The 8 Best Gym Memberships of 2020

See where you need to sign up so you can get in shape

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: 24-Hour Fitness

"The membership is far from the most expensive, and you get great features and services for the price."

Best Budget Membership: Planet Fitness

"For just $10 per month, members can access virtually all types of cardio machines, basic weight machines, floor space, dumbbells, and barbells"

Best for Frequent Travelers: Anytime Fitness

"Your get your very own key FOB to enter the gym at any time of day or night, without needing a gym employee there to let you in."

Best for Bodybuilders: Gold’s Gym

"Gold’s Gyms are stocked with squat racks, plates and barbells, heavy dumbbells, and a variety of weight machines."

Best for Luxury and Amenities: Equinox

"Equinox is known for its high-end amenities, high-quality equipment, modern interior design, and sleek branding."

Best for Machines and Muscle Isolation: LA Fitness

"The floor layout typically includes a vast selection of weight machines that allow you to hit any muscle you can think of from any angle."

Best for Group Classes: Crunch Fitness

"Whether its yoga, HIIT, muscle-scuplting, TRX training, pilates, or something else, Crunch likely has a class for you."

Best for Cross-Training: Orangetheory Fitness

"With an Orangetheory membership, you’ll experience everything from treadmill sprints to full-out cross-training circuits."

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: 24-Hour Fitness

24 Hour Fitness

24 Hour Fitness

24-Hour Fitness has a little bit of everything and a lot of the things that most gym-goers love: It’s a 24-hour facility, has ample floor space and equipment, offers group fitness classes and personal training, and even a workout app that provides workout plans so you don’t have to program your own. 

Keep in mind, though, that there are different levels of 24-Hour Fitness gyms with different amenities. Active and Sport clubs have less than Super-Sport and Ultra-Sport clubs, the latter of which are often multiple-story facilities with luxury amenities. Either way, though, you’ll have access to the basics: free weights, weight machines, cardio equipment, floor equipment, locker rooms, towels, studio rooms, and saunas. 

An average 24-Hour Fitness membership ranges from $30 to $60 per month, putting it right in the middle, budget-wise — it’s not the cheapest, but it’s far from the most expensive, and you get great features and services for the price. 

Best Budget Membership: Planet Fitness

Planet Fitness

Planet Fitness

On the end of the gym spectrum opposite Equinox, Planet Fitness is known for its inclusivity, simplicity, and small price tag. For just $10 per month, members can access virtually all types of cardio machines, basic weight machines, floor space, dumbbells, and barbells — everything you need to work up a good sweat. 

If you’re willing to pay $12.99 more for the PF Black Card membership for a total of $22.99 per month, you can get access to all 2,000 locations in the U.S. and bring a friend for free every time you visit. The Black Card membership also gives you unlimited access to spas at all locations that have them.

Planet Fitness has also become renowned for its “No Judgement Zone” policy. If you’re new to fitness and feel intimidated by gyms, Planet Fitness is a great place to get your feet wet. There are rules in place about dropping weights, yelling, grunting, and doing other things that typically make fellow gym-goers uncomfortable. On top of that, Planet Fitness offers a schedule of free fitness training five days per week: If you aren’t sure where to start, attend one of these small group training sessions for no extra cost. 

Best for Frequent Travelers: Anytime Fitness

Anytime Fitness

Anytime Fitness 

Anytime Fitness offers a unique amenity that most commercial gyms — even 24-hour ones — don’t: Your very own key FOB to enter the gym at any time of day or night, without needing a gym employee there to let you in. This unique travel-friendly feature (plus the more than 4,700 franchises) makes Anytime Fitness a great gym membership option for people who often find themselves in different parts of the country, whether you travel for business or for leisure. 

Most Anytime Fitness locations have all of the space and equipment you need for a good workout, including barbells and racks, dumbbells, kettlebells, boxes, cardio equipment, weight machines, and yoga mats. The membership fees won’t hurt your wallet as much as some commercial gym chains, either: The average monthly fee is about $30.

The only real downside to Anytime Fitness is that it’s a fast-growing chain, which can present discrepancies in franchise quality. Your home Anytime Fitness might be fantastically clean and have functional equipment, but another across the country might not. This is often the price you pay for convenience and availability. 

