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Fitness/Athletic Centers (From CHECKBOOK, Spring/Summer 2015)
Go to Ratings of 63 Twin Cities Area Fitness/Athletic Centers



Before you join a health and fitness club, be realistic about what activities you are likely to participate in and how often you’ll use it. If you have never exercised before, or haven’t exercised for a long time, question whether you will be able to stick with a new fitness regimen. Most people who join clubs stop using them after only a few months. Since many clubs charge nonrefundable initiation fees, you’ll waste a lot of money if you quit. 

If you still want to join up, this article will help you choose a club. Our Ratings Tables list ratings of area fitness centers based on quality and price, and offer details on available facilities, activities, and amenities. 

Some quick advice: 

  • Weigh all your options. Can you get exercise less expensively some other way—for example, by doing pushups and situps, running, biking, or joining a sports team or exercise class? Also check out fitness centers operated by local governments; many operate less expensive fitness club-like facilities. 
  • Shop around. You’ll find that some clubs charge twice as much as their competitors for about the same facilities and amenities. Because many clubs have several fee plans and discount options—and may offer the best deals only if it’s absolutely necessary to close a sale—make sure the sales staff offers you the best available rates. When discussing costs, mention other clubs you’re considering. And check whether you qualify for a discount based on an arrangement between the facility and your employer or health insurance plan. In particular, many Medicare Advantage policyholders have access to programs that offer free or very low-cost memberships at participating fitness centers. 
  • Ask whether a membership you’re considering includes a time commitment. If you’ve never joined a fitness facility, test both your determination to exercise and the club by taking a short-term or month-to-month option. 
  • Before signing on the dotted line, find out the rules for canceling and freezing the membership. 
  • Request a guest pass to try out any club you are considering. While there, check out the cleanliness and condition of equipment. Use your pass at a time when you’re most likely to exercise regularly so you can see how crowded it gets and judge how helpful the staff is. 
  • Have sales staff put promises in writing. If a salesperson has said you can cancel your membership at any time, make sure it says as much in the contract. If the salesperson says the facility is about to break ground on a new lap pool, don’t believe it unless it’s written down. 

We are bombarded with images of perfect bodies in prime physical condition in ads for everything from beer to sugary sodas to soap: firm, toned, and beautiful. But Madison Avenue didn’t invent the appeal of physical fitness. Medical experts uniformly agree that regular exercise, coupled with a balanced and modest diet, is key to longer, healthier, and more satisfying lives. 

There are a lot of ways to get in shape and stay in shape. Even small efforts help: Take the stairs instead of the elevator; park at the far end of the lot; take a walk before or after dinner. A lot of newly fitness-inspired people join health and fitness clubs, believing that the facilities—and the financial commitment of membership—may finally supply the motivations they need to get fit and stay fit. 

If you are thinking of joining a health and fitness club, know upfront that the fitness industry thrives on good intentions. Most people who join clubs stop using them after only a few months. Since many clubs charge nonrefundable initiation fees, you can waste a lot of money if you quit. Compare the costs of joining a club to the many other fitness options, which are discussed in this article. 

Be prepared to make a number of decisions. There are many clubs in the area from which to choose, each likely to offer several membership options. And because sales staff at some clubs use high-pressure and deceptive sales tactics to close deals, it’s not always easy to make the right choices. 

Membership at many clubs doesn’t come cheap. Although some bare-bones gyms charge less than $300 a year, many charge more than $600 per person for the first year, including initiation fees. Want a club that offers racquet sports or a wide range of facilities and amenities? Expect to pay a lot more. 

While amenities and services vary from facility to facility, large price differences exist among clubs with roughly the same basic features. If you’re just interested in fitness equipment and group exercise classes, a single membership that provides unlimited access to all facilities for one year costs, at the time of our last full, published article, $277 at Fitness 19; at the Life Time Fitness in St. Paul you’ll pay $807. If you want to swim indoors, a three-year couple’s membership costs $2,255 at LA Fitness; at the Life Time Fitness on Prairie Center Drive in Eden Prairie, you’ll pay $7,719. 

This article will help you sort through those options and, if you decide that a health and fitness club is the best way to go, help you get what you want at the best available price. 

Start by Making a Plan 

If you don’t currently exercise on a regular basis, or want to increase your fitness regimen, first formulate a plan. For most people, beginning a drastically new exercise routine is akin to quitting a bad habit: Making a doable plan increases your chance of success. Your plan should include realistic fitness goals, a list of exercises for achieving those goals, an exercise schedule, and a list of reasons to keep you motivated. (If you are older than 40, check with a physician before beginning any program of increased exercise.) 

