Is Planet Fitness Gym Right For You?

If you're planning to get a new gym membership, Planet Fitness has probably crossed your mind. The industry-leading chain quickly won people over with its judgment-free motto, low-cost business model, and 24-hour accessibility (per Athletic Business). Moreover, Planet Fitness promotes a laid-back environment catering to gym newbies and individuals at the start of their fitness journey. 

With over 2,000 locations across the world and a total of about 17 million members as of December 2022 (via Club Industry), it's easy to see why Planet Fitness may seem like an attractive choice. With that said, not everyone is a fan of the gym chain, with some criticizing its lack of proper equipment for bodybuilders and more experienced gym-goers (via

So how do you determine if Planet Fitness Gym is the right fit for you? We've compiled a list of the gym's pros and cons, covering everything from the cost to the workout equipment and amenities that the gym provides. Here's everything you need to know about Planet Fitness, including how it stacks up against other national gym chains.

Workout equipment

Workout equipment is among the biggest considerations when trying to determine if a gym is the right fit for you. While the exact workout equipment may vary based on location, there are a few staples at each Planet Fitness gym. Most of the equipment you'll find are cardio machines like treadmills, stair-climbers, bikes, and ellipticals, all of which can be easily incorporated into any daily workout routine (per Planet Fitness).

In addition, the gym chain is known for having Smith machines, which can help you do bench presses, squats, and military press workouts (per Dr Workout). A leg press, dumbbells of up to 50 pounds, and benches are also usually found in each gym.

However, the typical Planet Fitness gym does lack a few types of equipment that some may consider crucial (including squat racks, barbells, weight plates, and lifting platforms), which is a big issue for many seasoned gym-goers (via Get Gym Fit).


Aside from exercise equipment, Planet Fitness also offers a ton of perks for convenience and relaxation, including tanning beds, hydromassage beds, a seated massage chair, and of course, locker rooms with showers (per the Daily Mom). 

While the exact amenities vary depending on the type of membership that you have, acquiring the Black Card membership gives you special access to all these amenities and more. Black Card membership allows members to enjoy access to all Planet Fitness locations, guest privileges at all times, spray tanning, a free haircut at select location, free fitness training, 50% of drinks of their choice, and even a 20% discount when shopping at (via Sports Illustrated). 

When you invest in a gym membership, it is typically a good idea to take advantage of everything the gym offers. According to The Capital Athletic Club, the gym should be one of the places you spend the most time at (after your home and your office). If this is true, it makes sense to invest in a gym that offers you the kind of experience and atmosphere that you desire.

Locations and operating hours

Do you find it hard to make time to go to the gym with your busy schedule? You're in luck, because all Planet Fitness gyms are open 24 hours per day, meaning you can pay a visit at your convenience. You shouldn't have much difficulty finding one, either: Since 1992 — the year Planet Fitness was established – the gym chain has established its presence in over 2,400 locations (with millions of devoted members) all scattered throughout the United States. In additionPlanet Fitness gyms can also be found in other parts of the world, including Puerto Rico, Canada, Panama, Mexico, and Australia. 

The chain's goal is to attract not just fitness enthusiasts, but also people who wish to be able to casually work out or hit the gym as they please — and this has been a large part of its continued growth and success (per Insider). In order to maintain its image of ease and accessibility, Planet Fitness keeps its facilities open at all hours of the day, while continuing to expand to different areas.


A dirty gym is the perfect place to harbor bacteria and illnesses, what with all that equipment being shared by sweaty strangers. Thus, keeping the gym clean is extremely important to eliminate pathogens and reduce the chances of its staff members and gym-goers getting sick (via Mill City Cleaning). 

Planet Fitness prioritizes cleanliness by ensuring that its gyms' locker rooms are clean and well-stocked, with shower curtains that are frequently changed, according to CalorieBee. In addition, the gym chain's WELL Health-Safety rating (proudly displayed on the front door of each Planet Fitness gym) guarantees that all of its locations are well maintained, with good air quality and clean surfaces (per Planet Fitness). Members are also encouraged to wash their hands and clean any exercise equipment before and after using it.

