#31 Mecca Gym & Spa— Austin, TX from 31 Best Gyms in America
31 Best Gyms in America
#31 Mecca Gym & Spa— Austin, TX
Mecca Gym and Spa might be a place where members can workout, but what this luxury fitness facility is really all about is rejuvenation and relaxation. While Mecca offers top-of-the-line fitness equipment and a staff of highly-experienced trainers, it places the highest priority on catering to the wellness and lifestyle of its members. Luxurious locker rooms are decked with everything from complimentary toiletries to eucalyptus steam rooms and the gym’s cafe menu features smoothies, “spa meals,” and even a selection of wine and beer, making it a space perfect for gym-goers who love to unwind after a workout.
#30 Las Vegas Sports Performance— Las Vegas, NV
The word “performance” is no accident: this box gym is less a gym than a comprehensive performance training center. Its highly specialized programs—focusing on such aspects as speed, explosive power and strength—are geared towards serious athletes and seriously goal-oriented non-athletes. Whether you’re a pro cyclist looking to boost your power numbers or a highly-motivated civilian recovering from an ACL injury, LVSP has a program for you. (Co-owner Greg Choat also happens to be a USA Cycling-certified expert-level coach.) Want to follow your progress? Log in to the website to see your training logs. Of course, this level of attention comes with a price: 4-week memberships range from $250 for two days a week to $450 for four days a week, and $150 per hour of private training. But if you just want to give it a test run, LVSP also offers a drop-in Total Body Burn class for only $20.
#29 Title Boxing Club— Various Locations
Nobody gets hit at this nationwide chain of boxing gym franchises, but that doesn’t mean you won’t knock out some serious calories. It’s signature Power Hour class is purported to burn 1,000 calories through a combination of cardio, bag time and body sculpting exercises. Gloves not included after the first round.
#28 Snap Fitness— Various Locations
You don’t go to Snap Fitness for the amenities, because, well, there usually aren’t any. With over 1,400 franchise locations, many of which are 24/7, Snap is all about ubiquity, access and just plain working out. Prices are typically in the $30 to $50 range per month for individuals, depending on location.
#27 Life Time Fitness— Various Locations
This chain of over one-hundred 24/7 suburban fitness centers is to the typical gym what Best Buy is to your local electronics store: big box fitness. Membership, which is in the sub-$100 range for individuals (month-to-month is available), gets you access to free classes, pool and sauna, the latest equipment and even two free hours of childcare per visit. It’s the sheer volume and variety of additional offerings, though, that set Life Time apart: it has performance-oriented training programs for sports like running, cycling and swimming; weight loss programs and health monitoring; in-house spa and cafe; and even its own tri series for you to test out that new bod.
#26 D1 Sports Training— Various Locations
Calling itself “The Place for The Athlete,” D1 lives up to its motto. Current and aspiring champions train here, and it counts among its co-owners Peyton Manning and Tim Tebow. This 21-location chain of athletic-based training centers also operates an NFL Combine training program and trains athletes making the transition from college to the pros. You don’t have to be angling for a multi-million-dollar contract to join, though: there are programs for all ages, as well as family memberships and adult boot camps.
#25 E At Equinox— New York, NY
What does $25,000-a-year membership get you? According to trainer Todd Smith, it’s the personal attention of four or five coaches at any given time, he told the Wall Street Journal. It also gets you the best equipment money can buy, laundry service, a luxury spa and the top-level trainers in the Equinox chain’s stable—"Tier 4," they’re called. Put away your checkbooks, though: membership at this elite-level Equinox location in Manhattan’s Time Warner Center is by invitation only.
#24 Sports Club/LA— Various Locations
This luxury chain of fitness clubs—there are seven nationwide in Boston, New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Miami—combines the feel of a modern, state-of-the-art gym with that of a tony private club. Each location has over 100,000 square feet of equipment and free weights, full menus of classes (in the neighborhood of 100/week), an army of personal trainers and sport-specific coaches for hire. High-end daycare, in-house spas and gourmet dining are also the norm here. As expected, membership is for those who can afford it: it starts in the high $100s to low $200s per month (depending on location) and includes a $125 initiation fee.
