KISS Gyms | Not So Budget…

| 22/06/2012 | 60 Comments More

The smile on the face was before she was told there was a £20 fee for her fitness programme

A number of budget gyms have recently spouted up in the hard ecconomical times that we are having right now, offering what seems to be cheap gym memberships affordable to everyone, but is this really true???

Ive checked out my local budget gym in Swindon called Kiss Gyms, they are a small chain of gyms saying they are offering cheap affordable memberships.

£14.99 per month! Bargin, sounds good so far, book in pay for your membership get a free induction on how to use the kit and youre off…  Yeh thats right, that is all you get, want nutritional advice? £20 please, want a standard gym induction? £20 please.  Then there is the £20 joining fee also.

So the gym membership per month is now not £14.99 per month but if you want what comes as standard in most of the other gyms such as Nuffields and Virgin etc that charge a higher membership fee your first month will end up costing you an extra £40 as everyone wants a fitness programme to follow and initial nutritional advice, so your first months membership comes in at a staggering £74.99 for what comes as standard in all other gyms.  There on you will need a need updated fitness programme every 5-6weeks to keep you on track which will bring your monthly gym membership to almost £24.99 per month which is about the same price as some of the larger health clubs but they also offer swimming pool, steam, sauna, jaccuzi, cafe lounge bar, and much more.

Kiss Gyms have it seems gone down the lines of the Budget Airlines, on the surface its cheap as chips, but then its £20 for your luggage and extra for every other service which is included in the price of normal price airlines…  Looking at the price you not only get the same value by trading up for a better quality health club, but you get far more for your money and at the same price.

Id think again if you are looking at the budget gym in your town and check out the other clubs and see for yourself, Budget Gyms dont actually work out Budget!

Price Comparisson with Nuffields Greenbridge:

  Nuffields Kiss Gyms
Joining Fee FREE £20
Gym Induction FREE FREE
Fitness Programme FREE £20
Pool Yes No
Sauna/Steam/Jaccuzi Yes No
Cafe Lounge Bar Yes No
Classes 22 1
Nutrition Programme FREE £20
Monthly Membership £34 £14.99
Total First Month Cost £34 £74.99
Average Monthly Cost £34 £24.99
Annual Cost £408 £349.88

By Mike Buss | Celebrity Trainer

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Category: BLOG

Comments (60)

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  1. Rupert says:

    I think this is the first negative feedback we’ve ever had Mike, so I’m surprised!

    I started Kiss Gyms with the view of providing people with the most amazing gym experience and at an incredible price – a super honest offering.

    I’m not convinced you can argue with £14.99 pcm on a no contract basis, for what we have created for you in Swindon: the look, the feel, the design, the space, the parking – all available 24 hrs

    We’re not another tired old gym, where under investment has you being charged for tatty old gym equipment, along with stuffy air and mouldy showers – all at more than double our price.

    No, what we’ve set out to create a super high spec environment, with a fabulous designer funky feel, combined with state of the art gym equipment – please drop anytime to see for yourself.

    We also have amazing personal trainers, who yes, do charge for their services – but this is the one an only optional extra. To me this seems a far fairer system than everyone else subsidising peripheral costs.

    Over delivering on expectations is the more consistent feedback along with incredible value for money (find us on facebook to see for yourself) hence my surprise at this post!


    Rupert Mackenzie Hill
    Founder, Kiss Gyms

    • mikebuss says:

      Ive been to Kiss Gym in Swindon, its new fresh, the kit I wouldnt go as far as state of the art, but it is good, I would put the likes of Esporta etc in the arena of state of the art kit in their clubs, but Kiss and other buget gyms are not in that arena and would be comparing apples with oranges.

      But the problem with yours and other gyms now going down this line of no staff (so no staff wages) which means you can get away with lowering the cost of the membership, but the down sid eon this is that you rely on personal trainers giving their time for free to work the gym floor and they dont work for free, so everything they do there is a charge.

      I know one of the personal trainers in your Swindon gym and he is good, there is no dispute but my article is about price comparison and value for money, £14.99 sound great on the surface but then as stated you have to pay if you want nutrition advice, you have to pay if you want a fitness programme produced for you and this is where I compare these sort of gyms to the Easy Jets and Ryan Airs, everything is an optional extra.

      Where your gym is great is when you have a member who knows what they are doing doesnt need any help and trains hard and is highly motivated, so doesnt need gym programmes.
      Gym programmes in clubs like Nufields are FREE, yes you have to pay a £35 monthly membership but you dont have to pay any extra for programmes and nutritional advice etc. This is where if you add things up gyms like Kiss only come out about £50 less per year than a gym that has a pool, exercise studio, sauna, steam and spa etc.

      The concept of the buget gym sounds great and for some it will be but I still stand by my findings, Ive been to Kiss Swindon, Ive been into a few other local gyms that are following suit and I dont see the customer care or service you get from the higher gym membership and when 75% of gym members end up quiting or just stop going and still keep paying within just 12weeks of joining a gym on average – these people need support, and staff around to give them the attention they need to keep coming back and stay motivated.

      Buget Gyms are possibly booming in this current economic climate but I dont see them lasting forever.

      Kiss Gym Swindon is a place I would train and enjoy training, but I am highly motivated and addicted, and know exactly what Im doing to reach my goals without help.

      • Rupert says:

        Thank you Mike, a balanced response.

        Two things I would disagree with if I may (and we can agree to disagree!) but our gym equipment really is top of the range, and is getting better all the time. Our next lot of strength equipment costs around twice what you’d find in the mid to upper end clubs (delighted to give you many examples).

        And secondly, our personal trainers really are at an elite level, and numerous. In part because of the high spec, busy environment we offer them, but also specifically because they are self-employed, which has a self policing effect: the bad ones move on, the good and super motivated ones stay. Critically you will always find personal trainers (a dozen or so) cover the busy times, whether 6am, or 11pm, which is much much better levels of service (and motivation for members) to most operators, few of whom are even open at these times!

