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8 Best Gym Memberships, According to Fitness Experts & Members

Get your sweat on!

african american woman exercising on treadmill in gym
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Finding the best gym membership near you is no easy task. Whether you’re a workout novice or avid marathoner, a great facility with ample amenities is important. You want something that’s close by and affordable, but also a fitness club that has group classes at the times that are most convenient for your schedule as well as ample parking.

Most gyms will offer you a complimentary tour of the facility or a free day pass to test it out for yourself. Some clubs will even offer you a free week to see if the facility is right for you. But which gyms are worth looking into based on your personal fitness needs and budget?

Fitness experts in the Good Housekeeping Institute Wellness Lab evaluated over 450 fitness clubs and surveyed over 1,800 real-life members to get their current feedback. We analyzed over 39,900 data points, including everything from ratings on equipment quality to facility cleanliness. Ultimately, our results revealed that convenience and pricing are major determining factors in selecting the best gym for you, but other factors like equipment and cleanliness were important too. Here are the best gym memberships, according to both fitness professionals and real-life members:

Our top picks:

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    Best Overall Gym Membership
    LA Fitness
    LA Fitness

    • Spacious facility & pool
    • Reasonable membership cost
    • Great variety of classes

    • Can get crowded at peak hours

    With over 600 clubs across the US and Canada, you've likely driven by an LA Fitness in your area. For one membership, you get access to everything including all clubs nationally. Most LA Fitness locations are large with a good variety of equipment and floor space. Group classes include everything from indoor cycling to yoga. Every club is a bit different but you'll typically find a nice size aquatic space with a lap pool and hot tub.

    Lab Results: Our pros like the spacious design, nice selection of group classes, personal training, aquatic area and basketball and racquetball courts available at a fairly reasonable membership cost. Members raved about the classes and pool too, giving the gym top scores for facility size and noting ample parking.

    Number of Locations: 600+

    Childcare Available: Yes

    Cost: $99 initiation fee with $34.99 per month membership or $0 initiation fee with $44.99 per month membership

    Best Value Gym Membership
    Planet Fitness
    Planet Fitness

    • Affordable & clean
    • 2,000+ locations
    • Friendly environment

    • No group fitness classes

    For an incredibly affordable price, Planet Fitness offers spacious and clean facilities with great equipment variety. Most clubs are open 24 hours a day and include good quality locker rooms and showers too, especially for the price. Their emphasis on a Judgement Free Zone® is great for beginners to feel comfortable when working out. The classic membership includes unlimited access to the club, as well as free fitness training and complimentary wifi. You can upgrade to the other membership option called the PF Black Card Membership that adds other perks like the use of any Planet Fitness facility worldwide, the ability to bring a guest anytime and the use of tanning beds and massage chairs.

    Lab Results: Planet Fitness was the most popular gym membership on our survey and for good reason. Members liked that the facilities are clean and noted the large number of cardio machines available. The gym received top scores across the board for everything from equipment quality and variety to facility size and parking. Even the locker rooms were rated favorably. "You can work on your own, no need to feel pressured or hurried," one member said. Our fitness pros especially like the free perk of fitness training called PE@PF, which includes sessions led by certified fitness instructors to help you create a personalized workout plan and get familiar with the equipment.

    Number of Locations: 2,000+

    Childcare Available: No

    Cost: Varies by location, most start at $10 per month + startup fee (~$49) that ranges by area as well as an annual fee ($39)

    Best Luxury Gym Membership
    Equinox
    Equinox

    • Stellar facilities and amenities
    • Great group fitness classes
    • Top quality equipment

    • Expensive membership cost and fees

    This top-tier fitness club comes at a hefty monthly cost but offers the best of the best. You'll find state-of-the-art equipment and a well-designed strength training area too. Equinox gyms have a sleek, sophisticated design and highlight premier facility features like clean fitness studios and an exclusive spa. Expert personal training is also available, as well as one-on-one studio pilates sessions.

    Lab Results: Our fitness pros love the best-in-class equipment and exceptional selection of group fitness classes with some of the top instructors in the industry. Members raved about the luxurious amenities and cleanliness as well. The facilities are constantly being cleaned, and hand sanitizer stations are available throughout the clubs. UV-C light sanitizers are offered to instantly disinfect personal electronics.

    Number of Locations: 100+

    Childcare Available: Yes, at several locations

    Cost: Varies by location, ~$200 per month plus initiation fee

    Best Gym Membership for Beginners
    Crunch Fitness
    Crunch Fitness

    • Spacious layout
    • Good mix of strength & cardio equipment
    • Group fitness classes available

    • Prices vary widely by location

    This popular gym chain has over 400 locations and is great for all levels. You'll find a nice selection of group fitness classes, great free weights and lifting machines plus large amounts of cardio equipment. Personal training is available too, so beginners can get guidance on all different types of fitness modalities. The facilities are large and spacious as well. Some select locations known as Crunch Signature gyms come at a premium cost but offer an elevated experience with upgraded amenities, even more group fitness classes and other perks.

