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San Francisco's Best Chain Gyms: A Complete Rundown of Cost and Amenities

Photo: Equinox

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It's January and you've made resolutions to get fit, lose weight and live healthier. The time is now to find a gym that's right for you. With the never-ending options San Francisco has to offer, it may seem overwhelming to select one. Have no fear as we're here to help—with this handy-dandy roundup of the city's top gym chains. Whether you're a cardio fanatic or weight-lifting devotee, we'll help you find the right workout spot in the right price range. All that's left to do? Break a sweat.

24 Hour Fitness

Start-up cost: For Super Sport gyms (Van Ness and Montgomery clubs), you'll pay anywhere between $0 and $150. For access to all Sport-level gyms (located all over town) with no commitment, you'll pay a $149.99 initiation fee.*

Monthly fee: For Super Sport, you'll pay between $45 and $60 a month. For access to all Sport-level gyms with no commitment, you'll pay $44.99 a month.*

Add-ons/Extras: For all clubs, you'll pay a $39.99 annual fee eight months down the line.

Classes: Push your limit with a variety of classes like cardio, dance, cycling, conditioning, strength, barre, martial arts, athletic training, yoga, Pilates and stretching. You'll also get Les Mills and Nike Training Club branded workouts.

What you get: A gym that's open 24 hours with a solid list of classes, enough equipment in a wide variety to ensure you won't have to wait for a machine and a free health-and-fitness consultation to help get you started.

Locations: Depending on the level of gym you want, you can choose from locations in the Castro, Potrero Hill, North Point, and on Van Ness and Montgomery.

Best for: Those who like to work out at odd times (3am sweat sesh, anyone?) and want all the basics at a convenient location. Knowledgeable trainers make this an ideal gym for beginners who need a little help getting started.

*Individual locations often have promotions and discounts so ask at the membership office before paying the set pricing.

Bay Club San Francisco

Start-up cost: The Bay Club asks for a whopping 500 bucks as initiation, but this month you'll encounter lower fees. Talk to a representative for specific January promotions.

Monthly fee: Fees start at $171 per month.

Add-ons/Extras: You can upgrade your membership to include access to all four Bay Club SF Campus locations.

Classes: You'll see all the usual suspects, like cardio blast, Bodypump, spin, yoga, Bosu bootcamp, Zumba and more. Plus enjoy specialty training (at added costs) like squash programs, aquatic programs, personal-fitness training and various weight-loss and get-fit challenges.

What you get: The Bay Club is more than a gym—it's a lifestyle club with social events and cutting-edge fitness. At the various locations, you'll find state-of-the-art workout equipment, yoga and Pilates, squash, tennis, and basketball courts, heated pools, saunas and steam rooms, plus a world-class spa.

Locations: Bay Clubs are located in the Financial District, North Beach, the Embarcadero, and SoMa.

Best for: Country-club types seeking a community, the finer things in fitness and all the extras.

Crunch Gym

Start-up cost: The usual enrollment fee of $259.98 is on sale right now, so you'll only pay $49.99 today.

Monthly fee: $64.44 to $71.41 depending on location. You can get a city Crunch membership for $78.38 and take your pick of gyms on a day-to-day basis.

Add-ons/Extras: At the Union and Chestnut Street locations, you pay the enrollment fee, plus the $64.44 for the first month and $73.99 for the last month, and a $39.99 processing your first payment will set you back $228.41. Other locations vary from $224.67 to $243.38.

Classes: Crunch has an unbelievably thorough array of classes, like TRX, yoga bootcamp, Pilates, dance cardio, barre and ballet workouts, various spin workouts, boxing and more.

What you get: More classes than you could ever get through, personal and small group training, and efficient equipment in an understated space.

Locations: There are gyms on Union Street, Chestnut Street, Embarcadero, New Montgomery, Polk Street and Yerba Buena.

Best for: Workout class fanatics and low-key gym goers who want a no-judgement zone.


Start-up cost: Normally Equinox has a one-time initiation fee of $300; however in January, you can enroll for $100. That fee will be completely refunded after you have completed 12 workouts within the month.

Monthly fee: Monthly dues are $190 at the Market Street location and $180 at Union and Pine Street spots.

Add-ons/Extras: Your membership covers everything you need for the gym, but you can book specialty services like massages and facials for extra fees.

Classes: Choose from over 120 classes per week, including athletic training, barre, conditioning, cycling, dance, martial arts, Pilates, regeneration, running and yoga.

