Planet Fitness and LA Fitness are both some of the most advertised gyms in the industry. You’ve probably already seen some of their commercials on TV- and while a gym is a gym, these two gyms are actually very different!
So, in this article, we are going to do a comparison of Planet Fitness vs LA Fitness, and decide which gym is best for you.
If you don’t have time to read the whole article, here’s a quick (but brief) overview of Planet Fitness vs LA Fitness:
Planet Fitness is the better option if you’re looking for the cheapest way to just stay in shape, get toned a little bit, get a hydromassage, and have access to a 24/7 gym. LA Fitness is a better option if you have a bit more to spend, want heavier weights (including power racks), and want amenities like pools, childcare, and sometimes even saunas. However, the drawback is LA Fitness is NOT 24/7 and is often more crowded.
That’s a very brief overview of the gyms. But, here’s a more in-depth comparison.
What is LA Fitness?
LA Fitness is a gym that’s best described as “quality over quantity”. There are fewer locations but they are very high-quality workout spaces.
Now, something that’s interesting about LA Fitness compared to other gyms is that that most LA Fitness gyms have a pool.
So, right off the bat- if swimming is something important to you (it is the best cardio out there) LA Fitness might be a no-brainer.
LA Fitness gyms are also known to typically have things like saunas, bigger workout rooms, and even childcare.
There are around 560 LA Fitness locations in the United States!
What is Planet Fitness?
Planet Fitness is a gym that’s inexpensive, is known for just being filled to the brim with cardio machines, and has a low tolerance for “gymtimidation”. (Including their infamous lunk alarm that goes off when someone grunts or drops weights)
This is a great option for many as the $15-20/month plans with no commitment make it easy for most people to stay in shape! They are also known for the famous hydromassage and total body enhancement they boast in their advertisements.
They are a 24/7 gym, and are fairly well known across the country with a large membership and over 2,000 locations.
Planet Fitness vs LA Fitness – Let’s Compare Them
Now, it’s time to get into the comparison. May the odds be ever in each gym’s favor.
Where Are They Usually Located?
- Planet Fitness: Usually by bigger cities, but can be found in many suburban and rural towns as well.
- LA Fitness: Usually only found in big cities or BIG suburbs.
Planet Fitness wins the point in this round, having 4x as locations as LA Fitness.
LA Fitness’ biggest crux is that they have a large operating cost due to their pools, bigger spaces, and amenities. This means that LA Fitness cannot afford to put a gym in a very rural area where it may not see lots of users.
So, if you live in a more rural area (like I do), Planet Fitness may be your only option as the nearest LA Fitness may be 40-60 minutes away.
But, if you do live in a bigger suburb or city, or in the outerbanks of one- LA Fitness might be even closer to you than a Planet Fitness!
Location is a huge thing when trying to find a gym that works well for you. I go to the gym 6 days a week, so I cannot afford a 30 minute commute. While I love the LA Fitness that’s 30 minutes away, I just can’t drive that everyday!
Keep the distance in mind when trying to find a gym.
When Are They Open?
- Planet Fitness: 24/7! Planet Fitness is open all day.
- LA Fitness: Most LA Fitness locations are only open 5AM-10PM. Check your local club to see the specific hours.
Yeah so, Planet Fitness is open 24/7- and LA Fitness isn’t.
This is mainly because LA Fitness needs to watch their massive equipment rooms, pools, saunas, etcetera.
But, this is a big drawback if you need a gym at midnight. I used to work 2PM-12AM, and I liked going to the gym after my shift to unwind from the stress at work.
So, if a gym being open 24/7 is important to you, you may want to look away from LA Fitness– and instead look at Planet Fitness.
Although, I will admit they have pretty good hours, most of them are only closed around 7 hours a day.
- Planet Fitness: By far the cheapest option, with their membership plans usually being $10-25/month for the highest tier. (You’ll probably pick the highest tier, I’ll explain below)
- LA Fitness: LA Fitness gets pricier at around $35/month, with an initiation fee of $50.
Both gyms will have an annual fee of around $50.
Something to note is that while Planet Fitness is ‘cheaper’- it’s honestly not by much. This is because most people will not pick the $10/month membership as it’s more of a marketing gimmick than anything.
