Luxury athletic club with modern exercise machines

Athletic Club vs. Gym: Whats the Difference?

It’s hard to get in shape if you have limited workout space and no equipment. If this sounds like you, you may benefit from an athletic club membership. You’ve probably seen many flashy ads for 24-hour gyms, but are they everything they’re cracked up to be? Let’s break down the differences between gyms and athletic clubs to help you uncover the best fit for your needs.


Each facility offers different types of equipment and services, such as:

Cardio machines. Gyms usually have treadmills, stationary bikes and ellipticals on hand, as well as the odd StairMaster. 

While a gym might have exactly what you need to achieve your personal goals, athletic clubs tend to offer a much wider variety of options when it comes to equipment.

Athletic clubs offer your everyday cardio machines plus boxmasters, rowing machines, cycling machines, ski machines and much more. All of this equipment is regularly tested and replaced to make sure it’s running properly. 

Availability. People with busy schedules often only have a small window of time to work out each day. It can be frustrating to stop by a gym only to find that every treadmill is taken. It likely doesn’t happen every day, but when it does it’s a real bummer. 

Wellbridge clubs keep plenty of machines on hand to accommodate each member. You can usually find what you’re looking for when you want it.

Cleanliness. Have you seen cleaning staff making the rounds at your local gym? If not, you may be training on equipment that has not been properly cleaned in a while. Bathrooms are always a tell-tale sign of cleanliness, and this doesn’t just apply to gyms and athletic clubs. Bars, restaurants, office buildings… take a look at the bathroom to get a sense of how well the upkeep is anywhere you visit. At Wellbridge we ensure all equipment and member spaces are kept clean from open to close for the best athletic club experience. 


Besides training equipment, what else do gyms and athletic clubs offer?

Lockers. Your typical gym may have a locker to store a change of clothes, but you may have to bring your own lock or buy one from the gym. Athletic clubs vary from location to location, but you’ll likely have a locker included as one of the perks of your membership including a key pad or personal lock.

Showers. Showers may or may not be available at the gym you visit. This all depends on the type of gym, the types of classes they offer, the size of the establishment, and the location. If the gym is located in a business park, it will likely have a shower. If it is a smaller gym in a strip mall, it may only have changing rooms. 

Athletic clubs tend to have showers available at all locations including everything you need to get ready to start your day. This is a nice perk if you like to work out before work or on your lunch break. 

Athletic clubs are also commonly referred to as “health clubs” because they offer more than just physical training facilities. At an athletic club, you’ll find saunas, steam rooms, sometimes large pools, and cafes.

Programs, Classes, and Trainers

Depending on the type of gym, it may not offer a big selection of personal trainers, special programs or classes. They may only focus on yoga, strength training, or cycling. This is great if you tend to focus on one type of activity. 

Athletic clubs offer a wide variety of different activities included in your membership similar to a studio experience in one place. Want to try Yoga? Go for it! Feel like taking a spin class with friends? You can do that too. 

Having a wide variety of options is great for a beginner who isn’t quite sure what type of workout is right for them. If you’re a seasoned tennis player who also likes to participate in yoga classes, an Athletic club is great for you too.

Athletic clubs also offer kids programs which is a major perk for families on the go.

In many ways, an athletic club membership is more than just joining a gym. In addition to nice facilities and a wide variety of programs, athletic clubs have a strong community mindset. This helps members stay motivated, optimistic, and can help them achieve their fitness goals faster.

Ready to experience the true difference? Visit a local Wellbridge club today to learn more.