18 Most Successful Gyms in America

Vicki Morillo
21 min read
Some additional information in one line

Gym franchises across America are thriving, providing entrepreneurs in the fitness industry a chance to join established brands and utilize proven business methods. 

Operating under a renowned name extends beyond brand recognition, giving access to effective operational practices and marketing strategies tailored for success.

Starting a gym through a franchise minimizes the risks typically associated with launching a business independently. Entrepreneurs gain immediate access to a support network, enjoy stronger negotiating power with suppliers, and can tap into a wealth of industry knowledge to streamline their operations, often resulting in quicker profitability compared to independent gyms.

The fitness landscape is competitive, but gym franchises have shown an ability to outperform their independent counterparts. Their established brand presence and proven operational strategies provide a solid foundation for business growth and profitability.

Investing in a gym franchise presents a potentially lucrative option for those looking to make a mark in the fitness industry. This exploration of 18 successful gym franchises in America reveals the strategies and successes that have set these businesses apart, offering valuable insights for gym owners, personal fitness trainers, and potential investors.

1. Planet Fitness


Planet Fitness, founded in 1992 and based in the U.S., has made a name in the American fitness industry by offering affordable gym options to a broad demographic. Known for its welcoming, judgment-free environment, it appeals to beginners and experienced fitness enthusiasts.

Membership Cost: The gym provides highly affordable membership options, with monthly basic plans starting at $10. Additionally, there is the "Black Card" membership, which offers extra amenities and access to any Planet Fitness location.

Amenities: The facilities are well-equipped with various strength and cardio equipment, and Black Card members have access to tanning beds, massage chairs, and HydroMassage beds.

What makes Planet Fitness successful?

Planet Fitness's market success can be attributed to its commitment to a non-intimidating gym atmosphere and its affordable pricing. Their wide range of amenities caters to a diverse audience, while their marketing campaigns promote body positivity and inclusivity, leading to strong brand loyalty and an enhanced appeal.

2. L.A. Fitness


L.A. Fitness is an American gym chain with over 550 clubs across the United States and Canada. The company was founded in 1984 by Chin Yol Yi and Louis Welsh in Los Angeles, California. 

Through the mid-1990s, the company expanded by acquiring underperforming fitness clubs in southern California and developing, opening, and operating newly constructed properties. Today, L.A. Fitness is headquartered in Irvine, California.

Membership Cost: L.A. Fitness offers gym memberships at varying prices, ranging from $29.99 to $49.99 per month, with an initiation fee (usually waived). Memberships can be purchased online or in person at one of their many locations across the U.S. and Canada.

Amenities: Facilities typically include top-of-the-line gym equipment, a variety of fitness classes, swimming pools, basketball courts, and options for personal training.

What makes L.A. Fitness successful?

L.A. Fitness offers a balanced combination of high-quality amenities and various options, attracting a diverse member base. The brand's dedication to maintaining clean, well-equipped facilities and offering a broad selection of fitness classes adds to its allure. Strategic acquisitions further bolster their nationwide success.

3. 24 Hour Fitness


24 Hour Fitness is a US-based fitness chain that was founded in 1983. The company's mission is to provide a convenient and accessible fitness experience to its members, with a focus on 24/7 access to the gym. 24 Hour Fitness has over 400 locations across the U.S., with plans to continue expanding in the coming years.

Membership Cost:

24 Hour Fitness offers gym memberships at varying prices, ranging from $29.99 to $79.99 per month, with an initiation fee of $0 to $49.99. Memberships can be purchased online or in person at one of their many locations across the U.S.

Amenities: The facilities boast an extensive array of gym equipment, numerous fitness classes, personal training, and wellness programs. Some locations also provide swimming pools and basketball courts.

What makes 24 Hour Fitness successful?

The brand's 24/7 accessibility is a major draw, especially for those with unconventional work schedules. Their emphasis on fostering a supportive community and offering diverse fitness programs helps keep members engaged and motivated. 

In contrast, their dedication to innovation in fitness and wellness strengthens their market position.

4. Gold's Gym


Gold's Gym, established in 1965, is a legendary name in the fitness industry, closely associated with bodybuilding and strength training.

Membership Cost: Membership prices offer excellent value, granting access to specialized equipment and expert coaching.

Amenities: Gold's Gym is celebrated for its extensive selection of strength training equipment, group exercise classes, personal training, and unique features like boxing rings in select locations.

What makes Gold's Gym successful?

