The Top Cheap Gym Memberships in the UK 2023

Keep fit and healthy for less with these cheap gym memberships across the UK.

Looking for cheap gym memberships to kick the New Year off? The New Year, as we know, is the time for new beginnings and goals. One of the most popular goals has to be joining the gym or keeping fit in general. Obviously, with many looking to keep costs low, especially as a student, you might be in the market for a cheap student gym membership that doesn’t break the bank.

All gyms cost money to join. According to Money Advice, the average UK gym costs a whopping £40 a month. If that’s making your heart race for the wrong reasons then fear not, because gym memberships can be much cheaper than this, especially if you’re a student.

Unfortunately, there’s no way around getting a free membership, but it is possible to save a lot of money on one and keep yourself fit all year round. Let’s dive into the top cheap gym memberships in the UK for students — plus gym membership prices, tips on alternatives to the gym, how to save on a gym membership and more.

Jump to:

  1. The best cheap gym memberships for students
  2. Cheap alternatives to a gym membership
  3. How to save money on a gym membership
  4. Things to consider for cheap gym memberships

The best cheap gym memberships for students

gym area with white walls stationary bikes weights dumbbells power rack

The Gym Group

The Gym Group are now offering a great 9-month gym membership, exclusive for students from £149, though prices vary depending on the gym you sign up for. This is a seriously good deal, considering a typical “year” at university isn’t actually 12 months, but more between 9-12. So if you’re considering a student gym membership, this is the one to go for.

Alternatively, their “Do It” gym membership lets you access one gym whenever you want, with almost all gyms open 24/7, plus free unlimited classes from £16.99*. Again, prices vary depending on which gym you choose.

Benefits of The Gym Group:

Below are all benefits of joining The Gym Group. Yes, even with a student gym membership package:

  1. Multi-gym access
    • You can choose up to 5 gyms at a time throughout the country, and change them whenever you want
  2. Bring a friend
    • You can bring a friend 4 times a month, which is great if they want to trial out The Gym Group before signing up, or simply accompany you on a gym session
  3. Fitness & body composition tracking
    • The Gym Group offers ways to keep on track with your training goals, such as through their fitness and body composition tracking equipment known as FitQuest. It costs just £2.50 a go, and will give you tons of information on your BMI, weight, fat percentage and much more over time
  4. Unlimited training access and free classes
    • Access The Gym Group branch near you at any time to train with their huge range of equipment. Get coaching, support and added motivation from their huge range of classes, which are suitable for all abilities and fitness levels.

PureGym

PureGym is one of the most popular budget gyms for students to join, thanks to its low membership prices and flexibility. They have over 300 sites across the nation, so you’re very likely to find one of their branches near you.

They don’t offer a student gym membership per se, but they occasionally run student promotions or £0 sign-up fees for you to take advantage of.

Here are the levels of PureGym memberships you can join, depending on your needs:

  1. Off-peak
    • From £9.99*
    • Your access is limited to off-peak hours, which are typically the quieter hours to train
    • Book free classes 8 days in advance
  2. Core
    • From £12.99*
    • Get unrestricted access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
    • Book classes 8 days in advance
    • Enjoy multi-gym access for just £2 extra
    • Add “Bolt-ons” such as guest access, massage chairs, sports water and more
  3. Plus
    • From £18.99*
    • Get unrestricted access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
    • Book classes up to 14 days in advance
    • Access multiple gyms at the same price, or lower than your monthly rate
    • Bring a guest up to 4 times a month
    • Freeze your membership at no cost for up to 3 months when you’re not using the gym.

Benefits of PureGym

  1. Their monthly gym packages all come with no contract, meaning you aren’t tied to anything and can leave whenever you need to
  2. Although there’s no exclusive student gym membership package, they have flexible packages that cover a range of budgets
  3. Core and Plus benefits provide tons of flexibility on your own terms.

JD Gyms

dumbell rack with woman using dumbells in distance

JD Gyms ranks pretty high in the top cheap gym memberships list, as they’re pretty popular and have seriously good monthly prices. They’re another budget gym that often runs a fair few no-joining-fee promotions, which are worth taking advantage of as they can slash your start-up costs.

Again, there’s no student-specific membership, but they do offer the following:

  1. Standard JD Gyms membership
    • £19.99 per month
    • No joining fee or contract
    • Free classes included
    • Can go peak or off-peak
    • Access to main gym only
  2. Plus+ JD Gyms membership
    • £25 per month
    • No joining fee
    • No contract
    • Classes included
    • Can go peak or off-peak
    • Get 10% off at JD Sports online as part of the membership
    • Use any JD Gym site you want.

