Every year, many of us make it a goal to get in shape and stay fit. But you might be wondering whether or not signing up for a gym membership is really worth it. How often will you need to go to get your money’s worth? Will a couple of workouts per week really justify the additional monthly expense or can you find other ways to meet your fitness goals outside of the gym?
Let’s break down what you need to know when deciding whether to join a gym, or if you should cancel your current gym membership.
Is a gym membership worth it for you?How much is a gym membership worth to you? It depends on many factors, and it will primarily come down to cost and how often you visit the gym to make it worth it.
Here are some important things to consider:
1. Does the cost fit your budget?
Before signing up for a gym membership, make sure that the cost fits your budget.
You’ll want to get the best value for your money as well, so decide what you are willing to pay and then shop memberships with a budget-friendly range.
2. Is the gym convenient for you?
You know your daily schedule and what free time you’ve got for working out. Make sure your gym membership offers hours that will be open during your free time. Choosing a gym that is convenient is essential to maximizing your membership.
3. Do you have the motivation to work out?
Paying for a gym is enough motivation for many, as you want to get the most out of your money. But if you’re the type to skip out on working out because you don’t feel like it most days, you may not be getting your money’s worth at a gym.
Do you need someone to push you to work out? Some gyms offer access to personal trainers, so meet with some of them before you make a commitment. Having a personal trainer or even working out in group settings can boost motivation.
4. Do the amenities provide enough value for the cost?
Not everybody will take advantage of all the amenities provided in a gym facility. If you find yourself only using one machine every time and not utilizing the other perks offered by the gym, you may not be getting the full value out of a gym.
Ask yourself the following questions to see if the gym’s amenities are worth it for you:
- Will you be utilizing most of the equipment, including elliptical, treadmill, dumbbells, barbells, or other machines?
- Does the gym offer training options such as classes or fitness programs that interest you?
- Will you frequent the facilities such as the pool, sauna, steam room, etc.?
- Does the overall value and amenities match the cost of the membership?
Ultimately, the more you visit the gym and the more amenities you utilize, the more value you will get out of your membership.
What does an average gym membership cost?Gym memberships come in a broad range of monthly costs, from lower-end to high-end luxury gyms.
Cost of Gym Membership
Expect to pay—on the low end—from $10 a month for a basic membership at Planet Fitness, to $40-$80 a month for mid-tier gyms like Life Time Fitness. Annually, that comes out to between $480 to almost $1,000 in yearly membership costs.
If cost isn’t a factor, high-end luxury gyms like Equinox offer memberships starting around $180 up to $500 or more a month.
Cost of Boutique Fitness Studios
Other types of memberships such as boutique fitness studios that offer fitness classes can range in the neighborhood of $15-$40 for drop-in classes, while an average unlimited monthly membership can cost anywhere from $110 to $360.
In addition to a monthly cost for your fitness center, your enrollment may include additional annual fees that usually range from $29 to $59, which are usually assessed within the first three months of membership.
Don’t Forget About Cancellation Fees
Cancellation fees can range from $29 to $250. These often involve paying for the current month plus subsequent months if you are locked into a contract gym deal for a set amount of time. Read your contract thoroughly and ask questions about your membership obligations before you enroll.
How often should you go to the gym to make membership worthwhile?Fitness experts recommend visiting the gym at least three to five times per week to reach your fitness goals. So, you will want to visit the gym at least two or three days a week to justify paying for the membership.
If you visit the gym less than two times a week, you will be paying around the same price as individual classes at a fitness studio.
What amenities are included with a gym membership?
Your ideal gym membership will fit your budget, workout preferences and desired amenities. Take a look at the amenities that the gym offers and compare them to your personal fitness goals. Does it provide the necessary tools to meet your fitness goals? Does it provide an environment that inspires and encourages you?
Here are some common amenities to consider when shopping for a gym membership:
- Free Wi-Fi
- Wide range of fitness equipment including weights
- Locker rooms with showers
- Complimentary storage lockers for use during your workouts
- Certified personal trainers to help build your fitness program
- Digital app that offers digital workout classes when you can’t make it to the gym
- Lap pool
- Resistance machines
- Cardio equipment
- Racquetball courts
- Group exercise classes
- Sauna or steam room
- Childcare provided while you work out
Whether you’re just starting a new fitness journey to health and wellness or searching for new gym venues, finding a gym membership that meets your needs is a must. You’ll want to find a place that makes you feel comfortable and provides the best bang for your buck.