Gold's Gym has cemented its reputation through its commitment to serious fitness and strength training, continually attracting dedicated fitness enthusiasts and those seeking expert guidance on their fitness journey. Their emphasis on fostering a sense of community and creating a motivational environment ensures strong member retention and a solid presence in the market.

5. Anytime Fitness


Anytime Fitness, a renowned fitness chain from the U.S. in 2002, has expanded its presence globally with over 4,000 locations. Its unique selling point is the 24/7 accessibility it offers to members, making it a perfect choice for those with busy schedules or preferences for working out during unconventional hours.

Membership Cost: Anytime Fitness offers a range of membership options with prices that vary based on location and membership type. Generally, monthly fees fall between $30 and $50, accompanied by an initiation fee of around $50. For precise pricing, potential members should contact their local Anytime Fitness gym.

Amenities: Members are provided with extensive equipment, from weight training and cardio machines to amenities like private restrooms and showers. Select locations also offer group fitness classes and personal training sessions, which add significant value to the membership.

What makes Anytime Fitness successful?

Anytime Fitness's success can be attributed to its unwavering commitment to providing convenience to its members through 24/7 gym access. This unique feature sets it apart from many of its competitors. 

The robust franchise model underpinning its operations has facilitated rapid expansion and a strong global footprint. 

The brand emphasizes community building within individual gyms and across the franchise network, fostering a supportive atmosphere that promotes member retention.

6. New York Sports Clubs (NYSC)


Established in 1974, NYSC stands as a leading fitness chain in the northeastern U.S., presenting an array of facilities and fitness programs tailored to its diverse membership base.

Membership Cost: NYSC offers various membership plans, with costs ranging from $29.99 to $79.99 per month, plus an initiation fee of $49.99. Interested individuals are encouraged to visit their local NYSC for the most accurate and up-to-date pricing.

Amenities: Members can access various equipment, including strength training machines, free weights, and cardio machines. Group fitness classes, personal training sessions, and amenities like swimming pools and saunas are available at select locations.

What makes New York Sports Clubs successful?

NYSC's success can be attributed to its adeptness at offering customized fitness solutions to its members, leveraging its strong local presence in the northeastern U.S. The chain's extensive amenities and specialized programs contribute to a holistic fitness experience, driving member satisfaction and fostering loyalty.

7. Equinox Fitness


Equinox Fitness, founded in 1991, has positioned itself in the premium segment of the fitness market, providing luxurious amenities and an exclusive atmosphere across its numerous locations worldwide.

Membership Cost: Equinox represents the higher end of the fitness market, with membership fees reflecting its premium services and amenities. Costs vary by location, and prospective members can contact the nearest Equinox club for specific pricing details.

Amenities: Equinox clubs feature a range of top-tier amenities, including state-of-the-art fitness equipment, diverse group fitness classes, personal training, spa services, and luxurious locker room facilities.

What makes Equinox Fitness successful?

Equinox's success is deeply rooted in its premium positioning and holistic approach to wellness. Its meticulous attention to detail, ranging from the quality of amenities to the expertise of its staff, creates a unique club atmosphere that attracts a high-end clientele. The brand has successfully established itself as a lifestyle brand through strategic marketing and brand partnerships, transcending the conventional image of a fitness club.

8. Lifetime Fitness


Founded in 1990, Lifetime Fitness has evolved into a leading name in the health and fitness industry, offering a comprehensive suite of services and amenities across the U.S. and Canada.

Membership Cost: Lifetime Fitness provides a variety of membership plans, with prices varying based on the chosen services and location. Interested parties should visit their Lifetime Fitness Center to obtain detailed pricing information.

Amenities: The centers are outfitted with top-quality gym equipment, group fitness classes, personal training, and indoor and outdoor pools, in addition to spa services. Many locations also offer family-friendly amenities and programs.

What makes Lifetime Fitness successful?

Lifetime Fitness's success is anchored in its broad range of services and commitment to delivering a comprehensive wellness experience. The emphasis on community building and member engagement creates a supportive environment, promoting long-term membership. 

Lifetime Fitness appeals to a diverse member base by including family-oriented programs and amenities, further cementing its position as an industry leader.

9. Crunch Fitness


Crunch Fitness, founded in 1989 and based in the U.S., has grown exponentially, with over 300 locations across the US, Canada, and Australia. Renowned for providing a fun and unique fitness experience, Crunch Fitness makes fitness accessible to a broad audience, maintaining a vibrant and inclusive atmosphere in all its facilities.

