The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.

I’m trying to get back into going to the gym and after recently comparing Goodlife to LA Fitness, I decided to check out some of the more budget-friendly gyms to see what they’re like.

I did a little research and found that Fit4Less and Planet Fitness are relatively similar in terms of price points and what they offer, so to decide which one I’d hypoyhetically sign up for, I went for a little in-person research to two locations near my apartment in Toronto to get the scoop.

After attending both gyms, I weighed the pros and cons of each and found them to be almost neck and neck, though there was one factor that set them apart.

Is Fit4Less good for beginners?

A sign saying "No judgement" at Fit4Less.

A sign saying “No judgement” at Fit4Less.

Sarah Rohoman | Narcity

I chose to go to the Fit4Less location in Etobicoke, which is about a 15-minute drive (eight kilometres) from my apartment in the West End of Toronto. Although it’s technically outside of Toronto, I’m pretty sure most of us classify The Queensway as part of the city.

On the last Thursday of every month, people can try the gym out for free, which I think is a really nice way to let people see if the gym is a fit for them (particularly people like myself who are a little intimidated about trying new things).

I was greeted by a friendly front staff person who had me sign a few things before giving me a general rundown of all the spaces in the gym, such as how to get to the changing room.

The gym seemed busy, but again, it was their day when they welcomed people for free so that likely had an effect on how occupied it was.

I’m a sucker for motivational signs (I am a #livelaughlove basic b) and I loved the little “No judgement” decal on the wall. While it may sound silly, it did help me feel like no one around me was judging me while I worked up a sweat.

I think this is a good gym for beginners as there is a “30 Minute Express Circuit” that walks you through a full body workout for those who need some guidance. There was also a wide variety of weight equipment and cardio machines as well as an area sort of cordoned off for Black Card members, which is the tier of their membership that gains you access to the exclusive area.

The bathrooms were clean and spacious, and overall, I found the gym to be friendly, efficient and easy to navigate other than the entrance, which is slightly confusing if you’re not a member — if you don’t have a membership pass, you have to ring a doorbell to have a member of staff let you in.

Is Planet Fitness good for beginners?

A sign that says "Judgement Free Zone" at a Planet Fitness in Toronto.

A sign that says “Judgement Free Zone” at a Planet Fitness in Toronto.

Sarah Rohoman | Narcity

I chose to go to the Planet Fitness location at Dupont and Dufferin, which is about a 10-minute drive (four kilometres) from my place.

I was greeted by a very warm and helpful front staff member who guided me through the forms I needed to sign and then gave me a little tour of the facility.

I thought it was a bit odd that Planet Fitness didn’t offer a free day or trial since Goodlife, LA Fitness and Fit4Less all have that option. Instead, I paid $20 for a pass that granted me access to that particular club for 24 hours.

I loved the purple colour scheme, and again, the “Judgement Free Zone” sign made me smile.

It wasn’t very busy when I went there at midday during the week so there were lots of machines open as well as a considerable amount of them in general. I also appreciated that their website offers a virtual tour of the location, so if you’re an anxious person like me, you can take a look at the facility before you go in if that helps you feel a bit more comfortable.

I also liked that there was an “Express 30 Minute Workout” station with signs to lead you through the machines and workouts in a dedicated area. A great option for beginners or those who need some motivation!

Again, the changing area was very clean, and I was impressed to see that one of the shower stalls had accessibility options like a handrail and seat in it.

How much does Fit4Less cost?

Machines and weights at Fit4Less.

Machines and weights at Fit4Less.

Sarah Rohoman | Narcity

At Fit4Less, there are two membership options: the 4Less Card and the Black Card.

The 4Less membership costs $7.99 per every two weeks and an annual fee of $49. With that, you’ll get access to one location, free wifi and access to their 30-Minute Express Circuit.

The Black Card membership costs $13.99 every two weeks and has an annual fee of $49. That gets you access to everything the 4Less membership has as well as access to all Fit4Less locations, the ability to let friends and family use the gym when you’re not, use of hydro beds, massage chairs and tanning as well as entry to win free monthly prizes.

How much does Planet Fitness cost?

Cardio equipment at Planet Fitness.

Cardio equipment at Planet Fitness.

Sarah Rohoman | Narcity

At Planet Fitness, there are also two membership options: the Classic and the PF Black Card.

The Classic membership is their cheapest option and will cost you $15 per month plus a startup fee of $49 and an annual fee of $49. That membership gives you unlimited access to one club, access to the PF app which has workouts on it, as well as free wifi when you’re at the gym.

The PF Black Card costs $24.99 per month plus a startup fee of $1 and an annual fee of $49. For the extra $10.99 a month, you get access to every Planet Fitness location in the world, the ability to bring a guest with you to the gym, use of massage chairs, HydroMassage and tanning as well a free wifi and 50% off selected drinks.

Fit4Less or Planet Fitness?

A piece of equipment at Planet Fitness.

A piece of equipment at Planet Fitness.

Sarah Rohoman | Narcity

Overall, including startup fees and annual fees, the basic membership before tax at Fit4Less works out to about $240 a year, while the basic membership at Planet Fitness is about $278.

The premium membership at Fit4Less comes in at about $385 while Planet Fitness costs about $350.

I genuinely enjoyed my experience at both gyms and given that they cost roughly around the same price, for one reason only, I’d pick Planet Fitness over Fit4Less.

The drive to Planet Fitness was much easier for me, whereas the drive to Fit4Less took a bit longer and the fastest way there involved taking the Gardiner which is a highway I try and avoid at all costs due to traffic and the general terror for my life I feel while driving on it.

That being said, I did really appreciate that Fit4Less offers a free day to try their gym since I think it’s important to get a feel for a place before you commit to a membership.

If you’re interested in giving Fit4Less a try, I highly recommend waiting for the last Thursday of the month to check them out!

These prices are confirmed at the time of publishing, but they can change at any time. Taxes and fees may not be included.


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