Skip to main content

Best Gym Memberships 2024: Top-Rated Gyms for Every Goal

We chose Crunch Fitness as Best Budget-friendly Gym, Life Time Fitness for Best Amenities, and 24 Hour Fitness as Best Gym for Personal Training, and more.

Gyms
15 min read2024-01-25T14:09:15.272Z
SLWritten By Sara Lindberg

OVERVIEW

Looking to get fit this year? Check out our guide for the best gyms of 2024. The gyms featured below have several locations nationwide, multiple price points, and offer members access to high-quality exercise equipment, instructors, and personal trainers.

Best Gyms of 2024

Individual Reviews
Starts at $9.95/mo

Crunch Fitness

Best budget-friendly gym

  • Very inclusive
  • Variety of classes
  • 400+ locations in US

Best Budget-friendly Gym: Crunch Fitness

Why we chose it: Crunch Fitness is our top choice for its affordability, extensive facilities, and varied fitness options, catering to all levels without stretching your wallet.

Standout features: Over 400 locations, diverse equipment, HIIT zones, and class variety. Offers three membership tiers: Base, Peak, and Peak Results.

Starting price for single membership: Begins at $14.99 per month for the Base membership, granting essential gym access.

Contract Options: Flexible choices, with month-to-month plans for Peak and Peak Results, and a 12-month commitment for the Base membership at its lowest rate.

Crunch Fitness hit the gym scene with one location and has since grown into a nationwide brand. There are 400+ locations worldwide, with 28 Signature locations featuring luxury amenities. All Crunch facilities offer cardio equipment, free weights, training areas, resistance machines, HIIT training zones, and exercise rooms.

Crunch Fitness has three membership levels: Base, Peak, and Peak Results. If you’re going for affordability, we recommend the Base membership, which starts at $14.99 per month. This gives you access to all equipment. If you want the benefit of group classes and multi-club access, then the Peak level starting at $26.99 per month is the way to go. And if you want to be able to bring a guest anytime you want, opt for the Peak Results, which starts at $34.99 per month. This is a great value if you often go to the gym with the same person.

The Peak and Peak Results have no commitment and come with a month-to-month plan. But if you want the lowest-priced Base fee, you’ll need to commit to 12 months. Otherwise, it costs more to go month-to-month. Plus, Crunch requires an annual and initiation fee, so plan accordingly.

Crunch Fitness Pros
  • Group classes
  • 3 membership levels
  • Extensive equipment
  • Many locations
Crunch Fitness Cons
  • Basic membership lacks amenities
  • Busy peak hours
  • Signup fee and annual fee
Starts at $69/mo

Life Time Fitness

Best amenities

  • Premium amenities
  • On-demand classes
  • Kids classes

Best Amenities: Life Time

Why we chose it: Life Time stands out for its unmatched luxury amenities and a vast array of fitness and lifestyle services, making it more than just a gym but a comprehensive wellness destination.

Standout features: Athletic country club setting with top-tier equipment, indoor/outdoor pools, courts for various sports, luxurious spas, and a wide selection of fitness classes. Present in 31 states and Canada, catering to a broad audience.

Starting price for single membership: Memberships start around $79, scaling up to $200+ monthly, reflecting the premium facilities and services offered. A one-time joining fee is also applicable.

If you want luxury amenities, then it doesn't get much better than Life Time Fitness. Designed as “athletic country clubs,” these premium facilities offer everything from exercise and fitness to work spaces, dining areas, and even living accommodations.

Life Time Fitness members have access to large-scale facilities packed full of premium cardio machines, strength training equipment, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, basketball courts, racquetball, pickleball, squash, spas, indoor tracks, and a wide range of fitness classes. There are currently Life Time facilities in 31 states nationwide and in Canada. States with the highest number of locations include Texas, New York, Minnesota, Illinois, Georgia, Colorado, and Florida.

If it fits your budget, we think Life Time is worth considering. Membership levels and prices are a bit confusing, so we recommend contacting customer service. That said, they do offer a standard and signature membership, which come with different levels of amenities. In general, plan to pay around $79 to $200+ per month, with a one time joining fee.

Life Time Fitness Pros
  • Extensive amenities
  • Luxury environment
  • Premium equipment
  • Spacious layout
  • In 31 states & Canada
Life Time Fitness Cons
  • High price point
Starts at $20/mo

Blink Fitness

Best gym for beginners

  • Mood-boosting focus
  • Inclusive environment
  • Personal trainers

Best for Beginners: Blink Fitness

Why we chose it: Blink Fitness is recognized for its welcoming, inclusive environment, making it the ideal choice for beginners or those seeking a straightforward, mood-boosting workout space.

