Establishing a regular gym habit is a key component of any physical fitness regimen. Whether you are training for an event, such as a marathon or 5K, or want to improve your overall health, buying a gym membership makes it easy to swipe in and swipe out at the health club of your choosing before work or after you go home for the day. A membership at a gym will provide you with access to a range of machinery designed for both cardiovascular conditioning and strength training. You may also have the opportunity to attend free classes focused on specific training methods and techniques and the ability to sign up for personal training lessons.

Planet Fitness bills itself as a judgment-free zone and provides one of the lowest-cost options around. Planet Fitness gyms are massive with rows of popular cardio machines like ellipticals and treadmills. Multiple units of additional options like stationery bikes - both upright and recumbent are also available. For the time crunched or more casual strength trainer, circuit rooms provide access to a specific line of machines designed to provide a full body workout in a set amount of time, such as 30 minutes, while other areas focus on abs, stretching or massage chairs. Users ready to plan their own program can use any of dozens of hyper-targeted strength training options to tone specific areas of the body. Planet Fitness routinely offers a waiver of its sign-up fee when you sign a year long contract. The sign-up fee is a prepayment of the $39 annual fee for your first year as a black card member with access to tanning, guest privileges and more. The black card membership provides access to the most features and is $22.99. The low-cost monthly option starts at $10. Local taxes apply.

Anytime Fitness provides the machine variety of Planet Fitness but generally with a smaller footprint. However, they are often duplicated in more locations within a market area, meaning there may be several Anytime Fitness locations in your area compared to a couple of Planet Fitness gyms. Standard cardio and strength training equipment are provided at the gyms, and a monthly membership averages $36.50. However, monthly fees may vary based on where you are located. Personal training is offered and you can sign up for classes at certain locations.

Crunch gyms are perhaps best known for their killer classes and a popular DVD and digital exercise series that capitalized on these offerings over the past two decades. The club offers three membership tiers to expand access to more members. Starting membership is $14.95 and provides gym access and basic amenities. For $24.95, you can gain access to most classes and other club offerings like tanning and hydromassage. Top tier members pay $34.95 per month and can tap into high-intensity interval training courses and on-site babysitting for when you need to grab a class and have limited options for childcare. Both upper tiers also provide access to guest admittance privileges should you want to bring a friend who is not a member in for a workout session.