So keep that in mind, the gyms aren’t that far in pricing.
(And I’m one who is super picky on how I spend my money)
But, honestly, it’s best I just break down all of the pricing, it gets really complicated. The bullet points above are just to give a quick overview that Planet Fitness is a little bit cheaper.
- Get access to Planet Fitness + LA Fitness + Gold’s Gym + SNAP Fitness + MORE through Active & Fit Direct for $25/month!
LA Fitness Pricing for the Average Person:
So, let’s say you went to sign up for LA Fitness right now, here’s what you’re looking at.
Most clubs vary a little bit location to location, but this will give you a good ballpark estimate.
- $40 initiation fee (unless you do their 6 month commitment)
- $35/month average
- $40-50 annual fee
That’s not horrible honestly! But, compared to Planet Fitness, it is more expensive.
Planet Fitness Pricing (this is where it gets weird):
So, Planet Fitness is always advertised as that “$10/month gym”. But, it really couldnt be furhter from the truth.
It’s just a marketing gimmick.
Most people signing up for Planet Fitness will pick the $23/month “Black Card” membership.
When you pick the $10/month plan, you only get access to the gym machines and that’s it. No hydromassage, no amenities, you can’t even access other Planet Fitness gyms.
But, with the $22/month plan you get access to all amenities (like the fabled Hydromasage), you can go to any Planet Fitness gym, but most importantly: the initiation fee is waived and there is no commitment.
When you try to pick the $10/month plan, they will try to lock you in for 6 or 12 months and make you pay a $40 initiation fee. But, with the Black Card plan, you can cancel at anytime and there is NO initiation fee.
So, in a way, it almost makes sense to just get the Black Card membership. (Also, you can also bring a guest with if you have the Black Card membership!)
Realistically if you wanted to join Planet Fitness, you’re looking at probably $25/month, which isn’t bad- and it’s still cheaper than LA Fitness. But, they’re actually not that far apart in pricing when you look at it like that.
Is The Membership Multi or Single Club?
- Planet Fitness: The normal membership is single club, but the $25/month membership (the one most people will get)- is multi club, meaning you can go into any Planet Fitness in the country.
- LA Fitness: LA Fitness is a single club membership, but if you pay around $5 more per month, it becomes a multi club membership. I recommend just paying that extra $5 for peace of mind if you’re out of town or have a gym nemesis.
- Planet Fitness: Planet Fitness is known as the king of cardio. They have tons of treadmills, ellipticals- basically any cardio machine you can think of. They have a few weight lifting machines, but not many. And most Planet Fitness gyms do not have heavy free weights like barbells, they typically only have limited dumbbells.
- LA Fitness: LA Fitness has everything, and good equipment too. They have power racks, barbells, dumbbells, cardio machines, pools, sports training rooms, and more. They are huge facilities.
Here’s the problem. Planet Fitness is not known as a gym you go to if you’re a serious bodybuilder. If you’re trying to put on serious amounts of muscle, Planet Fitness simply doesn’t have the equipment you need.
But, Planet Fitness is a great space if you’re just trying to stay toned and lose fat. It has the cardio and resistance machines most people need, as most people aren’t trying to actively put on serious amounts of muscle.
On the other hand, LA Fitness has the power racks, barbells, dumbbells, and other things you need if you’re serious about putting on muscle.
And most LA Fitness locations also have a pool, training rooms, and those cardio machines Planet Fitness has as well. Furthermore, some LA Fitnesses have spas and saunas.
(But, we will cover those amenities later)
In terms of raw equipment, LA Fitness has everything you basically need. However, just because it has more, doesn’t always mean it’s better.
Sometimes the cardio machines and basic resistance machines at Planet Fitness may be all you need if you’re just trying to stay in shape. But, if you’re trying to get a ton of muscle on your body, LA Fitness may be the better choice for you.
- Planet Fitness: No childcare options.
- LA Fitness: Has a childcare center that adds a small fee every billing cycle. You can’t leave the gym while your kids are there. This may be important for some people that have younger kids but also want to stay in shape.
Look, I’ve never personally looked at a gym for childcare (At least, not yet!). But, i can totally see why it’s such a great idea.
