The Best Gyms in America 2016

The Best Gyms in America 2016

The Best Gyms in America

One in five Americans go to a gym, or at least pay some kind of a membership, according to the 2016 IHRSA Global Report. There are more than 34,000 gyms in the U.S., and the tendency is for this number to increase every year. With so many options, choosing the right gym for you can be a difficult task. Facilities vary from size and equipment, to philosophy, amenities and services.

Between fitness classes, top-notch personal training options and advanced equipment, these gyms take pride in helping their members achieve their goals. The options seem endless, which is why we asked you to help rank the best gym in America. We compiled a list of more than 60 regional, franchise, and specialty gyms; based on publically available stats, other expert lists and gym goers’ comments.

The final ranking is based on our own survey results. You were able to cast your vote, as well as write the name of a fitness center that was not on the list. This helped us narrow the list down to the Top 30.

Below is a representation of your votes. These are the best gyms in America.

#30 LA PALESTRA Center for Preventative Medicine - New York

La Palestra, “a hybrid between the medical and fitness industry, was named Best Health Care Project by Interiors magazine. The gym is a “unique combination of landmark architecture, exercise technology, and modern comfort, occupying 14,000 square feet on two levels.” Members enjoy physical therapy services, steam rooms and cardio seminars. The gym has facilities for members to swim, train like Olympians, and exercise in groups or privately. What sets it apart, other than its design, is the “explore” program where you sign up to go trekking, hiking, rock climbing and mountaineering.

#29 Lifetime Fitness – Various Locations

Photo by Life Time Fitness via Yelp

This chain of more than 100 24/7 suburban fitness centers is to the typical gym, what Best Buy is to your local electronics store – big box fitness. Basic membership starts at $30 a month and gets you access to free classes, pool and sauna. VIP memberships, which include unlimited group fitness, limited free tanning and personal training, among other perks, costs $49.95 per person, per month. Childcare is also available. It’s the sheer volume and variety of additional offerings 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.

#28 Element Fitness – Kansas

Photo by Element Fitness via Yelp

Element Fitness is your “friendly neighborhood” gym. “Members receive all-access to Element's strength and cardio equipment, nationally accredited group fitness classes, heated pool and sauna. The club hosts three exclusive studios with over ninety classes a week, including Les Mills, Spinning, ZUMBA, Yoga and Aquatics.” The gym prides itself on its experienced professional staff of knowledgeable and outgoing personal trainers, group fitness instructors and massage therapists. The club also has kids hours during which exercisers can work out while the littles ones play and have fun. Potential members get a free 7-day pass. Fees range between $30 a month – $15 for students – and $90.

#27 Lucille Roberts - Various Locations

Lucille Roberts is a gym for women only, specializing in weight loss, exercise, yoga, and personal training. The goal is to make health and fitness easy. Non-members get three free days to try it out. With many classes ranging from Zumba to HIIT, full body sweat sessions are certainly fun, and challenging. Cross training and kickboxing are also available. So are various dance classes such as House Party Fitness and Striptease. Target training classes that focus on arms, core or Brazilian Butt are also popular. Gold Membership provides exercisers with access to babysitting facilities and discounts on personal training.

#26 Downtown Family YMCA – Louisville, Kentucky

The variety of programs offered at Downtown Family YMCA in Louisville is astounding – swim lessons, diabetes prevention, weight loss challenges, team training, boot camps, to name a few. The gym’s every day goal is to bring people – kids, adults and families – closer together while boosting their health. Members make the most of group exercise classes, walking and jogging tracks, as well as the Pilate studio, 25-yard indoor heated swimming pool, wellness class and cycling studios, handball and racquetball courts, climbing wall, and many strength training and free weights. Monthly membership fees range from $37 to $89.

#25 The Facility for Personal Training – Boca Raton, Florida

Men’s Fitness ranked the Facility for Personal Training in Boca Raton one of the top gyms in the entire country and No. 1 in Florida. The facility is an exclusive, state-of-the-art environment with a focus solely on personal trainers and the needs of their clients. Members like it because it’s all about working out with a lot of experts and no crowds or socialites. Exercisers are never unaccompanied and are always supervised by a trainer. People can actually bring their own trainer. There is no initiation or monthly membership fee.

#24 Crunch Fitness - Various Locations

Crunch Fitness has just one mission – to make fitness fun. The gym is all about being a no judging, nurturing and encouraging kind of place. Members never feel overwhelmed 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), crunch has trashed the perception of what a traditional workout should be and made the gym-going experience more enjoyable for the average exerciser.

#23 The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers – New York

In a science-fictional world, the Sports Center at Chelsea Piers would be its own mega-city. The facility is dubbed New York's most inspiring gym. It says it has more space, more sports and more world-class trainers and instructors than any other health club in the city. You can train for triathlons and use the indoor pools, tracks and bike rooms. Other sports you can practice are barre, boxing, Pilates, powerlifting, rowing, swimming and yoga. Team building events with people playing (indoor) sand volleyball, basketball, dodgeball tournaments, and rock climbing are popular. The gorgeous views of the Hudson River are just a bonus. Full access to the swank facility is about $100 a month.

