Find the Best Gyms and Fitness Centers
Compare Reviews for Top Gyms and Fitness Centers
Read 1,136 Reviews
With over 1,200 locations across the United States, Planet Fitness is an American gym franchise with new locations in Canada and the Dominican Republic. It is a self-described “Judgment Free Zone” for those new to fitness.
|LA fitness||Read 1,704 Reviews|
With over 300 locations in the United States, LA Fitness is a well-known chain of fitness centers. Most locations offer fitness equipment, personal training, a pool and fitness classes to give patrons several fitness options.
Read 130 Reviews
Anytime Fitness is one of the largest American fitness club franchises, with over 3,000 locations in more than 20 countries. Its gyms are open 24 hours a day and offer fitness classes, an array of equipment and personal training.
|24 Hour Fitness|
Read 1,363 Reviews
24 Hour Fitness offers over 400 gym locations in 13 states. Headquartered in San Ramon, California, it offers group fitness, personal training, competitive workouts, childcare and more to help clients meet their fitness goals.
Read 1,001 Reviews
Gold’s Gym is a gym chain with over 700 locations in the United States and internationally. It offers a full array of fitness equipment, group fitness classes, personal training and more.
|Life Time Fitness|
Read 87 Reviews
Life Time Fitness is a private luxury fitness chain with 122 locations in 26 states and Canada. It offers a resort-like experience with high-end facilities, state-of-the-art equipment and classes, pools, childcare and more.
|New York Sports Club|
Read 429 Reviews
New York Sports Clubs has over 100 locations throughout New York and New Jersey. A member of Town Sports International, the largest gym network in the Northeast, it offers group fitness, luxury services and more.
Read 121 Reviews
Curves International is one of the largest fitness franchise chains for women, with over 1,000 locations in the United States and internationally. It offers group fitness classes, weight loss support, personal coaching and more.
|Equinox Fitness Clubs|
Read 28 Reviews
Equinox Fitness has locations in eight states, Washington DC, Canada and the UK. Each facility has exercise equipment, group fitness classes, a Pilates studio and a spa. Members can also sign up for personal training sessions.
|In-Shape Health Clubs|
Read 218 Reviews
There are over 70 In-Shape Health Clubs in California. In-Shape offers fitness equipment, group classes, personal training and more. Options and amenities vary by location. Monthly memberships start at $19.99.
Features to consider when choosing a gym or fitness center
What are the terms of the contract?
Most gym memberships are paid in monthly dues which can range from around $10 to several hundred dollars a month, depending on the gym’s features and its location. When a gym representative offers you a deal you like, be sure to get all the details in writing in an official contract. Gym membership contracts and pricing schedules vary from company to company. Be sure to read the entire contract and ask questions before signing if you’re not sure what something means.
- Initiation or registration fees: Many gyms charge a one-time, up-front initiation fee. Some companies waive this fee during promotional periods, especially in the off season when fewer people join gyms (generally April through December, and especially the latter half of the year).
- Annual fees: Most gyms and health clubs charge a monthly membership fee, but many also tack on an additional annual fee, which could substantially increase the cost of your membership.
- Prepayment options: Many gyms offer a discount if you opt to prepay for a year or more of membership. If this is your first time with a gym membership, you might not want to prepay since you will not receive a refund if you decide the gym is not for you.
- Added or hidden fees: Some gyms tack on additional fees like cancellation fees, added charges for certain classes or equipment, required membership for children in order to take advantage of childcare services and more.
What fitness equipment is available?
In general, the more fitness options available at a gym or fitness center, the more expensive the membership. Think about what types of equipment you are likely to use regularly and find a gym that has all the options you need. Try to visit the gym at the time of day that you would normally work out to see if the equipment you want to use is available, or if the gym is especially busy.
- Cardio equipment: Gyms typically have machines like treadmills, ellipticals and stationary bicycles to increase your heart rate and burn fat through cardio exercise.
- Weight training equipment: Look for weight training equipment like benches, bar weights, hand weights and weight machines. Pull-up bars, kettlebells, suspension equipment and resistance bands can add more options to your weight training routine.
- Other fitness options: Some gyms also have supplementary equipment like yoga mats, foam rollers and exercise balls for functional exercises. Sports facilities like boxing gyms, lap pools and rock walls can also add to your workout. Think about what options you need to succeed at your fitness or training goals.
What classes and coaching options are offered?
Most gyms offer one-on-one or group instruction to help you get started in a new fitness program. These sessions are especially helpful if you are new to exercise or want to try something new. Experts can help you learn proper forms and movements to avoid injury and maximize your workout.
