Crunch Fitness vs. Planet Fitness
- Crunch Fitness and Planet Fitness offer user-friendly environments. Understanding the pros and cons of both centers can help you choose the right one for you.
Crunch Fitness and Planet Fitness are two of the most recognizable names among fitness chains in the United States. If you’re considering purchasing a fitness center membership, it can be helpful to understand the culture, pricing and benefits these gyms have to offer.
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Which One is Better: Crunch Fitness vs. Planet Fitness?
Crunch Fitness and Planet Fitness offer unique experiences for visitors to help them achieve their health goals.
History and Culture
Crunch Fitness was founded in 1989 and focuses on providing a convenient experience for members. It’s great for those who want to participate in group classes or focus on strength-training exercises. The company has about 400 locations worldwide, 325 of which are in the United States.
Planet Fitness was founded in 1992. It experienced fast growth, and today, there are nearly 2,000 locations worldwide, including over 1,400 in the United States. It prides itself on its judgment-free environment, which may make it a good fit for those who are new to fitness, older adults and those whose focus is primarily on cardiovascular exercises over strength training.
Both companies have franchises and corporate-owned fitness centers, so costs vary by location. In general, a Crunch Fitness membership at your preferred location costs $10 per month. If you want to be able to visit any Crunch Fitness location and have access to all amenities, including group classes and hydromassage, the monthly membership fee goes up to about $30. Month-to-month options may be available if you don’t want to be locked into a contract.
Planet Fitness has similar fees. A monthly $10 membership fee gets you access to one location. If you don’t want to sign a contract, the month-to-month rate is $15. If you want access to any location, you can upgrade to a $20 membership, plus a start-up fee.
Contract lengths vary considerably by location. Many Crunch Fitness locations don’t have contracts and offer month-to-month membership plans instead. Other locations have month-to-month base plans and membership contracts for those who want access to all the amenities.
Planet Fitness’s basic membership plan is month-to-month. However, if you want access to all the amenities, you need to upgrade to an annual Black Card membership.
Both Crunch Fitness and Planet Fitness have a wide selection of exercise equipment to meet demand during the busiest times and provide you with the workout experience you’re looking for.
Crunch Fitness has a variety of cardio equipment, including step climbers, stationary bikes, ellipticals, rowing machines and treadmills. It also offers a functional fitness area outfitted with agility ladders, Bosu balls, hex dumbbells, punching bags, battle ropes and kettlebells.
Planet Fitness has a similar range of cardio equipment. However, it generally has less in the way of strength-training equipment. While you may find dumbbells, weight benches, straight bars and EZ curl bars, you’re unlikely to find the same variety as Crunch Fitness.
Crunch Fitness takes a relatively relaxed approach to rules, such as using chalk, dropping weights or completing squats or deadlifts barefoot. The exact rules vary by location, so it’s a good idea to talk directly to your local center before your first visit.
Planet Fitness is stricter regarding etiquette. Because the focus is on creating a comfortable, judgment-free zone for everyone, dropping weights, using chalk and grunting aren’t allowed, and members are expected to dress conservatively.
Both Crunch Fitness and Planet Fitness have full locker rooms with storage for personal belongings and showers, making it easy to get your workout in at the beginning or end of your day.
Crunch Fitness has tanning booths, massage chairs and red light therapy booths for those with certain memberships, as well as smoothie bars where you can purchase post-workout drinks. Some locations also have saunas and swimming pools. Additionally, many locations have affordable childcare for children aged 6 months to 13 years during specific hours.
Planet Fitness also has amenities in addition to exercise equipment, including tanning booths, red light therapy and massage chairs. To access these amenities, you must be a Black Card member. However, Plant Fitness doesn't offer childcare services, saunas or swimming pools.
Crunch Fitness has fairly standard operating hours. Most locations are open on weekdays from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. On the weekends, centers are typically open for shorter periods, such as from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Planet Fitness, on the other hand, is typically open 24 hours.
It’s important to remember that because many fitness centers are franchises, operating hours may vary by location. To decide which option better fits your schedule, it’s a good idea to call your preferred location.
Many people benefit from one-on-one sessions with a personal trainer who understands their health needs and fitness goals. While many gyms have personal trainers on staff, the credentials and experience they require vary.
Many Crunch Fitness personal trainers are NASM-certified, and the chain prefers to hire those with degrees in fields such as kinesiology and exercise science. Personal training isn’t cheap, costing about $100 per session, but you may be able to save money by purchasing sessions in bulk. You get a free 1-hour session when you first sign up, helping you determine if it’s right for you without the risk of losing money.
Planet Fitness also has personal trainers. These trainers teach group classes that are free to all members. However, the scope of personal services they provide is narrower. Trainers can also help you develop a tailored plan and learn how to use the equipment safely and properly. However, they don’t actively coach you during your sessions.
Pros and Cons of Crunch Fitness vs. Planet Fitness
- A wide range of amenities
- Affordable memberships with month-to-month options
- A range of strength-training equipment
- Access to childcare
- Dynamic class schedules with Zumba, bodyweight circuits, yoga and kickboxing
- Limited access to amenities unless you upgrade to the higher membership level
- Limited hours of operation
- Fewer locations nationwide
- Small-group training sessions daily
- 24-hour access
- Ideal for beginners
- Numerous locations
- Month-to-month membership option
- No pools or saunas
- Limited range of classes
- The focus on cardiovascular workouts may not fit all members’ needs and goals
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, both Crunch Fitness and Planet Fitness offer a user-friendly, judgment-free environment with state-of-the-art exercise equipment. The option that’s right for you depends on your schedule, fitness goals and whether you want one-on-one support from a qualified personal trainer.