Standout features: Simple, user-friendly layout with over 80 pieces of cardio equipment, weights, strength machines, and functional fitness areas. Known for its affordability and presence in nine states.

Starting price for single membership: Membership options range from $15 to $30 per month, accompanied by an annual maintenance fee, offering a cost-effective gym solution.

Beginners or anyone looking for a welcoming fitness facility will appreciate the simplicity of ease of Blink Fitness. Located in nine states, including California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia, this chain is known for being the “gym for every body.”

Blink has a simple layout featuring 80+ pieces of cardio equipment, free weights ranging from 5-90 pounds, strength machines, and functional fitness areas with resistance bands, TRX, battle ropes, Bosu balls, and more.

You can choose from four membership types: Green, Blue, Gray, and Orange. Each level offers different access to facilities, monthly fees, and obligations. In general, memberships range from $15 to $30 per month with an annual maintenance fee of around $55 for each membership.

Blink Fitness Pros
  • Affordable personal training
  • Reasonably-priced memberships
  • Friendly atmosphere
  • Simple design and layout
Blink Fitness Cons
  • Only in 9 states
  • No group fitness classes
  • Limited amenities
Starts at $10/mo

Planet Fitness

Best gym for students

  • Great guest pass program
  • Affordable
  • Many open 24/7

Best for Students: Planet Fitness

Why we chose it: Planet Fitness is favored for its budget-friendly memberships and widespread availability, making it an excellent choice for students and those seeking a no-frills gym experience.

Standout features: Extensive network with over 2,500 locations, offering a range of cardio and strength equipment. Many clubs operate 24/7, enhancing accessibility for various schedules.

Starting price for single membership: Memberships start at a wallet-friendly $10 per month for the Classic plan, providing basic gym access.

Contract Options: Features two main membership types: Classic and PF Black Card. The latter offers additional perks and access to all locations. Some plans may include an annual fee and a 12-month commitment, so it's advisable to review the terms carefully.

Planet Fitness is known for its low-cost membership options, making it an excellent choice for students on a budget.

Each facility has a simple layout with tons of cardio and strength equipment. And many clubs are open 24 hours a day, which is great news for night owls! We also like that it often offers no-commitment memberships, allowing students the flexibility to join on a month-to-month basis. And with more than 2,500 locations in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Canada, Panama, Mexico and Australia, Planet Fitness offers convenience for students who may move or travel frequently.

With the Planet Fitness mobile app, you can get on-demand workouts at your fingertips on days when getting to the gym is not possible. This can be convenient for students who prefer to supplement their gym workouts with at-home exercises or guidance.

Planet Fitness offers two memberships: Classic and PF Black Card. The Classic starts at $10 per month and includes unlimited access to your home club. The PF Black Card starts at $24.99 per month and features access to any club, premium digital workouts, and you can bring a guest anytime. Some memberships may include a 12-month commitment and annual fee, so make sure to read the fine print.

Planet Fitness Pros
  • 2,500+ clubs nationwide
  • Affordable membership
  • Simple layout
  • Many clubs open 24 hours
Planet Fitness Cons
  • Annual fee
  • Peak hours are busy
  • Limited amenities
Starts at $45/mo

YMCA

Best gym for seniors

  • Comprehensive programs
  • Family-oriented
  • Many amenities

Best for Seniors: YMCA

Why we chose it: The YMCA is celebrated for its community-centric approach and extensive offerings tailored to seniors, making it a top destination for older adults seeking a supportive, resource-rich fitness environment.

Standout features: Wide-ranging amenities including pools, classes, and social activities, focused on senior wellness and engagement. Locations nationwide provide convenient access and a welcoming community atmosphere.

Starting price for single membership: Starting at $45/month, prices vary by location. Some branches offer senior discounts or partner with insurance plans for added affordability.


Seniors of all fitness levels will enjoy the amenities, exercise equipment, programming, and community the YMCA has to offer. With access to cardio machines, strength training equipment, free weights, and functional fitness tools, the YMCA gives older adults a safe and supervised area to work out on their own or with another member.

You can participate in the senior-focused exercise classes such as yoga for seniors, chair aerobics, blood pressure monitoring, engaging social activities, water aerobics, and balance activities. Some locations also offer signature activities arthritis management and Tai Chi designed especially for fall prevention.