Furthermore, Planet Fitness gives members the option of doing a touchless check-in via their PF app, which even has a crowd meter for folks who may be too anxious to go to a crowded gym. This newly added feature can tell you approximately how many members are currently in the gym you want to visit.


If cost is your concern, then you'll be happy to know that getting in shape can happen on a cheap or cost-effective budget. In fact, Planet Fitness prides itself on being a budget-friendly gym that you can join. 

Basic membership costs only $10 per month, which is significantly cheaper than the cost of most gym memberships in the United States. According to CNN, the average gym membership in the U.S. starts at around $50 per month. This doesn't even include the cost of any group classes or specialized training programs that you may decide to take. With Planet Fitness, basic membership gives you access to free fitness training, as well as cardio and basic resistance machine workouts. Alternatively, you can also choose to prepay the cost of a yearly membership for $199, which waives the enrollment fee. However, this prepaid amount is final, and can't be refunded or canceled.

While the cost of basic membership may only be $10 a month, it's important to note that Planet Fitness does also charge an annual fee of $39 and a $10 start-up fee (via Sports Illustrated). If you do choose to upgrade to the PF Black Card membership for additional perks, the cost will increase to a monthly fee of $22.99, in addition to the annual fee of $39 and a $1 start-up fee (per Gym Membership Fees). 

Membership options

If you're considering a Planet Fitness membership, you have two options: a Classic (basic) membership and the PF Black Card membership (per Planet Fitness). Black Card membership is more expensive, but also comes with additional perks (e.g., being able to bring a guest at any time, use of the tanning beds and massage chairs, partner rewards and discounts). In addition, Black Card membership comes with access to any of the gym chain's 2,000 locations around the world, which is why this option is heavily promoted by the Planet Fitness team.

Fortunately, there's no hassle in canceling a Planet Fitness membership. If you find yourself wanting to cancel the membership for any reason, all you have to do is simply sign a form at the location where you signed up to confirm your cancellation, free of charge (per ACTIVE Network). Keep in mind, though, that a 30-day notice is necessary in order to process and cancel your membership (per Dr Workout). Your membership can also be terminated at any point by Planet Fitness if you fail to adhere to their code of conduct or guidelines. 


Getting to know the atmosphere is extremely important when deciding if a gym is the right fit for you. After all, you want to be in a space in which you feel comfortable enough to carry out your workout routine. For Planet Fitness, the atmosphere has been described as "low key," encouraging all gym-goers to work out in any way that they desire, regardless of their fitness ability (per Fitneass).

According to CT Style, Planet Fitness Gym's motto of being a judgment-free zone helps set it apart from other gyms. While it can be intimidating to attend a gym for the first time, Planet Fitness ensures that you can choose any pace or intensity that feels right for you without having the added pressure of being judged. 

Though the gym is said to cater to everyone, it may be better suited for beginners (per The gym may not be properly equipped to appeal to more seasoned fitness buffs, as it lacks a good number of strength training equipment and has very strict guidelines for lifting weights. So, if you're more of a newbie to working out or are looking to get in a lot of cardio, Planet Fitness may be the right fit for you. However, if you're focused on lifting weights, then a gym geared towards lifting may be a better option.

Dress code

It may seem silly to have a dress code policy for the gym, but often, these policies are in place for safety reasons. For instance, wearing your beach flip flops on the treadmill is probably not the best idea, as it increases the chances of you hurting your feet. Instead, Planet Fitness enforces a "no open-toed shoe" policy and bans work boots in order to ensure the safety of members while working out (per Planet Fitness).

