Winters in Minnesota can be rough, especially with little kids. My kids are still at the age where the cold can get to them really fast, so we're limited in doing outdoor activities.
I'm always looking for something to do to get out of the house, but also I don't want to spend a fortune on activities every weekend.
I was chatting with my friend and she mentioned joining LifeTime Fitness. I've been a member of Life Time Fitness on and off over the years, but since I got my Peloton bike and treadmill for cardio, and my Tempo for strength I haven't really found a need to get back to the gym.
But once I looked into it a little more I realized that Life Time Fitness has become way more than just a gym. They actually call themselves Athletic Country Clubs now.
After doing a tour I decided to sign up!
I've now been a member for a few months and in this post I'll share with you everything you need to know about Life Time Fitness, the pros and cons, cost, amenities and more.
•Lifetime Fitness is an athletic club known for its luxurious amenities, such as pools, basketball courts, and fitness classes.
• They have recently been working to rebrand from being known as a regular gym to being known as an Athletic Country Club.
• Lifetime offers a Kids Academy for childcare up to 2 ½ hours a day.
• There are a few different membership options at Lifetime, including two levels based on price point. Membership pricing will vary based on market.
• Group Fitness classes are included in the membership cost. A cool new feature since the pandemic is that you can book your spot in each of these classes for free too.
Table of Contents
What is Life Time Fitness?
Life Time Fitness is an athletic club known for its luxurious amenities, such as pools, basketball courts, and fitness classes.
Over the years they've been working to rebrand from being known as a regular gym to being known as an Athletic Country Club.
In addition to the usual things you'll find in a gym - like fitness equipment - you'll also find Kids Academy, a Cafe, Sauna, Hot Tubs, Pools, Basketball Courts, Spin Studios, and some locations even have a full Spa.
There are a few different membership options at Life Time.
Previously, they had different levels of clubs - like Gold, Platinum and Diamond. However recently they changed their pricing structure so there are only 2 levels.
The 2 levels are based on price point. So if you pay $129 a month for your membership, you can get into any club at that price point. If you pay $159 a month, then you can get into any club at that level.
I wish they had names or something to differentiate the two memberships, but I've just been explained it's price point based now.
Either way, I've found that for the most part in the Minneapolis market, you can now get into almost all locations at the lower price point (even the super fancy flagship location in Chanhassen!).
Membership pricing will vary based on market, so make sure you check their website to see pricing in your area. I like that Life Time is very transparent with their pricing on their website, so you can enter in your zip code and see pricing by club on their website.
If you want to try Life Time without committing to a membership, they also do offer day memberships that start at about $40.
I've been a member of Life Time Fitness on and off for a few years.
I first joined Life Time when I first moved to Minnesota and do credit Life Time with introducing me to having a healthier lifestyle. I was a member of Life Time for a few years before I took a break to do Orangetheory.
While I loved the idea of Life Time, I did find it super pricey back then so that was always what got me to pause or cancel my membership. During my first membership, I would do the regular membership and then you had to pay extra to participate in classes like Bootcamp.
At the end of the day, my single membership ended up costing me nearly $250 a month. When Orangetheory opened up in my area, I quickly switched because it saved me money and I loved classes like that.
However, once I became pregnant with my kids and the Orangetheory classes didn't fit my schedule, I went back to Life Time. I was a member until I had my kids, then took a break and then the pandemic happened so I never went back since I got my at-home gym.
But now that my kids are older and we're looking for activities to do on the weekends, Life Time looks like a great option again since they have things like the Kids Academy and tons of different activities to choose from.
After doing a quick tour of the club, I decided to sign up on the spot!
Signing up was really easy to do, and I loved that there wasn't any signup fees or anything. I just paid a prorated membership fee for the remainder of the month and my membership was ready to go.
One of my favorite things about Life Time - and what got me to rejoin again - was their Kids Academy.
Kids Academy is for kids from 3 months old up to preteens where they can come and play while parents workout. Kids Academy offers structured activities for kids like arts and crafts, STEAM activities, gymnastics and more.
For older kids (5 and up) they'll even teach them how to rock climb on the rock climbing wall!
They also have free play too if that's more of your kids style.
Both of my kids attend and they love it! There are separate rooms in the Kids Academy so the older kids can stay in a separate area from the littlest ones so everyone can stay safe.
I also feel really safe dropping them off there. When you drop off you scan your membership card, and then during pickup, you sign the kids out with another scan of your membership card.
They also ask where I'm going to be in the club so they know how to get ahold of me.
The only downside to the club is that if you have a kid in diapers, you'll need to come down and change them. They do have kid-friendly bathrooms there for older kids that can use the potty, but little kids in diapers still need to be tended to.
