24 Hour Fitness vs Anytime Fitness: Differences, Pros, Cons

24 Hour Fitness vs Anytime Fitness Differences, Pros, Cons

24 Hour Fitness and Anytime Fitness are two popular 24-hour gyms. Depending on where you live, their membership costs are similar, but they’re quite different when it comes to amenities, the amount and quality of equipment, and the number of locations they have.

So, is 24 Hour Fitness or Anytime Fitness a better gym? In terms of equipment and amenities, 24 Hour Fitness is better, especially for strength athletes. Its barbells and plates are high quality and it has a larger selection of machines and free weights. But Anytime Fitness is better for anyone who wants a gym with convenient locations and a family-like environment.

Keep reading to find out how 24 Hour Fitness and Anytime Fitness stack up in a head-to-head comparison.

24 Hour Fitness Overview 

24-Hour-Fitness

24 Hour Fitness has been around since the 1980s. At one point, there were over 500 locations in the US. There are now only 286, but 24 Hour Fitness is still the second-largest chain gym in terms of revenue in the US.

24 Hour Fitness is known for its array of amenities and high-quality equipment. Members can work out on their own, hire a personal trainer, or take group classes. Bodybuilders, CrossFitters, powerlifters, and people who like to do cardio or just work out for general health purposes can all find ways to train at 24 Hour Fitness.

24 Hour Fitness tends to get crowded during peak hours, and its levels of cleanliness can vary by location. But if you can find a well-maintained club and you’re able to train when it’s not too busy, it’s a great place to work out.

Pros

  • High-quality barbells and bumper plates from Eleiko and Rogue
  • Can use your membership at GoodLife Fitness and Energie Cardio in Canada
  • Can purchase short-term memberships if you’re not ready to commit to a long-term or month-to-month contract
  • Lots of amenities including basketball courts, racquetball courts, saunas, juice bars, and pools
  • Personal trainers are generally more qualified and have more experience than trainers at other gyms

Cons

  • Not many locations in the US
  • Some locations are notorious for a lack of cleanliness

Check out my full review of 24 Hour Fitness here.

Anytime Fitness Overview

Anytime Fitness

Anytime Fitness has more than 4,500 locations in 50 countries. It was founded in 2002 by three men who spent several years surveying members of other gyms to find out what they felt was missing at their current gyms.

Anytime Fitness gyms aren’t the largest, but they have cardio machines, strength machines, free weights, and functional training equipment. They’re not true weightlifting or powerlifting gyms, but you can usually find squat racks and deadlift platforms at most locations.

One of the best things about Anytime Fitness is its supportive environment. Because the gyms are smaller, the members are able to get to know each other better. With challenges and social events throughout the year, Anytime Fitness does a good job of bringing its community together.

Pros

  • Convenient locations all over the world
  • Members who have belonged to Anytime Fitness for at least 30 days can use their memberships at any club
  • Supportive, tight-knit community
  • High-quality personal trainers
  • Ideal for most people regardless of their training history

Cons

  • Most clubs have rules against using chalk and dropping weights
  • Not a lot of amenities

Check out my full Anytime Fitness review here.

24 Hour Fitness vs Anytime Fitness: 10 Differences

24 Hour Fitness vs Anytime Fitness

24 Hour Fitness and Anytime Fitness are similar in some ways but different in others. Let’s take a look at how they stack up against each other when it comes to factors such as costs, amenities, locations, and equipment.

1. Cost

One of the most important things to consider when deciding which gym to join is cost. You want to make sure you can afford the monthly fee, but you also want to make sure your gym’s offerings justify its cost.

24 Hour Fitness

24 Hour Fitness has a somewhat confusing pricing structure. Depending on where you’re located, memberships start at $35/month. You can get a good deal if you’re willing to pay for two years in full. If you don’t pay in full, you can expect to pay anywhere from $41.67 to $56.99 per month.

Prices also vary based on whether you want national, regional, or single-club access. Furthermore, with most plans, you’ll have to pay a $49 annual fee.

If you want to give 24 Hour Fitness a try before signing a contract, you can get a free three-day trial pass online.

Anytime Fitness

Many Anytime Fitness clubs have bi-weekly plans. Prices vary by location, but you can expect to pay between $27 and $30 plus taxes every two weeks.