        I’m serious about my own fitness (including Wales Iron Man last year) so this is so much more than a business; it’s a chance to change the face of gyms in the UK forever, and frankly there is much room for improvement. I hope we succeed.

        • Frank says:

          Hi I joined kiss gym I went in for an induction to the equipment I got ten mins not the 1/2 hr free as per your site, I was told that any more I had to pay. I also spent two hrs and didn’t see any personal trainers around someone was looking for one for about 3/4 hr, when they found one all hell broke lose I also found that some of the running machines didn’t work.

    • Rupert

      “We’re not another tired old gym, where under investment has you being charged for tatty old gym equipment, along with stuffy air and mouldy showers – all at more than double our price.”

      I run a gym in Swindon called Pro Strength and Fitness, it’s one of those gyms that has a mix of old and new equipment, the old equipment is maintained although i see you assume its all tired, and the showers aren’t mouldy. However i take alot offence to this comment you have made.

      My gym has the British champion Juniour Bodybuilder and 4th Strongest Man in the world training there, we have boxers, MMA fighters and Rugby players, gymnasts and many other athletes and general users. We have many specialised pieices of equipment not found in many gyms.
      We might not have a “fabulous Funky Feel” as you say but i wasnt aware that a fabulous fucky feel made squatting or running on a treadmill more productive. The fact is our members want results and they get them. We have a motivating feel in the gym as that atmosphere can’t be bought of made with any amount of investment.

      • mikebuss says:

        Totally agree with you here… who needs funky and fabulous??? It doesnt make you fitter! Ive heard plenty of great things about your gym, its the sort of gym you get fit in, not ponce about in… All gyms of all types have their place, and its down to the individual to go for what suits them.

        Personally I dont think the Budget type gyms offer a great service to the masses, but do offer a great service to the guys that really know how to workout and not need advice.

        If someone is going for the more budget and affordable gym, then I think if they are happy with lower spec kit, and non funky and fabulous but want serious resuls then to go to a gym like yours and mine is far more worth the money. As owners we care more than the employed mamagers, we have to if we want to survive at the very leaset, but we tend to be far more passionate about what we do.

        There is certainly nothing funky about my gym, its not fancy, its small but delivers on results every time! SO all the best of luck and stay doing what you are doing and stay non-fabulous at Pro Strength

        • Thanks Mike

          Were you aware that top of the range kit costing twice as much as other clubs is actually better. A chest press 10 years old working properly is the same as a brand new one. Some older ones are actually better. Is a treadmill better nowadays. Maybe the modern ones play dvds or suck out your fat, i thought a belt that revolves can only evolve so much but apparently if you pay twice as much purchasing kit it must be better. As for training at a gym with numerous self employed personal trainers available, that is only better service if you pay for it. This is the point of this article. I’m sure these trainers aren’t giving away loads of free advice,

          • mikebuss says:

            Thats OK mate,
            Simple is more often best, fancy treadmills have never got anyone fit, Id love to find someone that could actually prove different, but I never will… Equipment like kettlebells are some of the most effective pieces of kit a gym can have but many wont have them and go for the fancy options.

            Maybe we are in the minority, maybe we think proper fitness training, excellent customer service and very hands on approach is all wrong and we should just conform and leave gyms empty of staff most of the time the gym is open and not even employ staff to walk the floor in normal hours and get free lance trainers to cover hours who will be more interested in gaining PT clients than the bigger picture of the gym member experience.

            If you want to be left alone and know what you are doing many of these budget gyms are just the ticket for you, but we all know that over 75% of all gym goers do not have the knowledge to get fit, loose weight and reach their goals.

    • Dee says:

      Dear Rupert,

      I live in the West London area and have had some health problems over the past 2 years which meant i couldnt keep up with my fitness routine after sucessfully losing 2.5 stone.

      I had been searching around for a gym to replace my local who had increased their fees. I bumped into former members who told me about Kiss Acton which at the time was £14.99 pcm which i’m sure was just a year ago. In October i visited Kiss Acton and was really pleased with what i saw and decided to sign up as soon as i could.

      I wasnt able to do it immeadiately but kept my eye on the membership price though January 2013 looking on the web that was £15.99 with a joining fee of £10.00 after discount. I’ve now gone online today to sign up and used the promo code which reduced the joining fee from £25.00 to £12.50 and the monthly price of gym pcm is now £24.99. I am devastated, how is this possible? I am on a modest income and really looked forward to joining the gym at this price of £15.99 plus JF, which would of been affordable. I appreciate that you are running a business, but how does this justify such a price hike? From £16-£25 in one leap. We are not even at the end of the financial year. It feels awful to read some of the comments lower down with members boasting of their £16 per month fee, surely they are not now paying £25.00 or maybe they are?

      I am sorry to vent my frustration here but i saw this post and felt i needed to contribute.

      Kind regards


  2. Vivi says:

    I moved to London a year ago and since then I have been looking for a reasonably priced gym in the area with absolutely no success. I just want to go the Gym, I know what I want to do there so I don’t need instructor, I don’t need anything else but equipment and long opening times because I like to work out late in the evening. The closest gym we have is Virgin for 80 pounds a month which I find outrageous since I have no intention of going to classes, using instructors or swimming. So, I thought it’s impossible to find just a cheap gym to go to and gave up looking until …

    Tonight at 7 pm we decided we want to do something in the area and very luckily we found KissGym just a few blocks away from our place, we paid online for a one visit pass (the very reasonable 5,50) and 10 minutes later we were at the Gym.

    My first impression –

    1. The website – absolutely crystal clear information on the website about prices, opening times and everything else, 30 seconds to get a instant pass to the gym

    2. Gym entrance – just remember your PIN and in seconds you are in the gym

    3. Gym – spacious, great brand new equipment, not crowded, great music, great feel at the place! Also, I very much liked that there is no staff, so you feel very independent and everyone is minding their business – great!

