For those who enjoy the comfort and convenience of a gym membership, keep in mind that each of the five companies listed below are among the largest and most geographically diverse in the U.S. Many fitness enthusiasts with a military background search for smaller, local gyms that have more of a private club ambiance. For the larger entities that have gyms in many cities and states, the following five pretty much cover the spectrum. Here is a quick rundown of each one:
# 5: Planet Fitness
With almost 400 gyms in 40 states, PF is the only major gym which has a “no grunting” policy in place. No kidding! Members can enjoy the entire range of workout equipment, plus tanning beds and even massage chairs. Nationwide, most of the PF gyms have a $30 signup fee and charge $10 per month for a no-frills membership.
# 4: LA Fitness
LA Fitness has gyms in about half of the nation’s 50 states. The club has a weekly payment plan, unlike other major gyms. For about $10 per week and a nominal signup fee, members get access to all the benefits of a true “mega gym.” Classes of all kinds, personal training, endless equipment, racquetball, basketball and many other amenities await LA Fitness members. For an extra charge, there is even a babysitting service in the club.
# 3: 24 Hour Fitness
Spanning just 14 states but boasting 420 gyms, 24 Hour has one of the most complicated payment structures in existence. Every location has a different fee system, but on average the cost is about $40 per month with upfront fees around $100. Some clubs require first and last month’s charges be paid in advance along with the entry fee. If you can get through the math of payment, the club does offer all the standard mega-gym equipment, classes, kickboxing, cycling, and dance programs.
# 2: Bally Total Fitness
Bally has more than 300 locations throughout the U.S. In many ways, Bally is a clone of 24 Hour Fitness, both in price structure and amenities offered. If you like massive facilities and membership packages, Bally is the place to be.
# 1: Snap Fitness
Snap covers the U.S., with 1,100 gyms in 44 states. For about $40 per month in most locations and a $75 entry fee, you have access to all the club’s features, including interactive, online fitness assessments and visit tracking.
It is always a good idea to visit a facility and ask for a two or three-day free pass to try out the equipment and get a good feel for the place.
What gym do you use, if any? Do you have any other gyms you would add to this list? Do you have any questions? Please post your comments and questions below. Thank you.
Author Larry Bell is a professional writer, comedian, and automotive enthusiast whose work can be seen at www.myperfectautomobile.com and many other online publications. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the Thunderbird School of Global Management.