Anytime Fitness has high startup costs. In addition to having to pay for your first two weeks upon registration, you also have to pay a $99 administrative fee and a $25 fee for your key fob.

Anytime Fitness offers free seven-day trials for anyone who hasn’t been a member before.

The Winner

Once you get past the convoluted membership options, you’ll see that 24 Hour Fitness offers several different plans that can fit a variety of budgets. As such, it beats out Anytime Fitness when it comes to cost.

2. Contract Length

Many gyms offer both month-to-month and long-term contracts, but some only offer one or the other. Before purchasing a membership, you should understand what kind of commitment you’re making.

24 Hour Fitness

24 Hour Fitness has month-to-month, one-year, and two-year contracts. You can also purchase a short-term contract for either one week, one month, or three months.

Anytime Fitness

Anytime Fitness’s contracts vary by location. Some clubs have both month-to-month and term contracts while other clubs only offer one or the other. The term contracts are usually available for one or two years.

The Winner

Because it offers short- and long-term contracts, as well as month-to-month contracts, 24 Hour Fitness is the better choice for people who want more flexible membership options.

3. Equipment

24 Hour Fitness vs Anytime Fitness Equipment

The equipment at your gym is an important thing to look at before you join. Even if your gym only has a limited amount of equipment, it should be clean and well-maintained. It doesn’t necessarily need to come from the most expensive suppliers, but it should be durable enough to handle the demands of a commercial gym.

Your needs will also vary depending on whether you train for fun or if you’re a professional athlete. For example, if you’re a casual gym-goer, you probably won’t care if the knurling on a barbell is worn. But if you’re a competitive athlete, the gym you choose should have enough equipment for you to train effectively.

24 Hour Fitness

24 Hour Fitness has your standard cardio machines such as treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, step climbers, and rowers. There are plenty of cable machines, leg presses, hack squat stations, and other strength machines to train every body part.

In the free weights area, 24 Hour Fitness has bumper plates and barbells from Rogue and Eleiko, trap bars, round dumbbells, EZ curl bars, and preloaded straight bars. There are at least two squat racks and deadlift platforms at each location, and many clubs have more than that.

24 Hour Fitness has a large functional training area with TRX bands, Bosu balls, medicine balls, slam balls, sleds, tires, plyo boxes, and battle ropes.

Anytime Fitness

At Anytime Fitness, you’ll find cardio machines including treadmills, stationary bikes, ellipticals, rowers, and Rogue Echo bikes. There’s also a decent selection of resistance machines for upper and lower body, EZ curl bars, and preloaded barbells. Most locations have squat racks and bench press stations, but quantities are limited.

Anytime Fitness also has functional training areas with kettlebells, TRX bands, medicine balls, battle ropes, tires, slam balls, and plyo boxes.

The Winner

Because 24 Hour Fitness has higher-quality barbells and plates, more squat racks, and more deadlift platforms, it’s the better option if you want a gym with a large amount of equipment.

4. Atmosphere

Before joining a gym, you should always try it out first to see how you fit in with the other members and to get a feel for its overall atmosphere. If you don’t feel welcome at the gym or the other members don’t share the same goals as you, it can be difficult to find the motivation to go.

24 Hour Fitness

24 Hour Fitness is a gym where most people keep to themselves while they work out. If you take a group class, you’ll have more opportunities to converse with other people in the class. But if you stick to the cardio machines or free weights, you’ll probably only rarely communicate with other members.

The members will be polite if you need a spot or want to share a machine with them, but 24 Hour Fitness doesn’t have the same close community that you’d find in other gyms.

Anytime Fitness

As I mentioned earlier, Anytime Fitness does a good job of building up its community. The staff members, trainers, and members are supportive of each other, and everyone will welcome you whether it’s your first or 1,000th time in the gym.

The Winner

Because its gyms are smaller, it’s easier to feel like you’re part of a team at Anytime Fitness. There’s nothing bad or negative about the environment at 24 Hour Fitness, but it’s not as community-oriented as Anytime Fitness.

Therefore, Anytime Fitness is a better choice if you’re looking for a gym where the staff and other members will support your goals.

5. Gym Policies

Gyms have rules in place to keep their members safe and their equipment in good shape. They also have policies that are designed to protect themselves if they run into issues with members or have to go out of business.