Benefits of JD Gyms

  1. Their Plus+ membership grants tons of discounts to other brands besides JD Sports, such as Applied Nutrition, Apple, ASDA, MyProtein, GO Outdoors and much more
  2. Some gyms have a separate male and female sauna
  3. Over 300 classes up for grabs a month, including Le Mills, Boxercise, HIIT, Yoga, Spin and much more.

If you’re wanting that JD discount, then you’ll be pleased to know we offer exclusive JD Sports student discounts you can use site-wide.

easyGym

If you’re based in Bradford, Slough, Basildon, Bradford or Camberwell then you’re in luck. easyGym is a budget gym owned by you guessed it, the easyJet group. They start from around £12.99 for off-peak memberships and are a little more for flexible/peak times. That’s pretty good when it comes to cheap gym memberships.

Here’s what easyGym offer in a bit more detail:

  1. Monthly membership
    • £19.99 a month
    • £10 joining fee
    • Regular monthly payments
    • No contract, meaning you can cancel at any time
  2. Off-Peak membership
    • £12.99 a month
    • This membership is valid on Weekends and Mondays to Fridays during the following periods:
      • 9.30 to 11.30
      • 14.30 to 16.30
      • 21.30 to 5.00
    • Monthly rolling membership
    • No Contract
  3. Day Pass
    • £6.99 for the day
    • Full access to the gym at any time*
    • Do not book after 9pm for same-day use
  4. 3-month membership
    • £53.99 (£17.99 per month) — moves to a monthly membership at the end of the 3-month term
    • No contract
  5. 12 months for the price of 10
    • £199.90 (equivalent to £16.66 per month)
    • 1 free 30-day freeze
    • Moves to monthly rolling contract at the end of the 12-month term

Benefits of easyGyms

  1. Equipped with top of the range kit
  2. London-exclusive gyms
  3. International clubs in France
  4. Suggest a gym they should open up in!
  5. Some gyms offer up to 3 hours of free parking.

Better

power rack with weights barbell mirror and dumbell rack

Better has gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools throughout the UK. You can choose the type of membership you want based on what you’ll actually use. In fact, their student membership claims to offer inclusive access to over 200 locations across the UK and their facilities, free PT, refer a friend scheme and much more.

And if you just want to try it out for now, you can book day passes to give it a whirl before you commit.

Better gyms have tons of cheap gym memberships to choose from:

  1. Monthly
    • Better Health UK membership
      • Get UK-wide access to gyms, pools and fitness classes at over 200 centres. Plus services on demand and ‘Give it a Go’ support programme
    • Better Health (area or centre)
      • Anytime access to your local gym, swimming pool and fitness classes, including services on demand and ‘ Give it a Go’ support programme
    • Better Health Saver (off-peak)
      • Off peak access to your local gym, swimming pool and fitness classes at a competitive price, and much more
    • Student membership
      • With gyms & leisure centres across the UK, we have great value memberships for Students, with no minimum contract and flexible ways to pay
      • Over 200 centres across the UK (except Camden Leisure centres or Charlton Lido)
      • Cardio, resistance, functional, weight and stretch zones
      • All Better swimming pools across the UK
      • Full fitness class programme
    • Concessionary membership
    • Inclusive UK
    • Better Health Senior
    • Better Health Junior
  2. Daily passes
    • If you just want short-term access from as little as a day or up to 30 days, you can select how many days you want all-inclusive access to the gym, swimming and fitness classes on offer.

Am I eligible for a cheap gym membership as a student?

Better gym memberships are available to anyone aged 16+ with the following evidence to show student status:

  • Student ID card with the academic year, full name and name of the school/college/university
  • Student profile with the academic year and full name
  • Acceptance letter from university/college/sixth form with the academic year and full name

Benefits of Better gyms

  1. Inclusive classes
  2. Absolutely tons of packages to choose from depending on your needs, therefore reducing costs where needed
  3. Better UK app lets you book classes in advance (depending on your membership
  4. Gyms, pools and leisure centres across 268 UK locations and counting.

ClassPass

ClassPass is on the slightly more expensive end of the spectrum, but we’d still class it as one of the best cheap gym memberships to have, particularly if classes are more your thing. It’s perfect for those after classes that aren’t usually in gyms. It also gives you the flexibility to try out tons of different classes, spas, salons, wellness centres and venues. It works by buying credits, the cheapest being £35 a month for 25 credits.

You can also get one month free if you sign up for the first time.

Here are the packages on offer with ClassPass, based in London:

  1. £15 for 9 credits
  2. £35 for 25 credits
  3. £65 for 50 credits
  4. £125 for 100 credits
  5. £149 for 125 credits

Benefits of ClassPass

  1. Book classes & appointments worldwide
  2. Adjust or cancel your plan at any time
  3. Invite friends to join you and score rewards for each friend who signs up.

