The 31 Best Gyms in America 2015 from The 31 Best Gyms in America 2015
The 31 Best Gyms in America 2015
Starting with our original list of about 51 gyms (compiled from our round-up of the best gyms of 2013, publicly available stats, and other expert lists), we asked you to vote for your favorites—also allowing write-in votes to account for any gyms that weren't mentioned on the preliminary list. In compiling our ranking, we considered your votes with the most weight and from there gave points to the gyms that best exemplified the factors you said were most important (cleanliness, community, and membership cost). The results represent a healthy mix of all different types of gyms across the U.S. From well-known fitness franchises and small town training centers to some of the most upscale and exclusive clubs in the country, these are 2015's best American gyms.
#31 D1 Sports Training—Various Locations
Co-owned by Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning, D1 operates 21 athletic-based training facilities across the country. Many serious athletes train with D1, but the gym offers programs for exercisers of all ages and abilities. Training options range from sport-specific development for youth athletes all the way to low impact workouts for adults and even family-friendly packages.
#30 Nike World Headquarters Campus— Beaverton, Ore.
Two soccer fields, a tennis court, a putting green, and a running trail set on one of the most beautiful fitness spaces in the country; we would expect nothing less from the super sports giant Nike. The campus is decorated with their sponsored pros memorabilia and statutes in their likenesses, some pros have even visited. The man-made Lake Nike brings it all together in the middle of campus and though this gym isn't open to everyone, it tops the list on wow factor alone.
#29 Bev Francis Powerhouse Gym—Syosset, NY
For serious lifters and bodybuilders aiming to make serious “gains,” this gym, founded by female powerlifting champion Bev Francis, has been dubbed the “East Coast Mecca.” Established in 1986, the gym has been a go-to training facility for hardcore weight lifters for almost 30 years. Bev Francis prides itself on offering hassle-free, “no-hype” memberships for both short- and long-term trainees and provides one-on-one training services, personalized fitness programs, and a fully-stocked pro shop.
#28 South Carolina Barbell— Columbia, SC
South Carolina Barbell isn't your typical bodybuilding gym, it's focus on total body fitness across multiple platforms shatters that stereotype. With mixed martial arts and yoga classes in addition to the cardio and strength equipment, this fitness facility has it all. Add to that the array of supplements available in the gym and South Carolina Barbell is practically a one stop fitness shop.
#27 Exos (Formerly Athletes’ Performance)—Various Locations
This training center for elite and professional athletes may have rebranded its name and look, but its all-around high-quality standards haven’t changed a bit. With a core focus on improving performance, Exos’ main goal is to help each client “defy average.” Phoenix Ariz. is the gym’s flagship location (it was originally opened in Tempe) and since its inception in 1999 the brand has expanded to several more locations across the country, all of which include top of the line amenities. For example, among a 7,404-square-foot training space, the San Diego Calif. facilities include an EAS Sports nutrition bar, physical therapy treatment space, private massage rooms, and an athletes’ lounge.
#26 Peak Performance—New York, N.Y.
This top gym based in New York City boats an expert staff and a state-of-the-art facility, both of which are ready to meet your personal fitness goals. In order to help with lifestyle changes, Peak Performance also offers nutritional consulting, massage therapy, and laundry services.
#25 Drive 495—New York, N.Y.
This New York City gym specializes in golf-specific training, offering members top-tier trainers and uncrowded, up-scale facilities that are unrivaled by any other golf training gyms in the country. Most impressive of all: the club’s giant cinema-style golf simulators allow members to virtually play their favorite courses around the world without ever having to leave Manhattan.
#24 Metroflex Gym—Various Locations
If you've ever wondered where those super ripped guys and girls went after the Planet Fitness lunk alarm sounded, Metroflex Gym is the place. This gym caters specifically to competitive bodybuilders, even offering diet help and posing tips for no extra charge. Planet Fitness can poke fun all they want but Metroflex has trained more than 100 champion bodybuilders, powerlifters, and martial artists.
#23 Quads Gym— Chicago, Ill.
As one of the most popular places to workout in Chicago, this gym offers members both high-quality exercise equipment and an exceptional atmosphere. The facility was founded over 35 years ago by two friends in search of a no-nonsense workout space. Their goal was to create a gym where members could simply “lift weights and get stronger” and current members say that Quads still exemplifies that sentiment today. One online review praised the gym for catering to members who are concerned with one thing: results.
