Fit4Less is a budget gym owned by GoodLife Fitness that has over 95 locations in Canada.
I recently visited Fit4Less’s Ottawa Bridlewood location to find out if a membership is worth it.
So, is a Fit4Less membership worth it? If you’re older, a beginner, or just like to work out to stay healthy, a Fit4Less membership is worth it. But if you’re a competitive powerlifter, bodybuilder, or CrossFitter, you should consider another gym. Fit4Less doesn’t have a lot of strength equipment, so you’ll likely find it difficult to progress.
In this article, I’ll talk about why a Fit4Less membership isn’t ideal for everyone and what other gyms you may want to consider instead.
I’ll also discuss:
- My experience working out at Fit4Less
- The pros and cons of a Fit4Less membership
- The cost of a Fit4Less membership
- The equipment and amenities that are available at Fit4Less
- What the policies of Fit4Less are
- Tips for new Fit4Less members
- Common complaints about Fit4Less
My Experience Working Out At Fit4Less
The Ottawa Bridlewood location is above a food store and it was a little difficult to find. Once I got there, the guy at the front desk checked me in and gave me a quick tour of the gym. He was friendly and didn’t pressure me into signing up for a membership.
The other members who were working out while I was there were older individuals. I’ve heard this is common at this location early in the day, while younger members tend to go in the evening.
There aren’t a lot of hardcore powerlifters or bodybuilders at this gym, so anyone who does go to this location tends to stick to the cardio machines or lift light weights. Everyone seems to mind their own business, which is nice if you’re like me and you like to be left alone during your workout.
I found the layout of the Ottawa Bridlewood club a bit strange. You have to walk down a long hallway to get to the front desk, and then there’s a small selection of cardio machines and upper body resistance machines straight in front of you.
Off to the side of the main gym floor, there’s a separate room with a power cage, a squat rack, three bench press stations, and a pullup station. This room also had a hyperextension bench, medicine balls, and hex dumbbells. At the back of this room are the machines you need to complete Fit4Less’s 30-minute express circuit.
The floor in this room is hardwood, which made me hesitant about deadlifting in it. There were some rubber mats, but they’re made for stretching and not meant for lifting weights. Round dumbbells were located outside this room along with two incline benches.
I didn’t go at a busy time, but given how small the Ottawa Bridlewood location is, I can see it being crowded during peak hours. It’s not very spacious and I’m sure you have to wait to use the more popular machines.
For that reason, and because of the fact that it had a limited amount of equipment, I wouldn’t purchase a Fit4Less membership. I liked that the gym was clean and that no one bothered me while I was working out, but the atmosphere doesn’t align with my training goals.
It’s important to remember that this review is based on my experience at the Ottawa Bridlewood location. Each club will have a unique clientele, a different vibe, and different equipment. If you’re curious about the location closest to you, I recommend calling or visiting to see what it’s like.
Fit4Less: Pros & Cons
Below are some of the pros and cons of a Fit4Less membership.
- Memberships are affordable. No matter which membership plan you choose, a Fit4Less membership will cost less than most other chain gyms in Canada.
- The staff is friendly. The employees at most locations are nice people who aren’t aggressive about getting you to sign up for a membership. And since there are no personal trainers, you don’t have to worry about them trying to upsell you.
- The bathrooms and gym floor are clean. At any gym, you’ll occasionally find someone who never puts their weights away. But overall, Fit4Less locations are well-maintained, and everyone is good about cleaning up after themselves when they’re done working out.
- Fit4Less doesn’t have a lot of free weights. The dumbbells only go up to 75lbs, there are no kettlebells, and the plates are only of average quality. As such, Fit4Less isn’t ideal for anyone who wants to get as strong as possible.
- Most locations don’t have locker rooms or showers. While there are lockers, they’re out in the open. You can change in the bathroom if you needed to, but if you wanted to shower on your way to work or before you run errands, you’d have to go home first.
How Much Does A Fit4Less Membership Cost?
Fit4Less membership plans are straightforward across all locations. You can choose from one of two plans.
This is the basic month-to-month plan that costs $5.99 every two weeks, not including taxes. With this membership, you get:
- Access to one location (the location you signed up at)
- Free 30-minute express circuit
There is no enrollment fee, but you’ll have to pay a $44 annual cleanliness fee.
The Black Card costs $11.99 every two weeks, not including taxes, plus the annual $44 cleanliness fee. You get everything available with the 4Less Card plus:
- Access to all locations
- The ability to share your membership with friends and family at participating locations
- Free unlimited use of the massage chairs or Hydro Massage beds
- Free tanning
- Free gym bag
- ½ price cooler drinks
Lock In Your Rate
Fit4Less gives you the option to lock in your rate whether you have a Black Card or 4Less membership. If you do this, your rates will never increase even if Fit4Less increases their fees.