To get into Kids Club, each kid needs a membership on the family Lifetime membership. Kids Club Membership will vary based on where you are, but generally are $20-$30 per kid per month.
I've found this extremely reasonably priced for what you get! Each day you can drop kids off for up to 2 ½ hours (2 hours if your kiddo is under 12 months), as well as they host monthly Parents Night Outs for kids that is included in your membership.
In the Parents Night Out they'll have a pizza party, have inflatables and bounce houses, as well as different themed activities for the kids. Parents are also allowed to leave the club during this time!
While my kids play in the Kids Academy, I've been taking advantage of the time and have been taking group fitness classes.
Included in my membership are the free group fitness classes like:
Indoor Cycle Classes
My favorite classes are the strength based ones like Strictly Strength, Shred and Barbell Strength.
A cool new feature since the pandemic is that you can book your spot in each of these classes for free too. A week before the class reservations will open up in the app and you can save your spot.
Barbell Strength is a 45 minute class that focuses on barbell exercises. Before class starts, you'll set up your station with different barbell weights, dumbbells and a bench, and the instructor will walk you through different moves.
The instructor will also have different options for you to choose if your level of fitness is different. They'll also recommend weights based on the exercises for all levels.
It's a great class because I can really feel my muscles working and it's challenging too!
Shred is a hybrid class that mixed cardio and strength work. It's AMRAP - As Many Rounds as Possible - style, where you do as many rounds of an exercise in 1 minute before moving on to the next. They're set up in 5 minute blocks, and then for the last minute you do a minute of a cardio activity.
Just as the name suggests, Strictly Strength is a strength only lifting class. You use dumbbells and a bench for this class and the instructor walks you through a routine for 45 minutes.
It's a great class if you're looking to build muscle and get stronger!
Pool and More
Another great perk at Life Time is the access to the pool. The pool amenities will vary based on your location, but our location has indoor lap pools as well as a family leisure pool that's open almost all day.
It's nice to be able to take the kids to the pool whenever we want!
They also provide swim toys, pool noodles, life jackets, and more. There's also lifeguards on duty too.
You can also sign up for swim lessons, but we've found those hard to get into because they fill up fast.
Lifetime also has a Cafe on site, where you can buy healthy snacks, meals and smoothies. The food and drinks are a little pricey - about $10 a shake - but it's a nice convienance.
They also sometimes have deals where if you buy a mug, you can get a free coffee or tea refill for an entire season.
One thing I did recently learn is that they have a "Secret" kids smoothie menu. They can make the regular versions of the shakes, but without the protein for half the price.
Is a Life Time Membership Worth It?
Overall I find the Life Time Fitness membership worth it! I get to drop off my kids in a safe and fun environment while I take care of myself. Plus the group fitness classes give me something to look forward to each day, which helps with motivation.
My kids have also built their confidence in the Kids Club and have made a ton of new friends! It's been a great way for them to stay active, healthy, and make new friends.
I also love the Parents Night Out offerings and the pool. It's a great way to relax and unwind, and get out of the house and do something fun!
Cancelling and Membership Holds
From my experience, canceling and putting my Life Time membership on hold has always been really easy to do.
I've been able to go to guest services and submit either. The staff is always really friendly and helpful! I've never run into issues over the years.
Life Time Fitness vs. Planet Fitness
Over the years I've been a member of a few gyms and my two favorites were Lifetime and Planet Fitness.
So how do they compare?
First, let's compare price. Planet Fitness is significantly less expensive than Lifetime Fitness. Planet Fitness memberships can range from $10 to $25 where Life Time memberships usually start at $99.
Depending on the plan, there may be sign up fees as well at Planet Fitness.
While both Planet Fitness and Life Time have the typical fitness equipment like treadmills, spin bikes, ellipticals and weights, Lifetime has more amenities.
At many Lifetime locations, you will find a lap pool, basketball courts and racquetball courts. You may also find things like steam rooms, saunas, hot tubs and spa services.
Life Time also offers a Kids Academy for childcare up to 2 ½ hours a day. I don't believe Planet Fitness has any childcare offerings at this time.
Planet Fitness, however, does offer some amenities that Life Time doesn't. They have massage chairs and tanning beds.
A Life Time Fitness membership is worth it for us! We love that we have access to classes, the pool, and our kids can participate in age-appropriate activities.
Plus it's been a great way for us to stay active and healthy together as a family. You really get your money's worth when you join and become part of the Life Time community.
So if you're looking to stay active and healthy, I highly recommend joining Life Time Fitness! You won't regret it.