Obviously you have a better chance of changing your habits if you enjoy what you’re doing. Although some individuals endure a few months of agony before they start to enjoy exercise for its own sake, it’s easier if you like it from the start. It helps if your new exercise regimen includes opportunities to see friends or meet new people. So does an attractive facility. And it certainly helps if you look forward to playing a sport you enjoy, rather than pedaling in place or pushing and pulling on a machine. 

Consider All Options 

Before joining a club, think about your own motivations and interests—and consider alternatives. Many consumers pay fitness clubs a lot of money for activities available more cheaply elsewhere. 

In fact, most people can save money and meet all their fitness and recreation needs without joining private fitness clubs. You can do pushups, situps, and many other exercises at home for free. Walking, running, and biking are very inexpensive. A regular soccer or basketball game at a nearby park is not only inexpensive but probably a lot more fun than lugging weights around a smelly gym. For a one-time investment of a few hundred dollars, you can buy various types of home exercise equipment. 

Local governments offer exercise facilities and programs. Recreation centers and local parks have cardiovascular fitness equipment, weightlifting rooms, tennis courts, swimming pools, aerobics classes, basketball courts, sports leagues, and much more—all free or much cheaper than comparably equipped private health clubs. 

For example, the Chaska Community Center offers a fitness center, indoor pool, indoor track, gymnasium, ice arenas, and a wide range of group exercise classes. A one-year pass for adults costs $338 for residents and $482 for nonresidents. Senior (ages 55 and up) and youth residents pay $249 per year. Monthly and daily passes are available, as well as family passes. 

Minnetonka’s Williston Fitness Center offers facilities comparable to those at the best-equipped private health clubs: fitness room with cardio and strength equipment, five indoor tennis courts, indoor pool, and group exercise classes. A one-year pass for adults costs $439 for residents and $555 for nonresidents. Senior residents pay $310 per year ($387 per year for senior nonresidents). 

The St. Paul Parks and Recreation Department operates 11 recreation centers with fitness facilities, five with indoor tracks, and the Oxford Community Center has an indoor pool. The fee for adults is $3 per visit (or $1 per day to use a walking track). Adults who live or work in St. Paul can purchase a fitness center membership, which includes access to fitness centers and walking tracks, for just $30 per year ($60 per year for nonresidents). Swim at the Great River Water Park (at Oxford Community Center) for $6 per day. 

Below we list all local government-run recreation centers with at least a weight room/fitness center and/or an indoor swimming pool. Almost all allow use of exercise facilities—without requiring a term commitment—for prices well below those at even the least expensive private health clubs with comparable facilities. 

Even if you expect to eventually join a private health and fitness club, spend a few months trying the alternatives. That will give you a better idea as to whether you really are likely to stick it out at a club and which activities and facilities matter to you. 

Compare the Clubs 

When considering a club, you’ll want to consider several points, including what its members say about it, its location, membership fees, contract terms, facilities and equipment, classes, and amenities. Our Ratings Tables include many of these details for area facilities. 

Review Ratings from Customers 

Our Ratings Tables report ratings of the facilities by their customers. We surveyed area consumers (primarily CHECKBOOK and Consumer Reports subscribers) and asked them to rate health and fitness centers they had used “inferior,” “adequate,” or “superior” on the following aspects of service quality— 

  • Quality/maintenance of facilities and equipment 
  • Cleanliness 
  • Adequacy of facilities/equipment for demand 
  • Quality of instruction 
  • Availability/convenience of organized group activities 
  • Friendliness of staff 
  • Providing what the sales staff promised 
  • Overall value for your money 

For facilities in the Twin Cities area that received at least 10 ratings, our Ratings Tables show the percent of each club’s surveyed customers who rated it “superior” (as opposed to “adequate” or “inferior”) on each survey question. (Click here for further discussion of our customer survey and other research methods.) 

Although several clubs rate quite high on all survey measures, we receive scads of complaints about many other facilities, as evidenced by the ratings shown for them on our Ratings Tables. The most common complaints relate to lousy facilities and equipment, and indifferent customer service. 

Check Complaint Histories 

For firms that were evaluated in our last full, published article, our Ratings Tables also show counts of complaints we gathered from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for a recent three-year period. For more information on reported complaint counts, click here

Try It Out 

Before joining any club, take a tour and ask questions. Most clubs provide prospective customers with free guest passes; be sure to take advantage of these offers. 