Before joining a gym, you should read the contract carefully and ask a lot of questions so you understand what you’re getting into. It’s also important to know if certain rules will hold you back with your training — for example, if you’re an Olympic weightlifter and your gym won’t let you drop weights from overhead.

24 Hour Fitness

At 24 Hour Fitness, you can use chalk as long as you clean up after yourself. If you’re lifting on a platform and using bumper plates, you can drop weights from overhead.

You’re allowed to bring guests to 24 Hour Fitness as long as they’re 18 years old or older. Guests are free the first time you bring them, but if you bring the same guest a second time, you’ll have to pay a small fee of about $20.

There is no strict dress code, and any appropriate workout apparel is allowed. However, you do have to wear shoes at all times, so barefoot lifting is a no-go.

24 Hour Fitness requires you to bring a letter to your home club or mail it via certified mail if you wish to cancel. You can also freeze your membership for anywhere from three to six months, although they do make exceptions if you want to freeze it for a full 12 months.

Anytime Fitness

Anytime Fitness’s policies are pretty similar to those of other gyms. Members have the ability to bring guests, and Anytime Fitness is understanding if you have to freeze your membership due to a medical issue. It doesn’t have a strict dress code, so you can wear whatever you want as long as it’s appropriate for the gym.

Rules about the use of chalk, dropping weights, and grunting vary by location. Some clubs don’t allow any of these things while others are more lenient.

Even though it’s not impossible to cancel an Anytime Fitness membership, it is inconvenient. You can only cancel if you visit the gym in person or send a letter via certified mail, and you have to provide 30 days’ notice.

If you have a term contract and want to cancel early, you’ll have to pay a $150 cancellation fee. At some clubs, you may have to pay for the unused time left on your contract.

Anytime Fitness will allow you to temporarily freeze your membership if you need to stop going to the gym for a short period of time.

The Winner

It’s a close call, but 24 Hour Fitness emerges as the winner since it has more lenient rules about chalk and dropping weights, which is important for powerlifters, weightlifters, and CrossFitters.

Group Classes

24 Hour Fitness vs Anytime Fitness Group Classes

Group classes are great for people who like to work out with others and are motivated by an instructor’s positive energy. Most gyms offer group classes, but their schedules and the exact classes they offer are different.

24 Hour Fitness

24 Hour Fitness usually has Zumba, cycling, yoga, Pilates, barre, Body Pump, and strength classes, but each location will have a different selection of classes. Class times tend to be limited though, and not every class is offered every day.

Anytime Fitness

Some Anytime Fitness locations offer classes such as Zumba, boot camp, and Pilates as well as small group training sessions. However, its most widely offered classes are its signature team classes.

These team classes are available in three tiers. There’s one class specifically for beginners, and the other two classes focus either on strength or endurance.

The Winner

Anytime Fitness has a slight advantage because of its signature team classes. But if you like to take more traditional group classes, you can’t go wrong at either gym.

Amenities

24 Hour Fitness vs Anytime Fitness Amenities

Some gyms are basic and have nothing but workout equipment and locker rooms. At other gyms, it seems like there are more amenities than treadmills or barbells.

If things like swimming pools, basketball courts, and childcare are important to you, you should make sure the gym you join offers those services.

On the other hand, if you know you’ll never use amenities like tanning booths or saunas, there’s no sense in joining a gym that charges more to offset the cost of those extra services.

24 Hour Fitness

24 Hour Fitness has lap pools, saunas, basketball and racquetball courts, childcare services, and juice bars or pro shops.

Anytime Fitness

The number of amenities at Anytime Fitness varies by location. Some clubs only have locker rooms, and others have tanning booths, red light therapy booths, massage chairs, and smoothie bars. You won’t find pools, saunas, childcare, or basketball courts at any location.

The Winner

Because it has a longer and more standard list of amenities across all of its locations, 24 Hour Fitness is the better choice if amenities are important to you.

8. Personal Training

Even though you can buy personal training sessions at most gyms, the cost and quality of the trainers will vary by location. If you’re interested in working with a personal trainer, you should make sure you can afford to pay for one and that the trainers have the appropriate certifications.

