What separates a good gym from a great gym? It might be the people, the trainers, the equipment — or it could be the intangibles — things that can’t quite be defined, but make a huge difference. And for many people looking to get back in the weight room, or back into a cardio program, finding the right gym can make all the difference in the world.
Whether it be a boxing gym, climbing center, CrossFit gym, or Olympic weight lifting joint, there are all kinds of gyms, all over the country. And the folks that run them are doing everything they can to make them the best, and deliver results to the people who join.
We took a look at 10 of the top-ranked gyms, using Yelp, from 10 different American cities. We tried to spread things out, hitting cities in every different region of the U.S. — from New York City to Los Angeles, Seattle to Miami. These 10 gyms and fitness centers were the top-rated in each of their respective cities, at the time of this writing, according to Yelp’s system. So keep in mind that things can and do change.
Using that system, we’re sharing 10 of the top-rated gyms and fitness centers in America. We reached out to all of them, heard back from some, and have shared what they had to say. If you’re in one of these cities, you’ll definitely need to check them out.
Here are 10 of America’s best gyms and fitness centers.
1. New York City – Throwback Fitness
For America’s most-populous city, the top-rated fitness center is Throwback Fitness. The Throwback team has already had their gym featured on a number of other media outlets, and is a true success story that has resulted from the hard work of co-founders Ryan Wilke and Brian Gallagher.
“Throwback provides a lot more than just the workout – it’s a fun, competitive, interactive, and friendly atmosphere that serves up a full-body, strength and cardio workout in a quick 45-min. session,” Gallagher told The Cheat Sheet. “It’s a return to the days of gym class and recess, when working out was something you did without even knowing it!”
2. Seattle – Foundation Crossfit
Located on 12th Avenue in the heart of Seattle’s popular Capitol Hill neighborhood, Foundation CrossFit has been able to separate itself from the throng of other gyms in this fitness-conscious city — and the Yelp reviews prove it. Foundation offers a number of different training options — from CrossFit class to personal training — and even has experts that can help with mobility and nutritional counseling. For Seattle-based CrossFitters, Foundation CrossFit is a must-see.
3. Washington D.C. – CrossFit DC
In the nation’s capital, CrossFit DC has established itself as the leader of the pack. Just take a look at the reviews; patrons rave about the personal attention and care they receive from CrossFit DC’s team of trainers and experts, and that the gym’s class size is perfect, neither too big or too small. You’ll see that the workouts are intense as well, often incorporating a number of unorthodox exercises — even something called the “death stretch.” There are two locations, with the spot on 14th taking the cake in terms of ratings.
4. Miami – Redbike Studios
“RedBike is not your typical spinning studio,” RedBike Studios founder and CEO Albert Ghitis told The Cheat Sheet. “We are a rhythm-based, choreographed, full-body ride. Our class is in a darkened room with club lights so it feels like a night out in South Beach rather than a work-out. We also provide a 360-degree approach to fitness: We have two in-house nutritionists and a smoothie bar so we deal with diet as well as fitness.”
Ghitis and his team’s approach to fitness has earned them the spot at the top of the rankings for the Miami area. RedBike Studios is allabout spin classes — and it’s clear that they have earned a following. A top-notch facility, grade-A instructors, and free parking have rocketed RedBike to the top of Yelp’s Miami ratings.
5. Atlanta – Stone Summit Climbing & Fitness Center
One look at the massive climbing wall at Stone Summit Climbing and Fitness Center, and it’s easy to see what makes it the top-rated fitness center in Atlanta. The place is simply massive — and is open to new members of all ages. They even do yoga and pilates, and will be happy to host your birthday party.
6. Dallas – Tiger’s Den Crossfit
With a name like Tiger’s Den, you know you’re in for a punishing workout. And that’s exactly what they dole out at Tiger’s Den CrossFit, Yelp’s highest-rated fitness center in the Dallas area. Tiger’s Den offers a number of training programs, including CrossFit and barbell systems, which members can join to help reach their goals. The trainers also use a tiered system to help members progress in their fitness, and can help with nutrition and meal planning as well.
7. Chicago – Evolution Strength and Conditioning
Offering residents of Chicago an alternative to the big chain gyms, Evolution Strength and Conditioning has been winning over converts for some time now. With its combination of enthusiastic and knowledgeable trainers, fantastic facilities, and different fitness programs, Evolution has something for everyone. The Yelp reviews also shine with praise for Evolution, with many saying that they’re happy to drive much further than needed to go there, and that the owner, Mike Salazar, is one of the best trainers and coaches in the business.
8. Denver – York Street Crossfit
Another of the nation’s premiere CrossFit gyms, York Street CrossFit in Denver boasts an enthusiastic member base, with a number of glowing reviews lauding York Street’s facility, staff, and programs. From CrossFit to barbell training, York Street has fitness down to a science, and even has ladies-only classes.
“We believe in fun. We believe that to be effective in a long-term sense, exercise must be enjoyable. It has to be creative. It must show results,” York Street’s Jason Hilliard told The Cheat Sheet. “York Street CrossFit was built on the premise that CrossFit should be unintimidating and accessible to everyone, no matter where they are on their fitness journey.”
9. Los Angeles – Crossfit Ganbatte
“Our box is known for many things: Its family friendly atmosphere, its emphasis on endurance, and its reputation for fostering a more approachable, less intimidating environment than the “typical” Crossfit gym,” said JP Amistoso, owner of Los Angeles’ top-rated CrossFit Ganbatte. “When we say ‘Ganbatte’ we acknowledge what brings us all together, while making a conscious decision to stop and observe what makes us each unique.”
You know a gym is going to be good if it’s the top-ranked spot in Los Angeles — where sun, surf, and sand demand that everyone is constantly concerned with looking their best. CrossFit Ganbatte has established itself as L.A.’s best, according to Yelp, and with the attitude espoused by Tebow above, it’s easy to see why.
10. San Francisco – Polk St. Gym
San Francisco is home to a lot of unique things, and Polk St. Gym is one of them. This gym has earned distinction, not only in the Bay Area, but from the others on this list, by not being a CrossFit or lifting center, but a boxing gym. They have boxing classes, bootcamps, and a number of expert trainers that run them, and do it all from their downtown San Francisco location. Yelpers love the fact that the Polk trainers make every class fun and challenging, and with a number of LivingSocial and Groupon deals, it’s easy to get introduced to.
Follow Sam on Twitter @Sliceofginger