Is There Finally a Good Alternative to the Traditional Gym Membership?

The Athletes Club recently launched a city-wide fitness membership including 70+ businesses

 Let’s just put it out there: annual gym memberships can be a drag.

The contracts are binding, memberships expensive and you’re usually limited to using a single gym. In a way, your gym is kind of like a jealous boyfriend (or girlfriend) that traps you in an exclusive relationship for a year and takes a bunch of your money. But what other option is there?

You can look for gyms that allow you to pay per session, but that can get pricey and could deter you from visiting frequently. Setting up a gym where you live is an option for some but tiny apartments might not have the space to spare. If you’re feeling stuck in your one-gym membership and you’re looking for a better option, you might want to consider the Athletes Club.

This new approach to fitness membership launched in December 2013 and is currently operating in New York City. The service is comparable to Groupon, but Athletes Club offers are reusable. It is still a membership, but this membership offers deals on various fitness centers, spas and healthy dining venues—so you’re not tied down to one spot. According to their website they have selected more than 70 local businesses, all of which offer users exclusive deals and discounts. The venues are displayed on their website here and deals can be accessed from a mobile device or printed from a computer.

In addition to these deals, Athletes Club hosts events that are free to members and you may attend as many as you’d like. They also host fitness classes for members only. The two membership options are the monthly plan which will cost you $19 each month but leaves you the option of canceling at any time and the annual plan which costs $10.75 per month, which amounts to $129 a year. They say you can save up to $367 each month with their membership, though personal savings would depend on how you use the service.

According to CEO and Founder David Weisfeld, although they are only located in New York City right now, they plan to develop farther in 2014. Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami are the four cities where they plan to expand this year.

The Athletes Club seems like a great idea if the partner businesses are in your area. It would also be a good alternative for someone unhappy with their current gym membership, someone just relocating to the area or for anyone who values fitness and variety. We haven’t tried the service yet, but we will be giving it a shot, so look for our review of the Athletes Club coming soon.