Not all gyms are created equal. Some excel with intense fitness classes, while others offer impressive personal trainer programs (with equally impressive results). Select city gyms can go the whole nine yards with amazing amenities, while other gyms take luxury to a whole new level.
So we set out to recognize the best gyms in America. We’re talking about top-quality gyms of every kind—whether they’re CrossFit boxes, chain gyms, or neighborhood gems, the only rule is that they’re beloved by their clientele.
Of course, gym ratings will always be subjective. And we get it: It’s no surprise that people become fiercely loyal to even dingy sweatboxes with tiny bathrooms. To those people, we say: Do your thing, dude. Legendary Mr. Olympia bodybuilder Phil Heath famously trains in a strip-mall gym, and a few Men’s Fitness staffers work out at gyms that will never, ever make this list. (We love them anyway.)
So rather than just pick gyms off the top of our heads, we teamed up with Yelp to find the best gyms in the U.S. The reviews site created an algorithm that power-ranks gyms across the country, combing through thousands of reviews to determine the best fitness facilities in multiple categories. From there, the algorithm determines the “best” according to the number of reviews and the total starred rating for a business. (To spread the love and limit geographic bias, we limited our rankings to two gyms per state.)
Here are the country’s best fitness facilities of 2017, according to Yelp user rankings:
Best CrossFit gym
CrossFit PHX (Scottsdale, AZ)
A perfect five-star score across 49 reviews reflects the sheer excellence of CrossFit PHX, which provides 3,600-square-feet of open space for high-intensity group workouts and private one-on-one sessions. CrossFit PHX shines thanks to top-notch programming and a supportive network of athletes and coaches, and newbies don’t feel awkward coming here. Owner Mycal Anders has an extensive fitness background, including a master’s degree in fitness and conditioning.
A typical Yelp review, this one from Tanner H: “I am personally greeted by every coach every time I went into to class. They make you feel welcome and valued. I was not sure that CrossFit was worth the money, but CrossFit PHX is worth it to me.”
Runner up: Lahaina CrossFit (Lahaina, HI)
Not everyone vacations in Hawaii to chill on the beach with a cocktail. With five stars all around (amid 77 reviews), Lahaina CrossFit is equally beloved by visiting travelers and locals alike who love the “clean, spacious” Maui box for its oceanic theme, “awesome” programming, and “welcoming” coaches. Visit one of the early classes for the chance to see a mountain sunrise.
Best luxury gym
Equinox South Bay (Hawthorne, CA)
Equinox is synonymous with luxury brands, and this California location takes it to the max: Members can expect eucalyptus-scented towels, free Kiehl’s grooming products, and a three-lane rooftop pool. The fitness classes (including a dedicated space on the outdoor court) get tons of praise, and you can get pampered in the spa afterward. The gym is close to LAX, too, if you need to catch a workout before or after your flight.
User C.G. says: “The facility is flawless, the staff is amazing, and I like the equipment and training session. Enrique the personal trainer is wonderful! I am so pleased I decided to change gyms and give it a try. Looking forward to getting ready for a hot bod summer!”
Runner up: Renaissance ClubSport Walnut Creek (Walnut Creek, CA)
Located inside the Renaissance Walnut Creek Hotel—yes, some hotel gyms are absolutely stunning—the massive Walnut Creek ClubSport offers rows upon rows of workout equipment and cardio, spa, five aerobic rooms with free fitness classes for guests, a group exercise pool, heated Olympic-sized outdoor pool, and plenty of activities on its Sport Court. There’s also a private parking garage, programmable electronic lockers (no more rusty MasterLock,) and a popular “Kids World” childcare service.
Best specialty gym
Ride PDX (Portland, OR)
Portland already has an active bike culture—cyclists pedal through the city (via ubiquitous bike lanes) or in the surrounding natural world—and Ride PDX has created a huge cult of bike enthusiasts by taking cycling indoors. The first boutique spin cycling studio in Portland’s South Waterfront neighborhood, Ride PDX offers a full-body workout on spin bikes with hand weights and in high-energy classes. It gets rave reviews for its “incredibly” tough workouts, “convenient” location, “community and social atmosphere,” and “charismatic” instructors.
Robert S says: “There are very few places in Portland that can match what it means to have a true Indoor Cycling Studio, and RidePDX is it!”
Runner up: Burn Studios (Atlanta, GA)
Not just a cycling studio, Burn Studios also offers yoga and kickboxing for the ultimate burn. The ultra-modern facility has garnered a huge fan base, thanks to its “boutique classes,” “killer playlists,” and attention to “the little things” (like “ice-cold refreshing towels.”)
Best boxing gym
Urban Boxing (Washington, D.C.)
Urban Boxing has become the ultimate boxing facility in the Washington, D.C., area, thanks to intense boxing classes, yoga, and instruction in Muay Thai (for fellas who want to explore the world of mixed-martial arts). The “inspiring” instructors here truly push members to the limit.
A typical review from Blaine C: “Urban Boxing is a hidden gym. If you want to get in shape, stay in shape, learn how to box (don't worry, you don't have to get hit if you don't want to) or maybe Muay Thai or BJJ, build your confidence, challenge yourself and have fun, this is the place.”
Runner up: Rumble Boxing (New York, NY)
Rumble Boxing is a fairly swank—yet no-frills—boxing facility known for their “bags” and “floor” classes. Class alternates between boxing bags with gloves, and intense training exercises.