We really like the staffing model in place at the YMCA. In addition to front desk employees, you’ll find numerous floor attendants and trainers throughout the facility, and in areas where members congregate. They are available to answer questions, help with equipment, or simply observe while people work out. Plus, several YMCA locations offer senior pricing or partner with health insurance plans or offer Medicare-eligible members senior discounts.

YMCA Pros
  • Community environment
  • Senior-focused programming
  • Lots of equipment
  • Senior discounts
YMCA Cons
  • Pricier than other gyms
  • Programs differ by location
  • Busy during peak hours
Starts at $31.99/mo

24-hour Fitness

Best gym for personal training

  • Open 24 hours
  • Personal trainers
  • Group classes

Best for Personal Training: 24-Hour Fitness

Why we chose it: 24 Hour Fitness earns acclaim for its around-the-clock availability, comprehensive amenities, and top-tier personal training services, making it a prime choice for those prioritizing flexibility and quality in their fitness journey.

Standout features: Spacious facilities, extensive cardio and resistance equipment, turf zones, and group classes. Renowned for expert personal trainers and a welcoming environment suitable for all fitness levels.

Starting price for single membership: Membership tiers start from $19.99 per month for the Silver plan, offering value and variety to suit different fitness needs and budgets.

Contract Options: Offers membership options like Platinum, Gold, and Silver, each providing different levels of access and amenities. While some plans require a six-month commitment, others offer more flexibility, catering to various member preferences.

With spacious facilities, plenty of amenities, top personal trainers, and 300+ locations nationwide, 24 Hour Fitness is a premium club at a reasonable price.

Taking our top spot for best gym for personal training, you will feel supported and ready to tackle new workouts with the expertise of 24 Hour Fitness trainers. Working with a trainer gives you access to customized workouts that fit your goals, training on the range of equipment at the clubs, and help building healthy habits.

We like the extensive collection of premium cardio and strength equipment, free weights, turf zones, and functional training areas available at most facilities. Plus, 24 Hour Fitness offers expert-led studio and cycle classes to help beginners get in shape. 24 Hour Fitness offers three membership types: Platinum, Gold, and Silver. Prices range from as low as $19.99 per month for Silver with a six month commitment to $49.99 per month for Platinum with no commitment.

24 Hour Fitness Pros
  • Spacious facility
  • Lots of cardio and resistance machines
  • Premium features and amenities
  • Many locations have pools
24 Hour Fitness Cons
  • Peak hours are busy
  • Not all facilities open 24/7
Starts at $36/mo

Anytime Fitness

Best gym for traveling

  • Open 24/7, 365 days a year
  • Personal trainers
  • 2,300 locaitons in US

Best for Travelers: Anytime Fitness

Why we chose it: Anytime Fitness is praised for its convenience and global accessibility, making it an ideal choice for travelers or those with unpredictable schedules, thanks to its 24/7 open doors and widespread locations.

Standout features: Key fob access system for secure, round-the-clock gym entry, and a consistent, user-friendly layout across over 4,700 locations worldwide. The Anytime Fitness app enhances the experience by facilitating gym location, class bookings, and check-ins.

Starting price for single membership: The average monthly membership is around $41, offering a solid balance of cost and convenience, with the potential for reduced rates on longer-term contracts.

Contract Options: Flexible contract terms, including 6, 12, or 18-month options, cater to varying needs and provide opportunities for savings on longer commitments.

When you’re traveling, the last thing you want to do is spend time looking for a gym. That’s why Anytime Fitness is our top pick for best gym for people on the go. With over 4,700 locations across the globe, Anytime Fitness offers members convenience, easy access, and familiarity with similar cardio and resistance equipment and layouts across the brand. Plus, they keep the doors open 24/7, 365 days a year, with access via a fob, making it easy to exercise no matter the time zone.

Anytime Fitness locations typically have security measures in place, such as key fob entry systems and surveillance cameras. This can contribute to a safe and secure workout environment, especially for those who exercise during off-peak hours.

We also like the Anytime Fitness app, which helps locate gyms, find classes, and check in when you arrive. Monthly membership fees average $41, but you may get a lower price if you’re willing to sign a 6, 12, or 18-month contract.

