Cheapest Gym Chains to Help You Get Fit in the New Year
As the New Year unfolds, many people are eager to prioritize fitness without overspending. Whether you're a beginner who wants to lose a few pounds or a fitness enthusiast, there are budget-friendly gyms that provide accessible tools to kickstart your wellness journey, according to a Penny Hoarder report.
Discover how to achieve your fitness goals without breaking the bank — but first, here are a few things to consider before signing on the dotted line.
Always Read the Fine Print on Your Gym Contract
While often inexpensive, gym memberships are notoriously hard to get out of should you decide the gym you've chosen isn't for you.
Because of this, Penny Hoarder advises reading the fine print on your contract and asking as many questions as possible.
Make Sure You Know the Duration of Your Contract
Since life circumstances change, you probably won't go to the same gym forever. Gyms are notorious for not letting people out of their membership even after contracts expire.
Therefore, it's important to know that you can end a gym membership if you wish. Some gyms also allow you to freeze your account for a few months (for example, when there's a pregnancy.)
Know What You're Looking For
Do you like classes? Are you more into cardio? Weights? Do you like to take a swim or wind down in a sauna?
No gym has every amenity, so do your research, either online or by visiting a gym location.
Now that you've gotten these important things down, it's time to choose a gym. Here are seven of the cheapest gyms, ranked by yearly fee.
7. Crunch Fitness
Number of locations: 400+ in 34 states
Annual fee: Up to $89
Basic monthly fee: $9.99-24.99
Extra amenities: Hydromassage
Crunch Fitness is known for being clean. If something breaks, staffers fix it quickly. People also like the personal trainers and group classes at Crunch because they are motivating and positive.
However, joining Crunch Fitness can be pricey upfront. They have enrollment fees of up to $75, with other additional costs at some locations. Plus, some Crunch gyms can get really crowded, making it hard to find a quiet time to work out.
6. Blink Fitness
Number of locations: 103 in 9 states
Annual fee: $60
Basic monthly fee: $17-22
Extra amenities: Over 500 virtual classes for members
Blink Fitness offers affordable memberships with options to access multiple clubs across the country. Their gyms are modern and well-kept, with high-quality equipment and free Wi-Fi. Plus, with most locations open early and closed late, it's convenient for those with busy schedules.
However, Blink lacks in-person group classes. While it does offer virtual classes through its app, this does not appeal to everyone. Also, cleanliness can vary between locations, with some gyms needing more upkeep than others.
5. YouFit Gyms
Number of locations: 80 in 9 states
Annual fee: Approximately $50.00
Basic monthly fee: $9.99
Extra amenities: Indoor pickleball courts
All of YouFit's fees are clearly detailed in the membership agreement. While it might not have the state-of-the-art equipment of larger gyms, it generally maintains a manageable crowd size, ensuring members can access machines without waiting too long.
YouFit's class offerings are somewhat limited. While some branches provide a few group classes during morning and evening hours, the variety might not satisfy those seeking a broader selection or those with varied schedules.
This gym focuses on affordability, which means it lacks certain amenities like saunas, pools or basketball courts. However, if you're a pickleball fanatic, you are in luck — there are full or half courts at your disposal, depending on the location.
3. Anytime Fitness (Tie)
Number of locations: 5,700 globally
Annual fee: $49.99
Basic monthly fee: $41
Extra amenities: 24/7 access and free personalized fitness plan
Anytime Fitness offers a friendly and motivating environment. With 24/7 access using a key fob and the ability to use any of the 4,500 locations worldwide on just one membership, it's more than convenient for members.
However, Anytime doesn't have all the amenities some might expect, like childcare, pools, saunas or basketball courts, even though its prices can be similar to other gyms offering these services. Additionally, some locations have rules against using chalk or dropping weights, making it less than ideal for serious powerlifters.
3. 24 Hour Fitness (Tie)
Number of locations: 275 in 11 states
Annual fee: $49.99
Basic monthly fee: $9.99
Extra amenities: Free virtual classes w/app, pool
A 24 Hour Fitness membership allows you to use facilities at GoodLife Fitness and Energie Cardio should you be in Canada. Plus, for a good price, 24 Hour Fitness gives members access to amenities like basketball courts, group classes, saunas and pools, which other gyms in the same price range might not offer.
On the downside, cleanliness can be hit or miss depending on the location. Also, not all 24 Hour Fitness clubs stick to the 24-hour promise. In areas with blue laws, some clubs might close as early as 9:30 PM.
1. LA Fitness (Tie)
Number of locations: 550 in 22 states
Annual fee: $49
Basic monthly fee: $39.99
Extra amenities: Indoor heated pool, locations in Canada
LA Fitness provides access to a diverse range of strength equipment, machines and group classes. A standout feature is that most LA Fitness locations allow the use of chalk, which is uncommon in many other gyms.
Some gyms even have hot tubs for relaxation after workouts. However, the gym's appearance can feel outdated in many places and cleanliness varies between locations.
1. Planet Fitness (Tie)
Number of locations: 2,400 (all states)
Annual fee: $49
Basic monthly fee: about $10
Extra amenities: Free tanning, massage chairs w/PF Black Card
Planet Fitness's Black Card membership lets you use any of their gyms in the U.S. For an affordable monthly fee, you get perks like massage and tanning beds, guest privileges and smoothie discounts. The gym is upfront about costs, making fees clear in the contract.
However, some locations don't have barbells or have dumbbells that only go up to 75 pounds, which is limiting for serious weightlifters. Planet Fitness is known for its "lunk alarm," a loud noise they use to discourage certain behaviors (for example, dropping weights), which some people find embarrassing.