Membership Cost:

The membership cost at Crunch Fitness varies depending on the location and membership plan chosen. Typically, prices range from $9.95 to $29.95 monthly, with initiation fees between $0 and $49.95. Potential members can purchase memberships online or directly at one of the numerous Crunch Fitness locations.

Amenities:

Crunch Fitness has extensive amenities, including weight training equipment, cardio machines, and various group fitness classes. Additionally, specific locations offer enhanced amenities such as basketball courts, pools, saunas, steam rooms, tanning beds, and more.

What makes Crunch Fitness successful?

Crunch Fitness stands out in the competitive fitness industry through its commitment to creating a lively and inclusive workout environment. The wide array of entertaining and unique group classes cater to diverse fitness levels, fostering a strong community that values fitness and fun. 

Coupled with its affordable pricing and strong social media engagement, Crunch Fitness has successfully built a robust member base and continues to thrive across various regions.

10. O2 Fitness


Established in 2002, O2 Fitness operates over 30 locations in the U.S., with a mission to offer a personalized fitness experience anchored in community support. The brand is dedicated to assisting members in achieving their fitness goals, ensuring a supportive atmosphere throughout their fitness journey.

Membership Cost: Membership prices at O2 Fitness are contingent upon the location and chosen membership type, ranging from $19.99 to $79.99 per month, and initiation fees varying from $0 to $99. Memberships are available online and in person at any of their locations.

Amenities: O2 Fitness provides a comprehensive range of amenities, including weight training equipment, cardio machines, group fitness classes, and personal training. Select locations enhance the member experience with additional facilities such as basketball courts, pools, saunas, steam rooms, tanning beds, and more.

What makes O2 Fitness successful?

O2 Fitness owes its success to its holistic approach to fitness, emphasizing community and support. The brand offers a variety of workout options, appealing to a broad audience and creating a supportive environment that fosters member engagement and retention. 

This, combined with a solid online presence and commitment to providing a personalized fitness experience, has positioned O2 Fitness as a preferred choice for many.

11. Orangetheory Fitness


Since its inception in 2010, Orangetheory Fitness has revolutionized group fitness, expanding to over 1,200 locations worldwide. Known for its science-backed and results-driven workouts, the brand combines cardio and strength training, monitored by heart rate technology, to maximize efficiency.

Membership Cost: The membership cost at Orangetheory Fitness varies, ranging from $59 to $159 per month, and initiation fees are between $0 and $25. Memberships can be acquired at any of their global locations or online.

Amenities: Orangetheory Fitness prides itself on offering science-backed workouts, heart rate monitoring, personalized coaching, and group fitness classes. Some locations also offer saunas, showers, and additional facilities to enhance the member experience.

What makes Orangetheory Fitness successful?

The success of Orangetheory Fitness can be attributed to its unique and scientific approach to fitness, ensuring consistent and proven results. Each session's sense of community and accountability contributes to strong member retention and brand loyalty. The brand's significant online presence and engagement further solidify its position in the fitness industry.

12. Washington Sports Clubs


Established in 1973, Washington Sports Clubs (WSC) has become a pillar in the Washington D.C. fitness community, boasting over 30 locations. Known for high-quality facilities and personalized training programs, WSC caters to a diverse member base with varying fitness goals.

Membership Cost: Membership costs at WSC are competitive, ranging from $29.99 to $79.99 per month, with initiation fees from $0 to $99. Members can sign up online or visit any of their locations in the Washington, D.C., area.

Amenities: WSC offers an extensive range of amenities, including weight training equipment, cardio machines, group fitness classes, and personal training. Select locations also feature basketball courts, pools, saunas, steam rooms, tanning beds, and more.

What makes Washington Sports Clubs successful?

Washington Sports Clubs has built its success on connecting with the local community, offering fitness solutions tailored to the residents of Washington, D.C. 

The strong sense of community, high-quality facilities, and personalized training programs encourage member engagement and foster long-term commitment. The brand's online presence and innovative approach further enhance its appeal, making it a top choice for fitness enthusiasts in the area.

13. Boston Sports Clubs


Boston Sports Clubs, a well-known fitness chain in the New England area, offers many workout options and amenities across its nearly 30 locations, catering to a diverse membership base. 

With a strong regional presence and multiple locations, the chain ensures that residents can access their facilities easily.

Membership Cost: Membership at Boston Sports Clubs varies based on location, amenities, and the type of membership chosen, with single-club access starting at $59 monthly. Opting for a Passport membership, which allows access to all BSC locations, will cost around $79 month-to-month, with prices decreasing slightly upon committing to a one-year membership.

