Millions of people work out at LA Fitness and Planet Fitness locations throughout the country every day.
Should you join them?
Reaching fitness goals is never easy. Whether you want to blast fat or bulk up, you need to work out.
Unfortunately, cardio machines, like treadmills, weights, and other equipment cost money. This is where gym memberships come in.
With a gym membership, you get access to the equipment you need for a low monthly fee.
The only hard part is motivating yourself to show up. First, you need to select the right location.
Start your search with two of the most popular gyms in the country – Planet Fitness and LA Fitness.
Both options offer low membership fees and several other great features, but they’re not equal.
LA Fitness and Planet Fitness each have pros and cons, as with any gym.
Before you commit to a monthly membership fee, you should check out our comparison of LA Fitness vs Planet Fitness.
Planet Fitness Overview
Founded in 1992, Planet Fitness has grown to become one of the largest fitness franchises. Currently, there are over 1,800 different Planet Fitness clubs to choose from.
You’ll find these gyms in almost every state and major city throughout the US.
This low cost, no-frills gym appeals to those who want affordable access to cardio machines.
As with other franchises, each franchisee can tweak the layout and selection of equipment to cater to the local clientele.
In some of the bigger cities, the gyms may have more floor space and large TVs. In some areas, the local Planet Fitness may have just the basics.
LA Fitness Overview
LA Fitness is a little older. The first location opened its doors in 1984 in an LA suburb.
It’s a private company, but it still offers franchising opportunities, allowing people to open their own gyms. It currently operates a few hundred gyms on its own, while franchisees account for a few hundred more.
Between corporate locations and franchises, over 675 LA Fitness gyms exist.
These locations offer a wide range of amenities, including various fitness classes and a diverse selection of equipment.
LA Fitness focuses on offering state-of-the-art facilities for members of all ages and fitness levels.
LA Fitness vs Planet Fitness: How Do You Choose the Best Gym?
To compare LA Fitness and Planet Fitness, we look at some of the most important features of a gym, such as the following:
- Hours of operation
- Membership fees
- Available equipment
- Fitness classes
So, which option should you choose?
Think about how often and when you plan to work out and the type of equipment you’ll need. You may also want to consider your budget.
Of course, the first thing you need to determine is whether you have a Planet Fitness or LA Fitness gym in your area.
Hours of Operation
The hours of operation vary from location to location. These gyms are franchises, and the franchisee can set his or her own hours.
In major urban areas, you’re more likely to find gyms that remain open for longer. For example, most Planet Fitness locations in cities remain open 24 hours a day.
Unfortunately, LA Fitness shuts down at night. Closing time is often some time between 10 pm and midnight. The doors tend to open between 5 am and 6 am.
Franchisees have the freedom to set their own hours. You may find that the LA Fitness in your area is only open between 8 am and 8 pm.
Night owls may prefer the flexibility of joining a 24-hour Planet Fitness. However, if you’re not worried about sweating it out at night, this may not matter much.
Winner: Planet Fitness
While you may not care about the hours of operation, you’ll likely care about the membership fees. For most people, this is the deciding factor.
According to one study, the average cost of gym membership in the US is $58 per month. Luckily, you’ll pay less at LA Fitness or Planet Fitness. Both options offer relatively affordable membership plans.
Here’s a breakdown of the costs for LA Fitness:
- Single club membership – $24.99 per month
- Multi-club membership – $29.99 per month
- $49 annual fee
- $99 initiation fee
It’s cheap, but Planet Fitness has lower fees:
- Classic Membership – $10 per month
- Black Card membership – $22.99 per month
- $39 annual fee
- $1 to $49 initiation fee
Planet Fitness offers noticeably cheaper prices compared to LA Fitness. At some locations, you may only need to pay $1 to sign up and then $10 per month with no commitment.
Winner: Planet Fitness
Planet Fitness wins the first two rounds, but LA Fitness pulls ahead in the rest of the categories, starting with the equipment.
By all accounts, LA Fitness has the best selection of gym equipment. They have almost everything.
Free weights, recumbent cycle machines, elliptical trainers, spinner bikes, and power racks are just a few of the typical options.
Planet Fitness also has a wide selection of equipment, but tends to lack free weights and barbells. In fact, some Planet Fitness locations may not have any weights.
It doesn’t make much sense to join a gym that doesn’t have the equipment you want. Think about the type of workouts you perform.
If you just want to hop on a cardio machine for an hour, Planet Fitness has you covered. If you’re looking for strength training, you may do better at LA Fitness.
Winner: LA Fitness
Working out on your own requires you to stay motivated. It’s the biggest challenge of committing to a workout routine.
With fitness classes, you get professional instruction and the comradery of working out with others.
At Planet Fitness, you can join the PE@PF class. It’s included in your membership.
The class lasts for 30 minutes and includes instruction from a personal trainer. Depending on the location, you may have five or fewer people in the class.
At LA Fitness, you have a few more options. Of course, the options depend on the location, but you can typically sign up for yoga, spin classes, cycling, boot camp, kickboxing, and various cardio courses.
Winner: LA Fitness
Some gyms offer a wide range of special features. Depending on where you go, you may have access to a pool, spa area, or even a childcare center. Gyms also tend to have showers and locker rooms.
When comparing these features, LA Fitness is the clear winner. Most of the sites have indoor pools and saunas. At some locations, you may even find spas.
LA Fitness also has its own childcare solution. The Kids Klub is available but costs a little extra on top of your standard membership fees.
Winner: LA Fitness
LA Fitness vs Planet Fitness – Which Should You Choose?
While both options have their own pros and cons, LA Fitness stands out for its wider selection of features. You get more equipment and amenities with an LA Fitness membership compared to Planet Fitness.
Keep in mind that you will need to spend a little more at LA Fitness.
The cheapest monthly membership is twice the price of the Planet Fitness one-club access membership. You also have a higher initiation fee with LA Fitness, at $99.
At some Planet Fitness locations, you may only need to pay $1 in startup fees.
Planet Fitness also has many 24-hour locations while LA Fitness gyms tend to close overnight.
Basically, if you want the most affordable option or want to work out at night, go with Planet Fitness.
If you want the best overall value and access to a vast array of gym equipment, choose LA Fitness.