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The Minimum Age to Join a Gym

The minimum age to join a gym in Australia

There are guidelines in Australia with regards to what various age groups should and shouldn't be allowed to do when training at a gym. In addition, each gym has its own policy on the minimum joining age they allow and any related restrictions. This article summaries those guidelines and policies to help you stay informed.

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People commonly ask “how old do you need to be to join a gym?”. There are many reasons why teenagers or parents of children might want their child to join a gym. It is important to understand both the policies of gyms concerning minimum age but also the impacts that certain training styles can have on the health of young people.

To view a summary of Australian guidelines by age group, please continue reading. To skip to the specific minimum joining ages and an overview of restrictions for each of the major gym brands, click here.

Minimum Age Policy

There are guidelines in Australia relating to the minimum age you can join a gym and what activities you’re able to participate in. Whilst all gyms are required to meet the minimum guidelines, some have stricter policies and a higher minimum age for membership. As an example, 24-hour gyms like Anytime Fitness are often unsupervised by staff and are therefore stricter on a minimum age for safety and security reasons.

Below is a summarised list of the membership and training guidelines for each age group.

18+ Years of Age

  • No restrictions. Anyone aged 18 or over can join a gym and participate in all activities, either supervised or unsupervised.

16-17 Years of Age

  • Are eligible to join a gym or visit on a casual basis subject to the minimum age requirements of each individual gym;
  • May require parent/guardian approval to join (subject to individual gym policy);
  • Can participate in all supervised fitness programs/classes (i.e. non-weight based, weight-based, water based, boxing, circuits, etc);
  • Are able to use cardiovascular equipment unsupervised;
  • Can use resistance/weight-based equipment unsupervised as long as:
    • a pre-screening questionnaire and assessment has been performed by a qualified staff member
    • an initial training program has been written and demonstrated by a qualified staff member

14-15 Years of Age

  • Are eligible to join a gym or visit on a casual basis subject to the minimum age requirements of each individual gym;
  • Must complete a pre-exercise screening questionnaire prior to commencing any training and it must be signed by a parent/guardian;
  • Parent/guardian approval is required to join as a member;
  • Can participate in supervised non-weights based or water-based programs;
  • May participate in structured or other supervised programs at the discretion of the gym/centre;
  • Can use cardiovascular equipment unsupervised;
  • Cannot participate in unsupervised resistance/weight-based training or classes (including circuits and boxing).

12-13 Years of Age

  • Are NOT eligible to join a gym as a member (casual visits only);
  • Must complete a pre-exercise screening questionnaire prior to commencing any program and it must be signed by a parent/guardian;
  • Can participate in structured or supervised programs at the discretion of the gym/centre;
  • Cannot participate in unsupervised resistance/weight-based training or classes (including circuits and boxing);
  • Cannot use cardiovascular equipment unsupervised.

Under 12 Years of Age

  • Are NOT eligible to join a gym as a member (casual visits only);
  • Must complete a pre-exercise screen questionnaire prior to commencing any program and it must be signed by a parent/guardian;
  • Can participate in structured or supervised programs at the discretion of the gym/centre;
  • Cannot participate in unsupervised resistance/weight-based training or classes (including circuits and boxing);
  • Cannot use cardiovascular equipment unsupervised.

Refer to this document of guidelines for ‘Kids in Gyms’ issued by the NSW government in conjunction with Fitness Australia for more detailed information.

Minimum Age Requirements for Major Gym Brands

Below is a table showing the minimum joining age for the major gym brands in Australia. You should note that whilst you may be able to join a gym when you’re under 18, each gym will have its own special conditions and joining process. Please contact your preferred gym for more information before you attempt to join.

BrandMinimum Join AgeMore
Anytime Fitness16Most Anytime Fitness clubs allow 16 and 17-year-olds to join with consent from a parent or guardian as long as they agree to a set of special conditions designed for safety (e.g. access only during staffed hours).
Club Lime13Junior memberships for ages 13-17 are available. Make sure you check with your local club to understand any special conditions or limitations for members under 18 years old.
Curves18
F45 Training16
Fernwood Fitness14Fernwood allows girls as young as 14 years to join but the membership agreement must be signed by a parent or guardian who must take full financial responsibility for the membership. Members under the age of 18 cannot access 24-hour clubs outside of staffed hours unless accompanied and supervised by another member of the same club who is at least 18 years old. Girls aged 14-15 must be accompanied by their mother (who must also be a member) at all times.
Fit n Fast14Fit n Fast allows 14-17 year-olds to join but a parent or guardian needs to sign the membership agreement. You will also need to contact the club directly to join as you cannot join online if you’re under 18 years of age.
Fitness First14

Fitness First membership is open to anyone 14 years and up. All members under 18 years of age must have a parent or guardian sign the membership agreement and pre-exercise questionnaire.

14-15 year-olds are limited to using cardiovascular equipment and taking part in group classes that don't use weights (including water-based classes). They cannot do circuit training or boxing-type exercises.

Members aged 16-17 can do unsupervised resistance training once a qualified staff member has assessed the pre-exercise questionnaire and written and supervised an initial training program.

Minors are not allowed access to 24/7 clubs outside of staffed hours.

Genesis Health+Fitness8Most Genesis clubs provide memberships to people aged 12+ although if you’re under 16, you need to be accompanied by someone aged 18+.
Goodlife Health Clubs13Children aged 13-14 are allowed to join on a restricted basis and must be accompanied at all times by a parent/guardian or personal trainer. 15-16 year old’s must have their parent/guardians' authorization to join and may have restricted access to some facilities without supervision.
Jetts14Members under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian agree to the terms of the Membership Agreement. Members aged 14-15 can only use the club during staffed hours. Members aged 16-17 can access the club at any time.
Plus Fitness8Junior memberships are available for those aged 8-13 years and youth memberships for 14-15 year-olds. Members aged under 16 can only train during staffed hours. Members 16 years and over can train 24 hours. Parent consent is required to join for all members under 18 years of age.
Snap Fitness14Snap Fitness accepts members from 14 years of age but all members under 18 must have the signature of their parent or guardian. Access restrictions may apply to those under 16 years of age.
Virgin Active13Virgin Active allows members under 18 to join with restrictions. For ages 13-15, there is limited access to certain areas of the club and specific classes. For 13-17 year-olds, a parent/guardian is required to sign the membership agreement. Check with your local club to find out about any other conditions of membership for under 18’s.
Zap Fitness16Zap Fitness members must be a minimum of 16 years of age. Members under 18 years must have a parent or guardian agree to the terms of the membership agreement and need to join the club in person rather than online.

Weight Training for Under 18’s

It is also important to do some research into the impacts of weight training for people under the age of 18. There are many views on the benefits, side effects and type of training that should be undertaken. It is important that you build an awareness of:

  • The type of training and exercises that are suitable;
  • The amount of weight recommended to be used and how often to increase the training load;
  • How often should you train;
  • What is the recommended recovery time between training sessions;
  • How long should you train for in each session; and
  • What is the recommended number of sets and repetitions of each exercise to perform.

You should also extend your research to make a fully informed decision on whether weight training is the right thing for you or your child. It should be noted that cardio training and bodyweight exercises are different from resistance/weight training and can be performed by people of any age. It is always recommended that you discuss training options with an expert before you begin your fitness journey.

Where do I find out more?

You should contact gyms in your local area to find out what their minimum age policy is and ask any questions you may have. To find the ones closest to you and how to contact them, enter your address or suburb on our search page. It’s so easy to suss out gyms!