- Group classes: Some gyms and fitness centers offer group fitness classes, which can be a great option if you like working out with others or need a bit of extra motivation. A large selection of diverse classes like yoga, barre, Zumba, Pilates, kickboxing, dance classes and more can help you get out of a fitness rut and find something you enjoy.
- Personal training: Most gyms and fitness centers employ full- or part-time certified trainers to work with clients on baseline readings, fitness goals and coaching. Some trainers also conduct group fitness classes or circuit training. Check to see if sessions with a personal trainer are included in the contract or if you have to pay extra.
Can you try it before committing?
If you’ve never used a particular gym or fitness center before, you might be reluctant to commit to a membership contract. Find out if you can try the gym before committing or spending any money.
- Friend passes: Many clubs and gyms offer members free passes to give to their friends. Typically the passes are for one visit, one week or a similar short time period. Ask your friends if they can get you passes to try their gyms.
- Trial period: Many gyms offer new customers free or reduced-price trial periods to see if they like the gym and its services. These are often offered seasonally or on rotation, so follow your local gym’s website and social media feeds to stay updated on current deals.
- Discount membership: Group discount websites like Livingsocial and Groupon periodically offer deals on gym memberships or fitness classes. These deals can allow you to try out a gym without signing a full contract.
What other features does it offer?
There are other features to keep in mind when touring gyms or fitness centers. Think about what aspects of the experience matter most to you, and prioritize those when considering which one you want to join.
- Locker rooms and showers: Think about how you’ll use the gym and whether you need one with just basic facilities or more fully-appointed locker rooms. If you plan to use the locker room to shower and get ready for the day, be sure the area is clean and fully stocked with all the amenities you prefer.
- Childcare services: Many gyms and fitness centers offer on-site childcare facilities so children can be supervised while parents exercise. Almost all gyms with onsite childcare implement age restrictions for the children they accept and charge extra for childcare services.
- Cleanliness: When you tour a fitness center, pay attention to the cleanliness of the facilities. Check out the bathrooms, floors and corners. Look to see that all equipment is in working order and kept clean. Sanitizing wipes or spray should be available for customers to clean up after themselves when using equipment. A dirty gym is a breeding ground for germs and sickness, and a company that doesn’t keep its facilities in order may not be one you want to do business with.
How accessible is it?
You are more likely to stick to your fitness goals if you choose a convenient gym that fits your schedule and lifestyle. Additionally, if you have any type of physical limitation or disability, be sure that your gym is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Location: Think about when you’ll go to the gym. If you plan to go on your lunch break, it makes sense to find a location near your place of work. If you plan to go before or after work, think about what traffic will be like in different areas of town, and pick a place that will be easy to get to.
- Hours: Be sure the gym is open when you may need to work out, whether that’s late at night, early in the morning or on weekends and holidays. More and more gyms are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which is helpful if you need to work out at unusual hours.
- ADA Accessibility: Many fitness centers are accessible for customers with disabilities or physical limitations, for instance using ramps instead of stairs and equipment that is modified or adaptive for different abilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires gyms and fitness centers built after 2010 to be reasonably accessible for people with disabilities, meaning ramps must be available, equipment must be in an accessible location and at least one of every type of equipment must be accessible. If you have a particular need, like accommodations for a visual or hearing impairment, be sure to check the gyms in your area to find one that fits your needs.
What types of gyms and fitness centers are there?
Multi-purpose gyms offer weight training and cardio equipment, typically in a medium to large space. Some gyms also offer other amenities like fitness classes and personal training.
Gyms that also offer group fitness classes like Pilates, yoga or spin classes and that offer personalized services like personal training and nutritional coaching are often, though not always, referred to as fitness centers.
Some gyms and similar businesses specialize in one type of sport or fitness activity. Examples of dedicated gyms include boxing gyms, Pilates clubs and yoga studios.
Luxury health clubs
Health clubs often have the largest selection of activities and amenities, including all of the services available at a gym or fitness center plus additional luxury services. Health clubs typically have large, separate rooms for weight training, group exercise, swimming, a sauna or spa, rock climbing and more. Some also offer services like manicures, facials, cafes and nutrition services.
Who might benefit from a gym or fitness center?
Athletes often use a gym or fitness center to train for their sport, receive personal fitness coaching, strength or endurance training or supplement outdoor or team-based training.
