LA Fitness Vs Planet Fitness – A Real Difference Inside

When it comes to big box gyms, LA Fitness and Planet Fitness are two of the most well-known national chains. With hundreds of locations across the United States and Canada, odds are you have one of these gyms in your area.

Their ubiquitous presence makes them prime options for your fitness needs.

However, LA Fitness and Planet Fitness take very distinct approaches when it comes to their facilities, offerings, target demographics, and pricing models.

While both provide the expected treadmills and strength training equipment, LA Fitness prides itself on premium amenities and services for all fitness levels. Planet Fitness takes the opposite approach, stripping away extras to offer bare-bone gym access at the lowest possible monthly cost.

So if you’re trying to decide between joining LA Fitness or Planet Fitness, how do you know which is better suited for you?

LA Fitness Vs Planet Fitness

LA Fitness Vs Planet Fitness

This comprehensive guide compares all aspects of these leading fitness chains.

You’ll uncover the key similarities and differences when it comes to their equipment, classes, personal training, membership fees, hours, atmospheres, and more.

With details on what each gym offers, who they cater to, and typical costs, you’ll get insider insight to make the right choice for your fitness journey.

When it comes to choosing a gym, two popular options are LA Fitness and Planet Fitness. But with different atmospheres, amenities, pricing, and more, how do you know which one is the best fit?

This in-depth guide compares all aspects of LA Fitness and Planet Fitness to help you decide. Read on to learn the key similarities and differences between these gyms, plus get tips on how to choose the right one for your needs.

Introduction to LA Fitness and Planet Fitness

LA Fitness, founded in 1984 in California, now has over 800 gym locations across the US and Canada. Their facilities offer amenities like pools, saunas, hot tubs, basketball courts, and more. They also provide a variety of group fitness classes and personal training.

Planet Fitness, which started in 1992, now has over 1,000 locations nationwide. Their gyms are known for their low-cost memberships starting at just $10/month. Planet Fitness aims to provide a judgment-free zone for all fitness levels.

Both gym chains have standard cardio and strength training equipment. Their nationwide presence also means you can likely find a location whether you’re at home or traveling.

Key Similarities Between LA Fitness and Planet Fitness

While LA Fitness and Planet Fitness have some key differences, they share a few core similarities:

  • A broad range of cardio machines – Both offer treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes, rowing machines, and more.
  • Strength training equipment – You’ll find both free weights and weight machines for building muscle at either gym.
  • Nationwide locations – With hundreds of gyms across North America, you can find either chain when traveling.
  • Friendly staff – Reviews indicate employees at both chains tend to be helpful and welcoming.

So if you just need access to standard gym equipment, either chain will provide that foundation for your workouts.

Main Differences Between LA Fitness vs Planet Fitness

However, when you dig deeper, there are some distinct contrasts between LA Fitness and Planet Fitness:

1. Target Audience & Atmosphere

  • LA Fitness caters to all levels, from beginners to bodybuilders. The atmosphere is traditional and spacious.
  • Planet Fitness specifically targets beginners seeking a judgment-free zone. Their atmosphere is more casual and relaxed.

2. Amenities & Facilities

  • Beyond standard gym equipment, LA Fitness offers amenities like pools, saunas, basketball courts, racquetball courts, and more. Their larger footprint allows for more variety.
  • Planet Fitness chooses to forgo extras, sticking to just basic cardio and strength machines. The smaller footprint keeps costs down.

3. Group Fitness Classes

  • LA Fitness provides a huge variety of classes like Zumba, yoga, Pilates, kickboxing, indoor cycling, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Classes accommodate varying skill levels.
  • Planet Fitness only offers one class for beginners called PE@PF. The selection is very limited compared to LA Fitness.

4. Personal Training

  • LA Fitness employs certified personal trainers to help members set fitness goals and customize workout plans. It’s a great option for those wanting extra guidance.
  • Planet Fitness does not offer personal training. Instead, they employ trainers mainly to teach the PE@PF class for beginners.

5. Membership Cost

  • LA Fitness membership rates start at around $30 per month. They also offer short-term passes.
  • Planet Fitness keeps costs extremely low at about $10 per month. It’s tough to beat for budget-focused folks.

6. Hours of Operation

  • LA Fitness locations are generally open from 5 am-11 pm if not 24 hours. Hours can vary by specific location.
  • Planet Fitness gyms are almost all open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Great for those with unpredictable schedules.

As you can see, the trade-off mainly comes down to amenities vs affordability. LA Fitness offers a lot more features, while Planet Fitness offers exceptional value.

6 Key Differences Between LA Fitness and Planet Fitness

To recap, here are 6 main considerations when comparing LA Fitness vs Planet Fitness:

  1. Atmosphere: LA Fitness is traditional, while Planet Fitness is relaxed and judgment-free.
  2. Classes & Training: LA Fitness offers more variety (yoga, HIIT, etc) and personal training options.
  3. Amenities: LA Fitness has pools, courts, etc while Planet Fitness offers only basic equipment.
  4. Membership Cost: Much higher at LA Fitness (around $30/month) compared to Planet Fitness ($10/month).
  5. Target Audience: LA Fitness suits all levels; Planet Fitness caters specifically to beginners.
  6. Facilities: LA Fitness gyms tend to be significantly bigger than Planet Fitness locations.

