No, Classes are Part of Membership

The majority of respondents who felt that fitness facilities should not charge extra for special group classes felt that these classes should be included as part of membership. Says one such respondent, “I do not think an extra fee should be charged for specialty classes. A membership fee should include the privilege of attending any class on the schedule — even specialty classes.”

A few others agree. Says one, “I do not think health clubs should charge extra for specialty group exercise classes…. A membership package that is all-inclusive, except for special services like massage therapy and personal training, is usually easier to sell.”

Says another, “If [a] health club wants to allow people the opportunity to … enjoy all that the club has to offer…, these classes should be a part of membership. If people are hesitant to try something new, why would they pay for it? Free trial classes are fine, but do not always fit into someone’s schedule….”

Some respondents feel that it is the responsibility of the club to budget for the extra cost of these classes, instead of passing the fees along to members: “Clubs should not charge for specialty group exercise classes. Their monthly/annual rates should be set at a level that covers enough of their costs to [include] those classes….”

Another agrees: “All classes should be included. It is a real turnoff to [be] charged more so that a facility can recoup money for the ‘extra’ equipment for these classes. Why not budget the money to run the classes, rather than charge the participants?”

One respondent feels that instructor selection and training plays a role in this debate: “… Health clubs charge for specialty group exercise classes to pay for better quality instructors…. Let’s focus on improved procedures in staff selection, training and programming. Give members what they want — great classes all the time. They already paid for it.”