While it may be hard to believe in the modern day and age, the truth is that group classes like our Cardio Tai Box or HIITZone specials were not always a part of the fitness industry. It wasn’t until the mid-20th century, in fact, that a health club thought to start offering personal training in a group setting, with the iconic Jazzercise class being established in 1970. Since then, group classes have exploded in popularity, and today they’re one of the single most popular aspects of a gym membership.
Despite this popularity, many commercial gyms still fail to provide the level of service and value that most modern gym-goers expect. To help solve that issue, we’ve decided to compare our own group fitness classes to those of one of our most successful competitors, LA Fitness. Below, you’ll see our fact-based rundown of what Crunch Fitness has to offer, how LA Fitness compares, and the overall best gym membership with group classes.
Cost is often the first thing people think of when they compare two services, and we broke down the best gym memberships offered by both Crunch Fitness and LA Fitness to help you decide which fits your budget most.
Crunch Fitness offers three membership packages at distinct price points, each with its own set of perks and benefits. For this article, we’ll focus on our Peak and Peak Results packages, both of which include unlimited access to group fitness classes (with some key differences). Keep in mind that prices may fluctuate slightly depending on location but are typically very close to the numbers we’ll give here.
For Peak gym memberships, members pay around $22.99 per month with an annual commitment or $26.99 per month on a month-to-month basis. These monthly fees give you access to everything our facilities have to offer, plus unlimited participation in most group fitness classes, with the exception of small group training such as our Ride series.
Peak Results members instead pay about $29.99 per month with an annual commitment or $34.99 on a month-to-month basis. With this membership package, you get all of the benefits from the Peak membership plus completely unlimited classes, guest privileges, tanning, and more.
Both Peak and Peak Results members have access to nearly 400 Crunch Fitness locations nationwide.
Unlike Crunch, LA Fitness offers two main membership packages, which are functionally identical to each other in terms of benefits and services.
Their first package costs $39.99 per month with a $99.00 initiation fee, whereas the second package costs $49.99 per month with no initiation fee. This means that after ten months of membership, the package with no initiation fee will begin costing more overall than simply paying the initiation fee up-front. Both packages come with unlimited group classes at all LA fitness locations nationwide.
When you take part in group classes, it’s essential that you can trust the instructors leading you. In order to help build that trust, we’ve broken down the expertise you can expect from both Crunch Fitness and LA Fitness instructors.
One of Crunch Fitness’s defining features is its group classes, which is why we take extra care in making sure that every instructor we hire has the passion and experience needed to take your fitness to the next level. When you join one of our classes, rest assured that your instructor will:
- Have at least one nationally accredited certification, such as the ACE, AFAA, or NASM.
- Be CPR certified.
- Have a minimum of 6 months of group fitness or personal training experience.
- Possess a genuine passion for fitness and fitness education.
Additionally, Crunch Fitness reinvests in its trainers and instructors–just like with our facilities and equipment. That means that we’re constantly providing our group fitness trainers with new opportunities to learn and grow in ways that benefit them and our members.
Like us, LA Fitness recognizes how important it is for a commercial gym to supply qualified instructors. While we struggled to find exact requirements about their hiring standards, we were able to find that LA Fitness instructors must have at least one certification from among 22 different certification organizations.
Although accepting certifications from a much wider range of organizations can mean a bigger pool of instructors overall, in our experience, it can decrease average instructor quality. LA Fitness does offer instructor training classes to recruit new employees, but we’re unsure whether they have a minimum experience requirement for the people they hire.
Usually, members discover early on what kind of group fitness classes they love most. Even so, it’s important for any gym membership to include a wide variety of current, well-designed classes. We put our own class list head-to-head with LA Fitness to see who wins out on variety.
Currently, Crunch Fitness offers almost seventy distinct group fitness classes ranging from our member-favorite Ride classes to our Push the Perimeter strength training and Barre Assets ballet conditioning. As if this weren’t enough, we continually develop and launch new classes each season based on what our members love most, so you’ll never be at a loss for a new experience to try.
Such a diverse class selection requires equally diverse resources, which is why we equip each of our locations with the cardio machines, HIIT tools, and other exercise equipment required for the best possible experience.
To their credit, LA Fitness has a well-built online class list that lends itself to easy navigation and exploration. On this list, the company includes 21 separate classes ranging from yoga classes to Zumba, and each short class description comes with how long you should expect to spend in the class.
Depending on which class you choose, LA Fitness provides basic cardio equipment, free weights, and yoga mats for its class members.
Convenience of Group Classes
Even the most affordable, diverse, well-led group classes don’t amount to much unless they’re convenient and accessible to the members they serve. In our final section, we’ll break down both companies’ scheduling methods and availability.
Crunch Fitness offers more than triple the number of group fitness classes as most other gyms, including LA Fitness. To help facilitate access to this broad selection, our website sorts visitors based on location and then shows them the times and classes available to them at their local Crunch gyms.
For Signature members, we take this convenience one step further by allowing you to reserve class spots in advance, thereby ensuring that you never miss out on your favorite exercises.
Like us, LA Fitness’s website allows users to filter nearby classes based on zip code and specific classes they want to attend. Unfortunately, it seems this system does not let you see all classes available at a local LA Fitness, instead requiring you to search each class individually.
The Final Verdict
In many ways, LA Fitness provides similar benefits as Crunch Fitness at a fairly reasonable membership cost. That said, their relatively small list of classes, lower standards for group class instructors, and slightly higher overall monthly fee leave room for improvement. While they may or may not excel in other areas as a gym, we firmly believe that we take the win in terms of group fitness training.
For those who want to see first-hand just how seriously we take group fitness, try out our complimentary class trial pass and enjoy three full days of all the exercise you can handle. If, by the end of those three days, you aren’t convinced, there are no strings attached. As always, Crunch Fitness remains dedicated to providing a world-class, no judgment atmosphere designed with your health in mind. No matter which company you ultimately choose, we’ll continue doing everything in our power to give our members–and readers–the most value and support possible.
Crunch’s group fitness classes and personal trainers promote a culture of fun with no judgments. It is an environment built for all types of individuals with various goals. Find a Crunch gym near you to try our free trial membership, or join Crunch now.