Keep these differences in mind as you evaluate which gym best matches your preferences and budget.

Comparing Key Features of LA Fitness vs Planet Fitness

Feature LA Fitness Planet Fitness
Monthly Cost (starting from) $30 $10
Annual Fee Yes No
Gym Size 25,000 – 50,000 sq ft on avg 15,000 – 30,000 sq ft on avg
Atmosphere Traditional, spacious Relaxed, judgement-free
Target Member All levels Beginners
Group Classes? Yes, extensive variety Just 1 (PE@PF)
Personal Training? Yes No
Swimming Pools? Most locations No
Basketball Courts? Some locations No
Cleanliness Very Good Good
24 Hour Access? Select locations Yes, most locations

This side-by-side comparison table summarizes some of the key differences and similarities at a glance. Consider what features matter most to you.

Choosing Between LA Fitness and Planet Fitness

So when deciding which gym is better for you – LA Fitness or Planet Fitness – consider these tips:

Pick LA Fitness if you want:

  • A variety of classes like yoga, Pilates, cycling
  • Personal training
  • Swimming pools
  • Full-sized basketball courts
  • Racquetball courts
  • More amenities like saunas, steam rooms
  • A spacious, upscale environment

Pick Planet Fitness if you want:

  • An extremely affordable, budget-friendly gym (as low as $10/month)
  • A judgement-free zone perfect for beginners
  • Basic cardio and strength equipment
  • Availability 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • No long-term contracts or annual fees

Ultimately, it comes down to what you want to achieve and how much you want to spend each month. Evaluate your workout preferences and budget to decide if LA Fitness or Planet Fitness is the better match.

You might also consider trying out both gyms if there’s one located near you. Many locations offer free guest passes or day passes so you can get a feel before purchasing a membership.

Top Gym Chain Alternatives to LA Fitness and Planet Fitness

If neither LA Fitness nor Planet Fitness seems like the right fit, consider some other top national gym chains like:

Gym Name Monthly Price (starting) Key Perks
Anytime Fitness $55 24 hour access, all locations
Crunch Fitness $10 Classes included tanning
Gold’s Gym $29.99 Multiple location types offered
Lifetime Fitness $29.99 Pools, bball courts, classes

This table outlines a few other options for comparison. As you can see, pricing and amenities vary quite a bit across the top national gym chains.

Research which chains have locations in your area and tour the facilities that interest you before committing. This will ensure you select the ideal gym to match both your budget and fitness goals.

FAQs About LA Fitness vs Planet Fitness:

Check out answers to 10 of the most frequently asked questions about LA Fitness compared to Planet Fitness gyms:

  1. Is LA Fitness or Planet Fitness better for bodybuilding?

LA Fitness is better for serious bodybuilding. The gyms are bigger with more free weights like dumbbells and barbells. They also have specific bodybuilding areas and many locations have pools and basketball courts.

  1. Which gym has more equipment variety?

LA Fitness offers a broader range of strength and cardio equipment. However, Planet Fitness focuses more on including lots of cardio machines than heavy free weights.

  1. Can you take guests to either gym?

Yes, both LA Fitness and Planet Fitness allow guest passes. However, at LA Fitness guest privileges are limited based on your membership level. Only Black Card members can bring unlimited guests to Planet Fitness.

  1. Does one gym have better cleanliness than the other?

Members report that LA Fitness locations generally appear cleaner than the average Planet Fitness. But cleanliness can depend on specific location management at either gym chain.

  1. Which gym has better personal training?

Personal training is more of a specialty at LA Fitness, while group classes take priority for beginners at Planet Fitness. So quality personal training is better at LA Fitness overall.

  1. Can you pause memberships if injured/traveling?

Yes, both LA Fitness and Planet Fitness allow you to freeze or pause memberships for a monthly fee. Exact policies vary, so check with your specific location.

  1. Do memberships carry over across the country?

LA Fitness memberships allow access at all locations nationwide. For Planet Fitness, you need to enroll separately at each new location when traveling/moving.

  1. Are classes included with basic membership?

For LA Fitness, only basic memberships include gym access. You must upgrade to group fitness classes. At Planet Fitness, one class is included for all members.

  1. Can I join without a long-term contract?

Planet Fitness does not require membership contracts. LA Fitness typically requires agreements of at least 12 months. However, short-term or no-commitment memberships are sometimes offered.

  1. Which gym has fewer crowds?

Because it appeals primarily to casual beginners, Planet Fitness gyms tend to be less crowded and intimidating overall compared to LA Fitness locations.

These are some of the most frequently asked questions that can provide insight into selecting between LA and Planet Fitness. Check out each gym’s website FAQ or ask an employee for more specifics.

More Comparison Guides:


LA Fitness and Planet Fitness take very different approaches to the gym experience. LA Fitness provides more amenities, classes, training, courts, pools, and premium features at a higher price point around $30/month.

Planet Fitness offers extreme affordability starting at around $10/month but cuts back significantly on extras.

Ultimately, deciding between these major chains requires determining your budget, fitness level, workout preferences, and priorities for things like pools, courts, and flexible hours.

Analyze what matters most before purchasing a membership. Since there are so many locations, visiting each gym can help finalize your decision.

With this full comparison as your guide between amenities, costs, features, and target demographics, you’ll be equipped to confidently choose either LA Fitness or Planet Fitness as the ideal gym to meet your needs.

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