Anyone interested in becoming healthy by adding a physical fitness routine to their lifestyle can benefit from the structure and support of a gym or fitness center. A gym with personal trainers and nutritionists on staff can be especially helpful if you are just starting out on your fitness journey.
Anyone interested in wellness
Exercise is beneficial to anyone regardless of their current fitness level. A gym membership is especially beneficial if you live in an area with harsh winters or summers that make outdoor exercise unpleasant, if you don’t own your own fitness equipment, if you find group exercise motivating or if you enjoy or could benefit from using many types of fitness equipment.
People recovering from injury
Many types of injuries require daily rehabilitation work. Under the guidance of a physician, personal trainer or physical therapist, many people can benefit from a gym’s variety of equipment in order to gradually rebuild strength, field of movement and stamina after an injury.
Gyms and fitness centers FAQ
- How much does a gym membership cost?
- Individual membership at a gym costs anywhere from $10 per month up to $100 per month. Some gyms also charge an initiation fee. The cost of a gym membership varies based on the gym and type of membership you choose.
- What is the difference between a gym and a health club?
- It’s easy to confuse a gym and a health club, but there is a difference:
- A gym is a place for indoor physical workouts using various machines and equipment.
- A health club focuses on whole-body wellness rather than just physical fitness. It provides a number of activities and amenities, including group sports, health food bars and swimming pools.
- How do you rate your fitness level?
- To check your fitness level, you should:
- Take your resting heart rate.
- Measure your heart rate during exercise.
- Time a run of 1.5 miles.
- Count how many pushups and situps you can do.
- Do a sit-and-reach test.
- Measure your waist circumference.
- Calculate your body mass index.
- What does a gym include?
- Every gym is different. However, the average gym has a variety of equipment, such as:
- How many times a week should you go to the gym?
- It’s good to go to the gym three to five times per week for a total of at least 75 to 150 minutes of aerobic activity. You should also strength train two to three days per week.
Frequency and intensity of workouts vary from individual to individual, based on objective, such as losing weight or gaining muscle.
- How long should your workout be?
- The amount of time for a good workout depends your fitness level and the activity. Your overall workout should be between 30 to 90 minutes and include a warmup and cooldown.
- Which time is the best to go to the gym?
- The best time to go to the gym depends on your schedule and preference.
- Morning: Working out in the morning can boost your metabolism and help you avoid crowds. Some people like getting a workout out of the way before work and say it prepares them physically and mentally and/or helps them sleep better.
- Afternoon/evening: You may feel more physically ready to exercise in the afternoon or evening and have less chance of injuring yourself.
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Compare Reviews for Top Gyms and Fitness Centers
Read 178 Reviews
With over 150 locations in Florida, Utah, Texas, Illinois, Michigan and New England, Retro Fitness is a convenient and well-equipped gym franchise that offers group fitness classes, personal training, childcare and more.
|Boston Sports Clubs|
Read 61 Reviews
Boston Sports Clubs is a luxury gym chain with 28 clubs in Boston and surrounding areas and one in Rhode Island. Owned by Town Sports International, the Northeast’s largest fitness chain, it offers group fitness, sports and more.
|Las Vegas Athletic Clubs|
Read 61 Reviews
Las Vegas Athletic Clubs (LVAC) was founded in 1977 as a racquetball club and now has seven locations in the Las Vegas, Nevada area. LVAC offers full health club amenities including equipment, classes, women-only areas and more.
Read 133 Reviews
World Gym is a gym franchise with 85 United States locations and an international presence. Founded in 1976 in the celebrity fitness scene, it maintains its identity as a no-frills, dedicated weight training and cardio gym.
Read 210 Reviews
Lucille Roberts is a women’s fitness chain with 18 locations in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. It focuses on group fitness classes and offers over a hundred options, including P-90X, Insanity and Zumba.
|National Fitness Center|
Read 102 Reviews
National Fitness Center offers equipment, fitness classes and personal training in Tennessee. Its nine locations feature amenities like indoor and outdoor pools, kids’ group classes, full court basketball, boxing rings and more.
|10GYM||Read Author Review|
10GYM Fitness Centers is an Oklahoma gym chain with nine locations in Broken Arrow, Tulsa, Owasso, Midwest City, Oklahoma City, Edmond and Norman. It offers group fitness classes, tanning, childcare and more.
Information in this guide is general in nature and is intended for informational purposes only; it is not legal, health, investment or tax advice. ConsumerAffairs.com makes no representation as to the accuracy of the information provided and assumes no liability for any damages or loss arising from its use.