The gym industry is competitive, and most of the time, that competition benefits customers by helping drive down monthly fees and encourage better service. Sometimes, however, that same competition can mean misleading advertising or less-than-true articles about which gym membership is right for you.
At Crunch, our single most important goal is helping people reach the best fitness outcomes possible. And while we do absolutely everything in our power to provide the best service, facilities, and group classes at the lowest possible price, we also recognize that some other gyms do an excellent job in their own right.
That’s why we decided to do an honest breakdown of what we view as four of the best gym memberships in the industry. In this article, we’ll compare the pros, cons, and bottom lines of Crunch Fitness and three of our competitors. While we firmly believe that we can provide the best home for 99% of gym goers, the goal is for you to have all the information you need to decide which fits your needs best.
Cost vs. Value
In our experience, the conversation surrounding the most affordable gym memberships too often focuses on cost without taking value into consideration. While the difference may not be obvious at first, we think it’s one of the most critical elements for determining how good a deal you’re actually getting when signing up for a membership.
Cost is self-explanatory: it’s just how much you pay each month. On average, a gym membership in the United States will cost you about $50.00 in monthly fees. It’s important to note that this number factors in luxury gyms, higher rates from big cities, and other considerations. Realistically, you can expect to find a good gym membership for between $9.99 and $32.99, which is the basic range that Crunch Fitness offers.
Value, on the other hand, is a much more complicated issue. Depending on things like amenities, quality of exercise equipment, availability of group fitness classes, and countless other features, a $9.99 membership at one gym may be worth substantially more or less than the same $9.99 at another. And, though it’s nearly impossible to explore every single feature of every gym membership, it’s still useful to compare basic qualities from among some of the most popular memberships to get a better feel for their value.
At Crunch Fitness, we believe that even an inexpensive gym can give you everything you need to reach your fitness goals. To back up that claim, we charge only $9.99 for our basic membership, $22.99 for our Peak membership, and $31.99 for our Peak Results membership. Keep in mind that, like all chain gyms, gym membership prices vary slightly depending on location.
Members on the basic plan enjoy access to all of the equipment we have to offer, from modern cardio equipment to extensive free weights and squat racks. Peak members have unlimited access to more than sixty group classes, from yoga classes to HIIT sessions. Peak Results members take this one step further with unlimited access to all of the group fitness classes that we have to offer, including small studio classes such as our Ride series.
No matter which membership package you choose, all Crunch Fitness members have access to skilled personal trainers for a flexible monthly fee. If you’re unsure whether personal training is for you, we offer every new member a free personal training session with our CrunchOne Kickoff program.
- Different monthly memberships for every budget
- Excellent list of diverse group exercise classes
- Transparent pricing
- Nearly 400 locations nationwide
- CrunchOne Kickoff free fitness training session
- Popular locations may be busier at peak times
- Basic monthly membership does not offer access to all locations
We built Crunch Fitness on the philosophy that breaking a sweat shouldn’t need to break the bank, which is why we pair competitively low rates with some of the best facilities and service the fitness industry has to offer. Key to that plan is our list of group classes, which helps introduce new members to our no judgment environment and motivate them to push their limits in fun, new ways.
When you choose to join Crunch, you’re joining a supportive community dedicated to helping you achieve your goals—without all of the unnecessary add-ons and fees.
Gold’s Gym is one of the most famous names in the history of commercial fitness, evoking names like Arnold Schwarzenegger and the original Incredible Hulk, Lou Ferrigno. Today, they’ve transitioned to become more friendly with the average gym goer, though most locations still maintain the bodybuilding-esque “golden era” during which Gold’s Gym became famous.
Despite their efforts to market themselves as beginner-friendly, Gold’s Gym still charges far more than most other gyms on this list, with the absolute cheapest membership packages starting at $25.00 per month. Still, most Gold’s Gym locations have an excellent atmosphere for intermediate or advanced gym goers, and they boast a carefully-curated selection of machines and equipment to help reach even the loftiest fitness goals.
- Nearly 700 locations worldwide
- Long history of excellent service
- Discounts for longer contracts
- More expensive than the average membership
- Pricing and features vary by location
Although they may be more expensive than other chain gyms, Gold’s Gym has more than enough equipment to help you live out your fitness dreams. That said, service and pricing vary by location, and their group fitness classes leave room for growth. Before signing a contract, we suggest touring your local gym to make sure they live up to the business’s history and standards.
As the name might suggest, Anytime Fitness is a chain of gyms dedicated to providing its members with 24-hour fitness options around the world. To make this possible, the company franchises nearly 5,000 locations worldwide, each of which is available by keycard access 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
For equipment and facilities, Anytime Fitness packs an impressive amount of equipment into typically small spaces. This means that although you can get a decent workout in, you may need to wait for specific pieces of equipment during a gym’s peak hours. Combined with their national membership fee average of about $41.00, this may mean that the gym provides less value outside its 24-hour access.
- 24/7 availability
- Almost 5,000 locations worldwide
- Minimal, well-designed facilities
- Very basic class selection
- Low value for the monthly membership cost
- Inconsistent service across different locations
Anytime Fitness’s main advantage is the ability to go to any of its nearly 5,000 locations 24 hours, seven days a week. Still, the sheer number of Anytime Fitness locations also has drawbacks, as service and facilities may drastically vary depending on where you are.
When most people think of cheap gym memberships, Planet Fitness is usually one of the first companies to come to mind. With a $9.99 monthly fee at almost every location and a relatively small annual fee, this gym is unquestionably one of the best in terms of cost. That said, Planet Fitness offers far less value for the average gym member than the other companies on this list.
This comes down to two things: equipment and environment. As far as equipment, Planet Fitness does not typically supply many barbells, extensive dumbbells, squat racks, or other serious weight-lifting equipment. While their weight machines and other equipment still allow members to build a decent workout routine, it nonetheless limits advanced or even intermediate gym goers.
For the environment, Planet Fitness promotes an admirable “judgement free zone,” which we wholeheartedly support. Still, we believe that a no judgment atmosphere can still be one where you’re pushed to improve in healthy, supportive ways.
- Very inexpensive monthly membership
- Usually has multiple options of machines to reduce wait time
- Limited selection of different cardio and strength equipment
- No group fitness classes
- Lacks free weights and more serious equipment
- They don’t offer personal training
For infrequent gym-goers or those on a very limited budget, Planet Fitness is an extremely inexpensive gym that can give you the basic equipment you need to stay healthy. Even so, paying even a little bit more for a gym with more amenities, support, and group fitness classes can mean massive improvements in motivation and results.
Which Membership Is Right for You?
So, what is the cheapest gym membership? At the end of the day, either Crunch Fitness’s Basic membership or a Planet Fitness membership will cost you about $9.99 monthly, which is the cheapest you’ll find among chain gyms. When you factor in value, however, the answer becomes much more complicated.
For us, we believe that Crunch Fitness’s unmatched selection of group classes, fully-equipped facilities, and flexible membership packages mean we offer the most value at the lowest prices. Perhaps more importantly, we work tirelessly to strike a balance between motivation and our no judgment atmosphere, which allows you to remain comfortable and confident while also pushing toward your fitness goals.
If you’re on the fence about which gym is right for you, consider heading down to your local Crunch Fitness for your free trial membership. With no strings attached and no commitment required, you can see for yourself how we stack up against the competition—and get an awesome workout in while you do.
Crunch promotes a culture of positivity, inclusivity, and fun with no judgments by providing an environment for all individuals regardless of their health and fitness goals. Find a Crunch gym near you to try our free trial membership, or join Crunch now.