Gym membership
Lifestyle,  Saving Money

The Best Cheap Gym Membership in 2020

It’s finally 2020 which only means one thing: Time to make New Year’s resolutions! Losing weight is one of the most commonly cited New Year’s resolutions. Since we are a personal finance site before all else, we’ve researched many gyms to figure out the best cheap gym membership for your money.

As a person who struggled with my weight growing up, I remember it being always my New Year’s resolution to lose weight. Having the advantage of a “free” gym membership through my college made a huge difference.

When I finally discovered the gym in my 3rd year, it allowed me to shed 40 pounds by the time I graduated!

I felt like a completely new person from all the energy I felt. It also helped me feel more confident in myself, so going to the gym was always a high priority.

The problem is after college, going to the gym was almost impossible! Back then, gyms were expensive and unaffordable for someone that barely made more than $30k out of school.

Since that time period, gyms have separated into two types of gyms: upscale gyms and cheap gyms.

With cheap gym memberships becoming so common, it’s so much easier to go to a gym. We are going to help rank the best cheap gym memberships for your wallet.

How we ranked the best cheap gym membership

The way we’re going to rank the gyms is based on not just price – but also exercise equipment and amenities.

When it comes to exercise equipment, the more variety of exercise equipment there is – the better.

Anything outside of exercise equipment is considered “amenities”. This can include something as simple as an indoor track and swimming pool or something along the lines of a spa. The more amenities there are, the better.

However, if two gyms share the same amount of amenities and varieties of exercise equipment, the gym with the most variety of exercise equipment will take precedence.

Why is my gym not included?

We used two ways to determine whether or not a gym could be included in our list.

Geographic location

The gym must be located in at least 10 states in the United States and have a nationwide presence.

United States map

If the gym membership costs more than $40 per month, we did not include in the list.

Why $40 instead of $30 (i.e. $1 per day)? The average gym membership is $41, anything less we wanted to consider.

After all, if we had it set at a higher number it wouldn’t be the “Best Cheap Gym Membership”.

The Best Cheap Gym Membership

1. Youfit Health Club

We had never heard of this gym before until we started researching it for the best cheap gym membership. Though, after researching this gym, it is our far and away winner for “Best Cheap Gym Membership in 2020.”

At $10 a month, you get access to one gym and a personal trainer assessment. The real value of this membership is when you bump up to $22 a month. You are given access to other amenities and have unlimited group exercise classes.

Of all the different memberships we reviewed, the premium $22 membership gives the most bang for your buck.

Additional highlights of this gym is they also provide childcare at most of the gyms we looked up. This is something that most all the gyms we reviewed did not cover.

The only downside of this gym is there aren’t that many locations compared to the other gyms.

What is so great about Youfit Health Club?

In terms exercise equipment, what they offer is incredibly stripped back for exercise equipment.

However, for just $22, the value of this gym membership is they give you a ton of amenities you likely wouldn’t get anywhere else. Of all the different places we researched, no other place gave this much value!

2a. Planet Fitness

Planet Fitness seems to be everyone’s favorite pick with their rather creative no “gym bullying” campaigns and cheap prices.

At a cost of $10 a month, you can get access to your home gym and workout to your heart’s desire. Though, at just for $23 a month, you have full access to any Planet Fitness gym and other amenities that Planet Fitness offers.

If the cheap colors didn’t give it away, you are going to a very stripped back gym.

However, at $10 a month, it is by far one of the cheaper gyms we could find. In our opinion, bumping up to the premium $23 a month isn’t worth it at all – it only gives a guest pass, massage access, tanning, access to other gyms, and discounts.

What is special about Planet Fitness?

The purple and yellow gym is best known for their “No Lunk Zone” and “Stop the Bullfit” campaigns which encourages a safe gym environment.

Ever hate people who groan and grunt while they lift weights? This is the place for you! They discourage people who are essentially meatheads and workout freaks from coming.

Their focus is on the casual gym-goer, and they make that incredibly clear.

2b. LA Fitness

At 2b, because it didn’t feel right to make it 3 is LA Fitness.

