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Planet Fitness vs. YMCA – Which One is Better? 

You probably already heard about YMCA, mostly known for its community-building programs. But do you know that YMCA members also get the chance to use their fitness centers? Well, it’s true.

On the other hand, Planet Fitness has also stepped in to give people access to a well-equipped fitness center. Many people now prefer Planet Fitness seeing the availability of their fitness centers compared to the other gyms.

But if it’s Planet Fitness vs. YMCA, which one is better? Well, we’d say it’s the YMCA for the whole family or family membership as it has facilities like sporting courts, pool, group classes, etc. But when you want to get into an inexpensive place to work out, Planet Fitness is a better option.

Now the question is – are these reasons enough to pick one of them blindly? If your answer is no, this article will make picking the right one easier for you. Let’s get started then.

What Is the YMCA?

If you haven’t heard much about YMCA before, you might be a little surprised to know that it was established in the 1800s. The organization’s actual mission was to let people have a safer space where they spontaneously can be a part of healthy activities.

Though the organization is deeply connected to promoting Christianity, they’ve become a place open for all kinds of people. Along with the community-building program, they’ve also focused on building gyms and workout facilities.

Besides, they have a fair share of engagement in creating sports programs and group fitness classes. People of all segments of ages are free to join there. One of the good things about most of the YMCA locations, they’re in good places.

Another good side of them is they’ve got a decent collection of equipment. Along with basic equipment, local YMCA gyms come with weight machines, stationary bikes, cardio equipment, free weights for strength training, yoga, pilates, a weight room with a power cage, etc.

Plus, it offers membership options for those who find it hard to afford to work out in a gym.

Apart from having a good gym equipment collection, YMCA also provides good personal trainers. Besides, they ensure more group classes and flexible and user-friendly membership plans.

But unlike some of the gyms, YMCA isn’t open 24/7, and you may not be able to use your membership at all locations.


  • Those who have low income can get financial aid and scholarships from here
  • Offers couple, senior citizen, and family membership under discounted prices
  • Ensures free facilities like basketball courts and pools for the members
  • The staff members are pretty friendly
  • Avails different activities for kids, including childcare and summer camps
  • If your kid is a member, they don’t charge any additional fee
  • Comes with all the required equipment, including cardio equipment


  • Some of the locations come with limited cardio machines
  • Broken equipment doesn’t get fixed immediately
  • The quality of the amenities has scope for improvement
  • Not open 24 hours

What is Planet Fitness?

Since 1992, Planet Fitness (PF) has been the perfect gym for first-timers. Besides, anyone who’s been looking for a convenient and comfortable place to work out would prefer Planet Fitness for sure.

The best thing about Planet Fitness is you’ll be seeing them almost everywhere, unlike most gyms. So, you’ll be seeing at least one of them around, unless you’re living in the woods. Thanks to their presence in 1,000+ locations for that.

Another thing that has made this one of the most appealing gyms is the price. After all, it’s the most inexpensive place you can ask for. No, it doesn’t come with the hardcore equipment, but it won’t be too tough for you to get back to shape with the basic ones and cardio equipment.

Having the membership once is enough for letting you have access to all the other locations of Planet Fitness. It might not be the best place for strength training filled with free weights, but along with keeping their “no judgment” vibe intact, they make sure the members are getting a welcoming atmosphere.


  • The cost of memberships is significantly low
  • Any Black Cardholder is free to visit all the brunches around the world
  • The atmosphere is very welcoming and comfortable
  • Provides every member with free Wi-Fi facility
  • Black cardholders are free to bring one guest for free
  • Unlimited massage chair usage for Black cardholders


  • There are no heavy dumbbells or barbells around
  • Staff might stop you from lifting heavy weights
  • Doesn’t provide too many amenities

Are Rowing Machines Available at YMCA?

Yes, planet fitness rowing machines are indeed available at many YMCA locations. These versatile fitness devices provide a low-impact, full-body workout that engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rower, utilizing these machines can enhance your cardiovascular endurance and build strength. So, head to your local YMCA and give planet fitness rowing machines a try!

Planet Fitness vs. YMCA – The Comparison

Clearly, there are many differences between having a YMCA membership vs. a Planet Fitness membership. So, if you’re planning to go with one of them, you better know them all.


When it comes to YMCA costs, there are several membership plans depending on the age, location, and number of members. If you’re planning to go solo, you’ll have to pay a monthly fee of $50. Plus, there will be $6o adding up as the initiation fee.

But if you’re thinking about going with your family, it’ll turn into a real cost saver. You’ll have to spend only $75 per month for two parents, and unlimited minors can join under that subscription.

It seems Planet Fitness is still cheaper than most gyms out there. If you’re moving to Planet Fitness for a single location, you’ll enjoy a great price of $10 per month. But when you’re asking for Black Card, you’ll have to spend $22.99 per month, and that’s without tax.

Time Schedule

The schedule of the YMCA is pretty much like any regular fitness center. They open early at 5.30 am and close down by 10 pm. But on weekends, they close down a bit early, like 6/7 pm. Also, they open a little late on those days.

But this is where Planet Fitness surpasses YMCA and any other regular gym. They’re open for 24 hours and give any night owl the chance to work out anytime. After all, professionals like doctors, firefighters, or nurses often don’t get the opportunity to stick to a specific schedule when it comes to working out.


YMCA is mainly known for being the ‘all-in-all’ gym with all the required equipment, cardio, or any other machine. They’ve got all kinds of machines for cardio like ellipticals, stationary bikes, treadmills, and even Stairmaster machines.

Besides, the place is full of weightlifting equipment, like a power rack, dumbbells, free weight, and more.

But when it’s about Planet Fitness, they’re more into cardio than any other segment. Once you step into one of their branches, you’d probably see ellipticals and treadmills more than anything else. This availability of machines makes it easy for the users to get one, even during peak hours.

They don’t go for barbells, power rack, or free weight here for weight lifting. At most, you’d get resistance machine circuits, lighter dumbbells, or smith machines.

Read Next: How heavy is the bar at Planet Fitness?


One of the best things about most YMCA locations is that they come with a significant number of classes. Whether you’re looking for yoga, spin, pilates, or strength training, they’ve covered it. Once you take the membership, these classes will come for free as a part of it.

But if you’re asking for Planet Fitness classes, there’s no good news for you here. You won’t be seeing anything like exercise classes in their gym. But you can surely go for the quick course where one of the instructors will get you introduced to the equipment. Plus, they’ll help you in learning basic exercises.

Child Care

YMCA is a fantastic choice if you ask for a gym with a childcare facility. Even if your baby is six weeks old, you can still leave them under the care of the YMCA. 

Plus, they’ve equipped their facility with different curricula depending on your kid’s age. But when you’re asking for the same favor from Planet Fitness, they don’t have it in there.


This is where both YMCA and Planet Fitness is in the same position. After all, like any other good gym, they too offer a shower facility for all their members.

Final Words

Planet Fitness vs. YMCA – are you still confused about which one to pick? Well, if you are, then think of a bunch of things like – do you need a gym for your entire family, or do you want a place with pool and exercise classes? If your answer is yes, then go for YMCA.

But if you want it cheaper, but want it open 24 hours, pick Planet Fitness. So, YMCA or Planet Fitness – which one will it be?

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About Ben Adler

I'm Ben, a passionate fitness enthusiast on a mission to help you achieve your fitness goals. With a love for lifting and building a well-rounded physique, I founded Swole Class to provide beginners with the guidance and knowledge they need to navigate the gym and embrace a healthier lifestyle. Join me on this journey as we unlock our potential and inspire greatness together. Learn more about me