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The Best Gyms in Los Angeles

Perhaps you just moved to the city of angels, and you’re looking to find a great gym. Or maybe you’re native to L.A but are looking for a new gym. Either way, this is the article for you! Here we will give you a complete rundown of the best gyms in the city and what they offer. 

When you’re looking for a gym, they are not all alike. Even though they all are a place to work out, there’s much more that comes into consideration when deciding to join or not to join. Because it’s not just about training and exercising. It’s also about unwinding from the stress of daily life, socializing -making new friends, and catching up with old ones. And it’s about recharging so that when you leave, you feel energized and ready to take on the world. So, with all this in mind, you’ll want to find a gym that is both functional and enjoyable. 

No matter what your specific workout goals are or what you think you are looking for, here are some staples to always abide by. 

Here are ten tips to help you choose the perfect gym for you. 

  1. Stay local: Choosing a gym that is too far out of your neighborhood will only lead to a stagnant membership. The kind that you have but never go to. Even if you’ve found an incredible gym that is the “gym of your dreams,” if it is more than a ten-minute (no L.A traffic) drive, you’d as well forget it. So, find a gym close to home. 
  1. Time of day: When you are gym hunting, do so at the time of day when you will be attending. You’ll want to get a legitimate feel for what it will be like if you decide to join. If you plan to work out in the early morning, but you visit the space right after work in the afternoon, you won’t get the right feel for the space. It might be packed in the morning and quiet in the afternoon, or vice versa. So go and visit at the time you will be working out. 
  1. Cost: This is an important one for most people. There are many options from low-budget to high and everything in between. Basic to luxury, gyms in most cities, but particularly large cities like Los Angeles, have options for every price range. 
  1. Discount Seasons: You’ll want to consider what time of year it is and if there is an upcoming seasonal discount that you could take advantage of. If, for example, it is mid- December, you’d be better off waiting until early January before signing up anywhere. All gyms have seasonal promotions, and sometimes you only need to wait a week or so to apply them. 
  1. Avoiding Extras: There’s always an upsell. It’s part of the biz. However, being aware of this and not falling into the trap of paying extra for services and products that you will never use is a smart idea. 
  1. Avoiding Long Term Contracts: Often gyms lock you into long term agreements when you first sign up. Be sure to vet the gym and their contracts policies well before signing any papers. You don’t to be locked into a contract at a place that you don’t love and then feel guilty to have to continue. 
  1. Member Profile: Who attends the gym that you are looking at? Is it a specific group of people? Do you feel like those are your people? Some gyms target competitive athletes more than weekenders, is this the right gym for you? Is it a women’s only gym? Seniors? You’ll want to choose a gym that has a large proportion of people in the same group as yourself. Make sure to choose a gym where you feel comfortable and not intimidated. You don’t want to end up bypassing sections of the gym like free weights, for example, just because it doesn’t feel like the right place for you. It might not be the place but the people. As well, finding out how many people attend the gym that you are looking at is a good idea. If you’re looking for a quiet place to get in your peak time workout without having to wait around for machines, then you’ll need a smaller gym. 
  1. Specialized programs: Specialized population gyms usually also have specific programs that their target audience would prefer. So, this aspect and the previous one tend to go hand in hand. Gyms that target seniors, for example, will have a better selection of aqua workout classes than others. This type of class is easy, low-impact, easy on the joints, and better for an older crowd. 
  1. Extra features: does this gym offer daycare, personal training options, or massage or physical therapy? Some gyms have all these options and more to help make their members experience at the gym a complete one. 
  1. Locker rooms: As a woman, for example, you may be looking for a gym that has a large, fully equipped female locker room. If you like to work out before heading off to work for the day, you might appreciate a gym that offers complimentary blow dryers. 

Gyms in Los Angeles

Gym culture is strong in L.A -so strong that if in some areas when people ask you which gym you go to, it’s an automatic way of understanding what kind of person you are. Gym memberships are for some people, like a defining personality factor. So, choosing the right one is essential. And there’s certainly no lack of places to work out. There are big-box chains, boutique gyms, and workout studios. 

The following list will give you a great overview of the various L.A gyms to see which one might be right for you. 

Hollywood Boxing Gym

The best way to describe this one is a gym rat’s paradise. Open 24/7, affordable memberships, great class selections, and a premier boxing ring. 

220 Fitness, Santa Monica

This is a stereotypical Cali gym. Outdoor boxing class, yoga on the beach, and spin class with karaoke. Close-knit gym where everyone knows everyone else. A very social atmosphere. 