    Lab Results: Crunch is a top pick for our fitness pros since it offers a little bit of everything. Members liked the reasonable cost and the wide variety of group fitness classes. Our results revealed top scores across the board, from everything such as instructors and trainers to equipment variety and facility size.

    Number of Locations: 400+

    Childcare Available: Yes, at most locations

    Cost: A range of membership options start at $9.95 per month depending on the location. Additional enrollment fee (~$50) at some locations and annual fee (~$60) apply as well.

    Best Gym Membership for Travelers
    Anytime Fitness
    Anytime Fitness

    • Open 24/7
    • Thousands of locations
    • Can workout at any location with basic membership

    • Not all locations offer lockers, but they do all have showers and bathrooms

    If you travel frequently, Anytime Fitness is definitely a membership you can take full advantage of as they have over 4,700 locations and you can work out at gyms nationwide and around the globe thanks to worldwide club access. Plus, the 24/7 hours make it easy to work out on your schedule, especially if you are traveling to a different time zone. You'll find a decent size floor and layout, equipped with a variety of machines and more. Many clubs offer small group training and team workouts as well.

    Lab Results: Our fitness pros were impressed with the sheer amount of physical locations and that you can use your membership at any club, making the monthly cost very worthwhile, especially for those on the road. Members gave top scores for cleanliness and pointed out that the convenient 24/7 hours allow them to workout even with a busy day. "Very clean facility. Friendly staff who are knowledgeable about fitness too," one member said.

    Number of Locations: 4,700+

    Childcare Available: No

    Cost: Varies by location but the average cost is around $41 per month.

    Best Gym Membership for Variety
    Life Time
    Life Time

    • Massive facility & pool
    • Great group fitness classes
    • Family-friendly

    • Expensive membership cost vary greatly by location

    This high-end mega gym and health club comes at a premium but is worth every penny for the variety and special features it provides. You'll find very spacious facilities, state-of-the-art equipment and a very well-designed gym floor. Other features include pools, tennis courts, saunas, rock walls and more. The club offers three different tiers of membership, the first being digital-only where you can enjoy both live-streaming and on-demand classes. The in-person memberships, which include the standard and signature, both offer access to the club facilities and exceptional group fitness classes, plus up to 2.5 hours of child care daily at most locations.

    Lab Results: Our pros love the extra-large facilities, with the average club size being about 100,000 square feet. Members raved about Life Time, giving it top marks for cleanliness and specifically noting the great variety of equipment and classes. Many commented on the family-friendly nature of the brand too, including lots of options and activities for kids.

    Number of Locations: 150+

    Childcare Available: Yes

    Cost: Varies greatly by location, standard in-person membership ranges from about $99 - $249 per month plus a joining fee.

    Best Gym Membership for Lifting
    Gold's Gym
    Gold's Gym

    • Massive selection of strength training equipment
    • Pools available at some locations
    • Nice selection of group fitness classes

    • Facilities vary greatly by location

    Known for its strength training equipment and heavy lifting amenities, you'll also find a ton of cardio equipment and other large machines at Gold's Gym. Group fitness classes are run all day and offer great options as well. Pools are available at some locations, as well as racquetball courts, basketball courts, boxing areas and more, but amenities greatly vary by location.

    Lab Results: Our fitness pros appreciate the large variety of strength training equipment, including everything from free weights to barbells and more. Members pointed out the great instructors and friendly staff too all at a good pricepoint.

    Number of Locations: ~700

    Childcare Available: Yes, at some locations

    Cost: Varies by location, most starting at ~$39 per month plus enrollment fee

    Best Boutique Membership
    Orangetheory Fitness
    Orangetheory Fitness

    • Structured, pre-programmed workouts
    • Engaging instructors and music
    • Great community

    • Limited class sizes

    This boutique fitness studio features a signature one-hour full-body workout designed to train endurance, strength and power. Unlike a traditional gym, you can only go during designated class times but follow a pre-programmed workout which takes the guesswork out of figuring out your exercise session for the day. Each workout includes a treadmill section, rowing section and a floor section with equipment such as dumbbells, benches, TRX suspension trainers and more. Instructors are engaging and music is motivating too. You can purchase class packages or monthly memberships that vary based on the number of classes per month.

    Lab Results: Our fitness experts like that the method uses a heart-rate-based interval training system and displays your heart rate in real time on large screens throughout the studio. Members loved that the classes kept them motivated and accountable and that the trainers are "enthusiastic and helpful." "The workouts allow you to really be able to see your progress and push you to improve every class. It’s a great workout within one hour," one member said.

    Number of Locations: 1,300+

    Childcare Available: No

    Cost: Varies based on location, with membership packages starting at ~$59 per month

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    Stefani Sassos has been working in the fitness industry for the past 10 years, specializing in indoor cycling and strength training. As a NASM-Certified Personal Trainer, she uses her expertise and exercise science knowledge to create informed fitness content for the Good Housekeeping Institute. Stefani has worked in several fitness facilities in the past and is well-versed in equipment variety, facility layout and more. From vigorously testing exercise equipment to curating workout plans for GH readers, Stefani is passionate about leading an active lifestyle and inspiring others to do the same.

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