#22 Curves – Various Locations

Curves International, Inc. is one of the largest chains of fitness centers for women in the world. The gyms are known for their 30-minute Circuit that works every major muscle group in the body with strength training, cardio and stretching. A variety of classes to suit every gym-goer’s needs and abilities are offered – from body balance and boxing, to dance and Jillian Michaels workouts. Members get make the most of other services such as meal plans, including on the go snacks, recipes, grocery lists, wellness coaching, and motivational content. Monthly membership fees vary by location.

#21 Quads Gym – Chicago, Illinois

The famous Quads Gym in Chicago is a 40,000 square foot facility boasting 115 pieces of cardio, five complete sets of dumbbells, kettlebells, 45 pieces of Hammer Strength and hundreds of other equipment. The fitness center, which is highly-regarded especially among powerlifters, has anything you can think of – boards, chains, logs, all kinds of exercise platforms, including for boxing, Pilates and martial arts. One person said: “You’ll never find more equipment, better people, and a great vibe.” Quads Gym has been recognized as one of the best 10 gym in America many times, including by Muscle Fitness and Flex magazines.

#20 Westside Barbell – Columbus, Ohio

Few gyms get more exclusive than Westside Barbell. It is a private "Invitation Only" elite training facility, created by world-renowned power lifter and strength coach Louie Simmons. With currently holding five of the top 10 powerlifting totals of all time, the greatest squat and bench co-efficiently of all time, and the strongest male and female powerlifter of all time, it’s no surprise that the place is often called “the strongest gym in the world.”

#19 Anytime Fitness – Various Locations

It’s all in the name. Anytime Fitness is an extensive chain of franchise gyms with more than 3,000 locations worldwide.  All of them are open 24/7 and are accessible by a special key given to all members. The gym calls itself the “most convenient gym on the planet.” The relatively 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.

#18 Club Fit – New York

Club Fit gyms in Briarcliff and Jefferson Valley have more than 130 free group classes every week, with a packed schedule that includes everything from new trends such as water walking and dance to old favorites such as spinning and yoga. The large facilities with good hours and plenty to do also have indoor and outdoor tennis courts, which some call the trademark of the gym. Pool, indoor track, indoor basketball, sauna, Jacuzzi, and a racquetball court are also available.

#17 New York Sports Club – New York

Photo by New York Sports Clubs via Yelp

Members like New York Sports Club because they have many locations all over New York and  affordable monthly fees – unlimited use for $30 a month. The gym offers a tremendous variety of classes – from boot camps, Zumba and cycling to boxing, yoga and UFX circuits – including one to train like a first responder, based on actual NYPD and FDNY exams. Busy parents don’t have to meticulously plan their day in order to work out as NYSC offers babysitting services and kids active programs. The gym also has indoor and outdoor pools, depending on the location, that are open year-round.   

#16 Bodyfit Gym & Personal Training – St. Louis, Missouri

This is not a standard gym per se, but it got enough votes on our survey to make the list. Body Fit in St. Louis provides private in-home personal training for women  who want to lose weight, increase lean muscle, gain energy, or boost their overall health. Their clients are usually women who  are busy and do not have time to spend at a gym, have young children, want to exercise without distraction, or are looking for a more specialized form of personal training. Other services include massages therapy, yoga, and nutritional consulting.

#15 UFC Gyms – Various Locations

UFC gyms offer the best of the best – general fitness accommodations with state-of-the-art equipment, group fitness classes, Mixed Martial Arts programs available for all ages and abilities, youth training classes and personal training opportunities with elite athletes and coaches, that have dedicated their lives to fitness training and mixed martial arts. Learn kickboxing, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, boxing and other MMA inspired sports.

#14 MADabolic – Various Locations

MADabolic has 7 gyms - 3 in North Carolina, 1 in Ontario, 2 in South Carolina and 1 in Virginia. They offer their members an innovative interval driven strength and endurance program. MADabolic’s class sessions, The Madness, are all approximately 50 minutes long. Their 5 Functions of Madness include Primal Athleticism, Power, Strength and Stability, Rotational Force and Cardiovascular Output.

#13 DeFranco’s Gym at the Onnit Academy – Texas

Receive all of the tools, knowledge and experience you need in order to reach your goals at De Franco’s Gym at the Onnit Academy. Athletes and fitness enthusiasts will reap the benefits of long term improvement by increasing their power, conditioning, strength and agility, and using unique equipment such as steel maces, kettlebells, calisthenics, sandbags, barbells, steel clubs and more. Bonus: They also offer Cryotherapy – a process by which you stand in a walk in chamber for 2-3 minutes at freezing cold temperatures. This is said to help enhance muscle recovery, reduce fatigue and relieve stress.

#12 Gold’s Gym – Various Locations

Gold’s Gym prides itself on having some of the most diverse exercise classes and top amenities in the industry. They have expanded to 38 states across the U.S. and 28 countries all over the world. Some of their amenities include a Cardio Cinema where you can work out on a treadmill, step machine or elliptical and watch moves on a large screen with surround sound, certified personal trainers, a Cycle Studio, strength-building group exercise classes and a Kids Club.