You can choose to lock in your rate by updating your membership information online. Once the change goes into effect, you’ll have to pay a fee of $9.95 plus taxes on January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1.
Free Workout Days
On the last Thursday of every month, Fit4Less has Free Workout Days for non-members. You can visit any club to try it out before you purchase a membership.
You can drop in at any Fit4Less club during staffed hours to get a free tour of the gym. This is just for you to see the layout of the gym and what kind of equipment it has — you aren’t allowed to work out during a tour.
The Ottawa Bridlewood location only had five treadmills and a couple of ellipticals, stationary bikes, arc trainers, and two StairMasters. The treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bikes were from Precor and the arc trainers were from Cybex.
All of the resistance machines were from Life Fitness. The dumbbells, plates, and EZ curl bars were branded with Fit4Less’s black and yellow brand colors. The dumbbells only went up to 75lbs and the EZ curl bars went up to 110lbs.
Like the dumbbells and EZ curl bars, the plates are Fit4Less-branded. They fit an Olympic barbell, but they’re not bumper plates, so they can’t be dropped. The plates ranged from 10lbs to 45lbs and there were at least a dozen of each.
Does Fit4Less Have Squat Racks?
Some Fit4Less locations have squat racks but others don’t. The ones that do usually only have one or two, so you may have to wait for one to become available if you go at a busy time.
Does Fit4Less Have Deadlift Platforms?
Fit4Less does not have deadlift platforms.
Special Features & Amenities
Despite its low membership costs, Fit4Less has some decent amenities that even some more expensive gyms don’t have.
Does Fit4Less Have a Pool?
Fit4Less does not have a pool.
Does Fit4Less Have a Sauna?
Fit4Less does not have a sauna.
Does Fit4Less Have Showers and Locker Rooms?
Fit4Less doesn’t have locker rooms. It does have lockers, but they’re in an open space off to the side of the gym floor.
A handful of locations have showers, but it’s not a standard amenity. There are a few locations that have showers for women only since they used to be women’s-only gyms.
Does Fit4Less Have a Basketball Court?
Fit4Less does not have a basketball court. There are also no tennis courts or racquetball courts.
Does Fit4Less Have Childcare?
Fit4Less does not have childcare.
Does Fit4Less Have a Yoga Studio?
Most Fit4Less locations do not have yoga studios, but most have stretching areas on the gym floor.
Does Fit4Less Have a Smoothie Bar?
Most Fit4Less clubs don’t have smoothie bars, but there are usually vending machines or refrigerators at the front desk where you can buy drinks.
Does Fit4Less Have Massage Chairs?
Fit4Less has massage chairs. Some locations also have Hydro Massage chairs, which use water and pressurized jets to deliver a full-body massage.
Does Fit4Less Have a Women’s-Only Area?
Fit4Less does not have a women’s-only area.
Does Fit4Less Have Group Classes?
There are no in-person group classes at Fit4Less, but you can take virtual cycling and other virtual classes.
Does Fit4Less Have a Cardio Cinema Room?
Fit4Less doesn’t have a cardio cinema room, but there are TVs throughout the gym to keep you entertained while you work out.
Is Fit4Less Open 24 Hours a Day?
Fit4Less is accessible 24 hours a day, but staff members don’t work overnight.
Does Fit4Less Have Red Light Therapy?
Fit4Less does not have red light therapy.
Who Does Fit4Less Cater To?
Fit4Less is ideal for people who are new to fitness, older individuals, and people who work out just to stay in shape. For these groups of people, you’ll have access to whatever cardio machines, free weights, or resistance machines you like to use for your workout.
It’s important to note that there are no personal trainers at Fit4Less. You can ask a staff member if you need help with the equipment, but you won’t have anyone to consult about creating a fitness routine for you. If you’re a beginner, you’ll need to come to Fit4Less already prepared with a plan.
Because there are no personal trainers, I don’t recommend Fit4Less for anyone who’s looking to lose weight unless you’re self-disciplined and you’ve consulted with a professional to create a nutrition plan for you (or you have the knowledge to do it yourself). If you need someone to hold you accountable, you won’t be able to find that at Fit4Less.
I also don’t recommend Fit4Less for powerlifters, CrossFitters, or bodybuilders. There’s just not a large enough selection of weights to accommodate very strong individuals, and you won’t find a variety of machines on which you can train each muscle group. You also won’t find kettlebells, rowers, or bumper plates at most locations, which makes it difficult to do a CrossFit WOD.
