In an era where monthly gym memberships can run upwards of $150, Blink Fitness is a welcome, budget-friendly alternative from the team behind the high-end chain Equinox. The gym’s no-frills atmosphere means fewer amenities like towels or group fitness classes, but at just $20/month since it opened its first location in January 2011, Blink Fitness may be bringing the workout back to the working class.

Wait, That Means No Juice Bar? — Analysis

Blink isn’t the first low-cost, low-amenity gym (Planet Fitness has been around since 1992 and runs about $15/month) and hopefully it’s not the last. Rather, it’s one company’s budget-friendly response to the fitness industry’s trend of boutique, class-specific studios like SoulCycle and Physique 57—as well as a mass exodus from full service gyms. At $20/month, gym-goers get what they pay for. Read: no free towels, no group classes, no juice bars, no spa, and no free afternoon full orchestra session with NY Philharmonic (wait, is that last one just in my gym?). Front desk attendees are replaced by kiosks and personal trainers by workout printouts, though there are on-hand experts to assist with machines if needed.

But what Blink Fitness does offer is over 100 pieces of equipment from brand-names such as Life Fitness and Precor (the same stuff that’s spotted in more expensive gyms) as well as a stretching area with easy-to-follow, full-body workout graphics. While some gym-goers rely on perks like chilled eucalyptus towels (don’t knock ‘em, they’re unbelievably refreshing), others just want a cheap place to sweat. Just because Blink’s a minimalist gym doesn’t mean it isn’t effective... assuming people actually go in the first place.

TL;DR

Strapped for cash? No need to choose between dinner and working out thanks to no-frills, budget-friendly gyms like Blink Fitness.

Updated October 2011.

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