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Couple working out at a gym

Who likes getting bills? Some bills, such as rent, can’t be avoided, which brings me to my next question. Who likes paying for something that goes unused?

Let me give you a scenario and see if you’ve been in a similar situation. A new year has arrived, and everyone is talking about resolutions, many of which relate to getting into better physical shape. To help get in better shape, you hear people talk about purchasing a new gym membership and how that alone is going to do the trick.

Fast-forward a couple months, and you find that you’re no longer as motivated as you originally were. While your motivation has dwindled, your monthly gym membership bill hasn’t.

Does this sound familiar to you? You’re not alone. I don’t doubt that people decide to buy gym memberships with the intention of using them on a regular basis. However, time constraints and other obligations often seem to get in the way. If you do plan on signing up for a membership, here are a few factors you may want to consider:

Gym Membership Costs and Fees

Snap Fitness

Pros: Like most gyms, Snap Fitness offers a variety of options for people seeking to purchase a membership. For starters, a trial membership is available for $8.95 for 30 days. At close to just $0.30 a day, that seems like a pretty good deal, right? After you complete your trial membership, you’re given a few different options.

You could save $19.95 if you sign up with a friend. Snap Fitness offers group rates if you can get your friends on board with getting healthier.

Cons: Snap Fitness requires a startup fee of $99 with the option to pay month to month at a price of $34.95.

Planet Fitness

Pros: Planet Fitness advertises that they’re the gym for everyone. They have a “Judgement Free Zone” policy at all times. This theory is reflected in their pricing as well. They offer an initial startup fee of $5 and then $10 a month after that. If you want The Black Card membership, it’ll cost you an extra $19.99 per month for a total of $239.88 for the year. The Black Card membership has various perks, including:

  • Use of all Planet Fitness franchise locations
  • Unlimited guest privileges
  • Unlimited tanning
  • Unlimited use of massage chairs
  • Half-price cooler drinks
  • Unlimited fitness training

Cons: It may be very crowded at times, and many members may be beginners.


Pros: You can cancel your membership at any time, and you can access other YMCAs in the area. You can also try the YMCA out for a day for $6. The YMCA often has a lot of amenities, including indoor and outdoor pools, fitness classes, basketball courts, tennis courts and much more.

Cons: Unlike Snap Fitness and Planet Fitness, the YMCA doesn’t have many available options. They offer $35 for young adults (ages 16 – 24) and $48.50 for other adults (ages 25 – 60).

LA Fitness

Pros: LA Fitness makes it super simple. You pay $29.99 per month.  At this rate, you’ll pay about $458.88 (including their initial fee) for the first year. Yearlong, three-month, monthly and even daily contracts are some of the available options. Be sure to ask!

Cons: With the low cost of the membership, the gym can get very crowded at peak times. They also charge a $99 initiation fee, but there’s no long-term contract.

Life Time Fitness

Pros: Life Time Fitness offers a lot of amenities that you can’t find at other gyms, such as basketball courts, racquetball courts, turf fields, a spa, indoor and outdoor pools, classes at all hours of the day, a café with healthy treats and much more. The price can fluctuate and increase depending on the number of members the gym has at any time.

Cons: This is the most expensive gym listed. Most of the time, they run specials that eliminate startup fees, but it can be $70 per month after you join – that’s $840 a year! You have the option to put your membership on hold for $10 a month. This will lock in your negotiated rate. If you have children, you can add them to your membership for $6 per child, if they’re under 12. Keep in mind every location varies in prices.

How to Select the Best Gym Membership for You

There may be a number of other gyms in your city. When looking for a gym, you need to first decide what you’d like to get out of it. Then you can determine how much your budget will allow and how committed you’re going to be. Everyone has a different preference when selecting the gym that works well for them.

I’m a member of Life Time Fitness because I enjoy everything it has to offer. I spend a little bit more money, but I use it almost every day. I choose to cut back my spending in other places in order to accommodate the extra expense.

Not Ready to Commit? Try This

Maybe you aren’t ready to commit to a gym membership right now. If you think signing up for one would turn out to be a waste of money, try working out from home. Temperatures have surely dropped, but there’s still plenty of time to go for runs or walks outside. You can even purchase weights and other workout equipment to use in your own home.

As illustrated above, some gym memberships are cheaper than others. However, when it comes down to it, you’re still spending a lot of money, especially if you don’t use it on a regular basis. Before you purchase a membership, weigh the pros and cons and what you could put that money toward instead of gym fees.

Have you ever purchased a gym membership and regretted it? Tell us your story in the comments section below!

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. I’m a member of the Blue 365 deals (Blue Cross Blue Shield). As a member I purchased a gym membership for $25 per month. The initial fee was waived. I can workout at any gym in their network. This is really convenient. So far I’ve visited LA Fitness, Anytime Fitness, and Powerhouse. I recommend everyone investigate it.

  2. Great coverage on the larger gyms in the city. Really valuable information for people who want to make that commitment. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I had purchased a lifetime membership to fitness USA a few years before it went out of business. That experience irritated me so much and has really made me not want to ever purchase another gym membership period but at the same time a small part of me wants to again.

  4. Purchased a lifetime membership at Bally’s 30 years ago. Bought out by LA Fitness. Now my annual cost is $30.00 per year. I use it regularly.

  5. Planet Fitness is not a judgement free zone. If you are military or law enforcement and you go to work out, you are not dropping weights or grunting like a ‘lunk’, you will be asked to leave if the weight you are using is “too much”. Apparently you might frighten the others. So much for judgement free.

    1. Agreed. I was being judged and sneered at because I was trying it out, and I didn’t have sweat clothes on. I had some business wear on and simply walked a little and rode the bike. I was with a friend at work who spontaneously invited me to get the feel for it. My clothes were not very formal at all and almost casual. Flat shoes etc.
      probably still good value but I won’t go out of my way to get there.

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