What you get: These state-of-the-art facilities are luxurious and thorough, fully equipped with weights, cardio equipment and yoga studios. Enjoy Kiehl's products in the locker rooms, free towels and WiFi. At the Market Street location, you'll find an impressive boxing studio, full-sized indoor basketball court and a junior Olympic sized saline pool.

Locations: The larger-scale Equinox Sports Club is located at Market and Third Streets, while regular Equinox gyms can be found in the Marina and the Financial District.

Best for: Luxe gym-goers who like to be pampered while indulging in high-class amenities and partaking in an array of boredom-busting classes.

Fitness SF

Start-up cost: You can pay a $0 initiation fee and a higher monthly fee, or various upfront payments for lower monthly rates.

Monthly fee: With no initiation fee, you'll pay $79.95 per month; with a $99 initiation fee, you'll pay $69.95 per month; and with a $199 initiation fee, you'll pay $59.95 per month.

Add-ons/Extras: Families can add a secondary member rate for $59.95. You may also purchase a three-month membership for $219, a six-month membership for $379, a one-year prepaid membership for $699 (for a $100 savings), or a two-year membership for $1,299 that grants you access to all six locations.

Classes: Each gym offers a thorough schedule of classes (all day long) including everything from spinning to yoga, Zumba to Bodypump.

What you get: At all locations, you'll get the basics like cardio and weight equipment, complimentary towel service and group fitness classes. Additionally, there are juice bars at the Castro and SoMa clubs. The Fillmore gym boasts a 25-yard pool, hot tub, sauna, steam room and spa.

Locations: In the city, you'll find Fitness SF conveniently located in the Castro, Fillmore, Mid Market, and SoMa.

Best for: Anyone desirous of a reliable gym with motivating classes, high-end equipment (like ellipticals with personal TVs), and top-quality free weights and machines.

Jewish Community Center (JCC)

Start-up cost: Sign up before January 31st and the $200 registration fee will only cost you $5.

Monthly fee: $121

Add-ons/Extras: You can opt to purchase a community membership for $125 per year that offers discounts on classes, programs, performances, and camps (not fitness related). Couples in the same household can get a joint membership for $225 a month, while families pay $232 a month (kids must be under 20).

Classes: Choose from over 200 drop-in classes per week in five dedicated studios, including cycling, mind-body classes, strength and tone, and dance and cardio.

What you get: Access to the 45,000-square-foot Koret Center for Health, Fitness, and Sport, including fitness classes, personal training, free towel service, a basketball court, a 25-yard lap pool, hot tub, sauna, steam room and full-service spa. Fitness members enjoy discounts on JCCSF programs and events, as well as local discounts in the community. You'll also get one complimentary hour of personal training with your membership.

Locations: The JCC is located at 3200 California Street (near Presidio).

Best for: Families, couples and those who want the whole package. Aside from fitness, you'll gain access to an array of activities and community events perfect for the whole family.

Live Fit Gym

Start-up cost: $50

Monthly fee: Basic monthly membership is $67.

Add-ons/Extras: You can add two chiropractic adjustments or acupuncture for an extra $40 a month; an hour-long Swedish massage for $48 a month; or one chiropractic adjustment/acupuncture treatment per week and an hour-long therapeutic massage per month for an extra $90 a month.

Classes: Prices do not include group-training classes, which can be added for $59 to $139 per month, depending on how many times a week you attend. These group classes include a maximum of eight people for individualized attention at a fraction of the cost of personal training. A fitness trainer coaches groups on rowers, bikes, TRX suspension system, cable system, dumbbells, functional training, core and more. Yoga classes are free to members.

What you get: Clean facilities, no wait times for equipment, wellness services, yoga classes and optional group training.

Locations: Live Fit is conveniently located in four major hoods: Hayes Valley, Polk Street, the Mission, and Nob Hill.

Best for: Those looking for chiropractic adjustments or deep tissue massages on top of their usual gym routines.

Planet Fitness

Start-up cost: Right now, membership fees are waived, so you'll only pay the first month's fee.

Monthly fee: $15 with no monthly commitment. Or you can opt for a $10 a month membership with a 12-month commitment and a $10 start-up fee.

Add-ons/Extras: You won't get slapped with any hidden fees, but you will get a free t-shirt with your membership.

Classes: At $10 to $15 a month, don't expect any classes or fancy extras.

What you get: This is a back-to-basics gym—strictly cardio and weight equipment.

Locations: The only San Francisco location is in the Financial District: 350 Sansome Street.

Best for: Anyone who wants a "judgment free zone." Planet Fitness is best for beginners and independent exercisers who just need the basic equipment and want to get in and get out in under an hour.