    4. I wanted to highlight the 24/7 access to the Gym – absolutely fabulous!

    So, in conclusion, I think that article is very unfair – KissGym IS low cost, great solution for people who just want to use the facilities of a gym with nothing else, so to me it will be absolutely budget and all I will pay is 20 joining fee and from then after 15 pcm for something I have always wanted but never able to find in the UK!

    So, thank you KissGym and I wish you all the best for the future! Your unique selling point is very strong so I believe in your success!!!

    • mikebuss says:

      You have just said exactly what I said, Kiss Gyms like all these Budget Gyms are great for a certain person… Me & You, we know what we want, we dont need help, we know what we are doing and we just want to get in and train hard.
      We however are known as the 20percenters, basically 20% of the average gym, is made up of the hardcore gym goer, the people that need no motivation, no help, we can get on and train hard and know what we are doing.
      But for the 80% of gym goers that need help, that need support, need training programmes, Kiss Gyms then stops being so budget and then becomes for the average person to get the service that for example Nufields offer (See my article comparison chart) just £60 per year cheaper.

      So you have just answered exactly what I have said, I am a member of a private health club, luckily Im sponsored by them, otherwise Id have to pay a premium, but I get a pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, steam, classes if I want to do them. If I wanted a programme its FREE, if I wanted nutrition advice its FREE, its part of the membership.
      If I want a programme at Kiss Gyms its £20

      I agree its a nice gym, its a gym I would train in, Ive already stated this, but for the 80% of gym goers, its not as cheap as it seems.

  3. Debbie says:

    I have used a fair few gyms and never felt comfortable in any of them, I have never stayed more than a few months and never had any motivation until I joined Kiss. I pay the £10 per month rate and I also pay for a personal trainer and both are worth every penny, as a result I look and feel better, I have more staminar and strength than I have had in years, the gym is not full of pretentious preeners and I happen to know that there are a large number of unemployed people using the gym and they do not use personal trainers. In fact every time I use the gym there must be 20 or more people working out without a trainer! So whilst I can see that for some it may seem expensive, in my experience you get what you pay for. I wish I had found someone to train me years ago, hey ho! I have now and the experience has helped me expand my fitness horizons so I for one am very happy to pay my membership and my trainer and when the time comes that I don’t feel the need for a trainer, my membership will be all that I have to pay. The only thing this gym lacks that I would like to have use of is a swimming pool but to be honest so many people use the gym that the pool would probably be packed and I wouldn’t use it anyway! And in addition to all this the gym is walking distan e from work, no excuses needed anymore. Kiss you rock as they say 🙂 good job!

    • mikebuss says:

      Again you are a good example of what I am saying, Kiss Gyms and other Budget Gyms charge you for fitness programmes and nutrition advice which the likes of Nuffields include in your membership, of course PT is extra in all gyms… I dont say Kiss Gyms is a bad gym, infact Ive already said that it is the sort of gym I can walk into and just get on with a good workout, but for most who do not know what they are doing, and need a programme regularly etc, this adds to the monthly membership and then it does not work as a cheap membership option.

      • Alista says:

        It may add up to the monthly membership cost but still cheaper than the rest. I also pay £10 per month and have a personal trainer who i pay for but it is by far the best i have been to and felt most comfortable in. i have been to almost every single gym in swindon, 24HR GYM charge you WAAYYYYY to much i mean it is ridiculously, fitness first and all the other gyms i have been to are nowhere near as good as kiss.

        Keep up the good work Rupert Mackenzie Hill

        • mikebuss says:

          Again you have just said exactly what I have said already… Though your facts are definitly wrong.

          A membership at Kiss Gyms being £14.99 per month, without a personal trainer looking after you which of course you would be paying for in any gym, budget or not.

          You are being looked after by a personal trainer so Kiss Gyms is great for you, if you are a seasoned gym goer that knows what they are doing again Kiss Gyms is great for you, but the average gym goer that will not have a personal trainer will need a gym programme and nutritional advice and thats when a £14.99 gym membership per month becomes far more expensive! and almost as much as a full membership to Nufields for example.

          Kiss Gyms operate like Easy Jet, everything is extra, £20 for a gym programme, £20 for a nutritional consultation, why? because this work is left to the personal trainers in the gym and they charge you for everything they do and rightly so.

          So yes Kiss Gyms is a good club, good kit, fresh look, modern but this is only good for the member that doesnt need help or like yourself has a personal trainer.

          • Alista says:

            I understand what you are trying to say here, a lot of people signed up for the £10 per month promotional offer and i myself pay only £20 for 6 months for personal trainer which is about £3.30 per month.
            this review is based on price am i right? you compared prices between kiss and “nufffields” and yet at the end kiss gym is still cheaper by about £58 per year.
            Your argument is flawed 🙂

  4. James McCallum says:

    Hi, Just joined last month, excellent concept. I dont want to pay £30-£40 per month to use gym equipment. I know what I want to do, most gym instructors just walk round, clean and chat. Not many are qualified to give nutritional advice and the fitness program costing 20, if i need it then it would last me two or three months any way. Absolutely love Kiss gym, glad I joined. and I am a studio instructor and have used many gyms as part of my job.

    • mikebuss says:

      Yet again some one who knows what they are doing in the gym and dont need any help who goes to Kiss Gym backing Kiss Gym.
      I will repeat myself for I cant remember how many times incase you missed it – I know what I am doing, I dont need any help, I can motivate myself and know all I need to know about nutrition at a high level, so I dont need support from the more expensive gyms. So like Ive said a few times now, Kiss Gyms is a place I personally would go if I wanted to train.

      But not once has someone replied defending Kiss Gyms fall into the category of most gym goers who have not got a clue what they are doing, who need a regular gym training programme and nutrition advice who to them the £14.99 per month would not be £14.99, they would be adding £25 to their membership every time they wanted a training programme, nutrtional advice etc and this is when the likes of Kiss Gyms becomes not so budget after all.

