10 BEST Gyms For Beginners

So you’ve finally decided to get into shape. Awesome! But how do you begin? Joining a gym is the obvious first step toward your fitness journey.

But for most beginners, the problem is simple – what gym do I join? What are the best gyms for people just starting out? Surely you don’t want to spend a fortune in the first month itself and end up at a gym you don’t like.

In this article- we’re going to be discussing the best gyms for beginners- and what gyms are for what person. Not everyone wants to lift weights- and not everyone wants to do cardio- and some want to do both! Some people like classes, some people just want a good community when they go to the gym. We cover all of that in this article.

Let’s first look at what makes a gym suitable for beginners, then at some of the options we have. 

Best Gyms for Beginners
Best Gyms for Beginners

What Makes a Gym Suitable For Beginners

  • Pricing:
    • This is the number one limiting factor to your options. How much money you can set aside will directly dictate which gym you end up joining. So, if your budget allows, you can go for top of the line, lifestyle featuring gyms such as Equinox. On the other hand, if you are on a budget, you can go for something less expensive such as Planet Fitness
  • Timing:
    • While most gyms operate the standard hours, not all gyms will be open all the time, while certain gyms will be. Places like Anytime Fitness and 24-Hour Fitness are open around the clock, so you can walk in at any time. Naturally, these places are good for ultra-busy people who have hectic schedules and generally can’t find time during the day. On the other hand, if the timing is not an issue for you, something more rigid in timing such as Orange Theory would suit you better. 
  • Free trials:
    • Most people like to try out before they make a commitment. And most gyms offer a free trial or a free pass. When you’re in the market, looking for a gym, it is best to try out one or two places to get a feel for it. Ask yourself: Are you getting everything you want?
  • Weights and equipment:
    • As a beginner, you may or may not have requirements for specific equipment on the very first day. But as you continue on your journey, you will realize that you use certain equipment more than others. Or maybe, your fitness instructor has recommended a certain exercise over the others. It is therefore necessary to check beforehand if the gym you’re joining will be good for you in the long term in that respect.
  • Location:
    • This one is super important. If you travel a lot, you need to make sure to sign up for a gym that has locations across the country. Whereas, if you mostly stay at home, you just want a gym that is close by. Pick wisely as sometimes if your gym is too far away, that can play as a demotivating factor and you might end up not going or not sticking to your schedule.
  • Facilities:
    • For some people, they just want to go to the gym and use up their energy or get their daily tension off and feel relaxed. If you’re one of them, then you probably don’t need a gym with all the extra facilities. But, on the other hand if you like to have a meal planner, a nutritionist or let’s say a fitness coach or personal trainer, then you need to check before joining the place you’re about to join has those facilities or not.
  • Amenities:
    • Many people prefer to have a pool or a sauna at their gym. Showers at the gym are also very common – but not all the gyms will provide you fresh towels. Sports activities are also carried out at gyms. So if you’re interested in any of that, you’ll likely want to avoid joining the first gym you hear of. Hold on and check if they have everything you need.

The Best Gyms for Beginners

#1 – Planet Fitness (Best Gym Hands Down For Beginners)

  • Cheap, at $10 per month
  • Laid back atmosphere
  • Over 2000 locations

Planet Fitness is one of the best gyms for beginners mainly because it is literally a gym designed for beginners. The entire design philosophy revolves around making a beginner-safe gym where you can sign up for a low price and explore the gym world without being judged. It doesn’t have the top-tier bodybuilding equipment by any means, but it has a great variety of machines and weights to get into the gym world.

So truly speaking, Planet Fitness is generally the best gym for beginners hands down. It has a great mix of machines, some weight equipment, a greatly sized stretching/yoga/pilates room and tons of equipment, plus it is a relatively inexpensive membership with a decently sized community.

On the flip side, Planet Fitness locations don’t have the most varied equipment or additional facilities such as meal planners or digital apps. So keep that in mind when choosing.

It’s a great gym when you’re new to the gym, but as you explore what you need and what your goals are you’ll likely have to move on from this gym. But again, this post is targeted for beginners- so planet fitness is likely your best bet.

#2 – LifeTime Fitness

  • On the pricier end
  • Loads of amenities
  • Top class experience

If by ‘gym’, you mean a place you can do workouts and chill and relax, Lifetime Fitness has got you covered. Most of their locations are huge with tons of extra facilities such as pools, hot tubs, and what not. 

Most people who join LifeTime join just for working out with the great community! So if your goal as a beginner is to enjoy and relax a lot as you go, this is the place to join.

It’s got a ton of great amenities, with many locations sporting pools, hot tubs, et cetera. Check out your location and get to it!

#3 – SNAP Fitness

  • Casual atmosphere
  • Pocket-friendly at $40 per month
  • Small and cozy environment
  • Open 24 hours
  • Great for all gym-goers

Snap fitness kind of lies in the middle of the budget spectrum. They are averagely priced, with average facilities as expected. They have a good selection of equipment and workout plans but lack the more luxurious amenities such as saunas and spas.

But, if you are just looking for a decent gym, with decent facilities, SNAP Fitness is the way to go. SNAP Fitness helps with your fitness journey outside the gym too with their fitness app.