#23 Nike World Headquarters— Beaverton, OR
You might not think to name a company’s fitness center as one of the country’s best gyms, but then again, not every company is Nike. Open to the 8,000 people employed at its Beaverton, Ore. headquarters (as well as their immediate families and Nike retirees), the two main facilities—the Bo Jackson and Nike Sports Centers—have all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a company that tells its employees, "If you have a body, you are an athlete": a combined 110,000 square feet with weights and cardio (duh), and indoor track and pools, a 34-foot climbing wall, fitness studios, spas, physical therapists and even on-staff masseurs. Which is not to mention all the outdoor facilities like tennis courts, track, basketball courts and regulation soccer pitches. How does anyone here find time to work?
#22 Bev Francis Powerhouse Gym— Syosset, NY
Founded by female powerlifting champ Bev Francis and her husband Steve Weinberger in 1986, this 30,000-square-foot gym is truly the “East Coast Mecca” of bodybuilding it claims to be. Its walls are lined with photos and jerseys of all the famous bodybuilders and professional athletes who’ve trained there, but that’s not the first thing you notice. What stands out is the endless sea of equipment and free weights targeting every part of the body. Since its inception, this gym has also expanded to include a full cardio center, group fitness, a mixed martial arts studio and a juice bar.
#21 The Institute of Human Performance— Boca Raton, FL
Founded by “functional fitness” guru JC Santana this cutting-edge gym in Boca Raton is stocked with pre-release machines by fitness equipment giant Technogym. With an atmosphere that’s as friendly to professional athletes as it is to single parents dropping in for a quick weight-loss session, IHP offers personal and semi-private training programs, indoor-outdoor bootcamps, and sport-specific conditioning.
#20 Anytime Fitness— Various Locations
The name says it all: this sprawling chain of franchise gyms has over 2,300 locations worldwide, all of which, it boasts, are open 24/7, 365 days a year—accessible by a special key given to all members. The low-cost membership—around $40 a month, depending on the location of your home gym—gets you access to the entire network. What you get is what you need for a simple, straightforward workout: cardio and strength training equipment that’s clean and available, free weights, online training tools and private bathrooms instead of crowded locker rooms. True, you won’t get group classes or a hip smoothie bar, but you won’t have to pay for those either.
#19 South Carolina Barbell— Columbia, SC
Yes, SCB is a bodybuilding gym. But according to BodyBuilding.com, it goes above and beyond what a weight-lifter might expect to find at a warehouse-type facility. In addition to standard lifting and cardio equipment, the facility offers services like mixed martial arts and yoga classes. Essentially, SCB knows there’s more to total-body fitness than just building up massive amounts of muscle. Owner Marc “Spud” Bartley, who’s also in the business of selling supplements like protein powder and energy drinks, set up a supplement shop right inside the gym, making it easier than ever for members to get their hands on the ever-important post-workout protein shake.
#18 Athletes' Performance
Founded in 1999, this integrated training center for elite and professional athletes has expanded from its original location in Tempe, Ariz., to six cities around the country, including outposts in California, Florida, Texas and North Carolina. (The Tempe branch re-located to Phoenix.) A high-end, scientific training enterprise, Athletes’ Performance gets serious athletes championship-ready starting at $500 a week, and has done so for gold medalists, all stars in every major sport and aspiring NFL players. Not an elite athlete? Three-month boot camps run for $1250 and other membership options are available, too. Only the serious need apply.
#17 Peak Performance— New York, NY
Peak Performance takes great pride in their staff of highly-qualified trainers because while their 10,000-square-foot facility doesn’t skimp on quality equipment, the New York City studio first and foremost believes that knowledge is the key to achieving any fitness goal. But their expertly educated trainers don’t come cheap. Peak Performance trainers are separated into tiers (bronze, silver, gold, and platinum), and of course, the higher the level the more they cost. Expect to shell out $140 for a session with a bronze-level trainer, and if you’re after the platinum Peak experience, well, you’ll have to call for those rates.
#16 Crunch— Various Locations
When Crunch opened its first location in 1989, it set out on a simple mission: to make exercise fun. Crunch is all about being a judgment-free zone. Members never feel intimidated because Crunch has created a “culture of fun” and a workout space where everyone is welcome. By offering classes like Urban Rebounding (where participants “bounce through the rigors of city life” on a mini trampoline), Fat Burning Ballet (classic ballet with the intensity turned up), and Total Request Ride (members pick the spin class playlist, Carson Daly not included) crunch has trashed the perception of what a traditional workout should be and made the gym-going experience more enjoyable for the average exerciser.