Anytime Fitness Pros
  • Access 24/7, 365 days
  • Locations nationwide & worldwide
  • Simple layout
  • 7-day free trial
Anytime Fitness Cons
  • Limited amenities
  • Not staffed 24/7
  • Small facilities
Starts at $29.95/mo

LA Fitness

Best gym for weight loss

  • Varied equipment
  • Many amenities
  • Child care services

Best for Weight Loss: LA Fitness

Why we chose it: LA Fitness is recognized for its comprehensive approach to fitness, offering a variety of equipment, classes, and amenities tailored for those seeking a full-service gym experience, particularly beneficial for individuals focusing on weight loss.

Standout features: Spacious facilities with a wide array of high-quality equipment, group fitness classes, and sports courts. Notable for its personalized fitness assessments and programs to support members' weight loss goals.

Starting price for single membership: Memberships begin at $39.99 per month for nationwide access, providing a balance of quality and variety to accommodate different fitness preferences and goals.

Spacious facilities, high-quality strength machines, cardio equipment, group exercise classes, and sports courts might be what LA Fitness is known for, but they also have a comprehensive program to help support your weight loss efforts.

At LA Fitness, you’ll get a fitness assessment, which includes a body composition test, a personalized timeline to achieve your goals, an overview of cardio and weight equipment, and a quick one-on-one workout with a certified trainer.

For many people embarking on a weight loss journey, getting off on the right foot is key to success. That’s why we think LA Fitness is a great choice if you’re looking to change your weight in 2024. Monthly memberships start at $39.99 for nationwide access and $59.99 per month for nationwide access with one guest privilege. LA Fitness charges a $75 initiation fee for the basic membership and a $59 annual fee for both plans, so make sure to add that to your total cost.

LA Fitness Pros
  • Locations nationwide
  • Sports courts, pool, & sauna
  • Personal training
  • Lots of class offerings
  • Fitness app
LA Fitness Cons
  • Peak hours are busy
  • Annual & signup fee
  • Amenities vary by location
Starts at $100/mo

Pure Barre

Best gym for women

  • Beginners welcome
  • On-demand classes
  • Locally owned

Best for Women: Pure Barre

Why we chose it: Pure Barre stands out for its specialized, low-impact workouts focusing on strength and tone, making it a top choice for those seeking a boutique fitness experience with a strong sense of community and personalized attention.

Standout features: Over 600 studios offering a variety of barre classes that cater to different fitness levels, employing a mix of barre techniques and equipment like resistance bands and mats for a comprehensive, full-body workout.

Starting price for single membership: Membership costs vary, starting at around $69 per month for a limited number of classes, with options scaling up to $200 per month for unlimited access, reflecting the premium, specialized nature of the studio offerings.

Pure Barre is a boutique-style studio featuring low-impact barre workouts that focus on small movements to strengthen and tone the body. There are over 600 studios in North America offering a variety of in-group classes tailored to different fitness levels. Most classes are 50 minutes or less and teach barre techniques while using other equipment like resistance bands, dumbbells, balls, and mats.

>> See more women's only gyms here >>

We recommend starting with the Pure Barre Foundations class, which introduces the basic movements of Pure Barre workouts. Once you’re familiar with the format, you can move to any one of the other offerings such as Pure Barre Define, Pure Barre Align. Pure Barre Classic, or Pure Barre Empower.

Monthly memberships vary by location and the number of classes you want to take each week. You can also pay per class. Since these classes are taught by a certified instructor, you can expect to pay more than you would for a regular gym membership. In general, plan for $69+ per month for a few classes up to $200 a month for unlimited access. Check out this short video on what to expect in your first Pure Barre Class.

Pure Barre Pros
  • Low-impact workouts
  • In-person & on-demand classes
  • Supportive community
Pure Barre Cons
  • Class-only format
  • Only barre workouts

Compare the Best Gyms

Gym Starting PriceMinimum AgeContract Required?Guest Passes?
Crunch Fitness$14.99+/mo13 with parent, depends on location Yes, for some memberships Yes
Life Time Fitness$79+/moAll ages, but parent required under age 11Yes, for some memberships Yes
Blink Fitness$15+/mo14+ depends on location Yes, for some memberships Yes
Planet Fitness$10+/mo13 with parent Yes, for some memberships Yes
YMCA$45+/moAll ages, but parent required under a certain ageYes, for some memberships Yes
24 Hour Fitness$20+/mo12 with parent Yes, for some memberships Yes
Anytime Fitness$41/moVaries, based on location Yes, for some membershipsYes
LA Fitness$39+/mo13 with a parent Yes, for some memberships Yes
Pure BarreVaries by location; averages $69+/mo for 4+ classes 14+ with parent, depends on location Yes, for some memberships Yes

How to Choose a Gym

While it may not be as complicated as buying your first home, choosing a gym does require some research and planning to make sure you get the right fit for your needs. We asked two certified personal trainers - Jen Rulon & Ellen Thompson - to share their expert tips on how to choose a gym.