Best city gym
The Cellar Gym (Minneapolis, MN)
For a city gym, The Cellar Gym is massive. Within its cavernous 11,000-square-feet, members can expect world-class MMA instructors, including owner Chris Cichon, who has worked as the head striking coach for several UFC veterans and professionally competed in mixed martial arts (he’s the current IKF Light Middleweight World Kickboxing Champion). Take to the mats or ring with classes in kickboxing, Muay Thai, boxing, Jiu-Jitsu, personal training, or just a rigorous workout. There’s also a youth program if you want to bring your kids along.
Nicholas L says: “If you'd like to get fit in a laid-back, incredibly intense and respectful institution, this would be my choice. Never punched a thing in your life? No problem. Been a martial arts practitioner all your life? Even better. Just want to get shredded while perving on ladies in yoga pants - mmm, maybe look elsewhere?”
Kick at 55 Fitness (Chicago, IL)
Clients here lose an average of 15% bodyweight in the first four to six months, as per the website, thanks to Kick’s signature, high-intensity, 55-minute classes. The gym’s fortes are bootcamps and personal training, with themed monthly classes, nutritional support, and weight-loss contests.
Best new gym (since January 2017)
The Training Lab (New York, NY)
With a convenient location for commuters between Grand Central and Penn Station, The Training Lab motivates members to train to their fullest ability, whether competing for a triathlon or simply losing weight. The personal training is “hands-on” and “exceptional,” with the addition of grueling classes that raise the bar on group fitness.
Steven B says: “The Training Lab has it all: top-notch instructors who make the experience fun and brutally challenging for everyone; a group class with personal attention during the class in a brand-new facility that is beautifully equipped, comfortable, and clean; and it provides the best and most consistently fun workout I have ever experienced…and I've been to every major facility in Manhattan numerous times.”
Runner up: Battle Tested CrossFit (Troy, MI)
This new CrossFit facility is no stranger to new recruits who get a taste of the CrossFit Kool-Aid and never quit. It’s already garnered a huge following and friendly community, with shiny new equipment to boot. Newcomers say the gym “feels like home right away,” thanks to “knowledgeable coaching” and an “accepting” and “encouraging” crowd.
Best 24-hour gym
Anytime Fitness (Seattle, WA)
One of the better (if not the best) locations of this nigh-ubiquitous gym chain, this excellent facility in Seattle offers convenient free parking, low membership programs, resourceful management, extensive classes, reliable equipment, extensive personal training, and clean facilities. Night owls will hoot, but even rush-hour exercisers note that they “never have to wait to use the equipment” in this “uncrowded environment.”
James C says: “Anytime Fitness is exactly what you want from a gym. It is very clean, always open, and has a variety of free weights and machines. What really sets this place apart is the staff; the customer service is unparalleled to anything I have experienced in the fitness industry.”
UFC Honolulu (Honolulu, HI)
Want to go on vacation and lose weight? UFC’s Honolulu location pushes you to the max. Expect clean facilities, excellent equipment, great coaches, and even babysitting facilities if you’re hard up for time. The classes “kick ass,” and the trainers are lauded as “passionate, knowledgeable, and supportive.”
Best personal training gym
Washington Gym (Houston, TX)
The photo gallery on Washington Gym’s Yelp page speaks for itself: Tons of members go through major physical transformations thanks to its excellent personal training services. Members of all fitness levels are guided with nutrition programs, solid workouts, body fat analysis, postural corrections, and even curated workouts while you travel. Owner James Dang has more than a dozen certifications, from C.P.T. (NASM) to CrossFit’s Strongman certification.
A typical review from Son H: “When I joined this gym I thought I was in decent shape because I had spent 2+ weeks surfing in Costa for 2-3 hours a day. Boy was I wrong. WG definitely gives you an ego check. At least three times during each day's workout I am on one knee trying to gather myself. I love that though.”
Fit Results (Chicago, IL)
Fit Results has one goal: Helping clients achieve their fitness goals and see results in a practical amount of time. Hands-on personal trainers go the extra mile by logging all progress and reporting a monthly assessment to identify your gains and losses. Clients love the “meticulous” and “skilled” instructors who provide “intense workouts” in an encouraging, “no-glitz,” “family type” setting.
Best neighborhood gym
Yak’s Fitness (Las Vegas, NV)
While Las Vegas hotels may have terrific gyms for visitors, the 600,000 people that live there also need to get their full-time fitness fix. For that, they go to Yak’s Fitness, which has earned a following with its high-quality machines, low rates (they average $25 a month), free Wi-Fi, tanning booths, and a friendly staff. Members constantly report that it’s never crowded, and a variety of exceptional fitness classes are offered.
Corey L says: “This has been my favorite gym I have ever worked out in. It's always spotless, the staff is friendly, and it has top-notch equipment. Chris (owner) will help you to get a membership that works best for you. He's a straight up guy and won't hit you with any hidden fees like some other gyms.”
Btone Fitness (Boston, MA)
With six great locations in the Boston area, Btone is a small, independent chain known for various “intense” classes, “fantastic” facilities (including 11-14 Megaformer Pilates machines), extensive personal training, and convenient locations. It’s popular for its Pilates and “Tone” classes.