#15 Drive495— New York, NY
“A stronger body means a better game;” that’s the Drive495 motto. Specializing in golf-specific training, this specialty studio is on a mission to prove its influence as the best golf training facility in the country. The first facility of its kind in all of New York City, Drive495 prides itself on its highly-qualified staff of trainers, a hands-on management approach, and a high-end, uncrowded atmosphere. The most impressive feature of all, though: giant-screen golf simulators that allow members to “play” their favorite courses like Pebble Beach or Spyglass Hill all from the comfort of the gym’s swanky SoHo studio.
#14 Parisi Speed School— Various Locations
The Parisis speed school is all about improving athletic performance, and with over 75 locations in 27 states across the U.S. it’s become a performance-enhancing powerhouse of sorts. Started by former All-American track athlete Bill Parisi, the program places a strong emphasis on not only improving speed and strength but boosting participants' self-confidence too. When it comes down to it all, the school’s foundations rest on two important principles: “great physical training strategies taught by great coaches.”
#13 Metroflex Gym— Various Locations
In the words of owner Brian Dobson, Metroflex Gym trainees are “hardcore pit bull warrior athletes.” Hardcore body builders, pro power-lifters and all types of elite athletes workout at Metroflex for one reason: to realize their goals. “It's all about knowledge and hard work,” says Dobson who founded the gym in 1987 as an antidote to the commercialized fitness industry he was beginning to grow tired of. Following the motto “break from conformity,” in its more than 20 years as a leading gym for body builders, Metroflex has trained hundreds of champions and to this day continues to attract athletes in search of a truly authentic hardcore training facility.
#12 Quads Gym— Chicago, IL
Experienced exercisers know that a good gym is much more than just a space filled with high-quality equipment. The best gyms provide members with an outstanding atmosphere, too. Quad’s is well known for going above and beyond when it comes to both of these qualities, which is why it happens to be one of Chicago’s most popular places to workout. Founded more than 35 years ago by two best friends in search of a no-frills space to “lift weights and get stronger,” today the gym hasn’t strayed too far from its owners’ original vision; but it certainly has made strides within the Chicago fitness scene. Quad’s can attest much of its success to its enthusiastic community of members and a friendly exercise environment. One Yelp reviewer wrote, “I mean how many gyms, let alone businesses in general these days can you find the owner working the counter?”
#11 DeFranco's— Wyckoff, NJ
This warehouse gym from Wyckoff continues to appear on “best gym” lists time and time again, which is why it’s not much of a shocker that our readers voted it to the top of our own rankings. A workout here is no walk on the treadmill, though. DeFranco’s is known for its innovative approach to strength-building. “From the moment each athlete steps into the gym, he/she must be ready to give maximum effort, and that is the environment we try to create for them every day,” owner Joe DeFranco told Greatist in 2012. In other words, it’s no workout space for the average exerciser, but for athletes and trainees with lofty athletic goals, it’s one of the top training facilities of the entire east coast.
#10 LA Fitness— Various Locations
In 2011 DailyFinance.com declared LA Fitness as one of the best gym memberships for your money. So it comes as no surprise that our readers (who chose cost as the most important factor when it comes to choosing a gym) voted LA Fitness as one of the top big box gyms on our list. Their current online promotion offers new members a $99.99 initiation fee and a no-contract $29.99 monthly payment. Below average monthly dues doesn’t mean LA Fitness skimps out on amenities though. Some clubs are open 24-hours a day and all feature complimentary group fitness classes, indoor heated pools and saunas, full locker room facilities, personal training, babysitting services, and juice bars.
#9 Town Sports International— Various Locations
With new classes like “Thor’s Thunder Workout,” the “Train Like a Tribute” Hunger Games themed routine, and their signature high-intensity interval program called UXF, TSI takes pride in creating a community atmosphere that offers its members interesting and inventive ways to workout. Parent to New York Sports Clubs, Boston Sports Clubs, Washington Sports Clubs, and Philadelphia Sports Clubs, TSI operates more than 155 East Coast clubs with close to 500,000 members. Exercisers on a tight schedule tout TSI gyms for their convenient “Xpress Line” 22-minute total body workout, which targets every major muscle group with a simple eight-station circuit.