Amenities: Members enjoy state-of-the-art fitness equipment, a variety of group fitness classes, and personal training sessions. 

The availability of additional amenities like saunas, pools, and basketball courts may vary by location. BSC Lab, an upscale offshoot, offers boutique fitness classes and luxurious locker rooms, notably across from Copley Square.

What makes Boston Sports Clubs successful?

Boston Sports Clubs has successfully cultivated a community of fitness enthusiasts, owing its success to a combination of high-quality facilities, a diverse range of fitness options that appeal to various age groups and fitness levels, and a supportive, motivating atmosphere. The chain's strong regional presence and consistent commitment to quality have solidified its reputation and standing in the fitness industry.

14. Philadelphia Sports Clubs


Philadelphia Sports Clubs is a pivotal player in the fitness industry within the Philadelphia region, with a reputation for offering comprehensive workout solutions, top-notch amenities, and a welcoming environment to its members.

Membership Cost: Prospective members can expect the membership cost to vary based on the chosen location, amenities, and membership type, with prices starting around $49 per month.

Amenities: The chain provides access to an array of amenities, including advanced fitness equipment, diverse group fitness classes, personal training options, and additional features like overnight lockers, saunas, steam rooms, an outdoor pool, InBodyScan, and tennis courts at select locations.

What makes Philadelphia Sports Clubs successful?

Philadelphia Sports Clubs owes its success to its profound connection with the local community, a wide array of fitness options to cater to diverse preferences, and a commitment to fostering a supportive and energizing environment. 

The brand's consistently delivering high-quality services and dedication to member satisfaction have been crucial in building a solid and loyal member base.

15. Curves International


Curves International is a global fitness franchise with a unique 30-minute circuit training program for women. 

Boasting a presence in over 85 countries, the brand has significantly promoted women's health and fitness worldwide.

Membership Cost: Membership costs at Curves International vary by location and membership plan, with potential members encouraged to contact their local Curves gym directly or visit the Curves website for detailed pricing information.

Amenities: Curves offers a unique fitness experience with its signature 30-minute circuit training program, seamlessly integrating cardiovascular and strength training exercises. Some locations may also provide additional amenities and services.

What makes Curves International successful?

The brand's success can largely be attributed to its unique focus on women's fitness, providing a supportive and comfortable environment for women to pursue their health and fitness goals. 

The innovative 30-minute workout is designed to accommodate the busy lifestyles of women. Combined with its global presence and strong community, Curves International stands out as a leader in the fitness industry.

16. F45 Training


F45 Training, originating in Australia in 2013, has revolutionized the fitness industry with its innovative 45-minute high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts. The franchise has rapidly expanded to over 2,000 studios across 63 countries, solidifying its presence on a global scale and creating a buzz in the fitness community. 

The brand stands for "Functional 45," which encapsulates the essence of its intense and dynamic workout sessions.

Membership Cost: Memberships at F45 Training vary in price depending on the location and the type of membership chosen, typically ranging from $50 to $70 per week. This premium pricing reflects the specialized nature of its training programs, which can be purchased online or in person at any global location.

Amenities: F45 studios are uniquely equipped with functional training equipment designed to support the signature 45-minute workouts, incorporating a mix of circuit and HIIT-style exercises. The atmosphere in the studios is consistently energetic, fostering a strong sense of camaraderie and achievement within its classes. 

Members also have access to personal training and nutritional guidance and are part of a global network of F45 studios, allowing for a consistent workout experience no matter where they are.

What makes F45 Training successful?

F45 Training's success lies in its unique and innovative workout programs, global presence, and the strong community focus it maintains. The 45-minute HIIT workouts are challenging, effective, and enjoyable, helping the brand to stand out in a crowded market. The global reach of over 2,000 studios ensures that F45's unique fitness approach is accessible worldwide. 

Furthermore, the emphasis on community, supported by regular events and challenges, along with celebrity endorsements from figures like Mark Wahlberg, has significantly raised the brand's profile, attracting a broad and loyal customer base.

17. Snap Fitness


Snap Fitness, founded in the U.S. in 2003, has positioned itself as a global leader in the fitness industry, providing 24/7 access to its facilities across 1,500 locations in 26 countries. This approach is rooted in the company's mission to offer individuals a worldwide convenient, affordable, and flexible gym experience.