#22 DeFranco’s Gym at the Onnit Academy —Austin, Texas
Previously located in Wyckoff, N.J., DeFranco's is no typical gym, it's a finely tuned training space, building some of the strongest athletes out there. The pro clientele includes 13-time world champion of the WWE Triple H, linebacker for the Houston Texans Brian Cushing, and pro rugby player Alex Corbosiero, among many others. The hardcore gym has also been featured in many fitness publications, further cementing its elite status.
#21 Curves—Various Locations
This women-only gym is well known for its upbeat strength training classes designed to target every major muscle group in just 30-minutes. The franchise boasts a realistic but still effective approach to health and fitness that helps busy women conquer the many challenges associated with diet and exercise. The gym recently teamed up with Jillian Michaels to provide members with innovative workouts that combine the gym’s signature strength training routines with functional bodyweight exercises for ultimate strength-building and fat-burning effects.
#20 Town Sports International—Various Locations
You probably know this chain of gyms better by their regional names—Town Sports International owns Boston, Washington, Philadelphia, and New York Sports Clubs, and they also operate three fitness centers in Switzerland. Starting at $40, all facilities offer group fitness classes and select locations offer basketball courts, pools and saunas.
#19 Retro Fitness—Various Locations
In addition to up-to-date facilities, personal training services, and other typical gym amenities like group fitness classes and smoothie bars, what’s most impressive about Retro Fitness is its affordability. For just $19.99 a month members gain access to every single Retro Fitness facility across the country, many of which feature extra amenities like cardio movie theaters, physical therapy, and P90X classes.
#18 Blink Fitness—Various Locations
Blink Fitness thinks of everything, right down to the colors of the walls in their gyms. They say the colors used are scientifically proven to enhance your workout, the music selection is carefully chosen to boost motivation, and their staff puts mood above muscle to give you the best possible experience. Starting at $15 a month, Blink Fitness has more than 35 locations in the Northeast and they’re growing, so they’re certainly onto something.
#17 Planet Fitness—Various Locations
Planet Fitness prides itself on providing the everyday exerciser with “judgment-free” workout zones, calling other fitness facilities out for catering to members who exhibit “Lunky behavior”, intimidating other members as a result. And not only is this fitness franchise on a mission to offer a more welcoming and relaxing exercise atmosphere, but with their most exclusive membership package topping off at just $19.99 per month, they’re offering one of the most affordable all-access gym memberships in the country.
#16 The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers—New York, N.Y.
Simply put, a New York icon. The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers offers almost anything you could need when it comes to fitness: three full-sized basketball courts, a six lane 25-yard lap pool, indoor rock climbing, sand volleyball, specialized triathlon training—and that’s just scratching the surface. “Best gym or sports club of New York, and possibly of the entire country,” said one reviewer.
#15 The Institute of Human Performance—Boca Raton, Fla.
IHP caters to all types of exercisers and athletes, providing a facility that caters to everyone from weight loss candidates and physical therapy patients to serious athletes and weight lifters. The Florida-based gym offers a variety of membership plans, personal and semi-private training programs, and even sport specific conditioning programs. One online review praised the facility for its up-to-date equipment and fitness gadgets. “All the trainers and clients are so supportive and cheer you on as you are working hard,” she wrote. “This is a place to go in, work hard, and go home.”
#14 Mike Boyle Strength & Conditioning—Mass.
Three locations in Massachusetts round out the line-up for this fitness brand, proving that less is sometimes more. The team at Mike Boyle Strength & Conditioning includes an in-house physical therapist, five massage therapists and a team of professional training staff, ready to take care of whatever you need. Whether recovering from injury or just looking to get in the best shape possible, the team at MBSC is there to help you take on that challenge.
#13 Train Station—Saint Albans, Vt.
This gym may be located in a small town, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t well loved. The Vermont facility promises to help members “reach their destination” (aka their goals) quickly and effectively through personal training programs, unique classes, and a non-intimidating atmosphere. One voter said they love this gym for its “great hometown feel” and exceptional staff.
#12 Club 24—Conn.
This Connecticut-based fitness franchise offers members a little more than just the weights and ellipticals--group classes, tanning, and massage is included in the membership, which starts at $5 a week, after the $10 enrollment fee. There’s also a cardio cinema and smoothie bar at select locations. There are currently six Club Fitness 24 centers, but they’ll be adding another gym soon.
