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Portland On The Cheap

Fitness & Healthcare:  Fitness Gyms & Health Clubs

Gym Memberships!  Always read the fine print.  Know your options.  And do take advantage of the free guest passes to try out the facility and classes before signing a contract.  Here's our guide to fitness and health club gyms in Portland.

    Updated June 2015

24 Hour Fitness
This all-hours fitness gym has multiple locations around the Portland area and if you can get through the all the membership options, you can actually walk away with a pretty good deal if you pay up front.  Offered a couple times during the year, the catch is that you must pay upfront all at once and your membership is valid for 2 to 3 years.  What makes this a super sweet deal is this:  when your membership expires, you can renew on a year-to-year basis for an annual cost of $50 - $100.  Be sure your contract spells this renewal fee out!  If you can't afford to pay all at once, then the club offers the typical monthly membership that you'll have to talk to a member representative about.

Another option is through Costco -- they usually sell a two-year, non-renewable membership for around $370 (valid at all regular 'non-Super Sport' clubs).
Bally Total Fitness
Bally Total Fitness was bought out by LA Fitness in 11/2011.
Has twelve locations around the Portland metro area.  Promotions run all the time, and in order to get in on their latest deals you'll have to meet face-to-face with a member representative.  Good luck finding out specific prices online or even over the telephone.  To get a feel for your local club, here are some options:

1.  Go to the web site and download a free 2-week guest pass.
2.  Go to the web site and get a 30-day trial pass for $19.
3.  Wait til January of each year for the Discovery Health National Body Challenge.  When you register, you get a free 30-day guest pass to Bally Total Fitness.  Click here for details.

Once you are in their system, if you wait around long enough they'll send you a pretty good offer where you can get a one-year membership for $99.  Many of our friends have been mailed this deal and have taken advantage; however, it's hard to say when the company will actually send this to you so don't wait around expecting it.

There are a myriad of options when choosing a Bally Total Fitness membership, so carefully read through the contract and know about the finance charges, enrollment/initiation fee and if there are restrictions to days, times and clubs.   Also ask about the cost for 3 year pre-paid memberships (similar to the deal offered by 24-Hour Fitness).
Boom Fitness
Two locations -- one in Tualatin at Bridgeport and one in Beaverton in Tanasbourne.  Features 24 hour access, group exercise classes and Cross Fit training.  $12.95 per month with a 1-year contract, or $24.95 per month with no contract.  Pay upfront for a year and it will only cost $199 with no annual fee the first year.
Three locations in Portland, offers month-to-month memberships starting at $9.95 per month.  Sign up online to obtain a free day pass to try it out.
LA Fitness
Bought out Bally Total Fitness at the end of 2011 and then gradually closed out most of those locations.  Currently has ten locations around the Portland area. Go online and print out their free guest pass, which is valid for three days for one specific club.  In addition, the club usually sends out fliers in the mail, generally good for a one-week guest pass.

The club offers monthly memberships that require Electronic Funds Transfer, in addition to the initiation fee.  We don't have much experience with this club so your best bet is to visit them and get the sales pitch from one of their member representatives.
Portland Parks & Recreation Owns and operates 13 community centers around Portland, including St Johns, Sellwood, Southwest, Mt Scott and more.  Offers sports, fitness, dance, music, swimming pool and more.  Call or visit your local community center to see if you are in-district and to find out more about drop-in fees and frequent visit cards.  Note:  Individuals, regardless of age, who require financial assistance can apply for scholarships to offset PP&R fees for certain activities, please complete scholarship application.
Planet Fitness
Locations in Beaverton, Hillsboro, Gresham and Vancouver.  Memberships start at just $10 per month for unlimited access to your home gym; upgrades to $20 per month include a few more perks.  Specializes in fitness classes.  Open 24 hours.  Every member gets to take part in Pizza Mondays and Bagel Tuesdays.
Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District
If you live on the Portland west side then you may be in-district to take advantage of the facilities, sports leagues and classes offered by the THRP.  To find out if you are eligible, click here and then plug in your address in the box on the right hand side..  See web site for drop-in fees, search for programs, classes and more.
Other Gyms
We have highlighted the 'well-known presence' clubs here in Portland, but your best deal might very well be the smaller and one-chain operations that are closer to your neighborhood or place of employment.  Try these:

All Star Fitness:  this was the former YMCA at Barbur Boulevard in downtown Portland.  Go online for a free 7-day guest pass.  Permanently closed.

Cascade Athletic Clubs:  2 Gresham locations, one at Mall 205 and one in Vancouver.

Curves:  multiple locations, a 30-minute fitness center for women

East Side & West Side Athletic Clubs:  submission from Jim - "I found they have $12 day passes an for an athletic club they have somewhat affordable membership dues."  Please see web site for a free one-week pass and a free class pass.

Lloyd Athletic Club:  a couple blocks from Lloyd Center, bonus feature is the indoor courts for racquetball, squash and wallyball.

Nelson's Nautilus:  one location in Oregon City and one location in Milwaukie.

Portland Hollywood Fitness Center:  located in the Hollywood District.  Club is open and staffed 24 hours a day with over 12,000 square feet featuring two cardio rooms, a weight room with over 200 machines, a custom workout program, complimentary workout towels, group exercise classes and on-demand classes.  Membership is just $19 a month with no long term contract.

YMCA of Columbia-Willamette:  locations in Sherwood, Beaverton and Vancouver.

Zoo Gym Hillsboro:  24-hour access, features group classes and personal training, plus recent offers from Groupon and Living Social.  Please see web site and click on 'Coupons/Specials' for a free 7-day pass and 1 free group class.
Willamette Week Article
"Gymania" article from their January 11th, 2012 edition.  Provides a side-by-side comparison of Portland gyms with information on fees, special equipment, classes offered and day care. 

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