Membership Cost: Membership costs at Snap Fitness are designed to be competitive and accessible, ranging from $35 to $50 per month, with potential additional fees for specific amenities. Memberships can be purchased online or in person at any of their worldwide locations.

Amenities: Snap Fitness provides its members with essential fitness equipment, including cardio machines, strength training equipment, and free weights. The 24/7 access to facilities ensures members can work out at their convenience, a crucial aspect of Snap Fitness's appeal. Additionally, many locations offer group fitness classes, personal training services, and access to a mobile app for workout tracking and personalized training plans.

What makes Snap Fitness successful?

Snap Fitness owes its success to its unwavering commitment to convenience, affordability, and significant global presence. The 24/7 access model caters to the busy lifestyles of its members, providing a practical and efficient workout environment at an accessible price point. The brand's consistent quality across its 1,500 worldwide locations, combined with technology integration to enhance the customer experience, has played a critical role in its success and ability to attract a diverse customer base.

18. Lucille Roberts


Lucille Roberts, a women-only fitness chain established in the U.S. in 1969, stands out for its dedication to creating a supportive and empowering gym experience tailored to women of all ages and fitness levels. With over 40 locations across the US, Lucille Roberts has become a preferred choice for women seeking a welcoming and comfortable gym environment.

Membership Cost: Lucille Roberts offers affordable gym memberships, typically ranging from $20 to $30 per month, varying by location and membership type. These memberships are accessible for online and in-person purchases at their numerous U.S. locations.

Amenities: The facilities at Lucille Roberts are well-equipped with various fitness equipment designed to meet women's specific fitness needs, offering group fitness classes, personal training services, and childcare services in some locations. This range of amenities ensures a supportive atmosphere that encourages community and engagement among members.

What makes Lucille Roberts successful?

The success of Lucille Roberts can be attributed to its unique positioning as a women-only gym, affordable pricing, and supportive community. 

The brand has successfully fostered a comfortable and empowering space for women to work out, highlighted by personalized training options and a variety of fitness amenities tailored to women's needs. 

The strong sense of community and the brand's commitment to women's health have helped Lucille Roberts carve out a distinctive and enduring presence in the fitness industry.

Common questions asked about the most successful gyms in America

What gym is the biggest in America?

The biggest gym in America is Gold's Gym in Venice, California, also known as the Mecca of bodybuilding.

What is the largest gym company in the U.S.?

The largest gym company in the U.S. is Planet Fitness, which has over 2,000 locations nationwide.

What are the best gyms in the USA?

The best gyms in the USA are subjective and depend on individual preferences. However, some of the most popular gym chains in the U.S. include Gold's Gym, 24 Hour Fitness, LA Fitness, Equinox, and Anytime Fitness.

Which gym chain has the most locations in the U.S.?

Planet Fitness has the most locations in the U.S., with over 2,000 gyms nationwide.

What is the most exclusive gym in America?

The most exclusive gym in America is the East Bank Club in Chicago, which has a membership fee of $500 initiation fee and $240 per month.

Where is the oldest gym in America?

The oldest gym in America is the Boston Athletic Association, founded in 1887.

Which gym is the fastest-growing in America?

The fastest-growing gym in America is Orangetheory Fitness, which has over 1,200 locations in the U.S. and is known for its high-intensity interval training workouts.

Which U.S. state has the most gyms?

California has the most gyms of any U.S. state, with over 7,000 fitness centers.

Which gym has the most members?

The gym with the most members is Planet Fitness, which has over 14 million members across its 2,000+ locations.

How many members does a gym need to be successful?

The number of members a gym needs to be successful varies depending on the gym's size, location, and business model. However, a study by the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association found that the average gym has 833 members.

What is the average membership size for gyms?

The average membership size for gyms is 833 members, according to a study by the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association.

How many members does a small gym typically have?

The number of members a small gym typically has varies depending on the gym's size and location. However, a small gym may have anywhere from 100 to 500 members.

Which gym chain is present all over the USA?

Planet Fitness is present all over the USA, with over 2,000 locations nationwide.

Which gym chain offers the best experience?

The gym chain that offers the best experience is subjective and depends on individual preferences. However, some of the most popular gym chains in the U.S. that offer a variety of amenities and services include Equinox, 24-Hour Fitness, and L.A. Fitness.

How can TeamUp help your gym succeed?

TeamUp is a gym management software that can help gym owners manage their memberships, schedule classes, and track attendance. It can also help with billing and payments, marketing, and reporting, which can help gyms succeed by streamlining their operations and improving their customer experience.

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