Both Anytime Fitness and Planet Fitness are in Forbes Magazine’s list of the United States’ best franchises, though very similar fitness centers, the two differ in some pretty distinct ways.
Anytime Fitness was created in 2002 and operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with a key card given to members. Anytime Fitness markets to fitness beginners by offering a smaller environment for members to learn the fitness ropes over the competitive nature of big-box gyms.
Anytime Fitness has grown to 2,500 locations in the US and across the globe. A key perk of Anytime Fitness is its no-contract membership. Though some Anytime Fitness’ may require contracts based on the operator’s discretion, the majority of them do not.
An average monthly financial commitment to Anytime Fitness is anywhere from $30-$50 per month depending on location and operates on a pay-as-you-go basis. Overall, the facilities are very clean and provide relatively new machines, including both cardio and strength-training options.
Planet Fitness has been around as a company since 1992 and began franchising in 2003. Planet Fitness aims to provide fitness newbies with an extremely low cost ($10/month for beginners) membership and “intimidation free” zone, as it caters to those just embarking on their fitness journeys, the “average Joe,” if you will.
Planet Fitness currently has 830 locations in the US. It differs from Anytime Fitness in a key way in that it requires typically a 3, 6, or 12-month contract from its members. Because there is a contract, Planet Fitness also charges a start-up fee that ranges from $15-30.
Many have criticized Planet Fitness for not catering to athletes and creating a toxic fake-fitness environment that thrives on the failure of its members. The company does have a policy on not allowing, grunting or slamming down weights to promote the “no judgment zone” that the company was built upon.
Individual Planet Fitness’ are oftentimes bigger than Anytime Fitness’, and some contain tanning beds. The facilities are usually well-kept and clean and feature a variety of machines, though not very many strength-training machines.
Planet Fitness does still require a contract and initiation fee, which is often not the case at an Anytime facility, which is more pay-as-you-go. Because of Planet Fitness’ negative media backlash and seemingly strange regulations, it just cannot compete with the overall low-cost and low hassle model that Anytime Fitness presents. Though both feature similar facilities, Anytime Fitness’ smaller, more intimate environment and added convenience make it the best choice out of the two for fitness newbies and athletes alike.