#11 LA PALESTRA Center for Preventative Medicine—New York, NY
LA PALESTRA operates several upscale fitness facilities within New York City, calling itself “a hybrid between the medical and fitness industry.” Their Center for Preventative Medicine is a swanky Manhattan fitness center that caters only to those who an cough up the cash for its pricey membership, which according to NY Magazine is somewhere in the range of $300 a month. Housed within the historic Hotel Des Artistes, the interior boasts exquisite architecture and relaxed lighting with the aims of serving as a tranquil escape from a busy urban environment. This particular location features exercise equipment, as well as physical therapy rooms, patient seminar and examination rooms, and even offices for doctors.
#10 Anytime Fitness—Various Locations
More than 2,400 locations worldwide and you can access any of them with a basic membership—that really sets this gym apart. Anytime Fitness is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with clean and secure facilities. The average cost of membership is $39 and based on the sheer number of locations in 19 different countries, this membership might be the perfect choice for the frequent traveler.
# 9 LA Fitness—Various Locations
One of the country’s most popular big-box gyms, our readers wrote in to acknowledge LA Fitness for its convenience and affordability, also noting that many locations offer a wide variety of fun group exercise classes to choose from. “They have great group exercise class options and affordable memberships that allow you to attend multiple locations,” one reader said.
#8 Lifetime Fitness—Various Locations
In addition to large facilities outfitted with great equipment, Lifetime Fitness offers childcare at many of their locations, which accommodate children as young as three months old, all the way up to 12 years old. While parents get in a workout with a piece of mind, members can also enjoy pools, personal fitness instruction, and healthy food options at select locations.
#7 Equinox—Various Locations
This fitness franchise is known for its upscale amenities. Visit any Equinox club and you’ll find top-notch spa facilities, the trendiest group exercise classes, and even in-house apparel shops for buying the latest and greatest workout gear. Equinox isn’t just a gym, it’s an exercise experience of the most luxurious kind.
#6 24 Hour Fitness—Various Locations
With more than 400 gyms across America, all open 24 hours a day, this franchise offers maximum convenience and customization. Amenities vary by location, some offering just the essentials to get you fit, while others include saunas, steam rooms, and Kid’s Clubs. Memberships start at $30 a month and certified personal trainers can create customized training programs for an extra charge.
#5 Results U—Edgewater, Md.
This Maryland-based private gym prides itself on offering members a unique experience different from the “endless, boring cardio routine” that many gym-goers grow accustomed to. With a focus on weight loss and sports performance, the gym provides everything from youth and adult training programs to team camps designed for athletes who want to stay on top of their game during the off-season.
#4 Sporting Club at the Bellevue—Philadelphia, Pa.
Conveniently set in the center of Philadelphia, the Sporting Club at Bellevue is a 93,000-square-foot urban fitness oasis. Praised for knowledgeable personal trainers, cleanliness, and a variety of amenities, the club is a big hit with Philly locals and out-of-town visitors alike. Just a few notable extras include the indoor track, boxing facilities and the full-size NBA basketball gym. As one member put it, “it’s more than a gym, it’s a club.”
#3 MVP Sports Clubs—Fla. and Mich.
This gym was an initial contender for our list last year, but it didn’t end up making the final cut. This year, it shot straight to the top of our rankings thanks to happy members who wrote in to let us know why it’s such a great place to work out. “I voted for MVP Sports Clubs because they are always taking my considerations into thought and constantly providing me with new and improved options for my needs,” one survey respondent said. Another touted its services writing in to say that MVP has exceptional group fitness classes, all of which are included in membership costs.
#2 Zenergy Health Club and Spa—Ketchum, Idaho
You haven’t seen a premier health club until you’ve seen Zenergy. The 48,000-square-foot facility offers guests an amazing spa, nail salon, hair studio, tanning services and then there’s the incredible fitness facilities. Of course there’s a cardio and strength training space, but there’s also tennis and squash courts, indoor cycling and a yoga studio, and we must mention the indoor and outdoor saline pools. Zenergy has been featured on CNBC.com and in Shape Magazine as one of the “coolest” and “most luxurious” health clubs in the country and it’s truly a one-of-a-kind experience.
#1 Parisi Speed School—Various Locations
Thanks to its enthusiastic members who are entirely satisfied with all this gym has to offer, Parisi Speed School effortlessly stole the number one spot on our best gyms list this year. The franchise has more than 85 locations in about 30 different states all with the mission of helping its members improve their athletic abilities. “[Parisi has] exceptionally enthusiastic and encouraging instructors,” one survey respondent said, adding that the gym will get results for anyone who puts the time in.