Consider the Long Game

When looking at the big picture for sustainability and maintaining a habit vs. a month-long goal, Rulon says the key is to find a game plan, have accountability, and find someone who knows how to help you achieve your goals.

Community Component

Many boutique gyms have an incredible community.

“People who work out together can gather outside the gym and keep you accountable,” says Rulon. For example, if you go to an 8:30 class every day and you don't show up, Rulon says your friends in the class may reach out and check on you. She says the same can go for global gyms, spin classes, strength classes, or a body pump. “You start developing relationships with the instructor or people in the class, and they will check up on you,” she adds.

How Close It Is to Home or Work

Distance can play a role, OR it can be a great excuse NOT to go to the gym. So, if there is a place nearby, Rulon recommends that.

Featured Trainer: Jen Rulon, MS in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Exercise Science, triathlon and fitness coach

Operating Hours

Make sure the gym’s hours align with your schedule. “If you prefer to work out early in the morning or late at night make sure the gym is open at those times,” says Thompson.

Membership Fees and Contracts

Be aware that some gym memberships require a commitment and may have a fee for breaking your contract.

Equipment and Amenities

If you’re looking for a specific piece of equipment or want specific amenities, Thompson says to be sure the gym provides them. Not all gyms offer the same equipment variety or amenities.

Staff and Trainers

Friendly and knowledgeable staff can make your gym experience even better! If you’re looking for a personal trainer, Thompson says ensure your gym has ones that are certified.

Facility Cleanliness

Look over the entire facility for general cleanliness, including the equipment.

What to Expect Going to a Gym for the First Time

Deciding on which gym to join is the first step. The next leap is showing up. And while you can just walk in and start working out, it’s a good idea to plan ahead and make sure you have everything you need for a successful first visit. That’s why we asked one of the experts to share her insight on what to expect.

Before heading into the gym, personal trainer Thompson says to hydrate and eat a light snack to prepare yourself. She also recommends wearing comfortable clothes and athletic shoes.

“I recommend bringing a water bottle to stay hydrated throughout your workout, gym towel, lifting gloves or straps (if you are lifting) and any other personal items you may need, such as deodorant, hair ties, etc.,” she adds.

Once at the gym, Thompson says you’ll be required to check in at the front desk before you can work out. You may also need to complete additional paperwork or do an orientation of the facility. Some gyms require a first-time session to get acquainted with the equipment to ensure you’re ready to exercise.

Featured Trainer: Ellen Thompson, CPT, FNS, FMS, NASM, Heat PT at Blink Fitness

Bottom Line

Finding the right gym to fit your budget, fitness goals, schedule, and experience level can mean the difference between sticking with a regular exercise routine or abandoning your membership before you even start. Fortunately, there are lots of large-chain gyms, small boutiques, and high-end luxury clubs to choose from. One way to find out if a gym checks all your boxes is to take advantage of any free trials or ask for a guest pass. Trying before buying is an excellent way to see if you like how a gym feels.

We recommend Crunch Fitness for best budget-friendly gym, Life Time Fitness for best amenities, and 24 Hour Fitness for personal training.

FAQs

Are there any gyms that offer virtual classes or live-streaming workouts?

Yes, many gyms now offer virtual classes. While a few feature live-streaming workouts, most provide members with on-demand classes. Some gyms package this as part of the membership or add a fee to access online content. Gyms like Crunch, Life Time, Pure Barre, and Planet Fitness all have apps members can use to check in, track workouts, take classes, and more.

Are there any gyms that provide nutrition counseling or meal planning services?

Nutritional counseling and meal planning is out of the scope of a personal trainer, but if the gym has a registered dietitian on staff, they can provide these services. Make sure to check credentials and only work with an expert certified in that field.

Are there any gyms that offer discounts or special promotions for specific demographics?

Yes, most gyms offer discounts or special promotions for specific demographics like military, students, seniors, educators, first responders, and more. Some larger chains also partner with health insurance companies to provide discounts to members. Make sure to ask before signing up.

More Gyms Reviews

Best Gyms for Students

Best Gyms for Personal Trainers

Best Gyms for Weight Loss

Best Gyms for Women in 2024 (+ Top Women-Only Gyms)

Best Gyms for Travelers

Best Gyms for Beginners