Gym Membership Cost & Pricing Guide
We understand that buying a gym membership can be a significant decision.
Therefore, our goal is to empower you with honest and reliable gym membership cost information to help you budget for your goal(s).
As you consider purchasing a gym membership (hopefully here at Bent On Better), this pricing article will help you develop an initial understanding of the costs associated with each type of gym membership.
Note: Bent On Better is a privately owned, specialized fitness studio that includes professionally progressed strength training for adults over 40, individualized nutrition coaching, and personalized accountability coaching.
Check out this article for more information about the types of services we DO and DO NOT offer.
Final prices will vary by location, gym, and coaching program.
Costs of Gym Membership: A Few Things to Consider
There are two significant factors to consider when researching the cost of gym membership:
- The initial price of the gym membership
- The service model associated with the gym membership
- The top benefits associated with the gym membership
First, to get an idea of how much to budget for each, let's take a look at the initial cost of membership at the four main choices of gyms: a big box gym, CrossFit, boutique fitness studios, and personal training.
Keep in mind that these prices will vary significantly from region to region.
Then, we'll look at the service models associated with each gym membership, ending with the top benefits for each of the four main choices.
Big Box Gym, CrossFit, Boutique Fitness Studio, and Personal Training Cost Comparison
Big Box Gym: Initial Cost
There are three distinct types of Big Box Gyms:
- Basic Budget Gym
- Family-Friendly Gym
- Premium Experience Gym
Let's take a look at each to learn more.
Basic Budget Gym
A 'self-driven' gym experience includes unlimited access and equipment ranging from free weights and machines to cardio equipment. First, the customer enters the facility and then takes it from there.
Much like the Basic Budget Gym, the family-friendly big box gym is primarily a self-driven gym experience, including unlimited access and various equipment ranging from free weights and machines to cardio equipment. In addition to access and the variety of equipment, this gym may include a mix of group classes and aquatic fitness programs.
Premium Experience Gym
Much like the Basic Budget Gym and the Family Friendly Gym, the Premium Experience Gym is primarily a self-driven gym experience, including unlimited access and a variety of equipment ranging from free weights and machines to cardio equipment. In addition to access and the variety of equipment, this gym may include a mix of group classes and aquatic fitness programs.
The Premium Experience Gym also offers additional amenities such as (but not limited to) towels for guests, showers and hygiene products, smoothie and juice bars, complimentary snacks or beverages, and introductory personal training sessions.
The apparent advantage of the big box gym is the price (and any additional included program offers).
On average, most people pay between $120 and $1,260 per year, depending on the region and level of services included in the big box gym membership.
If you are considering any of the big box gym memberships, ask if there are any other costs (i.e., initiation fee, annual renewal fee, or cancellation fee) and what additional benefits come with the membership price.
If there are additional fees, get them in writing.
CrossFit: Initial Cost
Just to be clear, CrossFit is a brand and a registered trademark.
Functional Training and Cross Training Workouts are not CrossFit; however, they may be used interchangeably for this article (and even in day-to-day conversations).
When it comes to the initial price of a CrossFit membership vs. doing CrossFit workouts, the primary difference is that you can do the WOD (workout of the day) for free anywhere, gym or no gym.
CrossFit gym memberships typically cost between $1,140 to $3,120 per year.
The average cost of a CrossFit membership is usually around $95 to $260 per month and up for basic packages, depending on the region and access levels (i.e., 2 days per week or unlimited access).
Boutique Fitness Studio: Initial Cost
Over the past few years, the rise of Boutique Fitness Studios has risen dramatically.
This is undoubtedly due to their highly personalized experience, which is their most appealing attribute.
The boutique fitness studio is the preferred favorite for adults who enjoy a smaller, more intimate community!
The costs may be positioned in punch card options or a membership-based platform.
Average punch card prices range from $11 - $40 per class.
The average membership for a boutique fitness studio is between $95 - $380 per month.
Base membership packages for most boutique fitness studios typically cost $1,140 to $3,600 per year.
Full coaching packages (including nutrition coaching, access to high-level training and accountability, etc.) will typically cost $2,160 - $4,560 per year.
Personal Training: Initial Cost
Personal training is the best fit for adults who enjoy a highly intimate, solo experience.
Many factors go into deciding the costs of personal training, such as gym membership costs, quantity, location (in-home or in the gym), and quality (or specialization of training).
The average cost per personal training session is between $30 - $150 per hour.
For a base level example, doing personal training in a gym, two training sessions per week at one hour per session, typically costs $3,120 to $15,600 per year.
$30 per session x 2 sessions per week = $60.
$60 x 52 weeks = $3,120.
$150 per session x 2 sessions per week = $300.
$300 x 52 weeks = $15,600.
Service Model Associated with Each Type of Gym Membership
Now, let's look at the service models associated with each type of gym membership.
Big Box Gym
The services available at each of the three types of Big Box Gyms (Basic Budget Gym, Family Friendly Gym, and Premium Experience Gym) will vary based on the type of membership needed (individual vs. family, full access, or basic access), the size of the location, and by region.
Due to the total size of these facilities, they built a model of low(er) cost "open" or shared access.
For one monthly membership payment, you get "open" access to unlimited visits and shared use of all the equipment (and sometimes the classes too).
