All over the globe, health and fitness clubs give fitness devotees a place to tone up, hit the weights and bust through plateaus alongside other exercisers. The thriving fitness club industry generates a whopping 80 billion U.S. dollars annually. Passionate about their fitness, Americans represent the single biggest market worldwide not only in profit—25.8 billion in 2015—but also in sheer quantity of gyms and membership.
In 2015, there were more than 36,000 gyms in the U.S. The largest clubs—Planet Fitness, Anytime Fitness and ClubCorp—boasted 55 million members, and raked in an excess of a billion dollars. Nearly two-thirds of Americans who regularly exercise have been a gym member at least once. If you’re reading this, you likely fall into that category.
Given those numbers, it’s not surprising to see luxury gyms pop up in every corner of the country. If you’re looking for a little push to get you to the gym this week, check out these five stunning gyms, plus science-backed tips for motivating yourself to hit your next fitness goal.
Science-backed tools for fitness motivation
Gym boredom is a real phenomenon, and it can keep even the most motivated gym-goers from making that final visit of the week. If you’re finding the thought of heading to the gym again boring—or even mentally painful—then it’s time to try these scientifically proven methods for galvanizing your workout resolve.
Give yourself a break: Determination is great, but a lack of flexibility can keep you from reaching your fitness goals. If you just can’t make it to the gym, go for a run or a walk. You’re still getting in the workout you promised yourself, and infusing a bit of all-important variety into your routine. And if you’re a believer that you don’t need rest days, guess again. Rest is key to helping your muscles rebuild.
Find a little friendly competition: When you’re working out next to someone else, it’s natural to want to pull ahead. Competition can also activate the Kohler Effect—not wanting to be the weakest link, and working harder to pull out ahead.
Make a bet: There’s a whole new crop of websites and apps that use betting to motivate exercisers to hit their goals. Whether your goal is losing a number of pounds before a big event or out-exercising your friends, there’s nothing like money to give you that extra motivation. Gym Pact charges you $5 per missed workout, while Fat Bet StickK offer other avenues for using friendly wagers to stick to your goals.
The most stunning gyms in the U.S.
Still not feeling motivated, even after trying those science-backed tools? Then these gorgeous gyms might be just what you need to inspire your next exercise session.
Zenergy, Sun Valley, Idaho. This gym is nestled in the beautiful southern Idaho mountains. And it offers this amazing natural setting while giving you everything you need to get fit: Pilates, pivot training (including personalized functional movement classes for one-on-one attention), swimming in 25-meter saltwater indoor and heated outdoor pools, and serious sports conditioning. You can even relax in a colossal hot tub that overlooks the idyllic Idaho landscape.
Sitaras, New York, New York. By some miracle, Sitaras secured a 3,000-square-foot landscaped terrace in the heart of space-challenged Manhattan. It has even partnered with Samsung to create the world’s first digital fitness tracking room. Membership is capped at 200, so you never have to worry about waiting in line for your treadmill. But getting in to begin with isn’t easy: members must accept evaluations on strength, flexibility and cardiovascular health, and have to pass a rigorous background check to even get in the door. To be a Sitaras goer, you must also commit to working out at least twice per week.
NFC Court, San Francisco. Arguably the most picturesque gym in North America, San Francisco’s Fitness Court overlooks the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Since opening its doors in 2013, the NFC Court has served as a test bed for a series of free urban fitness initiatives. San Francisco residents can tap into the facility’s circuit training and yoga, and even join runs through nearby Presidio National Park or the Fisherman’s Wharf district.
Swerve Fitness, New York. In the center of Midtown New York City, Swerve offers a facility where “indoor cycling meets team competition.” Three Long Island natives teamed up with the goal of shifting the focus of “me fitness” to “we fitness” through team-based workouts. According to Swerve, the team dynamic keeps exercisers motivated, supported and accountable, all without ever being singled out for less-than-stellar performance. Riders, divided into three teams, race competitively in 45-minute rhythm rides. Overhead lights are low, but the cycling room is alive with colorful neon LED lighting.
Upper Limits, Bloomington, Illinois. Known as “The Prairie State,” Illinois is pretty much the opposite of mountainous. But it does have a plethora of grain silos. As anyone who’s into climbing knows, when there are no mountains, you’ve got to get inventive to participate in your chosen sport. In Bloomington, rather than mountain peaks, ingenious climbers attack 65-foot-high walls in old silos. Inside silos once used near the city’s rail yard for grain storage, the Upper Limits staff offers climbing camps, parties and classes to both youth and adult climbers.
Whether you’re a frequent gym goer or just looking to start out in the world of fitness, a little inspiration goes a long way toward helping you succeed. But with the right gym—and the right motivation hacks—you’ll be busting through your next plateau in no time.