Most people stop going to the gym because they had kids, and it is super hard to get into the gym for a solid 2 hours in those first few months of your kids’ life.
So, having a place that the kids can stay at for a few hours while you work out can seriously remove some of that stress that comes with raising a kid- and keep you in shape.
So, if you have kids or are planning on having kids, LA Fitness may be a better choice to keep your physique in the early years.
- Planet Fitness: Planet Fitness locations generally have a shower, bathroom, and lockers accessible to most members.
- LA Fitness: LA Fitness locations generally have showers, bathrooms, and lockers, and also a locker room for the pool. These are big facilities, so you don’t have to worry about that there.
No need to worry here, you’ll have a spot (in 99% of these gyms) to shower, so if you’re working out on your lunch break or before work, you’re good to go.
Classes and Clubs?
- Planet Fitness: Usually does not offer classes or clubs, but does have staff that can guide you.
- LA Fitness: This does vary by location, but in my experience, LA Fitness has some of the most clubs you can find at any gym. (Plus they are free!) My local gym has Zumba, Latin Heat, Kickboxing, Senior Cardio classes, Hip Hop dancing, Body Conditioning, Yoga, Boot Camp Conditioning, and a Pool Class!
If the gym being a community is super important to you, it may be better to head to LA Fitness.
Personally, I am more of a recluse when it comes to the gym, and prefer to work out alone (literally nobody else in the gym) if I can. That’s also a dual-edged sword to keep in mind though- if you don’t like large crowds, those classes at LA Fitness may be intimidating.
- Planet Fitness: Planet Fitness typically has a hydromassage and a total body enhancement machine.
- LA Fitness: LA Fitness usually has a pool, and sometimes a massage center, a spa, and a sauna.
When it comes down to it, LA Fitness has better amenities. But this does vary from each club, location to location. Some Planet Fitness locations will have a ton of amenities and some LA Fitness locations will have just a pool- and vice versa.
Always call your local club or view their local website, it will usually show what amenities are present.
But, in general- LA Fitness will have more amenities.
- Planet Fitness has a much calmer and quieter atmosphere. The lunk alarm discourages anybody that’s grunting or dropping weights.
- Unfortunately, it’s a double-edged sword. There isn’t much of a ‘community’ at Planet Fitness, it’s more of an individual workout center. Now, for someone like me- that’s great. But, for many people- the gym is like their second family. I would say that the overall environment is welcoming, but it’s more of an ‘on-your-own’ gym.
- Planet Fitness gyms are oftentimes much smaller and not as spacious.
- LA Fitness is a much busier and packed atmosphere. Oftentimes the gym will be at near full capacity and will have a lot of classes going on. The place is huge and spacious, so you won’t really feel as cramped as you might at a Planet Fitness.
- I will say that in many people’s experiences, LA Fitness attracts a weird group of people who work out. LA Fitness attracts a lot of people that don’t really “work out”- but want to show off on social media they do- if you catch my drift. You won’t find that many ‘serious lifters’ here as you may find at a Gold’s Gym. But, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible, but I thought I’d let you know that because it’s a bigger gym, you have a higher chance of running into some weird people.
- It’s a very clean and professional gym, and does feel like a big mansion.
Conclusion of Planet Fitness vs LA Fitness?
Ultimately, it depends on your needs.
In my opinion, LA Fitness is similarly priced and has more equipment, amenities, and benefits overall. Even if it does end up being slightly more per month, I think it is worth everything you’re getting.
However, it does pose a problem if you need a gym that’s 24 hours, and there are nearly 5x as many Planet Fitness locations as there are LA Fitness.
So I believe, if you have the option to pick between both, choose LA Fitness.
You might like Planet Fitness more if:
- You need a gym that’s 24/7
- You just want to stay in shape or stay toned.
- You need a gym that’s closer by or has more locations if you travel a lot.
- Want a quieter atmosphere.
- Don’t like those annoying heavy lifters that always slam weights or make noise.
And you might like LA Fitness more if:
- You take lifting very seriously and need to put on muscle.
- You need a place with a pool.
- You want a bigger community.
- You want a larger space.
- You need childcare while you’re at the gym.
Let me know in the comments which gym you picked and why! I’m curious to hear your thoughts!