These Cities Are the Most Expensive for a Gym Membership — What Can You Do to Cut Costs?

Athletes squat with kettlebells during fitness training.

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When people start returning to gyms and fitness centers for motivation and camaraderie, perhaps giving up (or even selling) their home gym equipment in exchange for a gym membership, you might be surprised at how much it costs to work out.

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Fitness resource analyzed data from cost-of-living website Numbeo to determine the most expensive US cities to buy a gym membership in.

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New York City topped the list with an average monthly fee of $106 for a gym membership across the five boroughs. The rest of the list follows – gym memberships in all cities on the list are well above the national average of $45 per month.

Most Expensive Cities For Gym Memberships (Monthly Cost)

  • New York, NY: $106.
  • San Francisco, California: $101.
  • Santa Barbara, California: $92.
  • Washington, DC: $85.
  • Anchorage, Alaska: $79.
  • Denver, Colorado: $77.
  • Oakland, California: $73.
  • Tacoma, Wash.: $72.
  • San Jose, California: $71.
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota: $71.
  • Boston, MA: $68.

Cheapest Cities for Gym Memberships (Monthly Cost)

On the other hand, the following cities have the cheapest gym memberships you’ll find coast to coast.

  • Mesa, Arizona: $18.
  • Memphis, Tennessee: $22.
  • Cleveland, OH: $23.
  • Las Vegas, Nevada: $26.
  • Louisville, Kentucky: $26.
  • Plano, TX: $26.
  • Eugene, Oregon: $26.
  • Jacksonville, Florida: $27.
  • Spokane, Wash.: $27.
  • Mobile, Alabama: $28.
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Which costs more: Virtual Home Gym or gym membership?

The monthly cost in these cities is still no less than the price of a Peloton app membership, which is just $13 per month for new members after the first free month. Peloton, as many may know, is one of the most popular home fitness equipment right now. Other home fitness setups that allow you to virtually connect with trainers (and other home users) are Mirror and Tonal.

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Gym costs in the cheapest cities above are lower than a subscription to the Mirror app, which costs $39/month for live and on-demand classes, or the Tonal app, which costs $49/month. It’s important to note that these apps can be used by family members and store multiple user profiles for one price. So if you’re planning on adding a spouse or other adult into your family workout schedule, you can still save money over a traditional gym membership with the right virtual gym membership and home equipment. Of course, you also need to consider the cost of the home fitness equipment, which can vary from a few hundred dollars to thousands.

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Related: Peloton Adds Facility Fees Amid Financial Struggles – How Much More Is the Home Gym Costing You?

Note that comparing the cost of a gym membership versus working out at home does not take into account the many benefits of a gym membership. A variety of equipment, potential access to a spa or pool, and the camaraderie and accountability that develops from meeting people with similar goals in person, rather than virtually, tend to draw people to the gym — and perhaps make the membership price worthwhile.

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How to find a cheaper gym membership

There are a few methods you can use to reduce the cost of your fitness journey.

  • Ask about incentives or discounts through your job: Some companies pay for your gym membership to improve employee well-being, reduce sick days, and even reduce health insurance claims to keep insurance costs down. According to Glenn Insurance, your health insurance can also cover the cost of your gym membership. Your performance manager or Human Resources should be able to assist you with the setup if necessary.
  • Share a membership with a friend: Planet Fitness allows its PF Black Card members to bring a friend with them every time they visit, free of charge. The best thing is it can be the same guest. This allows you to split the cost of membership with a friend and commit to training together.
  • Shop at the end of the month: Often the sales team at the gym strives to set sales quotas at the end of the month. You might even be able to get a better deal at a high-end spa or fitness center if you sign up during the last week of the month.
  • Use credit card rewards or collect bonus points: In 2022, Discover offered 5% bonus cashback (up to $75 quarterly) on fitness clubs and gym memberships purchased with Discover It Cash Back, Discover It Student Cash Back, or Discover More Cards. Chase has also offered similar programs in the past. Now that more people are returning to the gym post-pandemic, it’s possible these credit card companies — and others — will continue to include these bonuses and incentives in the future.
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A gym membership can pay dividends over time as you experience improved health and increased energy. But it doesn’t hurt to find ways to save money up front for that membership and cover future costs.

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