Best for Bodybuilders: Gold’s Gym

Gold’s Gym

Gold’s Gym

Gold’s Gym is technically a national franchise — there are over 700 locations, but the highest concentration of Gold’s Gym franchises is in California. It makes sense, as the original Gold’s Gym, the mecca of bodybuilding, was built across the street from the renowned Muscle Beach in Venice, California. 

Since then, Gold’s has grown into a commercial gym chain known for its focus on heavy lifting and muscle building. The majority of Gold’s Gyms are stocked with squat racks, plates and barbells, heavy dumbbells, and a variety of weight machines. 

The amenities and services at Gold’s Gym vary by location, but most offer the basic things you’d expect from a good gym: lockers, showers, saunas, and steam rooms, lap pools, personal training, and group fitness classes. Membership terms and prices also vary by location but run as low as $19.95 per month.  

Best for Luxury and Amenities: Equinox

Equinox

Equinox

If you enjoy the finer things in life, you’ll probably feel very at home in one of the 100-plus Equinox locations around the U.S. Equinox is known for its high-end amenities, high-quality equipment, modern interior design, and sleek branding — and its eye-widening price tag for a monthly membership. 

If you can handle the base price of nearly $200 per month, you’ll get access to cold eucalyptus towels, a full-service spa, lifestyle shop, unlimited group classes, steam rooms, saunas, and more. A membership also lends itself to exclusive events, such as rooftop fitness classes on One World Observatory and cooking classes with famous chefs. 

Equinox membership fees vary based on which club you attend and how many clubs and amenities you have access too: More clubs, more amenities, more money. This is definitely more than a simple gym membership and is best for those who want more of a lifestyle integration, rather than just a simple place to hit the weights. 

Best for Machines and Muscle Isolation: LA Fitness

LA Fitness

LA Fitness

Like Gold’s Gym, LA Fitness is another commercial gym that caters to bodybuilders and anyone looking to perform hypertrophy-focused (muscle-building) workouts. The floor layout typically includes a vast selection of weight machines that allow you to hit any muscle you can think of from any angle. Really: You can do lying hamstring curls, seated hamstring curls, and standing hamstring curls all at an LA Fitness. 

LA Fitness locations also include standard free weights, including barbells and dumbbells, but the small bit of functional training floor space is usually reserved for personal trainers and their clients. 

But if there’s an LA Fitness near you, don’t be put off by the idea that it’s swarming with bodybuilders — LA Fitness also has ample group fitness offerings and personal training, and most locations have an entire floor dedicated to cardio equipment only. Many locations also have lap pools and saunas, making LA Fitness a really well-rounded gym chain. 

LA Fitness memberships start at $19.99 per month, but vary by state and increase if you want multi-club or multi-state access. 

Best for Group Classes: Crunch Fitness

Crunch Fitness

Crunch Fitness

Like all commercial gyms, the offerings at Crunch Fitness vary by location. However, Crunch Fitness has earned itself a good reputation for having a large variety of fun, effective group workout classes. The Crunch Fitness on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, for example, offers more than 20 different classes in any given week. 

Whether you’re into yoga, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), muscle-sculpting, TRX training, pilates, or something else, there’s a good chance that a Crunch Fitness near you has a class to suit you. Of course, if you aren’t feeling a group class one day, you can do your own thing with cardio equipment, free weights, and weight machines. 

Crunch Fitness offers three membership options: $85 per month for access to one Crunch club; $99 per month for access to two Crunch clubs; and $140 per month for access to all 345 Crunch clubs around the U.S. 

Best for Cross-Training: Orangetheory Fitness

Orangetheory Fitness

Orangetheory Fitness

If you’re looking for a place that has more structure and isn’t centered around the weight room, Orangetheory Fitness is a good bet. This studio gym utilizes HIIT and incorporates loads of variety into the workouts. With an Orangetheory membership, you’ll experience everything from treadmill sprints to full-out cross-training circuits complete with dumbbell squats and kettlebell swings. 

You’ll get the benefits of resistance training and cardiovascular fitness all wrapped up into a structured one-hour workout coached by certified fitness professionals — perfect for people who don’t really want to think about what they’re doing, reap the benefits of a professionally designed fitness program, and get in and out in less than 90 minutes.

Orangetheory Fitness offers three membership options: Basic, for four classes per month; Elite, for eight classes per month; and Premium, for unlimited classes per month. Prices vary based on which club you attend and promotions going on at your time of signup. 

If you’re still on the fence about a gym membership, learn more about the benefits of joining a gym and how to find and choose a gym in your area.

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