  5. Clive says:

    As a person who is looking to join a gym I would say so far Kiss Gyms comes out on top. Not only is their price very attractive but their website is first class.
    Nuffields website is impossible to navigate. I gave up trying to find a page where it detailed prices.
    My local 24hr Gym charges £35 a month! Kiss charges half that.
    I think 75% of people probably just go to the gym to work out. They aren’t interested in personal trainers or nutritional advice.

    And as the person above pointed out your argument is flawed. Kiss is still cheaper than Nuffields. And by my reasoning – wanting to go to the gym and just get on with it without being told what to eat or how many reps to do – a kiss membership would cost me £179.88 a year

    If I joined a nuffields I would have to find an extra £220.

    It’s Kiss all the way.

    • mikebuss says:

      There is nothing flawed about this article, and if you actually read my comments as well as the article you might just get it, as for you comment about 75% Id love to know where you get your fact based info from as Ive been in the industry for 24yrs.

      I however can pull figures out that are fact… We in the industry call the people we dont even have to say hello to to keep members, the 5percenters, 5% of members that know exactly what they are doing, need no help and would rather be just left alone anyway so they can just get on with it.

      75% of members in gyms across the UK quit their membership or just stop going though they still pay the direct debit within 12weeks of joining a gym… This is due to lack of motvation and could be sorted if we just had gyms that would think about customer service and retention rather than sales.

      This 75% group, need a gym programme, this is not a personal trainer job, this is catered for in most gyms by the gym instructor and in the likes of Nufields, members get this service for FREE, not so in Kiss Gyms as they leave this to the Personal Trainers, and they charge for this service… For an effective training programme it needs to be updated every 4 to 6weeks, otherwise the programme becomes boring, unmotivating and just out of date to the persons fitness level and ability.

      Nufields does still cost more, but I have highlighted the value for money – all that you get for free at Nufields is worth more, it has a pool, steam, jacuzi etc, and yes some people will not want that and if you are one of these people that actually knows what they are doing, doesnt need a programme wrote for them then Kiss is the gym for you, but for most people this is not the case.

      Looks like you along with a few other people commenting need to actually read before commenting, I keep having to repeat the same old thing… Kiss is a good gym, a gym I personally would use, but for the average gym goer they would be best off going to a more customer related gym.

      If you have a PT at kiss or any gym, of course the results will be good whatever gym you go to, it doesnt matter where you are if you have a PT working with you.

      But when 75% of members leave in 12weeks the figures show they reality of the average member and their need for support by at the very least a gym instructor giving them a programme and support

  6. Will says:

    In the Acton area there are several gyms:

    Fitness First – Acton High Street – Not been to it but I hear it is relatively cramped. I think FF is around £45-£50.

    Virgin Active – I have been a member twice. It is expensive at £90 or so a month. Good equipment but poser central and with facilities many people never use such as Igloo and Creche.

    The Park Club – They seem to keep the price quite guarded (i.e. cannot see it on the website). I did talk to them once and from memory it was around £150pcm. So very expensive. By reputation it has excellent facilities and if I had money to burn I would join in a flash as the 25m heated pool sounds great.

    New – Kiss Gym – Good facilities (no pool). £16pcm

    I think this was clearly a gap in the local market. If you need igloo, creche, heated outdoor pool etc these are catered for at other places.

    However I suspect the average user of THIS gym, not all gyms, but THIS gym will generally know what they are doing. If not they can opt for an induction. However if someone really wants a proper fitness programme they will need more than an induction anyway – they will need a personal trainer. And that is an extra at all the above gyms.

    I do therefore think the main Blogg article above is unfair in its premise, in its analysis and in its judgement (as has been pointed out in numerous comments above).

    So I think it is a good new initiative and I look forward to giving it a try. Their website is an interesting read and they seem genuinely passionate about their new business (the bit about “we don’t have a Reception filled with chewing gum chewing staff ignoring you” made me chuckle).

    However – for now – I am fully obsessed with doing British Military Fitness in the great outdoors. However much they recycle the air in a gym it still can’t be as fresh as Gunnersbury Park or Wormwood Scrubs on a cold, winter’s morning like today! (£50 per month for unlimited sessions – not cheap but in my view best value for money of all the above).

    • mikebuss says:

      What you are comparing Kiss to there is totally chalk and cheese, these clubs are at the high end and no one there would ever consider being seen dead in Kiss or any other budget gym, they arent really there to get fit even but just to ponse about.

      Fitness First in most areas like Swindon is around £20per month and again good facilities like Kiss but they have gone down the lines of free lance PTs and no staff or very limited staff, which means most of the time you have to ask a PT there and they will charge you for their services, so would be cheaper at Kiss and get the same.

      BUT Nufields in Swindon at £35 per month, everything like programmes, inductions, nutrition advice is all free, and at Kiss you have to pay a PT for this as they have no staff to speak of. The PTs give 10hrs of their week to Kiss as a form of rent and so when someone comes to them as a fitness instructor they will book them into a session and charge an average of £25.

      I keep saying that Kiss is a great gym IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND CAN LOOK AFTER YOURSELF

      BUT most people cant and need, a gym fitness programme £25 please, nutrition £25 please.

      This doesnt make it for a budget gym anymore and much like Ryan Air & Easy Jet, everything is extra.

      If you want a Personal Trainer, you pay everywhere you go, but would be cheaper at Kiss as a cheap membership and then trainer on top then you get all the nutrition advice and programmes etc, but if you are the average person, cant afford a Personal Trainer and need lots of advice and help with fitness programme, you could be better off going to Nufields where all this is free

      • Will says:

        Just to clarify – as I was looking at the options from a local Acton point of view – there is no Nuffields in easy range (the nearest on their website seems to be Fulham – which is close as the crow flies but put the crow in a car at rush hour and it will probably take it an hour to drive there from Acton).

        • mikebuss says:

          Nuffields is just used as an example, there are many other gyms that offer the same as Nuffields in every area, town, region.