24 Hour Fitness

The personal trainers at 24 Hour Fitness are required to have at least one year of training experience. They don’t have to have degrees in exercise science or a related field, but they need to have certifications from institutions such as the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) or the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

Personal training sessions start around $85/hour and can go up to $97.50/hour. You can buy packages of four sessions each, and you can purchase just one package or have them auto-renew for however long you want to continue working with your trainer.

24 Hour Fitness does not offer any free personal training sessions for new members.

Anytime Fitness

Anytime Fitness’s personal trainers are required to have certifications from institutions such as NASM or ACE, and many locations require their trainers to have degrees in exercise science or kinesiology.

Depending on how many sessions you want and whether you want 30- or 60-minute sessions, you can expect to pay anywhere from $25 — $75 per session. You can also buy packages of 5, 10, or 20 sessions, which will help you save money.

New members are eligible for one free personal training consultation.

The Winner

Anytime Fitness beats out 24 Hour Fitness ever so slightly because its personal training packages are more affordable. But you’ll likely find that the trainers at both gyms are highly qualified and have good reputations.

9. Locations

For some, joining a gym that’s close to where you live or work isn’t the only factor to consider when choosing between two gyms. If you travel a lot for business or live a nomadic lifestyle, joining a gym that has clubs in multiple countries will allow you to keep up with your fitness routine no matter where you go.

It’s also good to know whether or not you can use your membership at any club or if your membership only grants you access to certain locations.

24 Hour Fitness

24 Hour Fitness has struggled financially over the last several months, and many locations in the US have closed. There are now less than 300 clubs, and most of the remaining ones are located on the east and west coasts.

Whether or not you can attend other locations depends on the type of membership you purchase. Some membership plans allow you to visit any club in the US, while other plans only allow you to visit other locations within a 50-mile radius.

Despite these drawbacks, one nice thing about 24 Hour Fitness is that if you travel to Canada, you can use your membership at GoodLife Fitness and Energie Cardio. GoodLife Fitness is the largest chain gym in Canada while Energie Cardio is centered in Quebec.

Anytime Fitness

Anytime Fitness has clubs in North America, Asia, Europe, and Oceania. Once you’ve been a member for 30 days, you can attend any club in the world.

The Winner

Even though 24 Hour Fitness allows you to attend other chain gyms in Canada, Anytime Fitness has more than 4,500 locations worldwide. It’s the gym to join if you’re a frequent traveler.

Hours of Operation

The gym you choose should have convenient hours that work with your schedule. Otherwise, you’ll never go.

24 Hour Fitness

24 Hour Fitness is mostly a 24-hour gym. Interestingly, some locations near me in NJ are located in towns that follow blue laws. These laws prevent businesses from operating on Sundays. Sometimes, businesses in these towns are also prohibited from staying open 24 hours a day.

These locations are typically open from 5 AM until 11 PM. The hours are still convenient, but calling them 24-hour gyms is deceiving.

Anytime Fitness

Anytime Fitness is another 24-hour gym. From what I’ve researched, it doesn’t seem to have as many locations in areas with blue laws as 24 Hour Fitness. Therefore, it’s more likely that you can go to the gym in the middle of the night at any location.

The Winner

Even though it’s rare that you’ll find a 24 Hour Fitness that actually isn’t open 24 hours a day, it’s not unlikely. Therefore, Anytime Fitness is the better gym if you want a place where you truly can work out anytime you want.

Who Is 24 Hour Fitness For?

24 Hour Fitness is best for:

  • Powerlifters
  • Olympic weightlifters
  • People who are interested in one-on-one personal training
  • People who want access to amenities such as pools and basketball courts
  • People who are looking for a gym with flexible membership plans

Who Is Anytime Fitness For?

Anytime Fitness is a good gym for:

  • People who are looking for a tight-knit community
  • People who travel a lot
  • People who want to work with a personal trainer
  • Casual powerlifters, weightlifters, or CrossFitters
  • People who like group classes or working out in small teams

Other Gym Comparisons With 24 Hour Fitness and Anytime Fitness


About The Author

Amanda Dvorak

Amanda Dvorak is a freelance writer and powerlifting enthusiast. Amanda played softball for 12 years and discovered her passion for fitness when she was in college. It wasn’t until she started CrossFit in 2015 that she became interested in powerlifting and realized how much she loves lifting heavy weights. In addition to powerlifting, Amanda also enjoys running and cycling.