When trying out a club, ask members what they like and don’t like about the club, and consider the following questions. 

Is the location convenient? 

If you can’t easily get to the facility, you’re not likely to use it. Consider only facilities close to your home or workplace, depending on when you plan to work out. Most chains offer memberships that allow you to use several different facilities. 

Is it open when you need it? 

Check hours of operation. For early workouts, most open by 6 a.m. on weekdays but not until 7, 8, or 9 a.m. on weekends. In the evening, most are open until at least 10 p.m., but a few close as early as 9 p.m. Also check hours of the specific facilities you expect to use; for example, the tennis courts may be open until midnight while the weight room closes at 10 p.m. and all aerobics classes end by 9 p.m. If you’re interested in specific classes, make sure they’re offered when you can attend them. 

Does it have the facilities and amenities you want? 

Check whether the club has the types of facilities and equipment you plan to use. Our Ratings Tables list this information for the facilities we’ve evaluated. All facilities listed on our Ratings Tables offer some form of weight training. Many also have racquetball or squash courts, but indoor pools, tennis courts, basketball courts, and indoor tracks are less widely available. The table also indicates whether facilities have such features as saunas, Jacuzzis, showers, towel service, and lockers. Remember that our Ratings Tables say nothing about the size or quality of what is offered: One club’s pool might be barely bigger than another club’s hot tub. 

Does stuff work? 

Even if a club offers all the facilities and equipment you want to use, they won’t do you much good if they’re poorly maintained. Our Ratings Tables report how surveyed customers rated clubs for “quality/maintenance of facilities and equipment.” Some clubs received “superior” ratings on this question from more than 80 percent of their surveyed customers, while others were rated “superior” by fewer than 30 percent. 

Does it offer the classes and activities you want? 

Our Ratings Tables indicate the variety of classes and activities offered by the rated clubs, including aerobics, yoga, group cycling, and dance. You can check the club’s schedule of classes for the current period to see how often these activities really are available, but that won’t tell you how quickly classes fill up. To provide greater insight on the availability of activities, our Ratings Tables report ratings on our survey question “availability/convenience of organized group activities.” 

Is it crowded? 

Good facilities and equipment won’t do you much good if you can’t use them. Our Ratings Tables show ratings on “adequacy of facilities/equipment for demand.” When trying out a club, visit it during the time you are most likely to use it, and check whether there are waits for equipment, find out how and when to reserve court time, check sign-up rosters for courts to see how full they are, and ask club members whether crowding is a problem. 

Is it clean? 

Our survey asked about “cleanliness”; as our Ratings Tables show, clubs’ scores varied widely. When you check out clubs, pay particular attention to the state of locker rooms, showers, and swimming pools. 

Does it offer childcare? 

Our Ratings Tables indicate which clubs offer childcare. If you’ll be toting along your tots, inspect the kids’ area. Is it clean and well maintained? Are age-appropriate toys available? Are workers attentive and caring? Are there enough workers to safely supervise the number of kids? Do the kids seem happy? Is the area secure? 

Is the staff competent and helpful? 

You’ll want a well-staffed club—with good tennis pros; experienced, inspiring class leaders; knowledgeable instructors on weights and exercise equipment; etc. A good staff can help you progress quickly, stay motivated, and avoid injury. 

Ask how much experience various staff members have and whether they have certification—but be aware that there are many certification programs, and some of them are meaningless. 

Certification programs sponsored by the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (, American College of Sports Medicine (, American Council on Exercise (, and The Cooper Institute ( are among the most respected. Although certification through these programs may not ensure competence in every facet of exercise, most provide a good foundation for personal trainers and fitness center workers. Also find out whether any instructors have bachelor’s or graduate degrees in physiology or related fields. In recent years the fitness industry has become increasingly professionalized. 

You can judge staff competence to some degree by observing them in action. For example, ask weight-training instructors what kinds of activities—and what limitations—they recommend for reaching specific goals, and then ask why. Evaluate the coherence of their answers. Also make sure tennis pros, for instance, provide students with the kind of feedback you’d want. 

Is the atmosphere right for you? 