  7. Rossen says:

    May I permit myself to add some more information. I currently use Fitness First and will very soon be moving to KissGym in Acton. Depending on what my schedule is like, I am considering the Virgin Active since it has a pool, but I would like to make a point regarding Kiss Gyms. I visitied it once, a great place and didn’t seem very crowded.
    Currently at Fitness First, I pay £45 a month and what do I get? Leaking roof,broken down equipment, poor customer service and many more negatives. Last thing, they are closing it down. I never need to use a personal trainer or an instructor. However, I have happened to notice that despite my £45 a month, I would need to pay extra for a PT at Fitness First, for a Nutritional Programme and most of the efficient classes. Mike is making a comparison to Nuffields, but there are so many other places which are more expensive, are bonding you to a contract, ripping you off, trying to seel you stuff when all you want is to train. So KissGym is an excellent place (well no sauna or steam room, but even these were bad at most places I’ve seen). And I would say the majority of people who join regular not low-cost gyms do not use the services of a PT or Nutritional Specialist. Therefore I see low cost Gyms as a great place to get what you want and it is a bargain.

    • mikebuss says:

      Nuffields is just one of many clubs out there that offer the type of facilities such as pool etc. They hover around the £35 mark per month, LONDON is a total entitiy in its self, and for that any London based comparisons are pointless.
      Fitness First in Swindon is around £25per month, Fit4Less is I believe currently £17per month. But Fitness Forst in London prices like everything in LONDON are hiked up, so £45 for Fitness First in LONDON is not the norm anywhere else.

      As for the state of the Fitness First in uestion, not suprised, Fitness FIrst are the Cowboys of the Fitness Industry! They are interested in nothing but robbing memebrs of money without bothering with any customer service and even rob their trainers of extortionate levels of rent.

      Kiss Gyms have taken some of the ideas from Fitness First that just take take take, this is the part of Kiss that I do not agree with and what is wrong with the industry today. Personal Trainers can pay high levels of rent to use the facility to train their clients or give up 10hrs per week to work for FREE for Kiss, this happens in Fit4Less and many others also.

      The trainer if working on a level of £25per personal training session working 40hrs per week for such gyms like Kiss end up giving away potentially £1000 worth of PT business each month. This just isnt acceptable, or in many of these gyms you can pay the rent to these gyms for the sum of around £450 per month. Personal trainers contary to belief dont make lots of money, Ive done well out of it and have my own gym, but many dont have that luxury!

      I have decided to let trainers rent and use my gym at the fee of £80per month so they can keep their earnt month in their pocket. The costs of owning my own gym/PT Centre isn all that much more than renting in a gym like Fitness First or Kiss, and many trainers are seeking their own units.

      Outside of London, the likes of Kiss Gyms charging £15 per month sounds great, what I have repeatedly said is that for 20% of the average gym goers thata GREAT! Kiss Gyms would be a great gum for myself, I know what Im doing, I know how to train myself, and so do the 20% of gym goers. BUT! 80% of gym goers dont have an idea of how to train, they need a training programme, but the likes of Kiss Gyms charge you for this via their personal trainers who work for free at Kiss and such gyms, so of course they are going to charge the memebrs for a training programme and this on average is £25.

      The average person will need a training programme update every 6weeks at a cost of £25 evety time… They will most likely need some direction in their nutrition, so again this will cost them about £25 each time, this is where the Easy Jet senario of Kiss Gyms and others starts taking more of your money and stops becoming as budget as advertised.

      Kiss Gyms
      Fitness Programme £25 on average
      Nutritional Advice £25 on average

      Fitness Programme FREE
      Nutritional Advice FREE

  8. Sam says:


    Balanced opinion, and I think you’re right that the budget price favours the experienced gym-goer like myself, however the gym (and the PT’s) has a lot to offer to those just starting out on their fitness journey, albeit at an additonal, but reasonable cost.

    I was previously at Fitness-First who were charging me £37/month (later reduced to £19.99/month after I queried this), with a PT session costing an additional £20.
    Yes there was a Coffee-Bar/Sauna/Steam room that I didn’t use, but crucially Kiss is open 24hrs whereas FF 6am-10pm in the week, and 9am-5pm on a Sunday!

    No comparison between the two!

    Also since I have been a member, they have continually increased the amount of equipment available, and are shortly to introduce classes too.

    I guess what it really boils down to, is what you look for in your Gym and what you’re willing to pay for it.
    Kiss has everything I want (apart from heavier dumb-bells **hint-hint**), and a more than reasonable price.


  9. Ben says:

    What a ridiculous blog.

    95% of people who use the gym like myself already have good knowledge of nutrition and gym routines.

    I don’t need anybody to help me and when I have done then the team were happy to advise.

    Unless you are a total retard who doesn’t know how to turn on a running machine or google the words “how to lose weight” , you will never need to pay any additional costs over the £14.99 monthly cost.

    Do some market research on the gym before slating it, I guess you’re one of those guys who does 1 press up and then moans about being overweight 😉

    • mikebuss says:

      Ben I have over 20yrs of experience and research, I personally think you need to get and do some research before putting moronic comments like this out there… 95% of people know all they need to know about nutrition and exercise??? Well I guess I need to just pack up now and get an office job, there is no need for fitness trainers and personal trainers in the world anymore!

      Love to know what research you did to get that one??????????? On the other hand I use research from my own personal experience of over 20yrs in the fitness world, a qualified trainer for 22yrs and research from University papers, studies globally and UK based, studies conducted by such organisations like the FIA & REPs.

      75% of gym goers have little of no clue about how to reach their goals and train effectively, FACT!