What’s the difference between a boutique fitness studio and a gym?Boutique fitness studios offer a unique fitness experience compared to traditional gyms. Fitness studios focus on specific workouts, such as Barre, Pilates, Yoga, CrossFit, HIIT, rowing exercises, cycling and more. Sessions are usually limited in class size unlike the usual crowded gym scene, and all participants perform the same workout routine.
The downside of boutique fitness classes is that they can be costly compared to a gym membership, with fitness classes ranging from $15-$40 per class. Weigh the pros and cons of a boutique fitness studio with a traditional gym when making your decision.
Pros & Cons of Boutique Fitness Studios
If you’re on the fence about boutique fitness studios, consider Classpass which allows you access to different boutique fitness classes for one monthly fee. Try out a variety of classes and see what you like best!
Pros of a boutique fitness studio
- Structured classes with specific times (no procrastinating)
- One-on-one approach
- Sense of community (enjoy fellowship with other fitness-minded people)
- Ability to excel at one type of workout
Cons of a boutique fitness studio
- Can be more expensive than a traditional gym
- Limited approach to fitness
- Restricted class schedules
If you mostly prefer one type of workout, a boutique fitness studio may be a better fit for you.
Pros & Cons of Traditional Gym Memberships
If you aren’t a fan of scheduled classes and want access to workout equipment anytime, a traditional gym membership will be your best option.
Pros of a gym membership
- Flexible with your schedule
- Unlimited access to fitness equipment
- Access to personal trainers or fitness instructors
- May offer additional or all-inclusive amenities depending on price and gym
- Great for beginners or the expert fitness trainer
Cons of a gym membership
- Newcomers can sometimes feel lost or overwhelmed
- No outside motivation or inspiration to keep you on track
- Wait times for using fitness equipment can be frustrating at peak gym times
What discounts or savings are available for gym memberships?
Consider free trial memberships if you aren’t ready to commit to one particular gym just yet. Don’t forget to ask about discounts. Some gym memberships offer discounts to seniors and students which could save you anywhere from 10 to 20 percent or more off the membership cost. Other community-based gyms such as the YMCA offer family memberships on a sliding scale for as low as $36 per month with no cancellation fees.
You can check out our coupon page for popular gyms like LA Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness, Planet Fitness, Anytime Fitness and Gold’s Gym for special deals and promo codes.
What are the alternatives to working out at a gym?You’ve heard it before. You can make excuses or you can make progress, but you can’t make both. And in today’s fitness world that offers so many ways you can get healthy, there’s no reason to put your fitness dreams on hold.
Still not sure if you want to fork over money for a gym membership or a boutique fitness studio? Don’t fret. There are ways you can accomplish your fitness goals with a little creativity and motivation.
Here are a few ways you can get started right now:
- Running. Did you know that running burns a ton of calories and builds your leg muscles? Start a running club or join an existing club for extra moral support.
- Walking or Hiking. Another fantastic exercise option that can be done almost anywhere. Many people can benefit from walking as it is easier on the joints than running, but it’s a slower calorie burn. Visit your state parks and enjoy the scenery while you get fit.
- Community Recreation Centers. Some localities offer community recreation centers with swimming pools, tennis, basketball courts and walking tracks. You may also find fitness classes such as yoga, barre or pilates. Many modern apartment complexes also offer gym amenities.
- At-Home Fitness. If you have the extra space, set up a mini-gym in your home that includes a treadmill for cardio workouts and free weights for weight training. Did you know some companies offer in-home trials for their products? Check out the Peloton Tread for a risk-free trial.
- Exercise Videos: Working out to exercise videos online is a fun and engaging way to get fit. Check out free videos on YouTube and free fitness apps, or check out some subscription services such as Daily Burn or Apple Fitness+.
There’s no need to sacrifice a good workout when you have plenty of ways to keep yourself moving and headed in the right direction toward a healthy lifestyle!