While the dress code is not too strict at Planet Fitness, there are certain rules that the gym swears by (per Luxe Luminous). For instance, you need to have a shirt on at all times. Planet Fitness also prohibits jeans, as well as any attire with hateful or offensive messaging. In addition, the chain has a "no full cotton attire" policy (as these clothing items can really stick to you when you sweat) and recommends steering clear of jewelry at the gym (as well as clothing items that are too baggy or too tight). With that said, crop tops, fitted sports bras, shorts, leggings, and other examples of appropriate workout attire are more than welcome, per Dr Workout.


Let's face it, having a good staff can make or break a gym. This is especially true if you are new to the gym scene and require assistance or have questions. 

Luckily, Planet Fitness places an emphasis on being an inclusive and friendly environment for anyone looking to work out. The gym chain offers its members to option to meet with a fitness trainer in a small group setting that allows them to learn about the gym, get instructions on how to use the different types of equipment safely, and even create a exercise routine that is suited to their needs (per Planet Fitness). The best part is that this is completely free of charge, making it a great way for Planet Fitness patrons to get some professional fitness advice.

According to statistics from Zippia, Planet Fitness has a roughly equal percentage of male (51%) and female (49%) employees, as well as a diverse staff (with 37.2% of its employees hailing from ethnic minorities).

Workout classes

While Planet Fitness gyms do not offer traditional classes like Zumba or Pilates, they do have physical education classes led by certified fitness trainers. These are essentially small group training classes that are geared towards both newcomers and seasoned gym-goers (per Planet Fitness).

There are around 11 to 14 small group training sessions daily, and according to Sports Illustrated, these classes are free to fitness members who can join on a first-come-first-serve basis. Participating in classes is also fairly easy, with members having the option to join via the Planet Fitness app or register for the classes at the gyms' front desk. The Planet Fitness app also provides free access to a library full of workout videos and guides suited for a variety of fitness levels, accessible at any time. 

As for the classes themselves, there are a few different types of training offered, per Planet Fitness. These include a 30-minute express circuit, which is essentially a full-body workout that combines strength and cardio exercises. You can also choose a training that is specifically focused on your back and triceps, chest and biceps, or legs and shoulders. For those seeking to get visible abs or tighten their core, a core session is also available. Lastly, you can opt for stretch classes that help improve flexibility. There is no limit to the number of sessions you can select.

Banned exercises

While it may seem strange for any gym to ban certain exercises, keep in mind that Planet Fitness mainly caters to gym newbies and generally inexperienced members. For this reason, many powerlifting workouts (including deadlifts and overhead presses) are discouraged to prevent people from hurting themselves (per Noob Gains). Instead, Planet Fitness gyms offer Smith machines and various cardio equipment for its members to use.

In addition, grunting, dropping weights, or making any loud noises can result in you sounding the lunk alarm  (per Luxe Luminous). Essentially, this is a loud siren located in the free weights area that goes off when you are not following the rules of the gym, being too loud, or engaging in dangerous behavior. Ultimately, this can be disappointing for individuals looking to incorporate more strength-building moves into their workout routines. If any of these rules sounds like a deal-breaker, then Planet Fitness might not be the right place for you.

Planet Fitness versus other national gym chains

There's no shortage of popular gym chains across the United States, including 24 Hour Fitness, Anytime Fitness, Equinox Fitness Club, and Pure Barre (per Men's Health). However, these options vary in terms of accessibility, cost, and services offered. 

For instance, 24 Hour Fitness is known to have high-quality workout equipment, as well as qualified personal trainers. However, they only have a few hundred locations; Planet Fitness, on the other hand, has over 2,000 (per Additionally, monthly membership costs for 24 Hour Fitness and Anytime Fitness can reach $30 to $40 per month, which are higher than those of Planet Fitness. Meanwhile, Pure Barre gym chains skip the traditional gym setup and are focused on more ballet-style workout classes, per Men's Health.

Much like Crunch Fitness and YouFit, Planet Fitness falls under the category of budget-friendly multi-location gyms, according to While Crunch Fitness and YouFit also have membership prices that start at around $10 per month, Planet Fitness arguably still sits at the top of — or at least, very high on — the list of accessible, budget-friendly gyms out there.