      • InSwindon says:

        Mike is correct, Ben. I go to Kiss and I would take a guess that the vast majority there really don’t know how to train properly and safely. (bicep curls in the squat rack, anyone?) I really don’t understand this – there is so much free info on the net…

  10. Deon says:

    I understand the basis of your opinion here mike. However I feel you are failing to make a vital distinction between the service offered for free in the mentioned gyms and that offered at a price in kiss gym. This training program and nutritional advice that is offered for free in the gyms that you have stated is offered by fitness instructors whereas these are provided by personal trainers in kiss gym. The extra qualification and in many cases extended wealth of experience in the industry makes these program’s and diet advice a great deal more in depth and effective. Therefor it is not the same service being offered but one of a greater quality and as with anything of quality it is worth paying that little extra for. If this was not the case then how would training providers justify charging around £1000 for the extra qualifications needed to distinguish from fitness instructor to personal trainer? In those cases where it is a personal trainer fulfilling fitness instructor hours for the gym, would they offer a fully effective program etc for free knowing that it will negate the need for that potential client to return to them in a paying role to achieve results? Again the quality of that advice offered is effectively questionable. In the case of kiss gyms the personal trainer is being paid for that and so will supply the full means of their knowledge and experience, not to mention the fact that this person is now becoming a walking advert for their services which extends the need to supply an effective program and diet plan to further the reputation of their business. In the few cases where a person of personal trainer level qualification is in employ as a fitness instructor and so has the role of providing these services, one has to wonder just how well they achieve that regarding the fact they are employed at around £6 an hour and not taken up a self employed role where the potential to earn more exists, this must draw some lack of confidence to their abilities?
    The credo of kiss gyms is not “a budget gym” but “high spec-low price” and I feel this is exactly what is offered, especially in the providing of high spec program’s and diet advice from their extremely well vetted personal training staff for only £20

    • Deon says:

      I believe in your section on your website where you are discussing your personal training sessions you even use the example “fed up with a gym program that didn’t work”. Is this the same gym program’s that are offered for free in the mentioned gyms? This may shed some light on the reason they are free?? As you use this to illustrate the need for personal training, how can you then claim that these program’s are the “same” service provided by the personal trainers at kiss gym?

      • mikebuss says:

        Many of the clubs now-a-days have personal trainers doing gym floor hours so you can go get a fitness programme done for you for free at these clubs by a personal trainer and not have to pay for it like at Kiss Gyms.
        All you have to do is ask what fitness instructor on the gym floor is a personal trainer also and book in with them at the other clubs.

    • mikebuss says:

      Firstly Personal Trainers are not Nutritionist or Dietritionist… So they have very little more knowledge about Nutrition over a Fitness Instructors.

      If you are after nutrition advice from Kiss or Nuffields or any gym for that matter, you should ask the gym manager who is the most ualified in this area, it will either be the gym manager or one of the Personal Trainers doing Fitness Instructor Hours.

      Personal Training does not make a load of money contary to belief… Ive done very well from it, won national awards and gained celeb clients and top performing professional athletes and Olympians as clients, but most Personal Trainers will never achieve this, therefore they can always be found working in gyms like Nuffields, Esporta, Virgin etc doing Fitness Instructor hours where you can tap into their knowledge for FREE

      Lastly, this country has the worse fitness industry Ive seen, Ive worked in S. Africa and the USA, Ive worked with trainers from Australia and NZ, their trainers quality show how far behind we are, the quality of trainers Ive worked with in the USA are outstanding! I rarely can ever say this about trainers in the UK, a PT Course isnt in this country all that much more than the Fitness Instructor course so the level of knowledge learnt at this level isnt much more.

      There are better courses out there than others, Premier Fitness offer a great diploma and the British Army PTI course goes more indepth than any civi course Ive seen. So Ex-Army PTIs are great trainers to find. London has a huge number of Trainers from overseas from USA, Australia, NZ & S.Africa.

  11. Steve says:

    Just a point of intrest as has been discussed nuffields is not a viable option for most of the people this relates to. The other gyms you mention are falling apart, you have admitted that the gym is good but you would have to pay to become more knowledgeable about how to use the gym properly. So is that like a one time fee so you learn what you want??? But the question I really want to ask is where would you suggest the average swindon guy or gal go to work out??

    • mikebuss says:

      Nuffields is very much a viable club for most people, it sits in the industry as a reasonable priced health club in most areas at around £35 to £45 per month.

      You then get the David Lloyds Clubs that are extremely expencive and dont have anymore to offer other than tennis courts.

      If you are looking for a gym in Swindon that is good value then Nuffields is a good club and gives you what you need, So is Kiss and Ive repeatedly mentioned this in my replies with people still not reading and paying attention. Kiss Gyms is a good club, it may not have the high end kit that some of the more expencive clubs have but it is good and does what it needs to do. It is modern, clean and fresh, and great value for a certain member.
      The member that gets great value for money from Kiss and other Budget Gyms is the person that already knows how to look after themselves, they know how to eat properly and are highly motivated in the gym.

      But 75% of gym goers are not highly motivated and notknowledgable about exercise and diet so for these people they will need to continue to pay extra for this, and this can sometimes come out as expencive and sometimes more expencive than your more expencive health clubs.

      If you need motivation then good solid gorup exercise sessions are best to get the best out of you, Bootcamps, Spinning, Circuit Training, Boxercise, Body Pump, Kettle Bell Classes, these will get you fit, so if there is a club offering that then this is a great place for the less motivated person.

      • Mark says:

        Ref your last paragraph – I found observing classes that technique is often poor.

        People who lack confidence hide in the back and some formats does not easily permit the instructor to go around and correct posture, technique etc. verbal que’s can only help so much.

        When a person moves from very low level exercise to moderate exercise they will get results however as you’re aware, the increase of computer usage, desk jobs etc has caused havoc with the general populations posture. These postural issues are often ignored in classes and may set up injuries.

        I would suggest that getting the results is a much better motivational tool?

        • mikebuss says:

          You havent been to one of my classes then… I can have 40 people in a class and focus on posture, motivation and results, it comes of spending over 10yrs in the army as an army physical training instructor where I was often used to running fitness sessions for even up to 100 soldiers.

