Joining a Gym (Gimnasio) 2010

I had previously written about joining a gym in Buenos Aires, but now that I’m in a new neighborhood (and that post is almost two years old), I thought it was a good time to update it.

This time around, I checked out three different gyms in my area. Two of them, Megatlon and Sport Club, are chains that have numerous locations throughout the city. The third, Balance Health Club, only has one location.

Once again, Megatlon Belgrano was by far the nicest, most expensive and pretentious of the three. I still think a lot of people just go there to be seen.  They have the most, newest and highest quality machines and equipment.  They were also the busiest of the gyms I looked at.

Their month-to-month price is a shocking AR $370, which compares to many NYC health clubs.  Prices get a bit cheaper if you sign up for their 6 month package at AR $1830 or their 12 month package at AR $2640.  Personal training sessions are around AR $50 per hour.  If you join Megatlon, you’re also able to use all their other locations provided that are at the same or lower level than the one you joined.  They currently have four levels of clubs: VIP, VIP Plus, Platino and Platino Plus.

The 6 month membership cost at Megatlon represents a 28% increase over their 2008 prices, however the original price I found was for Megatlon Alto Palermo, a Platino Plus club, while the Belgrano club is only a Platino level.  I’m sure that the Alto Palermo price has increased even more.

Sport Club Cabildo was also nice with a wide-range of equipment and classes. Like Megatlon, if you join one location, you can also use their other locations at the same or lower level than yours.  Their month-to-month price in cash is AR $350, however if you choose the auto-debit plan on your credit card, the price goes down to only AR $175 per month. You must complete 8 months at this price though or you’ll be charged an additional month if you cancel.  They do not offer personal trainers, but have gym trainers who can put together a routine for you.

Balance Health Club was pretty basic compared to the other two but did offer a good range of classes.  Their price was AR $100/month if you only wanted to use the machines and AR $140/month for both the machines and classes.

These second-tier clubs often have less and older equipment as well as fewer classes, but usually meet ones basic needs.  Since they did not have any membership commitment, I decided to join for a month and see whether it worked for me. Although I will say, walking into Megatlon definitely makes you want to be there…

Some things to note about all the clubs:

  • They will all charge you a one-time fee for your membership card.  This price was AR $30 at each place.
  • You will need a medical exam shortly after joining.  You can get this from your own doctor or use one of the gym’s doctors who schedule an exam for around AR $40.
  • None of the gyms are open on Sundays. A strange phenomenon compared to the US, but perfectly normal here.