You already know that exercising is good for your body and your brain. So if you’re ready to take charge of your health, signing up for a gym membership is a fantastic idea. But with so many gyms out there, how do you know which one is right for you – and your wallet?
Start by thinking about what’s most important to you in a gym experience. Are you a fan of a small environment where you’ll have a better chance of forming relationships with the staff and other people working out? Or would you rather blend in as one of many in a large gym?
If you’re not sure which environment is right for you, your best bet is to try out both options. Do some research and find both a small and large gym in your area. See if you can sign up for a free trial or purchase a short-term pass, like the Planet Fitness day pass, and try out a gym for a day.
To find the right gym that also fits your budget, you need to know what to look for and what options are out there. Take a look at these tips for finding the right gym and the facts about these national chains that offer both a great value and a great experience.
Local vs. National
First of all, congratulations on your new commitment to improving your health! Before you even start looking for gyms, celebrate the fact that you’re making a good choice for your health by choosing to focus on your fitness.
Take this positive attitude with you as you begin the search for your gym. If you know that you want a small gym and a local experience, think about gyms that you pass on your commute. You should also start looking online and asking people you know who are into fitness. A small, local gym will provide more opportunities to make connections, but it may be more expensive.
On the other hand, if you want the most cost-efficient gym experience, start looking for national chains that have locations in your area.
Costs To Watch Out For
You should know that most gyms charge an initiation fee when you sign up for a membership. Before you sign on a dotted line, find out if and when your monthly rate may increase. Are you signing up on an offer that starts out at $20 a month, but after 6 months, your rate jumps to $80? Will that work with your budget?
Annual fees are another cost to look out for. Find out if the gym you’re considering charges an annual fee and when that will hit your account.
Deciding on a Gym
It’s a good idea to research as much information you can for three gyms in your area, and then go and check out the gym itself on a free guest pass. That way, you can better determine if the experience is truly worth the cost. If it is, then you may want to make room in your budget for the more expensive option.
Once you know what gyms are in your area, how much each will cost you both up-front and over time, and you’ve actually worked out at the gym on a day pass, then you have enough information to make your decision.
Now that you know what to look for, check out these five gyms with locations all around the US.
24 Hour Fitness
Are you looking for a gym with a wide range of equipment? 24 Hour Fitness offers premium strength and cardio equipment, lap pools, steam rooms, turf zones, and expert coaching, just to start. This chain has locations in Hawai’i, Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada, Colorado, Texas, the greater NYC region, DC, Virginia, and Florida. There’s no extra cost for studio classes like yoga, dance, cycle, and HIIT.
So just how much does a 24 Hour Fitness membership cost? Well, like most gym memberships, there’s an initiation fee to sign up – except if you sign up with certain monthly payment memberships. You can choose to pay for a more expensive national membership or a regional membership, which runs around $46.99.
The exact price depends on your location. Before you commit, make sure you take advantage of the free trial. You can try out 24 Fitness with a free three-day guest pass.
Anytime Fitness membership comes with a perk that not all gym memberships offer. When you sign up, you’ll receive a free, personalized Get Started Plan developed by a staff member that’s been customized specifically for your fitness needs. You can work out more confidently knowing you’re exercising based on a plan that was made for your body and your goals.
There are 4,700 Anytime Fitness locations worldwide, so convenience should never be an issue. Anytime offers a range of equipment, from rowing machines to Synergy 360 systems and many more. If you’re the type of person who likes to watch TV while you exercise, you’ll like the fact that they offer cardio TVs as well.
Anytime emphasizes employee wellness, so chances are you’ll be hitting the gym somewhere where the employees are happy to be at work! Before you sign up, remember to try it before you buy it. You can claim a free 7-day pass to check out Anytime.
There are more than 2,000 Planet Fitness clubs worldwide, so chances are, you’ll be able to find a location that’s convenient for you. Planet Fitness focuses on creating a judgment-free zone where anyone will feel comfortable working out at an affordable price.
There are two tiers of membership: the Classic Membership and the PF Black Card, which offers many additional perks, including the option to bring in a guest for free, access to any Planet Fitness location, discounts, free use of the massage chairs, and more.
The Planet Fitness day pass is a great option if you want to try out a specific location near you. There is a limit of one free day pass per person every 90 days, so be aware of that. You’ll also be required to take a club tour, which is a benefit – that way, you can see exactly what equipment the location that’s most convenient for you offers.
LA Fitness was founded in Southern California in 1984, but it’s expanded far beyond California. There are locations all over the United States and in Canada as well. They now have over 700 clubs and are still growing.
You can choose to pay an initiation fee for access to all the locations in your state, or you can forgo the initiation fee and pay the beginning price of $36.99 for the first six months of your membership.
LA Fitness offers more than 20 group classes, racquetball, a heated pool, basketball, and personal training. You can try out a free guest pass to experience the amenities for yourself.
If you’re looking for a gym with a great deal on personal training sessions, then you definitely need to check out YouFit – there are 82 locations in 10 states, mostly in the south. Personal training sessions cost as little as $30 a session for members at any level.
YouFit offers a wide variety of classes, including kickboxing, dance, cardio, and yoga. There are two levels of membership: a Basic Membership, which only offers access to one location, and then a Premium + Membership, which offers unlimited group fitness classes, half-price drinks, cycling classes, and other perks, as well as access to all the 80+ YouFit locations. Premium+ Membership also includes the option to bring one guest for free to every gym visit, but that guest must pay a fee to join group classes.
While membership prices vary depending on your location, typically a Basic Membership costs $10 a month and a Premium+ Membership costs $24.99 a month. The enrollment fee is only $1 for the Premium+ Membership.
24 Hour Fitness, Anytime Fitness, Planet Fitness, LA Fitness, and YouFit all offer plenty of locations and fantastic features. If you’re lucky, and you have all five of these gyms in your area, be sure to check them all out before making your decision. If there’s only one or two in your area, take the time to check them out, as they offer great experiences at great prices.
When deciding where you’ll sign up for your gym membership, the best thing you can do is to actually go try out gyms in your area. Yes, you can learn a lot about a gym online, but you’ll get a much better sense of what it’s like when you go in person.
Ultimately, by finding the best gym at the best price and going and working out, you’re doing what’s best for your wallet in both the short-term and the long-term. If you exercise and take care of your health now, your body will thank you in the future!