          I agree, there are classes there that are not done correctly, but this is down to the instructor and not really the actual class or venue set up. Get a good class instructor and you will have none of the problems you mention.

          • Mark says:

            You are correct i haven’t been to one of your classes, but if I’m correct you do train in Farringdon park?

          • mikebuss says:

            That is correct Mark,

            We run sessions in the park Monday to Thursday, we also occasionally move the Bootcamp indoors or to the skate park round the corner from the gym for a more varied routine.

            We run Bootcamp monday to thursday 7-8pm and also monday & wednesday 6-7pm

            Also Sunday 10-11am

            Bootcamp isnt for everyone,we train in all weathers, even if it is hammering down with rain and stay outdoors. We train like an army unit would train its men, its tough and unforgiving. But gets results like no other training programme in Swindon. This is the toughest fitness class in the town by far! And why it isnt for everyone.
            Just Like Kiss isnt for everyone or David Lloyd isnt for everyone

  12. Steve says:

    Don’t get me wrong im sure you are very knowledgeable about gyms etc but I currently don’t go to a gym, im 19 and the only thing i can afford which is easily accessable is Kiss gym. Now like every 19 year old I have a facebook and a phone and have asked around and a number of my friends go to KissGym and none of them have reported anything bad about it??? Yes it doesnt have a pool and sauna etc but if your there to work out surely you dont need that stuff??? If i wanted to go swimming Id go to the Oasis or and actual pool where i could do proper lengths. If its about the relaxation factor …. I have a bath…and COD KissGym i dont believe has ever claimed to be a spa its kinda just says Gym thats all I and most others want. Plus if I get stuck as in I come off the running machine and finished doing sit ups and look at a complicated looking machine…either i can work out how to do it ( usually they have pretty pictures right?) or Id ask someone? generally people arn’t nasty…even in swindon

    • mikebuss says:

      Ive not said the Kiss Gyms Say they are a spa, they are a basic functional gym with all you need to get fit, but only if you know what you are doing, 75% of people going to gyms of all types do not know what they are doing and therefore need a gym programme to follow to help.
      At Kiss and other Budget Gyms, they charge for this service, but at other health clubs that yes maybe more expensive give this as free.

      I have been in the industry for over 20yrs and Budget Gyms have their place, they do what you need if you know what you are doing, but if you need help it will cost you, what I am saying is that you get what you pay for, Kiss and Budget Gym like it are the Easy Jet of the Fitness Industry, everything is extra if you need and want it.

      If you dont need the extras then Kiss is great value for money, and will only cost £14.99per month.

      Problem is, most people do.

  13. Linda says:

    I totally disagre with ALL you have said. I am a member of KISS and have to say, BEST gym yet. Friendly NOT pushly Personal Trainers. Excellent equipment. I have been to Nuffield and was NOT impressed. Pushy Personal Trainers, OLD equipment. TV’s on a cross trainer, whats that about, it seems that Nuffield is good for someone who thinks going to the gym is ok as long as you can do very little and watch Deal or no Deal. Nutritional information and an exercise plan can very easily be Googled and worked out for yourself but saying that the Personal Trainers at KISS do give advice FREE. 24 hours a day 7 days a week, flexibility to go when you want . KISS gym all the way. The price for myself AND my husband is cheaper than for 1 person at Nuffied.

    • mikebuss says:

      A proper nutrition programme can not be googled, you definitly are living in lala land if you think you can get proper advice online for nutrition. Even personal trainers are not really qualified to a proper level to give out proper nutritional advice and a proper programme. They would have to have gone on a specialist course on nutrition to give this advice fully.

      As for tierd old kit in Nuffields, every gym and health club chain have a turn around on kit of about 3-5yrs, Kiss will be the same, Kiss currently is only a few months old, and so the kit is fresh and new, give it 3yrs and it will be tatty and old looking and you will have to put up with it there also, so the other clubs are not shabby they are just close to changing over their kit.

      As for the deal or no deal comment, clubs across the country have TVs on the wall or on the machine itself, Kiss have them on the wall, they are still there, so its no different.

      Ive seen the comment from Pro Strength Gym in Town, I totally agree, their gym is very much similar to mine, we are nothing fancy, mine is what would be called a crossfit gym, its actually the only crossfit gym in Swindon, you want kit to get you fit then you are in the wrong place, treadmills never ever got anyone fit!… Kiss Gyms, Nuffields, David Lloyds, pretty much they are all the same, rows of treadmills.

      The independent gyms dont have the budget, like the chains, but what we lack in fancy kit we make up in results! My gym looks like a military gym, maybe a bit like the gym in the Rocky Movie without the ring, its an 1800s building, it has paint peeling off the wall, its shows character, I have no TVs, and just a music box for music in the background, we have loads of kettlebells, free weights, plyometric kit and a ton of fitness group exercise classes to rip that gut off you! With BOOTCAMP, Boxercise, Circuits, Kettlebell Classes, CrossFit Classes and much more.

      Not Fancy, but seriously Functional and Results Driven!

      Pro Fit is much the same but a different type of gym to mine, but a great one all the same

    • Ross says:

      Hi Linda,

      My gym is closing down and I am thinking of joining Kiss. Coukd you please advise me on whether it is too crowded in the early mornings

      • mikebuss says:

        I dont know where you are from so dont know which Kiss Gym you are talking about but early mornings should be fine, its not a time of day that many gyms are busy, so you should be fine, it really depends on what you want from your gym and your budget

  14. Lorcan says:

    the biggest flaw in your argument is that only 20% of people who go gym know what they’re doing is NOT the same as only 20% of people who to to kiss gym know what they’re doing. i need a place to do cardio because my knee is screwed and the bikes at kiss acton are just fine. for the same luxury anywhere else i’d have to pay far far more; besides, fitness plans and nutritional information is available in satisfactory condition online in vast quantities, even if you claim that it is too inexact to use (it is not). and what’s quite funny is that in your grand conclusion of your article kiss still ends up saving you 60 quid annually IF you choose to go with all the perks!

    i’m very impressed by what kiss offers and this article, while is right to highlight some ‘hidden costs’, is far too keen to slag them off. i’ll be using them for the month i’m in london and it’s likely i’ll continue when i return.

