Choosing a fitness center is like choosing an apartment or a new home. If you use a fitness center for all of your fitness needs (to accommodate the recommended 150 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week), it should be a place that you look forward to visiting and that provides all the amenities you are looking for. The “Fitness Center Review” series is designed to provide comparable information about various fitness centers and specialty studios based on real onsite visits by the staff at TodaysFitnessTrainer.com. This review is on the largest health club chain in the world … 24 Hour Fitness.
24 Hour Fitness, founded in 1983 (as 24 Hour Nautilus) currently has about 3 million members and more than 370 clubs in 18 states (and 15 clubs in 3 Asian countries).
Membership Value (4/5)
24 Hour Fitness memberships range from $29.99 to $59.99 (depending on the type of club: Sport, Active, Super Sport or Specialty). Considering the cost of the membership and the number of amenities that come standard with each club, the membership is a good value for the money. For more information on memberships and pricing, click here. See the list of standard amenities listed below.
Locations (Rating: 4/5)
24 Hour Fitness has locations in the following states (in the US):
- AZ – Arizona
- CA – California
- CO – Colorado
- FL – Florida
- HI – Hawaii
- KS – Kansas
- MD – Maryland
- MO – Missouri
- NE – Nebraska
- NE – New Jersey
- NV – Nevada
- NY – New York
- OR – Oregon
- TN – Tennessee
- TX – Texas
- UT – Utah
- VA – Virginia
- WA – Washington
Multiple club memberships are available at a reasonable upgrade to the single club membership, which gives access to all club locations. An added cost may apply for Super Sport and Signature Clubs.
Cardio Equipment (Rating: 3/5)
24 Hour Fitness provides a wide range of cardiovascular equipment options, featuring high end commercial brands, including:
- Elliptical trainers
- Rowing machines
- Recumbent bikes
- Tread climbers
- Upper body ergometers
The cardio area also includes a wide variety of entertainment screens (some available on each piece of equipment).
Strength Equipment (Rating: 3/5)
Each 24 Hour Fitness location provides a vast selection of strength training and resistance-based exercise equipment, featuring high end commercial brands, including:
- Free weights (i.e. dumbbells, barbells and racks)
- Plate-loaded equipment (i.e. Hammer Strength)
- Selectorized equipment (i.e. single joint exercise machines)
- Cable-based equipment (i.e. Technogym)
Most free weight areas are slightly overcrowded and leave little room for flow-through traffic. Sanitary wipes and spray bottles are available but are few and far between.
Functional Equipment (Rating: 2/5)
24 Hour Fitness locations carry a small selection of functional equipment and accessories, used primarily by personal trainers and seasoned fitness enthusiasts. These items include:
- BOSU balls
- Stability balls
- Foam rollers
- Medicine balls
- Plyo boxes
Recently, locations have been implementing TRX Suspension Training areas (including the commercial grade TRX A-Frame for multiple TRX Trainers at one time).
Classes (Rating: 3/5)
24 Hour Fitness locations have a minimum of two (2) group fitness studios, one for group classes and the other for cycling. Below is a list of the types of classes offered at most locations:
- Les Mills
- Boot Camp
- Cycling (i.e. Spinning)
- Kick Boxing & Martial Arts
- Mind & Body (i.e. yoga and pilates)
- Active Aging
- Aqua (swimming pool locations only)
Personal Training (Rating: 3/5)
- Personal Training: 25-minute or 50-minute one-on-one training sessions
- GT24 Group Training: 50-minute group workout series
All personal trainers are certified and maintain ongoing continuing education. Unfortunately, like most other fitness centers, turn over in personal training staff is high. Master Trainers traditionally have a higher level of experience and have been with the company for longer.
Child Care/Kids’ Club (Rating: 3/5)
A value-added service available at most 24 Hour Fitness locations is child care (a.k.a. Kids’ Club). The cost of this service is approximately $4-5 per visit. The room is a fair size (as far as child care areas go) but can get very crowded during peak time on Saturdays and Sundays.
Cleanliness & Maintenance (Rating: 4/5)
24 Hour Fitness does a good job of maintaining a clean environment for its members. Janitorial/custodial staff are consistently working to wipe down equipment, mop and vacuum floors, and maintain the locker rooms. Group fitness instructors do a good job of keeping the group fitness room clean and clutter free. The free weight area continues to be a challenge for all fitness clubs as members continually leave dumbbells and free weights lying around or put them in the wrong place. Staff are often cleaning up the dumbbells and putting weights back throughout the day (especially personal trainers).
24 Hour Fitness – Overall (Rating: 3.5/5)
Overall, 24 Hour Fitness does a very good job of providing a wide variety of high quality services as a reasonable price. They are the largest fitness club chain for a reason. They are not the lowest price offering, or the highest price service, but you get a lot for the price you pay each month. They have a significant number of staff onsite to cater to the needs of their members and they do a good job of ensuring each club is safe, clean, that services (including equipment) are available at all times. 24 Hour Fitness locations are open more than 360 days a year (some only closed on Christmas Day).
For more information on 24 Hour Fitness, click here.