Different clubs have different atmospheres. Some are very attractively decorated, others more down-to-earth. Some seem oriented toward socializing; others provide little opportunity for mingling. At some clubs, standard dress is come-as-you-are casual; at others, you might feel uncomfortable arriving in jeans. Although in-person visits are the only way to find out how a club feels to you, our survey’s feedback on “friendliness” might provide some enlightenment. 

Avoid Getting Burned 

Although it’s easy to check on clubs’ facilities and activities, determining which membership option is right for you could be a lot more difficult. Some clubs refuse to provide price information over the phone. And even when you can get the information, it can be hard to compare rates since initiation fees, monthly charges, facilities, and many other features vary widely. Even worse, you may be expected to make a substantial upfront financial commitment—a high initiation fee or long-term contract that may cost a lot even if you, like many club members, stop using a facility after a short time. 

At some clubs, an already confusing fee structure is made worse by salespersons who try to squeeze prospective customers for everything they can get. 

When our mystery shoppers called, some salespersons pushed long-term contracts and mentioned month-to-month or less expensive options only after our shoppers hesitated or asked about them. A common ploy is to offer a steep discount only if you sign a membership contract that day

In addition to allowing selective price squeezing, multiple pricing plans open the way for other abuses. A salesperson might not quote the best prices because he or she thinks you’ll use the facility too heavily, complain too much, or won’t “fit in.” 

Another ploy is the non-discount discount. Many clubs print up membership fee schedules with inflated prices so that they can cut the price during the sales pitch. 

The same non-discount strategy appears in advertising. While many advertised specials truly offer lower prices, others are confusing or misleading come-ons. 

Careful shopping is your best tactic. When deciding whether to sign up, forget about the discount on the table and focus on how the club’s price compares to prices at other clubs. 

Compare Costs 

As previously noted, fees vary dramatically from club to club. Our Ratings Tables report fees for six different profiles, ranging from full access for three months for one person to full access for three years for a couple. Based on the fee information collected from the clubs that were evaluated in our last full, published article, we’ve attempted to calculate the lowest possible fee for each profile for each club. For the three-month user profile, we assumed the user planned to use the club for three months and then quit. Charges might be much higher for someone who planned on being a member for a year but quit after three months. 

When comparing fees, keep several factors in mind— 

  • Which facilities you can use. One reason for the price differences is that some clubs offer much more than others. Evaluate the price in relation to the facilities, equipment, and activities offered (also shown on our Ratings Tables)—especially those that you expect to take advantage of. Some clubs offer lower fees for memberships that exclude certain features, such as racquet sports. 
  • Times of day. You can sometimes save money by using a club only at off-peak hours. 
  • Per-use fees. Some clubs, or membership options, require you to pay separately for court time or other benefits, while others offer a broader array of benefits for a basic fee. If you want tennis instruction, regular massages, or other personalized services, check the clubs’ charges for these services. 
  • Other clubs you can use. If you are interested in using more than one club location, either locally or outside the area, ask for details on multi-club use opportunities. Our Ratings Tables report whether each club offers membership options that allow customers access to other local clubs and has memberships that allow access to other clubs nationally (typically through a national reciprocal use program that gives its members access to participating clubs for a per-use guest fee). 

If you are interested in using more than one club location, get a list of participating clubs. Some clubs offer use of only one other local club, while others let you use dozens. 

If you know you will be using only one club location, mention it to membership salespersons. Health club chains often have lower membership-rate categories for customers who agree to limit their access to one club location. 

  • Renewal fees. Some clubs charge lower fees for renewals after an initial contract period. 

Ask About Discounts 

Check whether you qualify for a discounted membership rate. 

Many clubs offer steep discounts for seniors. The age requirement varies by club, with some clubs offering discounts to members age 50 and up. Keep in mind that some clubs limit access of senior memberships to off-peak hours. 

You may also qualify for a discount through your employer. Many clubs have agreements with employers for “corporate” rates typically 10 to 20 percent lower than normal rates. If your employer doesn’t have an agreement, you may be able to foster one by recruiting coworkers to join with you. Clubs typically extend corporate rates to employees of companies that have even a handful of employees who are willing to sign up. 

Finally, find out if your health insurance plan offers benefits for fitness services. Many area insurers reimburse a portion of your health and fitness club membership costs if you work out frequently, and most insurers participate in programs that offer plan members discounts at participating clubs. And many Medicare Advantage policyholders have access to programs that offer free or very low-cost memberships at participating fitness centers. See below for more information. 

Review Contracts 

Once you identify clubs that have the range and quality of offerings you want, examine the kinds of financial commitments they require. 