Council-owned gyms

You may have noticed council-owned gyms in your area, and are probably one of the best cheap gym memberships to get your hands on. The equipment might not be to the same standard as you’d find in other gyms (though, some can be the same, depending on which council-owned gym you join), but they usually offer a student gym membership and are a good option for the basics.

Cheap alternatives to a gym membership

person stretching on yoga mat at home in natural light

Gyms cost money. We can’t change that.

But there are cheaper alternatives to gym memberships if they’re simply not a viable option. Plus, a lot of these can be done in the comfort of your own home. Such as:

  • YouTube workout videos
  • Exercise apps (like couch to 5k or 7 minute workout)
  • TikTok exercise videos
  • University gyms and sports societies
  • Using home exercise equipment
  • Utilising your furniture for exercise
  • Going junkfood-free

Plus, these apps below can literally pay you to exercise:

  • Sweatcoin
  • BetterPoints
  • Winwalk

Read: Our Top 10 Gymshark Products To Wear While Working Up A Sweat At Home.

How to save money on a gym membership

person about to deadlift loaded barbell with trainers and shorts

Here are some ways to get a cheap gym membership.

1. Use your student discount

Use your student card to prove your student status, even if they aren’t advertised because it’s always worth asking the question. Plus, you can sign up to Student Beans to get student health and fitness discounts!

2. Go off-peak

Check if the gym you want to sign up for has off-peak memberships. They often won’t advertise this for obvious reasons, so definitely ask the question.

Typically, off-peak times are between 9-5. So if you have time in the day (which let’s face it, as students you probably do!), you can take advantage and save cash on your gym membership.

3. Check if you’re paying monthly or yearly

This might seem obvious, but you could make your gym membership cheaper if you actually look at what’s going on with your monthly direct debit. Are you actually paying a premium for extra facilities you don’t use, or found a deal that saves you cash if you switch to a yearly payment? It’s always worth checking out.

4. Get free gym trials

Tons of gyms and leisure centres offer a trial period which is usually around 1-14 days. Take advantage of these where you can. These gyms offer free passes:

5. Switch to pay-as-you-go

Do you barely make it to the gym more than once a week? Then a pay-as-you-go might work out a lot cheaper for you. Being realistic can really save you tens, even hundreds of pounds during your studies.

6. Switch to a basic gym membership

Got all the frills like a swimming pool and spa? Question…when was the last time you used them? Gym-only passes are typically much cheaper. Again, it literally saves to be more realistic with the facilities you use. Pay for what you need rather than the niceties.

7. Ask yourself if you really need a gym membership

Do you want a gym membership just in the hopes that one day you’ll go? Deep down, if the gym just isn’t doing it for you, don’t ignore it. It could be that you’d prefer classes or another form of exercise instead.

Use free methods of working out at home or outdoors. Alternatively, get some new gym wear to get you motivated and make it a point to try something new. You really can stay fit and build muscle with home workouts!

8. Get referral codes

Some gyms, like PureGym, allow you to refer a friend or bring one along a few times a month. This will give them a reward too, so it’s worth checking in with your friends to get a referral code towards a cheap gym membership.

9. Pay for a yearly membership

We touched on this briefly, but switching to a yearly membership can actually save you money in the long run. Bear in mind that we only recommend this if you’re serious about making gym going a regular part of your routine.

10. Haggle

If you walk into the gym, chances are you’ll be spoken to by someone in their sales team. This is so they can earn commission and hey, they’re just doing their job.

Some may say no on the spot, meaning you don’t sign up. But we can almost guarantee you’ll get a text, call or email with a better price. Never settle for less and grab that cheap gym membership!

Things to consider for cheap gym memberships

woman stretching doing yoga on yoga mat in front of pale wall and plant to the right

Maybe you really can’t afford to pay for your gym membership, or you’ve found a good deal elsewhere and want out.

You need to know your rights when it comes to cancelling your gym membership. Here’s some things to look out for.

Freeze your membership

Some gyms allow you to freeze your membership for a certain amount of time for a set number of times a year. It could be worth doing this until you feel ready to pay for the gym again.

Check the contract

If your gym tries to sign you on for more than a year then this could be breaking legislation. It’s currently deemed unfair by the High Court. This guide to unfair contract terms may help you out.

Is your membership clear?

If you’re feeling unsure, the chances are, it’s not. Check your contract, ring or email the gym to get clarity.

Which cheap gym memberships catch your eye? Now’s a great time to think about it in time for the new year, especially if fitness is one of your New Years resolution ideas too!

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