Which Fitness Chain Has the Best Gym Membership for Your Budget?

A gym trainer demonstrates how to use a pice of workout equipment at LA Fitness in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Master Trainer Saxon Rebosky demonstrates how to use a piece of workout equipment at LA Fitness in St. Petersburg, Fla., Wednesday, June 29, 2017. Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

Despite years of adding “lose some weight” to my list of New Year’s resolutions, I have yet to join a gym.

Not to make excuses (well, let’s be real — everyone who wants to avoid the gym is making excuses), but I’m incredibly indecisive when it comes to spending money on myself.

Except when it comes to food.

But getting in shape requires making a decision and a commitment to putting in the work. And it takes an investment — in time and often in money.

With so many options out there, how do you pick the best gym membership for you?

Selecting the Best Gym Membership for You

Let me start by saying choosing a gym is a very personal decision.

Size might be a significant factor. For example, TPH writer Desiree Stennett said she wanted a gym large enough that no one would notice if she’s not there every day.

Location might be important to you — maybe if you pass the gym along your normal commute, you won’t be going out of your way.

Well, to help make your decision a bit easier, we compiled information from seven national workout chains so you can compare availability, costs and features.

Some gyms provide free trials, so be sure to take advantage of those offers before signing up for a membership.

Writer’s note: Membership costs are as listed online as of June 16, 2017, and are subject to change. Rates may vary based on location and current promotions.

1. 24 Hour Fitness

Where: 24 Hour Fitness has over 400 locations in 13 states — California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Texas, Hawaii, Florida, Virginia, Maryland, New York and New Jersey.


How Much: Monthly fees start at $29.99, but can vary based on location and membership level. Members also pay a one-time initiation fee, which starts at $39.99, and there’s a $49.99 annual cost.


What’s Included: Gyms include studio and cycle classes. Members can take advantage of personal and group training. Get access to digital workouts you can complete at home without stepping foot in an actual gym. Parents of children ages 6 months to 11 years can drop their kids off for supervised fun time at nearly every location.


Try it
Try It: Use this three-day free pass.

2. Anytime Fitness

Where: Anytime Fitness has more than 3,000 locations in all 50 states and nearly 30 different countries. It’s the world’s fastest growing fitness club, averaging about 300 new locations a year for the past eight years, according to its media guide.


How Much: Membership starts at $29.99 per month, but price is subject to change depending on location and current promotions. When you join one gym, you can visit any other location within the chain at no additional cost.


What’s Included: Members can enjoy cardio machines, weights and strength training equipment, classes and wellness programs. Some locations offer tanning and personal training. They are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.


Try it
Try It: You can get a free seven-day pass.

3. Crunch Fitness

Where: Crunch Fitness has gyms in 21 states with more than 145 locations for its regular gyms and 32 locations for its signature gyms (which include more classes, upgraded amenities and more).


How Much: A base membership is $9.95 a month, a peak membership is $19.95 a month and a peak plus membership is $24.95 a month. Annual fees are $9.75. Enrollment fees vary.


What’s Included: Depending on what type of membership you choose, you can take advantage of multiple perks at this gym, including a training orientation with a fitness expert, group fitness classes, online video workouts, tanning and Hydromassage.


Try it
Try It: Try a free one-day trial.

4. LA Fitness

Where: LA Fitness has more than 690 locations in 26 states, Washington D.C. and Canada.


How Much: Monthly fees start at $25.99 for single-club access or $29.99 for multiple clubs within the same state. Initiation fees are $89.


What’s Included: Gyms include state-of-the-art equipment and cardio areas, group fitness classes, indoor heated pools, whirlpool spas and saunas. Some have kids’ clubs, juice bars and basketball and racquetball courts.


Try it
Try It: Find your local club to request a guest pass online.

5. Planet Fitness

Where: Planet Fitness has over 1,300 locations in 48 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Canada and the Dominican Republic.


How Much: Monthly dues are $10 for just one location or $19.99 to use any location. Annual fees are $39.99. Start-up fees vary.


What’s Included: These gyms include cardio and weight-training equipment, plus fitness training programs for all members. Some locations include massage chairs and tanning services.


Try it
Try It: Find the location nearest you.

6. Snap Fitness

Where: Snap Fitness has over 2,000 locations in 18 countries.


How Much: Monthly fees start at $24.99, plus there’s a one-time program fee and a one-time access card fee, which vary based on location.


What’s Included: Enjoy 24/7 access to top cardio and strength-training equipment, group classes, consultations from nutritionists and use of a physical activity belt that tracks your heart rate and calories burned.


Try it
Try It: Find your local gym to request a seven-day free trial. Or try a 30-day Fit Pass for $8.95.

7. Youfit Health Clubs

Where: Youfit Health Clubs has locations in 15 states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.


How Much: Monthly memberships start at $10 a month with a  $39.99 annual fee.


What’s Included: Depending on location, these clubs include top-of-the-line equipment, free weights, group fitness sessions, express circuits, personal trainers, tanning beds and childcare.


Try it
Try It: Get a free guest pass for one-time use.

Other Alternatives

If none of these chain gyms suit your fancy, you could always join your local YMCA or set up a home gym to get your workouts in.

You could also incorporate fitness into your daily routine by trying one of these nine inexpensive gym alternatives. Running is one of the options on that list, and this post on tips and tricks for finding discounted running shoes can help ease your stride.

Or you could lace up those shoes and march right into the gym!

Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She sympathizes with the struggle of getting in shape.

Illustrations by Kristy Gaunt, illustrative designer at The Penny Hoarder.