You might expect a health and fitness club to let you use it whenever you want for a daily fee. A $10-per-day fee, for example, adds up to $1,040 per year if you used it twice a week. In fact, YMCAs and government-operated facilities—which aren’t out to make a profit—allow such per-day payment. 

But most private clubs are not so flexible. Many want to lock you in with a substantial initiation fee, a long-term contract, or both. That’s good for the clubs: They collect your money even if you—like most new club members—lose interest and stop using the club. But it’s bad for you. Oral promises salespersons make when pitching clubs may not be legally binding. If a club does not meet your expectations, or its service is terrible, you still may be responsible for paying off the contract. 

Don’t join a club without carefully reading its contract’s fine print. For the most part, clubs are merciless in enforcing their contracts. If you’ve signed up for a year and want to quit after a week, your club may come after you to pay for the full year. You need to examine several contract terms to determine how much flexibility you’ll have. 

Initiation Fees 

The Marsh’s $200 initiation fee would seem stiff if you quit after two months. Fortunately, most initiation fees aren’t so high. 

A big initiation fee does more than raise the risk that you’ll waste your money if you lose interest; you also risk losing all or part of the fee if the club goes out of business. In the past several years, many clubs have failed—and many members have lost their fees. 

Long-Term Contracts 

Some clubs require you to sign up for a year or more. While most clubs let you pay monthly fees throughout a contract’s duration, others demand the full fee for a long-term contract upfront. 

Low initiation fees and the availability of month-to-month memberships may also be signs of quality. Clubs that require no initiation fees, or only modest ones, or offer month-to-month memberships, display confidence that you will be satisfied enough to continue your membership. 


While most clubs will not release you from a term contract or refund payments if you quit, they will let you stop monthly payments or refund a prorated share of annual fees if you quit because of illness or move out of the area. Some clubs will let you off the hook for monthly fees or refund the unused share of the annual fee in the absence of illness or injury. In many cases, however, you’ll have to repay the club for any discounts received for committing to a term or pay a cancellation fee. 


For members who need to take some time off, many clubs defer monthly payments during “freeze” periods. Or they may have you continue making discounted payments on schedule but extend your membership and waive the initiation fee when you become active again. Most clubs that allow freezes restrict them to cases of illness or injury, pregnancy and childbirth, or temporary relocation: You can’t just take time off because the weather is nice. But some clubs allow membership freezes regardless of the reason. Many have a minimum length of freeze (for example, at least three months), a maximum, or both. And some require you to pay monthly fees at a reduced rate for the months when your membership is frozen. 

If You Have Second Thoughts, Cancel 

Since the financial commitment of a club membership is substantial, and since some clubs employ aggressive sales tactics, Minnesota law provides for a cooling-off period. You have three days after signing a contract to cancel and get your money back. You should cancel in writing by certified or registered mail. If you can persuade the club to give you a longer cooling-off period, or trial period, than the law requires, take it. 3 

Extra Advice:
Check with Your Health Insurance Plan for Fitness-Related Benefits 

Most health insurance plans offer discounts on health and fitness clubs and other fitness-related purchases to promote healthy habits—or, if you’re a cynic, to attract a large pool of health-conscious customers who are less likely to run up huge medical bills. 

The available programs offer pretty good deals. For example: 

  • Medicare Advantage policyholders with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, Health Partners, Medica, and UCare can get free or very low-cost memberships at participating fitness clubs through the Silver Sneakers or Silver & Fit programs. 
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, HealthPartners, Medica, and UCare reimburse members up to $20 per month for fees paid to participating health and fitness clubs. To collect, members must work out a minimum number of times during each month. Members of HealthPartners and UCare must work out 12 times during the month. Members of Blue Cross and Blue Shield must work out eight to 12 times (depending on the plan) per month. Most plans allow reimbursement for up to two adult plan members per household. 

Even if your health plan has a reimbursement or discount program, don’t limit your choices to only the participating clubs. A facility outside the program may offer you a better deal, even when you take into account your insurer’s reimbursements and discounts—without requiring you to hit the gym two or three times a week to get it. 

Extra Advice:
Government-Operated Recreation Centers in the Twin Cities Area 

Below we list the local government-run recreation centers we could identify as having at least weight rooms/fitness centers and/or indoor swimming pools. 