#8 YMCA— Various Locations
No doubt, the YMCA is way more than just a gym. Its roots go all the way back to 1844 when it was developed to emphasize the practice of Christian principles through the achievement of a healthy “body, mind and spirit.” Today, YMCA clubs are centered on providing members with a caring community and an environment that makes fitness available to exercisers of all ages and abilities. And their dedication to encouraging healthier lifestyles goes beyond just exercise. Clubs also offer access to programs that cover everything from chronic disease and injury rehab to pregnancy and wellness coaching.
#7 Equinox— Various Locations
Known for offering members a high-end exercise experience, Equinox caters to the gym-goer in search of more than just a place to work out. In addition to forward-thinking fitness programs and top-notch personal trainers and exercise instructors, Equinox clubs across the country offer spa amenities and wellness treatments; access to stylish active wear via their in-house shops; and locker rooms stocked with high-quality skin and hair care products by Kiehl’s. To put it quite simply, one reader commented, “I love the Equinox experience.”
#6 CrossFit Hardcore— Various Locations
With eight locations throughout the area of Southeast Florida, CrossFit Hardcore is making its mark in the world of WODs. With convenient class schedules that offer a number of different workout times throughout the day, each gym makes it easy for its members to find time for exercise. Not that a dedicated CrossFit-er would ever think twice about skipping their WOD; especially not one who trains at CFHC where community and teamwork are valued above all else.
#5 24 Hour Fitness— Various Locations
Stealing the second-place chain gym spot on our list, 24 Hour Fitness has been noted time and time again for its convenience and affordability. With more than 400 U.S. locations, most of which are open 24 hours a day, it’s really no exaggeration to say that 24 Hour Fitness members can workout anywhere, anytime. Most locations offer a wide range of group exercise classes like boot camp, cycling, kickboxing, and Zumba, and some clubs even offer extra amenities like heated pools, racquetball courts, saunas, steam rooms, and massage therapy.
#4 Gold's Gym— Various Locations
Strength and staying power are two virtues that Gold’s knows a lot about. Since the opening of its first location in 1965, the fitness giant has expanded to serve more than 3 million members in 38 states across the U.S. and 28 countries across the world. The gym is dedicated to providing its members with effective strength-building programs and was noted in Fitness Magazine’s 2010 list of the best gyms in America for having exceptional availability of free weights, expert personal trainers, and innovative strength-building group exercise classes.
#3 Reebok CrossFit 5th Ave— New York, NY
With the sport’s ever growing popularity, no one’s shocked that two CrossFit gyms earned top spots on our list. What separates this 5th Avenue box apart from the rest though, is its prime location in the heart of New York City. And despite being located in a city known for being short on space, the facility boasts a 10,000 square-foot spread with 12 Olympic lifting platforms, 12 rowing machines, climbing ropes, free weights, and every other piece of essential CrossFit equipment. On top of it all, the gym is equipped with an expert staff of coaches and a handful of programs to choose from, making it one of the best boxes in the entire Big Apple.
#2 Super Training Gym— Sacramento, CA
Self-proclaimed as “the strongest gym in the west,” the Sacramento-based Super Training Gym is a paradise for power-lifters. Founded in 2006 by former professional wrestler Mark Bell, the gym prides itself on being home to members who all share one important goal: to get better. And by better, Super Training Gym members mostly mean stronger, bigger, and faster. STG may not be a workout space for the average exerciser, but its robust community of dedicated and passionate members helped land it a top spot on our list.
#1 Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning— Massachusetts
Athletes who train at MBSC have access to some of the best performance enhancing training programs and personal trainers in the entire country. Mike Boyle’s influence reaches far beyond the gym’s three Massachusetts locations though. With a blog full of valuable training tips and an informative podcast that shares many of the renowned gym’s fundamentals with athletes and fitness professionals all over the world, MBSC is much more than just a gym. Dubbed the fitness facility with the most knowledgeable staff by one reader, this gym earned our number one spot not only because of its top-notch staff, but also because of the passionate community of enthusiastic exercisers that it has inspired.