LA Fitness charges $34/month for single club access and $39/month for multi-club access.

The LA Fitness clubs are huge and incredibly modern looking. Based on the amenities listed on their website, it seems they offer the most amount of amenities of the clubs listed on this list for their price.

The only reason why we put LA Fitness behind Planet Fitness is that Planet Fitness is just so cheap compared to LA Fitness.

We didn’t think we could justify that LA Fitness offered 3.5 times the amount of exercise equipment variety and amenities than Planet Fitness – but it sure would be very attractive.

What’s So Special About LA Fitness?

Think of LA Fitness as a place that offers the best bang for your buck if you are looking for a gym that has more than just gym equipment.

In our research on different forums, people seem to claim LA Fitness has less foot traffic than Planet Fitness. This wouldn’t be surprising given the higher cost, so it is something you might want to look into at your local gym. We didn’t take this into consideration of our ranking.

4. Anytime Fitness

Bringing in our 4th best cheap gym membership is Anytime Fitness

Dependent on where you go Anytime Fitness costs ranges greatly. However, their website claims they average about $36 per month.

They use a franchise model as part of their system so we couldn’t really get a good idea of what the gym memberships offered.

We did reach out to our local Anytime Fitness and for $39/month it included group exercise classes with the membership. Which is pretty good.

What’s So Special About Anytime Fitness?

Their gyms are 24 hours a day.

They seem to run their franchise gyms in a much more looser fashion which allows a bit of differences between each Anytime Fitness. It could be taken as a positive or a negative – depending what your home gym is.

We highly recommend visiting your local gym before signing up online.

5. Gold’s Gym

We’ve personally heard amazing things about Gold’s Gym. When we were researching this list, we were surprised that Gold’s Gym performed so lowly compared to everyone else.

Gold’s Gym prices are different based on where you are located, but it seems fairly standard that $35 – $39 will get you access to one Gold’s Gym.

Each gym we researched seemed to be filled with a variety of exercise equipment. Depending on which gym you go to, some even offer childcare and assortment of training services.

The major downside of Gold’s Gym is they don’t offer nationwide access to all their gyms.

What is so great about Gold’s Gym?

Gold’s Gym has focused a lot of its marketing on weight training since its beginnings. Even their logo is a person lifting barbells!

grayscale photo of man working out

While exercise trends have moved away from solely lifting weights as a method to stay healthy, Gold’s Gym still focuses a lot of their marketing on weight training.

6. 24-Hour Fitness

24-Hour Fitness came in dead last in our ranking.

It seemed that older 24-Hour Fitness clubs charge about $36/month. However, if you register at a newer club, it charges upwards of $48/month.

Some of the clubs don’t offer any option below $50/month. We tried figuring out why this is the case and their website did a terrible job of describing what the differences were.

If anyone from 24-Hour Fitness is reading this – you may want to consider consumer testing your website. It is a really poorly put together web site.

Despite the higher cost, it does give you access to many of their clubs. Additionally, their clubs have many amenities in the form of group exercise classes, indoor tracks, and martial arts to name a few. It just depends on what your club offers.

One thing is for certain, most of their clubs are HUGE and offer a lot of exercise equipment and varieties of exercise equipments.

What’s So Special About 24-Hour Fitness?

24-Hour Fitness has been around the longest on this list and they’re open 24 hours a day as well. Unfortunately, it seems as if 24-Hour Fitness doesn’t seem to fit in any category – and therefore not really special.

To be honest, it seems that 24-Hour Fitness even isn’t quite sure what makes them special. A quick peek into their Twitter and Instagram accounts shows their marketing material with no singular message.

I realize it’s in their name, but they don’t seem to even openly market they are open 24 hours a day! Even Anytime Fitness openly markets they are open 24 hours a day!

Final Words On The Best Cheap Gym Membership

Whichever gym you do decide to go to, make sure you take advantage of their trial periods. Most gyms have a free trial period to let you get a feel of the atmosphere.

You want to make sure you enjoy going to that gym before paying a steep price to keep going!

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