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According to a Forbes Health/One poll survey of 1,000 U.S. adults, the top New Year's resolution for 2024 is to enhance fitness.
The survey discovered that 48% of the participants identified improving their fitness as their primary objective for the new year.
Joining a gym can be a good way to improve your fitness, but it can also be a big expense. Also, the costs of joining a gym aren't always transparent.
Gyms often advertise a low monthly cost, but they frequently add on start-up fees, annual fees, and processing fees.
Here, we'll break down the best gym memberships that won't negatively impact your personal finances.
1. Planet Fitness
- Basic membership: Starts at $10 per month
- Annual fee: $49
- Number of locations: 2,400
Planet Fitness is hard to beat if you're looking for a no-frills gym membership.
Classic memberships start at $10 a month and give you unlimited access to your home club and workouts via the PF app.
Depending on the club and type of membership, you'll pay a one-time start-up fee that often ranges from $39 to $59, on top of the annual fee.
If you travel frequently or like to bring guests to the gym, you may want to opt for the PF Black Card.
Starting at $24.99 per month, the Black Card allows you to visit any of the 2,400 Planet Fitness locations worldwide, plus you can bring a guest any time.
You also get access to premium features, like use of massage chairs and exclusive PF+ app workouts.
The startup fee for this option is only $1.
- Basic membership: Starts at $9.99 per month
- Annual fee: Up to $89, but varies by club
- Number of locations: 406
Crunch's Base membership starts at $9.99 per month for a 12-month commitment, or $14.99 a month with no commitment.
The basic membership gets you access to cardio and weight equipment, a "Power Half Hour" circuit, and the locker room at a single club.
If you're willing to shell out extra, you can get access to all 406 Crunch locations plus guest privileges with the Peak membership (starts at $22.99 per month) and Peak Results membership (starts at $29.99 per month).
The Peak membership allows you to attend group fitness classes, while Peak Results comes with access to Ride classes, Advanced HIIT classes, and HydroMassage.
Some clubs charge an enrollment fee of up to $75, but it varies by location and membership. It's sometimes discounted or waived if Crunch is offering a promotion.
- Basic membership: Starts at $9.99 per month
- Annual fee: $49.99
- Number of locations: 80
YouFit has a basic membership that starts at $9.99 per month with a 12-month commitment, or $14.99 a month with no commitment.
The basic membership allows you to use all cardio, free weights, and weight machines, plus locker room facilities whenever you want.
There's also a Premium membership that starts at $19.99 per month that gets you access to all YouFit gyms, unlimited guest privileges, group fitness, and indoor Pickleball.
Premium+ memberships start at $29.99 a month and get you small group training, indoor Pickleball with reservations, and YouFit's nutrition app.
Enrollment fees vary, but they typically range from $19 to $79. You may be able to have these fees waived if YouFit is offering a promotion.
One area where YouFit shines is affordable personal training: Training sessions start at just $35. A downside, though, is that there are only 80 locations in the U.S.
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4. LA Fitness
- Basic membership: Starts at $39.99 per month
- Annual fee: $59
- Number of locations: Over 550
LA Fitness is a good option for those who want to go beyond regular gym floor and group fitness workouts.
Many clubs have a swimming pool and spa, racquetball and basketball courts, and even leagues you can join.
Memberships start at $39.99 a month with a $75 initiation fee, or $49.99 a month with no initiation fee.
You can work out at any LA Fitness gym nationwide with either membership, but some amenities will cost extra.
5. Anytime Fitness
- Basic membership: Varies, but average is $41 per month in the U.S.
- Annual fee: Varies by individual gym
- Number of locations: Over 2,500
Anytime Fitness has the highest monthly membership cost of the gyms on this list, but the price may be worth it if you want 24/7 gym access.
Your membership gets you access to all Anytime Fitness locations worldwide.
Membership costs (including monthly charges, annual fees, and enrollment fees) as well as amenities vary by location, so it's best to contact your local club for details if you're considering joining.
Many clubs also offer student, military, and senior discounts, as well as insurance discounts.
Should you join a gym in 2024?
Gyms make a lot of money off of people who sign up and then rarely use their memberships. According to Finder research, about one-third of gym memberships go unused, which amounts to $1.3 billion wasted every year.
If you're not sure whether to make a gym membership part of your 2024 budget, here are some questions to consider:
- What are the overall costs? Consider the monthly charges, as well as enrollment and annual fees, in determining your budget. Group fitness, personal training, and amenities, often cost extra, so be sure to account for those costs if applicable.
- Is it easy to cancel? Gyms often charge hefty cancellation fees or require a 12-month commitment, so be sure you understand the costs of quitting. Some gyms offer month-to-month memberships for a few extra dollars each month, which could be worth it if you're not sure how much you'll use your membership.
- Can you try it for free? Many gyms offer you a free trial of anywhere from a few days to a week. If you're on the fence, ask if you can do a test run before signing an agreement.
Joining a gym can be a great way to improve your health and fitness -- assuming you actually go to the gym.
But make sure you choose a gym that's convenient and that you actually like.
Otherwise, you could end up draining your wallet without getting the health benefits.