstead
Positioned as an alternative to a conventional gym, Movers and Shapers offers 30-minute intensive classes in small groups using Power Plate machines, and they have also recently added a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) studio with TRX suspension equipment. Free trials are available if you want to find out more. Read about my experience at Movers and Shapers here.
- Course of 10 classes: £149 (limited offer; classes valid for 3 months)
- Course of 20 classes: £259 (limited offer; classes valid for 6 months)
- Full Monthly membership – £125/mth (access to unlimited classes at any time)
- Off Peak Monthly membership – £99/mth (access to unlimited classes at off-peak hours: 12pm-5pm Mon-Fri, and all day Sat and Sun)
No joining or admin fees; includes initial and ongoing health consultations.
CrossFit Evolving, 50-52 Kilburn High Road (under HSBC bank)
CrossFit is a fitness philosophy that began in the US and has now spread to hundreds of CrossFit gyms (or “boxes”) across the world. It claims to help you work on all aspects of fitness through tailored workouts using a wide variety of different exercises. It’s not cheap, but if you’re looking for a serious training regimen, this may be the club for you. There are free taster sessions on Wednesday evenings if you want to see what you’re getting yourself into!
- Full, peak-hours membership: £170/mth
- Off-peak membership: £140/mth (Off-peak hours: 8am-6pm; after 8pm)
- Single, off-peak WOD (workout of the day) session: £15
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, for all of which sessions can be paid for separately. See the full price list of memberships, concessionary rates and pay-as-you-go prices on the Better website.
- Standard monthly membership, with access to gym, pool and classes: £54/mth (£55/mth from February)
- Premium monthly membership, as above + access to sauna, steam room, and other gyms and spas in the network: £77.50/mth
There’s also a joining fee of £35, though it was unclear from my phone enquiry whether this could be waived or not: “Yesterday we charged it, today we didn’t”… so it’s probably best to drop in to the centre and negotiate in person.
Bannatyne’s, Marriot Maida Vale, 4 Greville Road (just off Kilburn High Road)
This is quite a good-value choice if you’re after a gym membership that includes extras like a sauna and swimming pool. There’s also a fitness studio, and classes are included in all memberships.
- 12-month minimum contract – Off-peak (Mon-Fri 6.30am-4pm): £29.99/mth
- 12-month minimum contract – Peak (valid any time): £39.99/mth
- Flexible contract (on a rolling monthly basis, with 30 days to cancel) – Off-peak (Mon-Fri 6.30am-4pm): £36.99/mth
- Flexible contract (on a rolling monthly basis, with 30 days to cancel) – Peak (valid any time): £47.99/mth
On top of this, there’s a £25 one-off joining fee (though apparently they’ll give you a goody bag and possibly some sessions with a personal trainer “to soften the blow”) and if you want to use the gym towels, add £6 to the monthly membership fee.
HIIT Gym, 198a Broadhurst Gardens, West Hampstead
The recently-opened HIIT Gym is located in Gloves’ old premises, a cool industrial-style building that was originally the ticket office of the Metropolitan Railway. The gym’s instructors lead small classes in HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts, mixing it up with a variety of different techniques and equipment. There’s also the option to monitor your progress with a heart-rate monitor belt (available from the gym at £50). There are three levels of membership available, all on a rolling monthly basis with no contract. Free one-week trials are available if you want to try before you buy.
- Primary: £39 for 4 sessions a month
- Standard: £49 for 8 sessions a month
- Champion: £69 for unlimited sessions a month
My Fitness Boutique, West Heath Yard, 174 Mill Lane, West Hampstead
My Fitness Boutique, up by West End Green, offers some 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. Prices haven’t gone up since last year.
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
The Gym Group, Unit D2, 41 Fortune Green Road, West Hampstead
No-frills budget gym open 24/7 with card entry. There’s no need to sign up to a minimum contract.
- £20.99/mth (+ £20 joining fee)
Fit4Less, 34a-36 Kilburn High Road
Another gym with functional workout equipment and none of the luxury extras. As well as free weights and cardio machines, there’s TRX equipment and kettlebells. Personal training is available too.
- Anytime gym membership: £22.99/mth + £29.99 admin fee
- Anytime gym membership + locker hire: £32.99/mth + £29.99 admin fee
Outdoor gyms: Kilburn Grange Park, Swiss Cottage, Maygrove Peace Park
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!