The Best Gym Deals in America

NEW YORK (MainStreet) –  Americans are looking for wealth and wellness in 2011, but, unfortunately, the pursuit of one can often have a negative impact on the other.

Gym memberships, while admittedly cheaper post-recession, still cost an average of $497.64 a year … and that’s before you factor in sign-up fees, or the price of personal training classes. Fortunately, the start of a new year also tends to spawn new deals, as gyms try to entice those with weight-centric resolutions to make good on them.  

To help you find a gym in your price range, MainStreet took a look at what some national gym chains are currently charging.

Bally’s Total Fitness: The monthly rate varies by location based on your home club, but most Bally’s gyms are currently waiving their enrollment fees. This will fluctuate depending on the time of year and where you live, but most enrollment fees average $35 to $40 for a single membership. According to Bally’s, monthly rates currently cost between $30.99 and $41.99. Most Bally’s gyms require that you pay your first and last months’ dues upon enrollment and then subsequently charges you each month you remain a member. The price points are valid through Jan. 31, 2011. You can also get a free seven-day pass that will let you test out the gym facilities.

Planet Fitness:
Prospective patrons who sign up before Jan. 12 pay a $20 sign-up fee (annual fees typically are $29) and then $10 a month thereafter. This basic membership simply gives you access to the fitness facility, but there is also a Black Card membership priced at $19.99 a month that entitles members to unlimited tanning, use of massage chairs and half-price cooler drinks. Right now, there’s no sign-up fee for the premier membership, but an annual $39 charge will be imposed on cardholders in June. The one caveat here is that Planet Fitness is a franchise so you may have to check with the gym near you to see if the special rates apply.

24Hour Fitness: The gym chain, which has locations in 17 states, is also waiving its initiation fee, which varies by state, but you’ll have to act fast to get the deal. Available only at participating locations, the waiver expires today, Jan. 5. The gym is currently advertising a price of $34.99 a month for those who buy a one-year membership online. However, you have to pay the first and last months’ dues with your purchase so your upfront costs will be $69.98. The gym also offers a free trial membership, but unlike MySportsClubs, you only have a week to test out the facilities.  

MySportsClubs: The national chain, which runs gyms in New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, has many different membership options that differ depending on location, privileges and the time of year. However, they all offer a 30-day trial membership for $30, so those trying to decide if their local facilities are worth the quoted membership price can try them out before committing. 

Still can’t find a gym in your price range? Check out MainStreet’s look at fitness alternatives.

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