You are essentially paying to "rent" access to use the equipment, space, and basic amenities.
The service model will vary based on the type of membership (to use the classes, for open gym, or any extra services such as CrossFit Kids), the size of the location, and by region.
CrossFit has gained a lot of popularity over the years because of its overall fitness program consisting mainly of a mix of aerobic exercise, calisthenics (bodyweight exercises), and Olympic weightlifting.
The popularity of CrossFit is also due to the community aspects of which each location (or "box") offers its own unique experience to patrons.
The community between patrons tends to be the second most popular aspect of CrossFit, second to the variety of the workout programs.
Boutique Fitness Studio
A Boutique Fitness Studio is typically smaller in size, on average ranging from 800-3500 sq. ft.
Many fitness modalities fall into this category of gym.
Most boutique fitness studios are either privately-owned or franchised.
Both privately-owned boutique fitness studios and franchised owners may offer a variety of categories:
Yoga, pilates, dance (like Zumba), full-body workouts (LesMills), boxing, martial arts, powerlifting, Olympic lifting, chair fitness, aqua aerobics, and the list goes on and on.
As with the variety of modalities a studio can offer, each offer will bring a different experience based on ownership, community, location, and level of services provided.
There is usually a high price and a high reward with boutique fitness studios since they are smaller in size, more intimate, and more personalized in some ways.
Additionally, the level of knowledge for the coaches within the boutique fitness studios tends to be of the highest quality.
Personal training is a form of fitness training where a certified personal trainer works one-on-one with an individual on their goals.
The personal trainer accommodates and caters the training program for the individual based on many personal factors such as limitations (physical and mental), healthy history, schedule, and goals. All while motivating and inspiring the individual to do their best.
Average Annual Cost Comparisons of Each Gym Membership
This chart compares the average annual cost of big box gyms, CrossFit, Boutique Fitness Studios, and Personal Training:
You can see a large disparity in price between the Big Box Gym membership vs. the other three types of gym memberships.
But why is the average cost for a CrossFit membership, a Boutique Fitness Studio gym membership, and personal training so much higher than the big box gym membership?
Personal training provides a very intimate, unique, individualized training experience.
With personal training, you are paying for one person's expertise in that specific area.
You are getting their undivided attention.
The cost is directly correlated with the experience; it's a higher price for a higher reward.
But what about the other two types of gym memberships?
Let’s take a look at the top benefits associated with each gym membership.
The Top Benefits Associated With Each Gym Membership
This chart shows a simple list of top benefits associated with each type of membership.
The CrossFit membership and the Boutique Fitness Studio membership include many more benefits in comparison to the Big Box Gym membership.
But why do they cost more than the Big Box Gym membership?
First, they are incredibly personal.
Second, they are very community-driven.
Third, most provide a high level of accountability & nutrition coaching.
Although a CrossFit membership can also include these benefits, let's take a closer look at the top benefits associated with the boutique fitness studio gym membership.
The Top Benefits Associated With The Boutique Fitness Studio Gym Membership
Why Are Boutique Fitness Studios So Personal?
With the rise of franchise big box gyms (think Planet Fitness, LA Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness, YMCA, Lifetime Fitness, Equinox, etc.), all operate on a business model of getting as many people as possible on a base level membership, paying on a recurring basis (whether you show up to use the equipment and services or not).
The Boutique Fitness Studio has had a significant breakthrough thanks to the big box gym experience.
They saw an opportunity to serve a smaller number of people, making it more unique with the personalized experience.
Everything from the simple greeting by the first name when you walk in the doors to knowing your medical or health & injury history!
In contrast, the big box gyms just give you access to using equipment and access to classes.
And you can plan on a very personalized experience in a big box gym that offers personal training or with an independent personal trainer, but on average, at a very high cost.
Why Are Boutique Fitness Studios So Community-Driven?
Boutique Fitness Studios are incredibly community-driven because they tend to have much smaller facilities and a much smaller number of people they serve.
This gives the people who are part of the Boutique Fitness Studio community the ability to get to know each other, the coaches, and the staff.
This means fewer wasted membership payments, less time stressing about sharing machines, less time wandering from equipment to equipment and creating an opportunity for the people who attend the studio to build more meaningful relationships (and stay accountable).
The community of CrossFit, in comparison, may be one of the most appealing components of the CrossFit gym membership (in addition to the variety of fitness workouts and equipment).
This makes for substantial support and connection with other like-minded individuals.
Why Do Boutique Fitness Studios Offer Accountability & Nutrition Coaching?
For most adults, gym memberships start due to a goal or plan to make a healthy change in an individual's habits.
The truth about making specific goals or healthy changes is that there must be a level of commitment and consistency.
There will always be challenges (physical, mental, and emotional).
Due to the size and personalized experience, Boutique Fitness Studios offers some level of accountability coaching, and some even provide nutrition coaching (some included in the services, some as premium services).
To sum it up, you won't waste money with monthly payments because a coach (or coaches) will help keep you on track with accountability and nutrition coaching.
Couple that with the unique personalized and intimate experience, the community-driven support, without the extremely high cost of personal training, and you have the most effective type of gym membership on the planet!
That's gym membership pricing in a nutshell.
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