The era of the convenience gym began almost thirty years ago when Planet Fitness burst onto the scene.
Basically, a McDonald’s of the fitness world, Planet Fitness introduced a clean, convenient and cheap workout option that was judgment free.
That model worked and Planet Fitness centers sprang up all over the place.
It’s hardly surprising, then, that imitators jumped on the bandwagon. One of those imitators is Workout Anytime.
So, is it a viable alternative to the much more well known and established Planet Fitness?
If you’re trying to decide between joining Planet Fitness vs Workout Anytime, the difference comes down to this: Planet Fitness has larger facilities and a cheaper monthly membership, while Workout Anytime gets the edge on weightlifting equipment and 24/7 access.
Now let’s take a closer look at the costs, equipment, and amenities at both of these popular gyms.
What is Workout Anytime?
Workout Anytime is a budget gym that, as the name indicates, is open anytime.
They have around a hundred locations around the country, which is about one tenth as many as Planet Fitness.
However, Workout Anytime is undergoing an aggressive expansion campaign so you’ll likely see them popping up more and more in your area.
Workout Anytime is recognizable by its distinctive red and white color scheme.
(Workout Anytime is not the same as Anytime Fitness, by the way, and you can read about the difference here.)
What is Planet Fitness?
Planet Fitness is a budget gym chain that has been around since 1992.
It is one of the most frequently seen gyms in the United States, with more than a thousand locations across the nation.
Planet Fitness has earned itself quite a bit of controversy with its ‘judgment free’ policy.
According to the official website the gym aims to provide a place where ‘members can relax, get in shape, and have fun without being subjected to the hard-core, look-at-me attitude that exists in too many gyms’.
This, coupled with such questionable innovations as having an alarm that goes off when you drop a heavy weight, has given it the reputation of not being friendly to lifters, bodybuilders, or anyone who likes to strength train.
Most Planet Fitness locations are now 24 hours but this cannot be guaranteed everywhere.
(For more, check out my full Planet Fitness review.)
Both Workout Anytime and Planet Fitness are considered budget gyms, with their prices comes in at or below the average cost of a gym membership.
In today’s environment, a lot of people are looking at cost as a prime consideration when looking for a gym, even if that means that they receive pared down services and facilities.
Workout Anytime cost:
Workout Anytime offers a range of membership and pricing options.
They do not have a standard pricing schedule across all of the hundred or so gyms, so the prices quoted here may be different at your nearest Workout Anytime gym.
The lowest monthly fee you can get a Workout Anytime gym is $9.99 per month. To get that incredibly low deal, you will have to commit to a year-long contract.
There is also an introductory fee, as well, which will probably be around $75.00.
Most membership options range between $15 and $30 per month.
The higher rates will offer extra features such as access to every facility in the country, personal training, and family-member add-ons.
For an extra fee you can also get personal training and massage and hydrotherapy services.
Planet Fitness cost:
Planet Fitness became hugely popular on the basis of its ridiculously low membership rates.
That’s still the case with a basic membership costing a paltry $10 per month.
Unlike with Workout Anytime, you do not have to commit to a set length of time to take advantage of that price.
For your ten bucks per month, you will get access to your home club only, free Wifi and a basic program from a fitness instructor.
If that’s not enough for you, you can upgrade to the Planet Fitness Black Card membership. This provides you with access to:
- Every Planet Fitness in the country
- Unlimited guest passes
- Access to tanning beds
- Massage Chairs
- Half price drinks
- Discounted Reebok products
- Haircuts in some locations
On top of the monthly fees, you have to pay an annual fee of $39 and, at most facilities, a sign-up fee of around $29.
Workout Anytime is open 24 hours a day – if they weren’t it would be a case of false advertising, right?
Most Planet Fitness gyms are also open 24 hours per day.
However, this is not guaranteed at every single location, so you’ll need to check to see if the Planet Fitness that you plan to visit is open during the night if you plan to go there at night time.
Planet Fitness is a cardio focused gym.
You will find lines and lines of treadmills, ellipticals, cycles and rowing machines at Planet Fitness.
What you won’t see are power racks, squat racks or bench press benches. In fact, there are no barbells at all.
They do have dumbbell racks. However, they only go up to around 50 pounds.
So, if the mission statement and dropped weight alarm doesn’t cue you to the fact that Planet Fitness does not want hardcore lifters, then their equipment range certainly will!
They do have a full range of fitness machines such as chest presses, arm curls, triceps pushdowns, and leg presses. These are set up so that you can run through them in a circuit training fashion.
Workout Fitness gyms will not be anywhere as large in terms of gym floor space as Planet Fitness.
As a result, they will not have as much equipment.
However, they will have a more general range of across the board equipment than Planet Fitness. That includes squat and power racks, bench press benches, and Olympic barbells.
They’ll also have dumbbells that go beyond 50 pounds.
In addition to their free weight range, Workout Anytime will also have a full complement of cardio gear, including treadmills, stair climbers, and rowing machines.
Workout Anytime is not known for their fitness classes.
However, they do offer a limited selection of fitness classes, such as yoga and bootcamp style group sessions, at certain locations.
Classes are not included in your membership, so you’ll have to pay extra for them.
Planet Fitness does not offer group fitness classes outside of a basic introductory class when you first sign up — some locations may offer group sessions where a trainer runs you through a circuit using the resistance machines in the gym.
Planet Fitness does not have any pool facilities, spas, saunas, steam rooms or hot tubs.
Same things goes for Workout Anytime.
That’s hardly surprising seeing that it’s no frills, low cost model was inspired by Planet Fitness.
The shower facilities at Planet Fitness are quite spartan.
However, they are clean and consistently in good working order. That means that they are completely functional for your post workout grooming.
Workout Anytime also offers clean, functional change rooms and shower facilities with lockers.
Check out more info on the best gyms with showers here.
Planet Fitness does not provide any childcare facilities.
This is in keeping with their low cost model.
Same thing applies to Workout Anytime — no childcare services here.
If you are wanting a gym with childcare facilities, check out one of these gyms with childcare like Life Time, the YMCA, or LA Fitness.
Both Planet Fitness and Workout Anytime are pared down, budget cost gyms that appeal to the masses.
Planet Fitness is bigger and has ten times as many locations but that will only benefit you if you pay for Planet Fitness Black Card membership.
Both of these gyms should be on your radar if you are wanting to find a cheap gym without such frills as spas, pools, saunas, and childcare.
You might prefer Planet Fitness if:
- You want to pay as little per month as possible
- You’re mostly interested in cardio workouts
- You’re annoyed by people lifting weights around you at the gym
You might prefer Workout Anytime if:
- You want to occasionally drop in to a yoga or bootcamp class
- You need better weightlifting equipment
- You need guaranteed, 24/7 access at every location
Before you go, check out some other must-read gym guides like:
- How to negotiate your gym membership
- What to do if you can’t afford your gym membership anymore
- How to conquer your first day at the gym
Hope this helps!