Brooklyn Center (

Brooklyn Center Community Center
6301 Shingle Creek Pkwy., 763-569-3400 

Brooklyn Park (

Brooklyn Park Community Activity Center
5600 85th Ave. N., 763-493-8333 

Chanhassen (

Chanhassen Recreation Center
2310 Coulter Blvd., 952-227-1400 

Chaska (

Chaska Community Center
1661 Park Ridge Dr., 952-448-5633 

Eagan (

Eagan Community Center
1501 Central Pkwy., 651-675-5550 

Eden Prairie (

Eden Prairie Community Center
16700 Valley View Rd., 952-949-8470 

Edina (

Edinborough Park
7700 York Ave. S., 952-833-9540 

Hopkins (

Hopkins Activity Center
33 14th Ave. N., 952-939-1333 

Inver Grove Heights (

Veterans Memorial Community Ctr
8055 Barbara Ave. E., 651-450-2480 

Maple Grove (

Maple Grove Community Center
12951 Weaver Lake Rd., 763-494-6500 

Maplewood (

Maplewood Community Center
2100 White Bear Ave., 651-249-2230 

Minneapolis (

Creekview Recreation Center
5001 Humboldt Ave. N., 612-370-4965 

Minnetonka (

Lindbergh Center
2400 Lindbergh Dr., 952-988-4519 

Williston Fitness Center
14509 Minnetonka Dr., 952-939-8370 

Monticello (

Monticello Community Center
505 Walnut St., 763-295-2954 

New Brighton (

Highview Middle School Pool
2300 7th St. NW, 651-638-2145 

New Brighton Community Center
400 10th St. NW, 651-638-2130 

Robbinsdale (

Robbinsdale Community Fitness Center
3730 Toledo Ave. N., 763-567-1068 

Shakopee (

Shakopee Community Center
1255 Fuller St. S., 952-233-9500 

Shakopee West Junior High School Pool
200 10th Ave. E., 952-233-9500 

Shakopee East Junior High School Pool
1137 Marschall Rd. S., 952-233-9500 

Shoreview (

Shoreview Community Center
4580 Victoria St. N., 651-490-4700 

St. Paul (

Arlington Hills Recreation Center
1200 Payne Ave., 651-632-3861 

Battle Creek Recreation Center
75 Winthrop St. S., 651-501-6347 

Dayton’s Bluff Recreation Center
800 Conway St., 651-793-3885 

Edgcumbe Recreation Center
320 S. Griggs St., 651-695-3711 

El Rio Vista Recreation Center
179 Robie St. E., 651-789-2500 

Highland Park Community Center
1978 Ford Pkwy., 651-695-3706 

Linwood Recreation Center
860 St. Clair Ave., 651-298-5660 

Martin Luther King Recreation Center
271 Mackubin St., 651-290-8695 

North Dale Recreation Center
1414 N. St. Albans St., 651-558-2329 

Oxford Community Center
270 Lexington Pkwy. N., 651-642-0650 

West Minnehaha Recreation Center
685 W. Minnehaha, 651-298-5823 

University of Minnesota (

Minneapolis Recreation & Wellness Center
123 Harvard St. SE, Minneapolis, 612-625-6800 

St. Paul Gymnasium
1536 N. Cleveland Ave., St. Paul,

University of Minnesota Aquatic Center
1910 University Ave, SE, 612-626-1352 

Waconia (

Safari Island Community Center
1600 Community Dr., 952-442-0695 

Extra Advice:

You may want to join a club that allows you to continue to work out when you’re out of town—or even in another part of the local area. Many health clubs have reciprocal arrangements with other clubs in the area, or participate in reciprocal programs that allow members to use other clubs worldwide. Our Ratings Tables show which clubs we’ve rated offer local and/or national reciprocal benefits. 

The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) and the International Physical Fitness Association (IPFA) are two of the organizations to which some area health clubs belong. Generally, a club’s membership in either of these organizations allows its members to use the other member clubs in the world on a per-visit basis by paying a discounted guest fee. To utilize these reciprocal benefits, the member must be at least 50 miles away from his or her home club and have proof of membership in good standing. It’s a good idea to call a club you will be visiting ahead of time, as most clubs place a priority on meeting the needs of their own members first. 

If a factor in your choice of a local club is the club’s reciprocal arrangements with other clubs, be sure to ask for a full list of the clubs that reciprocate and the rules and fees for using reciprocal privileges. Both IHRSA and IPFA publish booklets listing all their clubs, worldwide. Also, IHRSA’s list is online at and IPFA’s list can be found at

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