Facilities and services
Main workout area
A gym which predominately or exclusively consists of free weights (dumbbells and barbells), as opposed to exercise machines, is sometimes referred to as a black-iron gym, after the traditional color of weight plates.
A cardio theater or cardio area includes many types of cardiovascular training-related equipment such as rowing machines, stationary exercise bikes, elliptical trainers and treadmills. These areas often include a number of audio-visual displays (either integrated into the equipment, or placed on walls around the area itself) in order to keep exercisers entertained during long cardio workout sessions.
Group exercise classes
Most newer health clubs offer group exercise classes that are conducted by certified fitness instructors. Many types of group exercise classes exist, but generally these include classes based on aerobics, cycling (spin cycle), boxing or martial arts, high intensity training, step, regular and hot (Bikram) yoga, pilates, muscle training, and self-defense classes such as Krav Maga and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Health clubs with swimming pools often offer aqua aerobics classes. The instructors often must gain certification in order to teach these classes and ensure participant safety.
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Levels of services and offerings
Health clubs offer many services, and as a result the monthly membership prices can vary greatly. A recent study clubs found that the monthly cost of membership ranged from US$15 per month at basic chain clubs that offer limited amenities to over US$200 per month at spa-oriented clubs that cater to families and to those seeking social activities in addition to a workout . In addition, some clubs - such as many local YMCAs - offer per-use punchcards or one-time fees for those seeking to use the club on an as-needed basis.
Costs can vary through the purchase of a higher-level membership, such as a Founders or a Life membership. Such memberships often have a high up-front cost but a lower monthly rate, making them potentially beneficial to those who use the club frequently and hold their memberships for years. Health Tips for Today - Health and Fitness Club.
An early public gymnasium started in Paris (France) in 1847. But Scott Roberts traces the history of health clubs for the general public to 1947 in Santa Monica, California.
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