Equinox, Santa Monica

Expensive but offers a multitude of classes to choose from: multiple levels, upscale design, and décor. Everything you’d expect from a Los Angeles gym. 

Breakthru Fitness, Pasadena

This is a modern gym with all the amenities of the expensive chains, yet without the high enrollment fees. 

Crunch Fitness, Burbank

Pole dancing aerobics your thing? This is your gym: innovative classes and a unique take on workouts. Anti-gravity yoga, Dancing with the Star dance classes, and more. 

Gold’s Gym Hollywood

Multiple locations. This is the home of the bodybuilder. However, they also offer yoga, Pilates, Zumba, P90X, jazz, and hip-hop dance classes as well as body targeted classes. They have juice bars, cafes, and even tanning centers at certain locations. 

Sender One LAX

Are you looking for something different? Sender One LAX is a rock climbing gym. All the fun of the real thing but in a facility that will get your body in shape before you hit the outdoors. Their 50ft walls will make sure that you get a full-body workout. Classes in yoga and pilates are also available.

The Gym

Clear and to the point. This is a traditional gym for the original gym rat — everything from group training to private training and every type of machine you can imagine.

Boot camp H2O

Love to swim? With two L.A locations, this might be the gym for you. Aquatic fitness at it’s finest. This is a gym that combines a high-intensity water fitness program with all the benefits of traditional weight training.

TriFit, Santa Monica

Office building gym but one that had everything you could ever want and then some — things like swim classes taught by a triathlete. The yoga studio has a private entrance and a more meditative feel than the rest of the gym. They offer cycling classes with a flat-screen TV that shows videos of rough, outdoor terrain. And all within the Yahoo! Office building. Despite its location it’s open to everyone. 

Nerdstrong Gym

Nerdstrong Gym is a gym that is geared to…well; the name says it all! Nerds. This is a safe space for anyone identifying as a nerd, can get in shape, and pursue a healthier lifestyle — everything a typical gym has but with a clientele that feels comfortable together. 

IRON Fitness

IRON's certified trainers offer many different types of services. Everything from personal training, fitness classes, boot camps, one-on-one boxing instruction, boxing classes, and youth boxing. There’s resistance training, cardio workouts, strength training, functional fitness, core work, and flexibility training. 

Unbreakable

Unbreakable is a gym founded by Fox Sports' NFL Insider Jay Glazer. They have a turf area, low-impact running options, cryotherapy chamber, and other equipment. Private training for athletes as well as non-athletes. They even have MMA style classes. 

Mansion Fitness

This is a gym where you choose your class based on your goals. Is weight loss your goal? They have a class for that. Are you looking for strength enhancement? Got it. Conditioning? No problem. Special services include nutrition counseling, chef services, pain relief therapy, and massage. 

Circuit Works

This gym uses a system of aerobic and anaerobic (cardio vs. resistance) exercises to maximize the number of calories burned.

Equipment

Now let’s get down to what’s in the gym! You might think that the equipment is all the same in every gym and that your choice should be based on the different types of classes each gym offers. But this would be a narrow view. Yes, technically, all gyms will have the same free weights, cardio machines etc…but what is the quality of their machines? Are they old and not well kept? Do they have the latest machines with all the bells and whistles? Do they have trainers who will teach you how to use the machines that you are not familiar with? And lastly, is there a large selection of the machines you like? If not, you will find yourself waiting around in long lineups and not enjoying your gym experience. 

Take a tour of the gym in question and check out their equipment selection. Make sure that everything you need is readily available. With so many different gyms, you’ll want to make sure that the gym you choose has everything you need. 

Free Weights: Look for multiple sets so that you can gauge how much if any of a lineup, there will be to use them. 

Weight Machines: Newer and higher-end machines often have setting options that will target areas of the muscles. Look for machines with these options as they help improve your form and vary your workouts. 

Stretch Area: Stretching is far more critical than most people think. Often, it’s the part of a workout that gets ignored. However, this is how injury occurs. Look for a gym that values stretching and has an adequate section. 

Cardio Machines: If cardio is your thing, then check to make sure this is a large section with many options. Treadmills, rowing machines, ellipticals, and stationary bikes are usually in a large open section of the gym, typically very visible. Look at the machines, ensure that they are new and well taken care of. 

L.A is known for its strong gym culture and finding the right one that will suit you, your personality and your workout style is possible. But make sure to take the time to look around, visit several and maybe even do a trial week to ensure that you have the right fit. Too many people sign up at the gym and then never attend. Often, it’s because it just wasn’t the right place for them to begin with. Find your people, find your gym. 

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