What’s nice about SNAP Fitness is that it’s a great gym for really any type of gym-goer- meaning if you’re a serious bodybuilder, or you’re just looking to do some cardio- SNAP Fitness is great.

#4 – Anytime Fitness

  • Open 24 hours
  • Highly community-oriented environment
  • Great for all gym-goers
  • Supportive members and staff

The friendly and supportive environment of Anytime Fitness is liked by many beginners. People feel at ease in the non-judging environment of Anytime Fitness. Generally, Anytime Fitness locations are small and cozy, so it’s easy to familiarize yourself with the entire place and not get overwhelmed. 

Similarly to SNAP Fitness, Anytime Fitness is great for ANY gym-goer. That means if you’re serious about bodybuilding, or just looking to do cardio- this gym is a great fit for everyone.

Personally, I regularly use Anytime Fitness for all of my bodybuilding and cardio. It’s got the perfect amount of free weights and machines- while still being a smaller community based gym.

#5 – Crunch Fitness

  • Basic membership under $22 per month
  • More inclined for serious lifters.
  • Experienced personal trainers
  • Free trials

If you are seriously serious about your fitness, then Crunch Fitness is a good place to start. Compared to other entries on this list, Crunch Fitness has the some of most serious fitness culture of all. If you find that other gyms take being serious about fitness badly, Crunch Fitness will welcome you with open arms.

They also have experienced personal trainers that you can consult to get a swift headstart in your personal journey. Note that you have to pay extra for personal training.

This is a good gym if you’re a beginner but looking for a more serious and focused weight-lifting environment. You know- the type where everyone has their headphones in and everyone is just focused on pumping heavy iron.

#6 – The YMCA

  • Perfect for beginners
  • More than 2500 locations
  • Availability of free trial (only at select locations)

YMCA, also known as the Y, is one of the best youth organizations in the country. With the wide lay of locations, chances are that you can find one near you or perhaps even within walking distance.

Most people don’t realize it- but YMCA’s often have huge weight rooms and are some of the best gyms you can work out in.

In terms of facilities and features, they have sports and workout culture side by side. Remember that their spirit is of the youth, and they take fitness as a way of life rather than as a career option. 

#7 – LA Fitness

  • Low-mid range gym
  • Around 600 locations
  • Tons of amenities

LA fitness is a great gym to join. Price-wise, they offer the best combination between workout culture and leisure culture. They have almost any equipment you can imagine and carry a generous supply at that. At the same time, they have luxurious amenities such as pools and basketball courts that you can enjoy.

In case you’re looking to try them out first, you’re in luck. They offer first-time free trials with access to the entire location. So you can get a feel for the place before you commit. 

#8 – 24 Hour Fitness

Check out the 24 Hour Fitness website!

  • Free 3 day trial
  • Digital check-ins (literally- you use your app to access the gym, which is much better than a key fob in my opinion)
  • Virtual training

24 Hour Fitness is just overall a ‘solid’ gym. It doesn’t have anything that makes it ‘special’- but it isn’t bad by any means. It’s a perfect middle of the road gym that gets the job done and usually gets most people what they want.

Perhaps what is most notable about 24 Hour Fitness is that it has a great selection of online workouts via their app for members. Making it truly, 24 hour fitness- you can access videos and coaching even when you’re at home.

Depending on location, some 24 hour fitness locations even have pools or steam rooms.

Use the free 3 day trial, to get access to your nearest 24 Hour Fitness location and check them out. The host of features will definitely pull you in.

#9 – YouFit

Check out YouFit’s website here!

  • Budget price, starting membership is only $10/month.
  • Great weight room, studio rooms, et cetera. They really have everything needed for fitness.

YouFit is an excellent gym for beginners. They are very close in competition with Planet Fitness with providing very similar services.

On the flip side though, they have very little extra amenities. So if that isn’t your primary concern, it is definitely worth giving YouFit a try.

It’s certainly a gym that focuses on the ‘fitness’ part of fitness and not much else. This isn’t always a bad thing, sometimes a basic ‘straight-to-the-point’ gym is what you need- especially because of how much cheaper it is.

#10 – Equinox (Super Expensive, Group Focused)

  • Super expensive (~$200+/month!)
  • Great spa, showers, towels, soap for members- really important if you work or go to school after the gym.
  • Super group oriented, great for those looking for 100% social workouts.

Equinox is a great gym for those looking to spend a little more money on the gym membership in turn for a complete social gym experience.

Basically, at equinox- almost all workouts are lead in groups. While they have their own individual equipment and such, group participation is highly encouraged at Equinox. This is great for those that want to make friends, develop connections, and have a motivational workout partner in their life.

Something really nice about equinox is that they take a lot of pride in providing clean towels, soaps, and incredibly clean and beautiful shower areas. This is important for those that perhaps go to work or school after the gym and want to smell the best and feel the best.

It’s really on the upper-end of gyms in terms of pricing. Yet, it is one of the best gyms for beginners because ultimately everything is group led- it doesn’t matter your goals, they will personally help you reach them.


Getting started with anything is always the hardest. After that initial step, things get better. The same is with gyms. Once you make the pick, things will go much more smoothly for you. Hopefully, our collection here will be of use to you in this regard.

Let me know in the comments below which gym you picked- or what gyms I should add to this list!

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