    • mikebuss says:

      This article isnt aimed at the people that already go to Kiss Gyms or anyother Budget gym for that matter, its about giving advice to people looking for a gym right now, if they need that support of needing a programme and nutrtion advice then Kiss would not be for them and they can make their choice by looking at the choices out there and make an informed decision.

      Kiss over time will probably have a high keep up of members because they will gain the mentioned 20% that just get on train and dont need help and therefore will save money, so will pull members from other gyms because of this, but will lose the weaker members needing that extra care that is recieved from the likes of Nuffields and Esporta etc. In the end Kiss will do rather well out of this having a large member base full of members that dont even need help.

  15. alex says:

    I’m actually looking to join a gym, I’m an ex gym goer and exmilitary but most gyms won’t take me on due to q spinal injury, I don’t earn enough for PTs but kiss would be excellent cost wise for me, I used to know what exercises to do but due to my injury I have to be so careful, if anyone could give me advice and also tell me if kiss would take me on as I’m fed up of talking to people saying I can join I pay the joining fees then I get a letter saying I cant and I have to fight for my money back

    • mikebuss says:

      Hi Alex,

      Think you need to do plenty of pre-questioning before you enter any gym from what you are saying.

      My email is

      If you directly email me telling me where you live, what town, then this might be helpful. If you are from Swindon, I know all the gyms and know which ones you would need to stay away from and as for Kiss, its a cheap gym, its when you need advice etc is when it stops being a budget gym and costly.

      The set up is that they have now staff as such, just PTs that work for them for FREE 40hrs a week in return to train their clients.

      This means the attention you require I dont believe they could give that to you unless you pay for it, and you already said you cant afford Personal Trainers.

      Its more about finding a club that has good quality trainers, not kids, you have a specific problem and a trainer that has been in the industry for 20yrs or so, is what to look out for and there arent many of us, we all have built reputations and built our own gyms/personal training studios so finding people in the likes of Virgin, Kiss, David Lloyd is going to be tough.

      But email me and I will see what I can do to help


  16. Nwo says:

    Too bad when I’ve made up my mind and decided to join Kiss gym at Acton they’ve Increased their membership price from £15.99 to £24.99!
    (24.99/15.99)-1 x 100% = 56% membership price increased!

    • mikebuss says:

      Why am I not suprised!

      Budget gyms offering expensive equipment (though not totally state of the art like advertised) and in high cost buildings, will never be able to keep this up, business rates alone will be extrememly high, and the use of FREE Staff who they dont pay will not be enough to off set this long term.

      There are good independent Budget gyms out there if you look for them, they will be low cost because they dont have the high priced equipment and so can keep their costs down. The kit may not be fancy in these gyms, but the staff are good, customer service in these independent gyms are of the highest caliber and they tend to have higher retention rates than the chain gyms.

    • Dee says:

      I’ve actually just noticed this today and very dissapointed to say the least. Im still in shock and i checked just before the end of feb on the site and it was still £15.99.

  17. Marc S Taylor says:

    This week I visited Kiss, Swindon as I am recovering from rupturing both quads, met Adam the Manager pointed out I am through the injury on SSP and were there any deals going. The answer was no only £14.99 per month. I visited two days later to join and was met with not £14.99,but £34.99. Naturally I pointed out this discrepancy, my email details were taken and yet no communication has been forthcoming, I am not impressed at all. I feel I have wasted a week of allowed exercise now it has been sanctioned by my surgeon. The only kit I can use is a static cycle, perhaps this was the issue, I need to use the gym for essential rehabilitation and thereafter I possibly may not need continue. I then go online and listen to a looped answer phone message saying their really busy and could I use the net, no I’d like the owner to answer the poor service issues for me, where are you Rupert Mackenzie Hill Founder, Kiss Gyms.

  18. Fitness24/7 says:

    You will get a better services with other gyms with sauna and pools. Kissgymsucks..
    too many wannabe arnolds.

  19. Paul.zanelli says:

    I felt this review was somewhat biased. I simply want access to gym equipment and possibly some classes for added motivation. I’m looking for a low monthly fee and don’t need a programme or nutrition advice. As such, your table showing a first month fee of £74 is not relevant. Also, I believe that kiss includes classes in the membership fee, which is important, but omitted from your review. I’m much more interested in kiss in MK than I am, for example, banatynes, which looking at reviews is all inclusive but expensive, dirty and with rude staff.

  20. stephen says:

    not a member yet but thinking of joining soon

    a no-frills low cost gym is what i am looking for. dont like swimming so dont need that, dont see the point of a sauna so dont need that either, i can figure out how to use the equipment as i have used some before. and as Mike showed in his comparison at the start of the thread, even paying for all the extras over the year it is still £50 cheaper, so i know where i would prefer to spend my money. also the 24 hour part works great for me as i work nights and would visit at all sorts of times on my days off

    • mikebuss says:

      Then Kiss sounds like its for you… What I show is that there isnt much of a diference in price when someone who needs gym programmes – general advice and nutrition support, as none of this is included, but if you know what you are doing, you just want a gym then Kiss is perfect for you

  21. Matt says:

    I guess it depends what you want?

    I used to have access to a free gym through work, so I am happy with my routine and am used to an unmanned gym.

    I just want something I can use when I want without paying through the nose for classes, pool or people loitering around when I don’t want any of those things.

    I’m seriously tempted to give this a go.

    If I do I’ll try to remember to come back here an update you all.

    • mikebuss says:

      Totally agree, I believe Kiss Gyms like all other gyms have something for someone, I just pointed out that gyms like Kiss, are much like low cost airlines like Easy Jet, if you want more you have to pay extra for it

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