The Best Gyms for Your Wallet
By: Hanna Horvath
Whether you want to lose a few pounds or become more active, gyms offer something for everyone. Most offer classes, personal training and wellness consulting, among other amenities.
While gyms aren’t free, there are plenty that won’t break the bank (and some that will). Before hitting the sign-up button, it’s best to know which gyms are right for your wallet.
Here’s a look at five of the most popular gym chains. Prices vary by plan and location.
24 Hour Fitness
Best for: Those who want availability Where: 420 locations in 13 states Cost: $79.99 a month with year long commitment, $84.99 a month without commitment
As the name suggests, most 24 Hour Fitness locations are open 24 hours, except for select holidays. So if you’re an early riser or a night owl, this may be the gym for you.
The chain has four types of locations, with varying amounts of amenities: Active, Sport, Super Sport and Ultra Sport. Additional features include steam rooms, Wi-Fi and basketball courts.
Some 24 Hour Fitness locations also offer group training, with each session led by a personal trainer. Members can access the free 24GO workout app, which creates custom home and gym workouts.
Best for: Those who love classes Where: 337 locations Cost: $110 a month for access to one location, $135 a month for access to all locations
Love to change up your workout? Crunch offers dozens of classes for any fitness level. Members can sign up for traditional classes like Pilates and Zumba, or try their hand at niche classes like aerial yoga.
Signature Crunch Fitness locations have more amenities or are located in convenient locations. Club amenities include a sauna, Rituals brand cosmetics, and locker rooms.
Best for: Those new to fitness Where: More than 1,800 locations across North America Cost: $10 a month for No Commitment plan, $22.99 a month for Black plan with access to all locations
Planet Fitness bills itself as a “judgement-free zone,” making it the perfect place to try your hand at working out without worry. The chain offers up two affordable membership plans: No Commitment and Black.
No Commitment, as the name suggests, allows members to cancel their membership with no fees, though they only get access to one location.
Planet Fitness’ Black Plan offers unexpected perks for its low cost — unlimited access to massage chairs and tanning beds, and you can bring one guest per day for free. But the inexpensive monthly fees often translate to lower-quality equipment and few class options.
How to manage a gym subscription
Regular exercise is great for your physical and mental health. But gym membership costs can add up.
Keep an eye out for promotional deals. Some gyms waive the annual fee or offer one month free for signing up.
Use an app or spreadsheet to track your recurring expenses, including your gym. Identifying how many other subscriptions you’re signed up for will determine if you can afford a membership.
Gyms are great because they provide access to equipment and classes. But only if you use them. An important part of managing your gym membership is tracking how much you go to the gym over the course of a month. If you’re only going once a week, a $200 monthly price tag may be too steep.
If your gym becomes too expensive, consider switching to a cheaper option or canceling it altogether. But make sure you read the fine print: Some gyms charge a hefty fee for breaking the contract. (Learn how to avoid these types of traps.)