If you enjoy HIIT, you can do interval workouts on the cardio machines, but there’s not a lot of free space on the gym floor to do HIIT workouts with bodyweight movements.
Fit4Less is also not ideal for people who like group classes. You can take virtual classes, but there are no instructor-led, in-person classes.
Specific Information For Women
Fit4Less gyms don’t have women’s-only areas. However, many of them used to be women’s-only GoodLife Fitness gyms. At those gyms, you can at least find a women’s changing room and women’s showers.
I’ve reviewed several gyms, and in my experience, the low-budget gyms tend to attract more of the creeps. Of course, this depends on the location and there’s a chance of running into a creep at any gym. But sometimes the gyms that have lower barriers of entry can attract the type of people who are less respectful of others.
With that said, I never once felt unsafe when I visited the Ottawa Bridlewood location. And from what I’ve seen, Fit4Less gyms tend to be pretty safe. Just be aware of your surroundings, especially if you go during unstaffed hours, and don’t be afraid to talk to the staff if someone makes you feel uncomfortable.
Re-Opening Policy & What Happens To Membership In A Lockdown?
Now that gyms have started reopening, Fit4Less has begun limiting the number of members allowed inside at one time. To ensure as many people as possible have the ability to work out each day, each member has a 50-minute time limit per visit. You have to reserve a time slot in advance and must arrive no later than 15 minutes past your start time in order to work out.
Depending on which province your club is in, you need to be fully vaccinated or show proof of a negative COVID test from within the past 72 hours in order to be allowed inside. If you have a medical reason for why you did not receive the vaccine, you’ll need to show proof of exemption.
Regardless of your vaccination status, you may have to wear a mask while entering, leaving, and walking around the gym. At some clubs, you have to wear a mask at all times. Exceptions can be made if you have a medical reason that prevents you from wearing a mask.
During lockdown, any club that was forced to close automatically stopped all member payments and resumed them once they were allowed to reopen. For term contracts that were paid in full, Fit4Less extended them for the length of the membership. So if your club was closed for three months, your membership was automatically extended another three months.
Members who didn’t feel comfortable returning the gym were allowed to freeze their memberships once the clubs reopened. I think it’s likely that Fit4Less will follow similar protocol if we had to go into lockdown again.
Policy On Dropping Weights, Grunting, & Chalk
The use of chalk and dropping weights are not allowed at most Fit4Less locations. Grunting is also not allowed.
Some Fit4Less clubs have an “oops alarm” that’s similar to Planet Fitness’s lunk alarm. The purpose of this alarm is to prevent members from intimidating others. If you grunt while you lift or don’t gently place your weights down at the end of a set, a staff member can pull the “oops alarm” on you.
I’ve heard some people say that the alarm isn’t real and others say they’ve heard it go off frequently, so I’d recommend leaving the chalk at home and not grunting to avoid the risk of setting it off.
Cancellation Policy & Contract Length
Most Fit4Less contracts are month-to-month with no commitment. If you have a Black Card membership plan with no commitment, you can cancel your membership at a self-service kiosk in the club or by calling the location where you signed up. You just have to give them 30 days’ notice.
Some locations offer one-year contracts. If you paid in full, you don’t get any money back if you cancel before the year is over. If you pay monthly, you are responsible for paying for any unused time left on your membership.
If you only want to freeze your membership temporarily, you can submit a request online and freeze your membership for up to 60 days.
Guest Policy: Can You Bring A Friend or Wife/Husband?
You can bring a guest with you for a fee of $15 plus taxes per visit. The guest has to be at least 16 years old.
Your guest can also take advantage of the Free Workout Days on the last Thursday of each month.
Pet Policy: Can You Bring Your Dog To Workout?
Only certified service dogs are allowed at Fit4Less.
Are Fit4Less Memberships Transferrable?
You can’t officially transfer your membership to another individual. However, if you have a Black Card membership, a friend or family member can use your card to access the gym as long as they sign up online beforehand.
If you choose to do this, your friend or relative can’t work out at the same time as you. They must use your card at least two hours before or two hours after you were last at the club.
You also can’t officially transfer your membership to another location, but with a Black Card membership, you can visit another club as often as you want.
Does A Fit4Less Membership Work Anywhere?
If you have a Black Card membership, you can visit any Fit4Less club in Canada. If you have a 4Less Card, you can only attend your home club.
Is There A Dress Code?
Any workout apparel that you’re comfortable in can be worn to Fit4Less. Shirts are required for both men and women. Shoes are also required at all times, so you won’t be able to lift barefoot.
Can My Child Work Out At Fit4Less?
Teens who are between the ages of 16 and the age of majority in your province are allowed to work out at Fit4Less. They can join as a Happy Minor and are only allowed to visit the club where they signed up. They are also not allowed to use the gym during non-staffed hours.
