It’s almost 2016, so maybe you’ve talked to yourself recently about getting healthier next year—maybe even at a gym. Great thought. Except gyms can be terrible places, and not just because of gym culture, which can be overly loud, overly friendly, overly exposing, and way too sweaty (as in, too much of other people’s, too close to you); they can also be hideously expensive.
With this in mind, I set out to find some of those Mythical Gym Deals one hears whispered about all across Brooklyn. Not the kind of “deal” that costs a thousand dollars per year, requires a contract, and, if left early, will bleed you dry for hundreds of dollars more. Nay, I speak of the flexible gym membership (month by month), one that is basic (not something akin to a spa, but a place with perfectly adequate cardio equipment, weights, classes, towels, maybe even a steam room or sauna), and above all, one that is affordable (I’m talking as low as $10/month, people, not the $90 you—by which I mean I—got suckered into paying at Crunch.).
If CrossFit, yoga, pilates, or some other highly-tailored movement experience is what you’re after, these gyms are not for you. But if, neighborhood by neighborhood, you’re simply looking for a place to walk inside, move your body with the aid of some machines, and lift a few free weights, these places will do the trick—and they will not perpetuate the lie that daily exercise is a luxury that will make you poor.
So, Brooklyn, stop going to Equinox, stop going to places called “Corporate Crunches” which cost $80/month more than “franchise” Crunches with the only difference being basically that you don’t get your own damn sweat towel, and start this new year by getting healthier at any of these straightforward, highly affordable gyms.
Planet Fitness, $10/month or $20/month, $39 annual fee
Two locations at 777 Broadway, and 329 Wyckoff Avenue
Everyone: This is as good and cheap as it gets. There are two basic memberships and the first is the basic plan for $10 per month. This comes with a one-time additional $10 start-up fee, but that’s it. This gives you access to all equipment and classes in Planet Fitness’s “judgement free zone” (what the guy on the phone called this gym), and there is no commitment beyond the month for which you first pay. The Black Card membership is $19.99 per month, there is no startup fee (though both plans include a $39 “annual fee” billed on February 1), and in addition to equipment and classes, you can bring a guest for free with you every single time you go (!), and have access to all 1,000 Planet Fitness locations across the country. Plus, you get free tailored fitness plans with the in-house trainer. What! This is a crazy gym dream come true. No wait, it gets better, you also get free “water pressure massage” and it’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If a gym is what you need this year, do it at Planet Fitness.
Crunch Bushwick, $10/month; $20/month; $26/month; $39 annual fee
785 Flushing Avenue
This is a perfect example of what I was talking about above—this is not a “Corporate Crunch,” which really just means there is no towel service. But for about $80 less than you would pay at one of those crunches, at this franchise Crunch you can use all equipment for only $10/month. For only ten dollars more (Peak membership) you can take classes, and for only 6 dollars more (Peak Plus membership), you have access to tanning beds, and a hydro massage. Never sign up for a corporate Crunch again. Here, there is however one of those almost unavoidable $39 annual fee.
Richie’s Gym, $25/month; $75/6 months; New Year special 1 month free
6 Stanwix Street
This is cheap and basic but has everything you need—elliptical machines, treadmills, free weights, bam. Pay per month with no commitment at $25, or plan ahead, save money, and spend only $75 for six months. Sign up now and get the first month free!
Richie’s Gym, $24/month; $35/2 months; $75/5 months; $170/year
5419 Myrtle Ave #3
No commitments or fees, just this fantastic membership price. Comes with all the equipment you need. Go move yo’ self at Richie’s in Ridgewood.
World Gym of Ridgewood, $34/month; save 50 now on start up fee ($75) if you join now
1661 Weirfield St.
This very reasonable offer comes with classes and towel service, and the facility is brand new. Plus, for the New Year, get half off the joining fee, which is usually $149. World Gym! A fine choice.
Retro Fitness, $19.99 or $25/month; $40 initiation; $47 annual fee; first month free
203 Berry St
In a neighborhood of very expensive gyms, this is about as cheap as it gets. Right now sign up for a $40 fee (20 bucks for enrollment and 20 bucks for processing), and then pay nothing additional for the first month. After that the basic membership is $19.99/month, which includes access to all equipment but no child care, no classes, and no tanning (don’t tan anyway, weirdos). But for only $25/month (VIP plan), get all those other things. The standard annual fees do apply: $47 for the basic plan, and $52 for the VIP option, billed in August.
