It’s almost upon us, the month when people look to dial in their fitness regimens. If you’re going to start a fitness program, you’re going to need a gym to call home. But with so many options out there, where to begin? Study Finds searched the web to find the best gym memberships that are most recommended by the fitness pros, and we’ve compiled a list here for you.
Maybe you’re on a budget and you’re looking to get the most barbell for your buck. Or maybe you frequently travel across state lines or even borders and you need a gym membership that offers reciprocity across numerous locations. You may even be a night owl looking for twenty-four-hour gym access. No matter which category you fall into, we have a gym listed here to suit your needs.
Before you purchase a gym membership, you’ll need to consider which services and amenities you will need. Are group classes your thing? Maybe you want a personal trainer to guide you? Will you shower at the gym? Do you need a sauna? A pool? Tanning? Massage? You’ll also want to consider the style of exercise you enjoy and whether the gym you’re looking at caters to it.
Though many gyms have much of the same equipment, there are also plenty of variations. Also important to consider is the atmosphere and whether it feels “right” for you. Let’s get to the list so you can find the perfect match for your fitness goals. Below are the consensus top five gym memberships most recommended by fitness experts. Of course, we want to know which gym gets you pumped, so comment below to let us know!
The List: Top 5 Gym Memberships, According to Expert Reviews
1. Best High-End: Equinox
With 106 upscale clubs, Equinox is consistently considered number one when it comes to luxury and amenities. They offer classes and personal training (and virtual options of both) like most gyms, but many of their locations are equipped with a full-service spa, unlike most gyms.
Very Well Fit writes, “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.” Yes, with finer things comes higher prices. Members spend upwards of $200 per month for access to this club.
For more on the features: “Premium amenities help elevate the Equinox guest experience. Locker rooms are stocked with popular brands such as Kiehl’s and Curie. Members can unwind in the locker room saunas and take advantage of towel service. Many Equinox destinations have full-service spas with treatments including massages and facials to help you relax and recover before or after your workout. Select clubs also have swimming pools, Jacuzzis, basketball courts and snack/smoothie bars,” writes Sports Illustrated.
Your winter escape on top of the world is back. 🌅
— Equinox (@Equinox) November 2, 2022
2. Best for Travelers: Anytime Fitness
Consistently ranked best gym membership for travelers, Anytime Fitness has thousands of locations, which are located both inside and outside of the US. These clubs aim to keep a smaller, more intimate atmosphere with the average footprint being around 5000sq ft. If you want to stay away from a big box gym, this may be a good option for you. Keep in mind you will find some larger and smaller locations.
Services vary from location to location, but most clubs offer small and large group training and personal training. Some offer tanning as well. Newer clubs may even have a physical therapist inhouse. Though many services and amenities may vary, one thing is consistent across all locations: they’re all 24/7 key fob access.
Men’s Health writes, “Anytime offers a uniquely travel-friendly feature: A key card system allows members to use any its 3,000-plus locations at any time of day, even when there aren’t any employees on the premises.” All clubs do honor reciprocity, so you’ll never have to worry when showing up to a new location.
“With a variety of equipment, you will be sure to find a selection of dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, cardio machines, resistance bands, and yoga mats spread across spacious facilities. Depending on the time of day, you shouldn’t have a problem snagging the squat rack,” writes Byrdie. Equipment selection will vary across clubs, so you may want to check online pictures to see what is offered at the club you plan to visit.
It’s easy to forget what truly makes a gym special. What makes us #bleedpurple at Anytime Fitness? The people, the memories, the connections, and the lives changed. 💜 #anytimefitness #thankful #realAF 📸 Anytime Fitness Bowling Green, KY pic.twitter.com/zsIXamXYk0
— Anytime Fitness (@AnytimeFitness) December 15, 2022
3. Best for Equipment Variety: LA Fitness
If you’re looking for a variety of equipment, this may be the membership for you. Some locations have multiple floors full of strength training and cardio equipment. Keep in mind with such large locations often come large crowds.
Active writes, “athletes who like to focus on more than one fitness discipline would likely enjoy the LA Fitness experience. They have free weights and machines for people looking to build muscle as well as platforms for powerlifters and Olympic weightlifters. People who focus on cardio and endurance can also use their variety of machines and the numerous classes they offer.”
You will find group classes and personal training at LA Fitness locations, but you’ll also find other options as well. Good Housekeeping notes that these gyms come equipped with an “aquatic area and basketball and racquetball courts” which are “available at a fairly reasonable membership cost.”
Hang time so good I bet you thought this was a picture! Well….it is. But @joemoravsky could do this all day! Practicing for the this years American Ninja Warrior competition! #letsgojoe#lafitnesslifestyle #lafitness #fitness #workout #motivation pic.twitter.com/6FPgBdHngp
— LA Fitness (@LAFitness) January 6, 2022
4. Best for Lifters: Gold’s Gym
This name brand has been around since 1965 and most everyone has heard of it. Though many locations have updated their offerings over the years, Gold’s is still known as a place for lifters. The name is still associated with bodybuilders because of how well-known the Venice, CA location became.
Very Well Fit explains that Gold’s is “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.” Keep in mind that many locations have expanded their offerings to accommodate all types of gymgoers.
Smart asset labels Gold’s a “high quality gym with low costs” and writes that “Gold’s Gym facilities across the country are known for their top-of-the-line equipment, which has led to their generally positive image across consumer reviews.”
If you do like the Gold’s brand and travel often, they do offer what they call a “Travel Pass” which allows you to train at any Gold’s location in the world for up to two weeks at no additional charge.
All Gas No Breaks
— Gold's Gym (@GoldsGym) June 14, 2021
5. Best Budget: Planet Fitness
If your only prerequisite for a gym membership is that it be cheap, it’ll be hard to find a lower price point than Planet Fitness offers. “When it comes to cheap gym memberships, it’s clear that Planet Fitness is the winner. The monthly fee at Planet Fitness is only $10, so there’s no reason not to go work out,” writes Gym Price List.
Locations are generally large and stocked with ample strength and cardio machines. But some locations can be limited when it comes to free weights, though, so check your location if you plan to use mostly free weights.
Planet Fitness does offer a “Black Card,” which is a membership that gives you reciprocity at their over 2000 clubs. Keep in mind that this is not the $10 per month membership. This option will cost more.
Regardless of which membership you choose, it’ll still be budget friendly; and HotelGyms.com touches on an important point: “Planet Fitness offers some of the most affordable memberships without commitment.” Many gyms will have you sign a contract locking you in for a certain period of time, but you will not get that with Planet.
— Planet Fitness (@PlanetFitness) October 17, 2022
- Best for Classes: Crunch Fitness
- Best Boutique for Cross-training: Orangetheory
- Very Well Fit
- Sports Illustrated
- Men’s Health
- Good Housekeeping
- Smart Asset
- Gym Price List
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.