#11 CrossFit Gyms – Various Locations

CrossFit Gyms are located throughout the entire country – according to Men’s Fitness, some of the most popular include Reebok CrossFit in New York, I Am CrossFit in Miami, Windy City CrossFit in Chicago and Northwest CrossFit in Seattle. It’s no wonder they are so popular. These gyms are intense - they provide a program that enhances cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, speed, balance, stamina, strength, coordination and flexibility.

#10 Orangetheory Fitness – Various Locations

Aiming to inspire you, Orange Theory Fitness hosts an energetic fitness environment to keep you motivated throughout your workout. They have great trainers and top-notch equipment. Their sessions are made to push you, they cater to individuals of all fitness levels and they say clients burn an estimated 500 to 1,000 calories per workout. A member said: “Fun… and it really pushes you. I feel like a million bucks when I leave… I know I have worked REALLY hard for an hour solid.”

#9 Equinox – Various Locations

Equinox is known for its high-end, luxurious exercise experience. They have around 89 clubs which cater to individuals that are looking for a lavish gym. As a member you are provided with top-notch personal trainers, instructors, and a complimentary Equifit and training session. They also offer a ton of relaxing spa treatments, some of which include massages, facials, body wraps and laser hair removal.

#8 LA Fitness – Various Locations

Photo by LA Fitness via Yelp

State of the art equipment, comfortable surroundings, friendly staff and expert trainers are some of the many things you have to look forward to at La Fitness. Members agree that LA Fitness provides one of the best memberships for your money. They offer group fitness classes, personal training opportunities, a kids club for babysitting, swim school, an indoor heated lap pool, saunas, whirlpool, and so much more. 

#7 YMCA – Various Locations

Photo by Chinatown YMCA via Yelp

Bringing people together from all ages and backgrounds is what the YMCA does. They believe everyone should have the opportunity to learn, thrive and grow. They offer a wide variety of activities that promote a healthy lifestyle. Some of these include personal wellness training, adult swim lessons, programs for dealing with chronic diseases, and group physical activity classes for all ages. If hitting the gym is boring to you, then the YMCA is your best choice. They have tons of sports and recreation options to choose from – basketball, soccer, hockey, volleyball, golf and tennis teams, just to name a few. Fun Fact: In New York City alone there are 22 branches and over 100 off-site programs to choose from.

#6 Club 24 – Connecticut

Photo by Club 24 via Yelp

Connecticut is home to Club 24 Concept Gyms. They have tons of classes to choose from – yoga and Zumba, just to name a few. Members love these gyms because the staff is friendly, the gym is clean and they take pride in doing everything they can to exceed member expectations. Member testimonials have read: “Friendly. No pressure,” “Easy to get to, convenient hours, nice staff,” and “It’s a nice clean gym that is very affordable and that has basically everything one would need to work out comfortably.”

#5 Planet Fitness – Various Locations

For only $10 a month you can sign up for Planet Fitness. They pride themselves on being a 100% judgement free zone. Forbes recently ranked it as one of the best franchises in America, and we can see why. They are unique, non-intimidating and affordable.

#4 24 Hour Fitness – Various Locations

Photo by 24 Hour Fitness via Yelp

24 Hour Fitness prides itself on empowering members to live fit and healthy lives. With more than 400 locations across the country, most of which are open 24/7, people can work out wherever and whenever they want. The gym provides a wide range of studio fitness classes, advanced cardio and strength training equipment and other amenities such as lap pools, saunas, steam rooms and towel service at select clubs. They are also very flexible, providing you with different membership options to suite your financial needs.

#3 Parisi Speed School – Various Locations

Parisi Speed School is all about improving and enhancing athletic performance. They have over 75 locations in 27 states across the U.S. They take pride in improving the speed, strength, endurance and confidence of young people, with the Parisi Youth Training System – Youth Total Conditioning, Jump start, Total Performance and PEAK.

#2 Box N’ Burn Boxing and Fitness, Santa Monica, CA

Mens Fitness Magazine named this gym the #1 Gym in California, and we can definitely see why you chose it too.  Box N’ Burn Santa Monica has some of the best boxing fitness trainers in the country. They have top of the line boxing equipment, and two full sized boxing rings. Their most famous class – Box N’ Burn – is an intense 60-minute class that burns around 800 calories. They also offer a H.I.T Class and Kick N’ Burn class.

#1 Chuze Fitness Arizona

Photo by Chuze Fitness via Yelp

The top gym on our list and one of the most valuable is Chuze Fitness in Arizona. You can get a membership for as low as $9.99 per month. They take pride in providing top notch personal training to help you reach your goals faster, while working out safely and effectively. Chuze Fitness also has a variety of fitness classes to choose from. Some of which include Zumba Fitness, Yoga, Mat Pilates, Insanity, Aqua Fit and Kickboxing.