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In BuzzFeed’s “Worth It: Lifestyle” series, Steven Lim and his buddies try different experiences at three different price points: affordable, middle tier, and luxury — from airplane seats to cars to videos games. At the end of each episode, the gang decides which experience is the most “worth it” at its given price.

$40 GYM VS $10,000 GYM

For a comparison of gym memberships, Steven invited pregnant friend Kate along for a tour of three-gyms from least expensive to I-run-a-hedge-fund expensive.

BuzzFeedBlue judges $40 gym vs $10,000 gym

The investigative journey started in Santa Barbara, California at a modestly-priced, eco-friendly gym where patrons help power the facility with their exercise.


AC4 Fitness is a new club concept with a vision of a socially responsible, cutting-edge fitness center breaking down the traditional barriers of joining a health club. The weight room is kept cool with a massive 16-foot ceiling fan, lockers are made from recycled materials, and their water dispenser discourages disposable plastic bottle use.


Steven and Kate’s next stop was just down the California coast. The Los Angeles Athletic Club is a 12-story, 125,000 square-foot facility founded in 1880 that has counted Olympic athletes among its patrons from its earliest days.


The final stop on the gym tour, required a cross-country flight to New York City. A true hybrid, La Palestra provides programs that integrate comprehensive medical analysis and treatments with individually tailored exercise programs. The staff also designs and personally oversee programs for acute rehabilitation, general health improvement, and athletic performance.


In the end, Steven felt the green-minded AC4 was the best value for the money, while Kate liked the all-encompassing care provided by the very-pricey La Palestra.

One option not explored by the pair is the free exercise opportunities that can be found at local parks or schools, like the outdoor regimens popularized by Barstarzz.