delray beach health clubs purlife

Gym? Health Club? Fitness Center – What’s the Difference?

Checking into a new location means doing a couple Google searches. Where’s the nearest grocery store? What’s there to do on weekends? Who do I call to set up my Internet? For those looking to tone up and stay in shape, your Googling has more than likely led you to looking for the nearest health center to jump on their ellipticals or pump out a couple reps. But what’s with all these terms now days used to describe a house of physical activity? Gyms? Health Club? Fitness Centers? What gives?

For the most part, these terms are commonly used interchangeably dependent on what sound better or is most popular at the time. Surprisingly, differences in terms do actually have some meaning to them. Today we dive into what makes a gym a gym and how health clubs differ from fitness centers.


Gyms are some of the world’s oldest and most widely used establishments throughout the history of time. The first gymnasiums can be dated back to ancient Persia – over 3,000 years ago – known then as zurkhaneh. These ancient gyms were areas that encourage physical fitness, proving a tight, toned body and peak performance has been a human concern long before the existence of diet pills. It was the Ancient Greeks that coined the term gymnasion and where the gym transformed from not simply promoting physical fitness, but education as well with most gyms sporting libraries.

While today’s gyms may have dropped the books, they’ve upped their variety of fitness options. The term “gym” is typically a more specialist term, with many gyms specializing in a particular area. Boxing gyms, pilates gyms, CrossFit gyms – you name it. Sometimes, gyms just keep things simple with no group classes, weights and cardio machines only. This helps keep costs down without denying the customer access to form sculpting equipment. They just tend to lose the extra bells and whistles.

Health Club and Fitness Centers

The term “health club” first came into existence in the mid-1900’s on the sandy fit shores of Santa Monica, California, and is most typically interchanged with the term Fitness Center. Prior to that, they were simply classified as gyms. Health Club’s come in a number of shapes and sizes with varying amenities and costs. The one thing they have differing from gyms is their dedication to fitness as a lifestyle. While Health Clubs feature the weights and cardio equipment of a gym, they out-do gyms in terms of amenities and classes. A Health Club offers added benefits of showers, locker rooms, pools, clinics, sports courts and whatever else can transform you into a peak fitness machine. At Purlife in Delray Beach, we offer our members intense group classes, lockers, showers, juice bar, physical treatment and even a full-service hair salon.

In the end, it’s best to look past terminology when choosing a workout location and instead focus on the gym’s culture and community. It’s always the most fun to mix physical activity with a social aspect, proven to not only boost gym time motivation but also morale as a whole. Come take Purlife Fitness Center in Delray Beach for a test run with our 3-Day Free Trial Pass. Not only will you have access to all our workout equipment and amenities FREE for 3-days, but our group fitness classes and 1 personal training session as well! We hope to see you there.

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