The most stressful part of adulthood is managing finances.
You want to be sure that you’re getting your bills paid on time and adding to your savings account little by little. But you also want to save money for things you enjoy doing, like getting fit and going to the gym.
So, is a gym membership worth the cost?
Let’s find out.
With over 2,000 Planet Fitness gyms across the globe, there’s a pretty good chance you live within driving distance of at least one.
Let’s cut right to the chase: The cost.
Planet Fitness is one of the most affordable gyms in America, with some memberships starting as low as $0 down and $10 a month. This “Classic” commitment-free membership will give you unlimited access to your Planet Fitness club, free training, and access to the club’s WiFi.
For a little more each month (about $22.99), you have unlimited access to all clubs across the globe. This “PF Black Card” will give you all the perks of the Classic plan plus free guest passes, hydromassage, tanning beds, massage chairs, and 50% discounts at the juice bar.
So, what does Planet Fitness have to offer?
A Planet Fitness membership is a great choice if you’re just getting back into health and fitness (or if you never started). The 24/7 access at most clubs allows you to squeeze in your workout whenever it fits into your schedule.
The clubs are known for having endless rows of cardio equipment like treadmills, ellipticals, and steppers. Most Planet Fitness clubs will also have loads of resistance training machines, dumbbells, pre-loaded barbells, and Smith machines.
The problem is that you don’t have free weights in terms of barbells and squat racks, which can be unappealing for a serious lifter. There’s also a Lunk Alarm, so you can’t slam the weights!
Gold’s Gym currently has over 700 locations worldwide and is a hotspot for guys serious about bulking up and bodybuilding. In fact, this is where Arnold Schwarzenneger saw his beginnings decades ago out in Venice.
Let’s talk about the financial aspect.
There doesn’t seem to be a set price when it comes to memberships with Gold’s Gym. What you end up paying will depend on the length of your membership and the location.
In most cases, long-term obligation contracts will cost less than month-to-month memberships. Yet, the long-term contracts, some as long as 18 months, prevent you from canceling until the contractual period is up.
Here’s a look at some examples of what you may pay.
- $30 down, $40 a month
- $1 down, $30 a month (for an 18-month membership)
- $148 down, $43 a month (for month-to-month)
So, what can you do at Gold’s Gym?
Most Gold’s Gym franchises will be open 364 days a year, opening as early as 4 AM on weekdays for early-morning workout sessions. These gyms are stocked full of barbells, dumbbells, and serious training equipment for packing on mass.
Some will even go a step further and offer more of a luxurious feel. Expect to pay more for membership if your Gold’s Gym location has unlimited cycling classes, an indoor pool, a spa, and/or a turf training area.
LA Fitness currently has over 700 locations and most memberships will give you complete access to more than one club. This can be worthwhile when it comes to getting a good amount of bang for your buck.
It’s time to talk about the fees.
LA Fitness is a little more consistent when it comes to monthly costs and fees. For the most part, a membership can be as little as $25 down and $30 a month. Some locations will charge a higher initiation fee of $125 to give you a discounted $25 a month fee.
So, what’s LA Fitness got to offer?
Every LA Fitness club is different and comes with a wide range of amenities, so be sure that you’re enrolling at a club that has exactly what you’re looking for.
Some clubs will have indoor basketball courts, open swim at the indoor pool, indoor cycling studios, and racquetball courts. Other LA Fitness clubs are even more elegant and pricier, giving you access to sauna and spa facilities.
One of the greatest features of LA Fitness is the sheer variety when it comes to group fitness classes. They offer everything from yoga and Zumba to boot camp and circuit training.
Equinox gyms are considered to be some of the most luxurious gyms in America, typically reserved for the “elite.” These clubs are mostly built in large cities like New York and Chicago, with 300 across the globe so far.
Get ready for the cost of this one.
Equinox offers perhaps the most expensive gym membership that you’ll ever see. Initiation fees range from $300 to $500 (to be paid on day one) with monthly memberships starting at a massive $160 a month.
For access to more elite clubs in your area and across the globe, you might end up paying monthly fees of over $300 a month. For most people, these costs aren’t even an option.
So, why is Equinox so expensive?
These gyms are definitely pricey, but you won’t find a gym that offers quite as many amenities at once. You’ll be able to book personal training and group sessions via the Equinox App and not have to worry about the gym being crowded or overbooked during rush hour.
Many of these clubs will offer things like boxing studios, kid clubs (daycares), indoor pools, luxurious lounges, steam rooms, and access to unlimited fitness classes. Others are more advanced with CrossFit facilities in-house and rock climbing walls.
You may even be able to save a whopping 40% at Equinox Hotels.
So, back to the question: Are gym memberships worth the cost?
Well, that depends on the franchise you choose and how often you plan on actually going.
For $10 a month, Planet Fitness will give you unlimited access to all of the basic equipment to help you get in shape. Even going a few times per month will get you your money’s worth and give you the motivation to workout.
For expensive gyms like Equinox, you better be going every single day for several hours at a time. The rock wall, steam rooms, and unlimited classes are great, but the idea of spending $300 a month is absolutely ridiculous. This is not worth the cost of the average person.
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