Absolute Power Fitness, Join now and save $100 on an annual membership ($299/year)
750 Grand Street
This gym has been in Williamsburg for ten years and it’s not fancy but it’s got everything you need and, compared to the rest of the gyms in the neighborhood, it costs almost nothing (especially if you take advantage of their New Year special and save $100 on the annual plan, which usually costs $399). Pay $299 now and there are no additional fees for anything (except those darned taxes, which brings the total to $324). But there is no contract, no strings attached. By going for the yearly plan versus monthly. The $60/month fee is much closer to standard more expensive options. Both yearly and monthly plans do include free classes.
Crunch, $10/month; $20/month; $25/month
825 Manhattan Avenue
Oddly enough, the YMCA is not the cheapest option in Greenpoint ($56/month for one adult). But this Crunch, same as before, is a franchise rather than a corporate crunch, so, wah-wah, it doesn’t have towel service. Use your shirt. Big deal. And definitely take advantage of the cheap-as-dirt basic membership for only $10/month. For $20/month you also get free classes, and for $25/month you get tanning and hydro massage. These, apparently, are things people want. But we say save $72/year and don’t get them.
New York Sports Club, $30/month; $59 annual fee
98 Bayard St.
This plan is really only worth it is you get the Premiere Plan for $30/month—which just means you only get to workout at this New York Sports Club, but none others across the city. Big deal—isn’t the point of a successful gym that it’s close to where you live anyway? So don’t spring for the Passport membership, which is $70/month, and gets you into those other locations. Regardless, however, there is a $59 annual fee. And all memberships include free classes.
Planet Fitness, $10/month; $19.99/month; $39 annual fee
1245 Fulton Street
Once again here, as in Greenpoint, the Bed-Stuy Y is not the cheapest option (that’s $54/month for an adult membership). But this, another magical Planet Fitness, is the cheapest. It’s just ten bucks per month, billed on the 17th of each month, plus that 39 dollar fee, billed on February 1. That’s it! If you spring for Black Card Membership, you get the cool free-guest privilege and access to another of those hydro massage beds and 1,000 nation-wide locations. Classes and personal training included in both options.
Crunch, $10/month; $20/month; $25/month
842 Lefferts Avenue
Same as before, this is franchise Crunch, so no towels. But who needs ’em. For base membership get use of all equipment, and for the other two get classes or classes and tanning and hydro massage (but, again, don’t sign up for those useless things). The one time sign up fee for each of them is, respectively, $8, $10.16; and $10.99.
Blink Fitness, $15/month; $20/month; $25/month; $39 annual fee
250 Utica Avenue
These are awesome prices, people. For the Gray Membership ($15) you get use of all equipment and a free session with a trainer. The Blue Membership ($20) lets you use any Blink Fitness location (except the one in Manhattan), you can bring a guest for free, and you get 50% off at Modell’s Sporting Goods stores. The Green Membership gives you all of the above, plus access to all locations (Manhattan included). In March, pay your $39 annual fee.
Park Slope (Note: neither Prospect Heights nor Fort Greene have excellent dirt-cheap options)
New York Sports Club, $29.95/month; $49.95 annual fee; Join today get January free
329 9th St.
Once more, local YMCAs (both are in Park Slope, including Mayor de Blasio’s old haunt, the 9th Street Y) are not the cheap options. At this NYSP get the Premiere Membership (use for only this location) for $29.95/month, pay the 50 buck annual fee, and get access to all equipment, including the sauna and steam room. Join now and get January free. Offer ends this week!
Planet Fitness, $10/month; $20/month
2228 Church Avenue
You know the drill at this point: Ten bucks a month gets you all that equipment and free training. And twenty gets you access to all planet fitness locations, tanning and hydro massage, plus a free guest. Outside of these ridiculously low rates, pay $39 annual fee and, poof! Cheap fitness the whole year through.
Richie’s Gym, $29/month
5119 4th Avenue
For only $29/month, $45/2 months, $99/6 months, or $178 for the whole year, be a member of the Sunset Park Richie’s. There is no initiation fee and no contract and you get all the standard equipment that a healthier 2016 might need.
Dolphin Fitness Club, $124 annually (special New Year’s price!)
316 Bay Ridge Pkwy
This is another magical deal: $124 right now for the whole damn year. Don’t go monthly on this one (that will cost you $62/month). Usually the annual membership is $180—still relative peanuts—but sign up now and save. They’ve got all the standard stuff you want (weights, treadmill and elliptical, plus those towels you can’t get at Crunch).
Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill/Boerum Hill
New York Sports Club, $29.95/month; $59 maintenance fee
96 Boerum Pl.
Same as it ever was, this NYSC membership for $29.95/month (Premiere plan) gets you access to all machines, free weights, spin cycle studio, two squash courts, two tennis courts, child care and towels. Pay the maintenance fee of $59 and you’re set for the year. Once again, that big fancy Dodge YMCA on Atlantic will not save you more money than this option (that’s $71/month for an adult membership, though it does have one of the few pools in the borough).