What Is The Average Gym Membership Cost And Are They Worth It

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Gym membership costs can vary wildly depending on the type of gym you choose and the services you’re looking for. Generally, basic memberships at larger gyms can range anywhere from $10 (plus fees, usually an intro offer) a month to over $100 per month.

Some higher-end gyms offer even more expensive packages! When considering which gym, if at all (you know we like garage gyms here), is best for you, it’s essential to look at the equipment range first. Then classes and other services. Also, any additional fees or contracts that may be attached to your membership.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Gym Membership Cost

For those just starting out on their fitness journey, there are many budget-friendly options available. Many smaller gyms or exercise studios offer low-cost memberships. They provide access to basic equipment and classes. These memberships also often come without long-term contracts. Often, they can be cancelled at any time with little financial consequence. You may need to pay an administration fee to restart your membership after an initial cancellation.

At larger gyms, higher membership fees may include access to more amenities such as pools, saunas and massage chairs. They also may have more diverse class offerings such as yoga and spin classes. If you’re interested in having access to a wide range of fitness resources, they are a good option. Watch out for any extra fees for extra services like these. Additionally, many larger gyms offer discounts for students or seniors that could bring down the cost of your monthly fee.

Before signing up for any gym membership it’s important to do research and weigh all your options carefully. This will help ensure that you get the most out of your money and can stick with what works for you in the long run. Be sure to read all the fine print on any contract before signing up so that if anything changes later on you know what you agreed upon in advance. Additionally, make sure whatever gym or exercise studio you join offers a trial period. This way if it turns out not to be what was advertised then you won’t be stuck paying fees unnecessarily after cancelling your membership early. This can be true of the larger gyms. Or, you can buy a day or week pass to try before you commit at some places.

Annual Gym Membership Costs Overview

Below, you’ll see a list of average annual costs for some of the more popular commercial gyms:

  • Planet Fitness: $120 to $279
  • Crunch Fitness: $179 to $299
  • Gold’s Gym: $348 to $461
  • LA Fitness: $454 to $520
  • ​YMCA: $426 to $578
  • ​24-Hour Fitness: $480 to $650
  • Anytime Fitness: $493 to $673
  • XSport Fitness: $775
  • Lifetime Fitness: $877 to $997
  • Equinox: $2,116 to $2,860

As you can see you’re looking at anywhere from $188 all the way up to a whopping $2860. Depending on your budget, location and requirements, you have a lot of choices. In my experience, some of the budget gyms offer a pretty good deal if it’s simply workout equipment you need. If it’s a full spa you’re after, then it’s going to cost you more.

Different Types of Gym Memberships

Different types of gym memberships can range from monthly passes to long-term contracts. Some gyms offer discounts for multiple-month packages and annual memberships. Monthly passes are often more affordable. But, if you plan on committing long-term, annual memberships offer the best price.

Some gyms offer special memberships for seniors, students and service people. This may come with additional discounts or other benefits. There are also fitness centres that offer pay-as-you-go rates and drop-in classes, where you only pay for the days you use the gym. These options can be great if you’re looking for flexibility in your gym routine. But of course, not always the cheapest option, here are some examples below:

  • Planet Fitness: Day Pass: $20 / Monthly Fee: from $10
  • ​YMCA: Day Pass: $15 / Monthly Fee: from $39
  • Lifetime Fitness: Day Pass: $40 / Monthly Fee: from $72

When I’m travelling abroad, I sometimes take advantage of day rates. This allows me to keep up my fitness routine without compromising on the quality of my workouts. Of course, you’re better off with a monthly or annual membership price-wise.

I like to look up short-term commercial gym membership when travelling.

Benefits of Having a Gym Membership

Having a gym membership can provide you with numerous benefits. It can be a great motivator to get into the gym, as you’re paying for it, likely you’ll want to use it a few times! Gyms often have group classes that offer guidance and support to help make exercise a more enjoyable experience. You will also have access to fitness instructors who can advise on basic things like proper use of the equipment and fundamentals of programming. If you want anything more, you’ll pay for a trainer.

Although, obviously here we prefer garage gyms. There is no getting away from the fact that you will have access to a great range of facilities and equipment. You just might have to wait a minute to use it.

Tips for Saving Money on Your Gym Membership

When looking to save money on a gym membership, there are several tips to keep in mind. Shopping around for different gyms can be a great way to find discounts and special offers. Comparing the amenities and features of each gym can help you determine which one is the best fit for your budget. Additionally, some gyms offer discounts for signing up with a long-term contract or paying in bulk.

Many gyms have special promotions throughout the year that can help you save money. Taking advantage of these deals can be a great way to get more bang for your buck. Especially around the new year.

Finally, talk to your employer. You may find that there is a company wellness programme you can take advantage of.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Signing Up For a Gym Membership

First, answer these key questions about your needs:

– What is my budget?

