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

Master Trainer Saxon Rebosky demonstrates how to use a piece 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. 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?

Our Guide to Finding the Cheapest Gym Membership

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

Size might be a significant factor. Location might be also 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 six 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: Individual membership costs are published as listed online as of May 17, 2019, and they are subject to change. Rates may vary based on location and current promotions.

1. Youfit Health Clubs

Where: Youfit Health Clubs has more than 100 locations in 15 states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

How Much: The base membership fee is $10 a month. The premium tier (known as “Lime Card” access) costs $21.99 a month. When you sign up for the base membership, you’ll also pay for first and last month dues. Initiation fees vary depending on the membership package.

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. Premium members can also bring a free guest with them for every visit and can visit any YouFit location.

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

2. Planet Fitness

Where: Planet Fitness has over 1,800 locations in all 50 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 and the start-up fee is $1. The $10 membership has no commitment.

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. Many locations are open 24 hours a day.

Try It: Find the location nearest you.

3. Crunch Fitness

Where: Crunch Fitness has more than 300 locations for its regular gyms and 30 locations for its Signature gyms (which include more classes, upgraded amenities and more). Its gyms are located in 30 states, as well as Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and four Canadian provinces.

How Much: A base membership is $9.95 a month, a Peak membership is $21.95 a month and a Peak Results membership is $24.95 a month. Enrollment fees vary from $10 to $49.99 depending on your membership level. The annual fee is $78, prorated at $6.50 a month.

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. The Peak and Peak Results memberships can be used at multiple locations.

Try It: Try a free one-day trial.

4. LA Fitness

Where: LA Fitness has more than 675 locations in 27 states, Washington D.C. and Canada.

How Much: Monthly fees start at $24.99 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: Find your local club to request a guest pass online.

5. 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 pay a one-time initiation fee, which starts at $29.99, and there’s also a $49.99 annual fee.

What’s Included: Gyms include studio and cycle classes. Most facilities also have an indoor lap pool and a Whirlpool. 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: Use this three-day free pass.

6. Anytime Fitness

Where: Anytime Fitness has more than 4,000 locations in all 50 states and 36 countries across six continents. (That’ll likely soon change, as the chain recently announced plans to expand to Antarctica.)

How Much: Membership starts at $29.99 per month, but prices vary depending on location and current promotions. According to Anytime Fitness’s spokesperson, the average membership is $40 a month. Members also pay one-time initiation and key activation fees, which vary depending on the franchise.

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

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

Other Alternatives to Popular Chain Gyms

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; 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.