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Updated December 28, 2020
Just like clothing and food stores, gyms have joined the niche market to cater to people with all sorts of exercise routines, wants, and needs. There are so many to choose from, how do you know which one is just right for you? Maybe the local boutique gym isn’t really your thing, and if that’s the case, we’re here to help you out. We’ll give you a micro-tour of the top fitness chains in the US to give you an idea of what each is about, so you can spend less time searching and more time burning calories and getting fit.
24 Hour Fitness
If you’re looking for a big box gym, this is one of the biggest. With some locations at big as 100,000 square feet in size, it has plenty of fitness equipment to suit almost every need. They also offer fun classes like Hot Hula and Polynesian-style dance core workouts. Push yourself to new levels of burn using one of their bodybugg calorie burner bands. And of course, one of the big draws for this gym is the schedule. As the name suggests, they are open 24 hours a day every day, so it is a great choice for anyone with a crazy work (or life) schedule, or if you just want to workout at a time of day when the crowds will be thin.
Locations: 400 in 13 states
If you want to stick with a tried and true gym that has a recognizable brand name, LA Fitness is one of the most well-known. They’ve got plenty of fitness options available, including a pool. You can work out in a group class or get some one-on-one time with a personal trainer, whichever you choose.
Locations: 300 across the U.S.
With so many locations, including ones abroad, Gold’s is a great choice for those who travel around a lot. But even if you like to stay rooted in one location, the gym offers up plenty of opportunities to strength train and sculpt that body through a full spectrum of equipment and classes. Some of the bigger locations offer some pretty unique features like a rock climbing wall, smoothie bar, or the as-awesome-as-it-sounds Cardio Cinema (a movie theater full of gym equipment). Some also have free childcare services while you workout and a Kid’s Club to help teach kids a healthy, active lifestyle right while they’re young.
Locations: 700 in the U.S. and internationally
If you love taking fitness classes, you’ll hit the jackpot with Equinox. Not only do they have some amazing classes like Parkour Power Play and kettle ball workout, their instructors are highly trained professionals who know their stuff. It’s not all about classes though; they offer personal training (by also highly-trained professionals), a Pilates studio, and a spa for some post-workout relaxation.
Locations: 48 in 8 states, plus gyms in Canada and the U.K.
Life Time Fitness
You don’t usually think of “luxury” when you think about going to the gym, but this fitness center might just change your whole perspective on working out. As a private, luxury fitness chain, it’s resort-like centers sport some of the best gym equipment available as well as classes, a pool, and daycare.
Locations: 122 across 26 U.S. states and Canada
If you’re a little shy about working out for any number of reasons (beginner, not sure what you’re doing) or you just like a nice light to moderate workout, Planet Fitness is the place to be. The self-professed “No Judgement Zone” lets you work out without any nervousness or anxiety about how you want to work out. Just go and do your thing.
Locations: 1200 across the U.S., with new locations added in Canada and the Dominican Republic
This women’s-only gym is geared toward the unique needs of women. Besides female-centric offerings like boxing, Pilates and belly-dancing, Healthworks also boasts mom-friendly features including nursery services and Mommy and Me classes. Besides working out, they know what else a girl wants—some relaxation time. They offer this in the form of their saunas and steam rooms, great for post workout (or anytime really). One location hosts a rock climbing wall and another a nail salon—whether you want to get your nails dirty or get them done, they’ve got it all.
Locations: 8, but on the East Coast
As more Millennials shell out big bucks for boutique gyms, some still prefer the big gym experience. For the right person, big chains can still offer up the best mix of budget-friendly options and accessibility.