Is Fit4Less Personal Training Worth It?
In an effort to keep its prices low, Fit4Less does not offer any personal training services. You’re also not allowed to bring in a trainer of your own, whether they’re from another gym or run their own business.
Tips For New Members
1. If You’re Concerned About Losing Your Membership Card, You Can Purchase a FastPass
The FastPass is a bracelet that allows you to access the club without a card. It costs a one-time fee of $15 plus taxes.
It’s probably just as easy to lose a bracelet as it is to lose a membership card, but it’s nice to know you have multiple ways to access the gym. It’s also good to have a backup option just in case you need it.
2. Don’t Try To Use Your Membership at GoodLife Fitness
Even though Fit4Less is owned by GoodLife Fitness, you can’t use your membership interchangeably. If you want to go to GoodLife instead, you’ll need to purchase a separate membership there.
3. Bring Extra Water With You
If you think you’ll run out of water during your workout, bring an extra drink with you. Even though you can buy drinks at the front desk, there are no water fountains at Fit4Less where you can refill your water bottle.
Fit4Less is prone to many of the same complaints that you’ll find at most chain gyms, such as how difficult it is to cancel a membership. Former members report continuing to be charged even if they followed the instructions for canceling their contracts. Other members have also complained about being charged the annual cleanliness fee multiple times.
Other common complaints include concerns over the quality of the equipment and how long it takes to repair if it breaks. The lack of showers, water fountains, and changing rooms is also a common concern, even though Fit4Less makes it clear that they don’t offer any of these amenities.
Alternatives to Fit4Less
If you’ve tried Fit4Less but didn’t think it was the right gym for you, below are three other gyms you may want to check out instead.
1. GoodLife Fitness
GoodLife Fitness gyms aren’t as barebones as Fit4Less. They have more strength training equipment such as barbells and dumbbells that go higher than 75lbs. Their facilities are also bigger and have a larger quantity of cardio and resistance machines.
Check out our complete review of GoodLife Fitness.
Many GoodLife Fitness locations have tanning booths and massage chairs like Fit4Less does, but you’ll also find pools, saunas, smoothie bars, and group classes at GoodLife. A GoodLife Fitness membership costs a lot more than Fit4Less, but the extra amenities justify the higher cost.
2. Planet Fitness
I should preface this by saying that Planet Fitness was not my favorite gym for various reasons. But if you’re looking for an inexpensive place to work out and you aren’t interested in heavy strength training, Planet Fitness is a suitable alternative to Fit4Less.
You won’t find barbells or squat racks at Planet Fitness, but it’s an okay place if you just want to do some light weight training or use cardio machines.
Check out our complete review of Planet Fitness.
3. Gold’s Gym
Gold’s Gym is primarily based in the US, but there are several locations throughout Canada as well. Gold’s Gym is an excellent gym for both newbies and experienced gym-goers since you’ll have access to cardio machines, resistance machines, free weights, and group classes. At most Gold’s Gym locations, you can also do functional training.
Check out our complete review of Gold’s Gym.
Other Gym Reviews
- Is A Snap Fitness Membership Worth It? (Honest Review)
- Is A Lifetime Fitness Membership Worth It? (Honest Review)
- Is An Anytime Membership Worth It? (Honest Review)
- Is A Equinox Membership Worth It? (Honest Review)
- Is A 24 Hour Fitness Membership Worth It? (Honest Review)
- Is A LA Fitness Membership Worth It? (Honest Review)
- Is A YMCA Membership Worth It? (Honest Review)
- Is A Fit4Less Membership Worth It? (Honest Review)
- Is A World Gym Membership Worth It? (Honest Review)
- Is A Blink Fitness Membership Worth It? (Honest Review)
- Is A Workout Anytime Membership Worth It? (Honest Review)
- Is A Onelife Fitness Membership Worth It? (Honest Review)
- Is A Crunch Fitness Membership Worth It? (Honest Review)
- Is A Youfit Membership Worth It? (Honest Review)
Fit4Less is a suitable gym for beginners, older individuals, or anyone who just likes to live a healthy lifestyle. But individuals who are more serious about their training or those who like to lift a lot of heavy weight will likely feel stifled here.
You can’t beat Fit4Less’s prices, though. If you’re on a budget, it’s still worthwhile to check out Fit4Less and see if you can find a location that aligns with your goals.
About The Author
Amanda Parker has a passion for competing and coaching in both powerlifting and weightlifting. She uses her knowledge from her Kinesiology Degree, CSCS, and Precision Nutrition certification to coach athletes and lifestyle clients for performance in training and nutrition. Connect with her on Instagram.