– What type of training will I be doing?

– What equipment will I be using?

Then when browsing your local gyms, ensure they meet the above criteria:

– What type of amenities are available at the gym?

To finalise your choice, look at the following:

– Does the gym offer any discounts or special offers?

– Are there any long-term contracts that I can sign up for to save money?

– Is there a referral program in place that could help me get a discount?

– Do they have any promotions throughout the year that I could take advantage of?

– Does my employer provide any corporate wellness programs which might be able to cover some costs associated with my membership fees?

Commonly Offered Amenities, Services, and Discounts That Come With Most Gyms

Gyms will vary but here is a list of the most common services and amenities you’ll find attached to commercial gyms.

– Group classes

– Personal training

– Childcare services

– Specialty classes (yoga, Pilates, boxing, etc.)

– Access to pools or other recreational activities

– Free trial period

– Discounts for seniors or students

– Bring a friend discounts

– Low monthly cost or pay-as-you-go options

– No long-term commitment contracts

Personal training can be an excellent add-on for accelerated results.

How to get the most from your membership

Once you’ve been through all the above details. Maybe you’re still on the fence about what to do. Well, before you buy a gym membership, it’s important to know what you value most in a membership.

Once you’ve figured out what you’re looking for, revisit your fitness goals. This way you can choose a membership that helps you achieve them. For instance, if you’re new to fitness and want to lose weight, a membership with free classes might be ideal. If you’re more experienced, does the standard of equipment stack up?

This is so important, make your workout a priority by scheduling it into your day! Block out time for working out, and mark it on your calendar. There is no use in a gym membership you do not use.

Alternatives to a commercial gym?

Of course, you don’t have to go to a commercial gym to have fun. There are a few alternatives that can offer the same results, sort of.

CrossFit or Functional Training Facility

Prices vary a little here but you are typically looking at upwards of $100. Okay, so compare this to the commercial gym offering and it’s a bit pricey. For the money, you get access to a certain amount of classes per week. All are coached and usually done as a group.

A Home Gym

No membership fees here. That’s why we like them. However, you have to build it first! You can get started with some basics, which I priced up for around $500 in my ‘How Much Do Home Gyms Cost’ article. For the money, you’ll have a power rack, dumbbells, a barbell, plates, some resistance bands and basic floor protection. It’s about the price of an annual membership at a mid-range gym like L A Fitness.

No Gym

You don’t actually need a gym at all. If you are simply looking to stay healthy and not be an athlete of some sort. You can do everything you need with just a little space and your own body weight. In my article ‘At Home Workouts’ I have a bunch of equipment-free workouts. So here a grand total of $0 is what you need.

A home gym can be a good alternative and tailored specifically to your training needs.

So what’s the take-home?

Your average gym membership is going to cost you between $10 and $100 a month. You need to first define exactly what you want before you go shopping around. At the budget end, you can get the job done but don’t expect a swimming pool and a sauna.

Then you have functional training facilities. These may be more pricey but offer sport-specific training and coaching. Great for motivation and accountability. We also touched on some alternatives, like a home gym or no gym. These can save you time and money in the long run. If you want to learn more about home gym setups and costs, check out my article on ‘How Much Do Home Gyms Cost’. Now you can make an informed decision about what is best for you. Good luck.

FAQ’s

How can I decide between a budget gym and a high-end facility?

Deciding what gym is right for you is a difficult decision. If you don’t have a large budget then the decision is made for you (budget). If you have a budget but are not sure what level of gym is right for you, try before you buy. Most establishments will offer a trial day or even period. You can then have a good look around and try some of the kit before you commit. You should also remember that most gyms these days have no-commitment membership tariffs. Meaning, you can change gyms after one month if it’s not for you. Lastly, but by no means least, make sure any gym has the equipment to support your training needs. You can’t do a spin class if the gym has no spin bikes, for example 😊

Are there any hidden costs I should be aware of when signing up for a gym membership?

Yes, there can be costs when signing up for a gym membership, not necessarily hidden. Typically, you should check for a sign-up fee and a cancellation fee. Gym membership fees in general can be reduced by signing up for longer periods, but are often more costly to cancel should you wish to before the initial agreed term is up.

What are some alternatives to traditional gym memberships that can still help me achieve my fitness goals?

You’ve come to the right place. I would recommend getting some of your own kit and working out at home, check my article on home gym setup costs here for more info. Alternatively, you can go outside and use your bodyweight. You can find excellent equipment in local parks for working out. In my travels all over the world, I’ve seen variations of pull up bars, palettes, and even bodyweight resistance machines.

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Andy is the founder of Garage Gym Greatness. He’s a NASM certified personal trainer and corrective exercise specialist and has worked with clients of all ages, from young professionals to those in their twilight years. Reviewing everything home fitness related is a pleasure, never a chore. His favourite cheese if comté.