10 of the Coolest Gyms in the World
WHAT MAKES YOU WANT TO WORK OUT at one gym over another? Is it that certain hardcore, no-nonsense atmosphere? The plush locker rooms? Maybe it's the clientele--after all, who wouldn't want to work in with Brad Pitt on cable crossovers? It may be a little bit of all these things. Here, we single out each of our 10 favorite gyms in America for its unique merits. Whatever criteria you have for your best gym, you're sure to find a spot among our picks.
BEST GYM IN THE HEARTLAND
QUADS GYM | 3727 N. Broadway, Chicago 745 Torrence Ave., Calumet City, Illinois
The famous Quads Gym is actually plural--it's two gyms in the Chicago area. The north side location is the city mouse, while the south-side site (in Calumet City) is its country cousin. The north-side gym covers a whopping 45,000 square feet and is housed in a former BMW warehouse. The south-side locale is slightly more hardcore, which is just fine by longtime member Ed Coan, who just so happens to be pound-for-pound the strongest man in the world. And if it's good enough for Ed....
Dues: $600 (north side), $450 (south side) per year
Contact: (773) 404-PUMP (north side), (708) 862-9779 (south side); quadsgym.com
NIKE WORLD HEADQUARTERS | 1 Bowerton Drive, Beaverton, Oregon
Snag one of the 5,000 jobs at Nike's World Headquarters just for this perk: The campus has two sports centers totaling nearly 110,000 square feet. Also open to employees' families, the centers feature free weights, cardio equipment, free fitness assessments, 2,800 square feet of climbing walls, a 25-meter lap pool, more than 100 weekly group fitness classes in eight studios, as well as racquetball, squash and basketball courts. The company's commitment to fitness doesn't end indoors. You can schedule playtime on the outdoor sand volleyball court, multiuse grass field, turf field and basketball and tennis courts. Need a midday break from your cubicle? Go for a run on the outdoor track, constructed out of (what else?) recycled shoes.
Dues: $40 per month (individual); $85 per month (family, including spouse or partner and dependents under 23 years old). Contact: nikebiz.com
BEST HOTEL GYM
GRAVITY FITNESS AND SPA AT LE PARKER MERIDIEN | 119 W. 56th St., New York
Located in the heart of midtown Manhattan, Gravity Fitness isn't your ordinary hotel gym. Its glass-enclosed penthouse pool and sundeck have views of Central Park and the surrounding skyline that are sure to inspire you as you work out. And it's not merely for hotel guests--monthly memberships are available to city dwellers. The multilevel 15,000-square-foot center has the same cardio machines you'd find in a pro sports gym, plus a full range of free weights and machines. If your interests lean more toward competitive sports, it offers a basketball court and tournament-caliber racquetball courts. You can also choose from a wide array of daily classes you'd never find at an ordinary hotel fitness center. Finish off with a rejuvenating massage at the adjoining spa. It's finally good to be on the road....
Dues: $96-$154 per month. Contact: (212) 708-7340
DOUG'S GYM | 2010 Commerce St., Dallas
The wooden floor creaks. Past members include bodybuilder Ken Waller, actor Chuck Norris and gunman Jack Ruby. The closest thing to cardio equipment is one of those electric fat-jiggling belts. But for rusty iron and a trip back through time, the gym 74-year-old Doug Eidd has run for the past 42 years should be experienced before it fades into history.
Dues: $150 for three months
Contact: (214) 742-3758
METROFLEX | 2921 S. Cooper St., No. 109, Arlington, Texas
Heavy-metal music thunders while heavy metal is hoisted. Car carcasses rust in the gravel parking lot. The floor is crumbling from abuse. Nothing is clean and nobody cares. If you want luxuries like air conditioning, you must be lost. These are reasons why Metroflex is the most hardcore gym in the world, but it's mostly because this is where seven-time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman reps out 800-pound deadlifts and 600-pound rows on 110-degree days.
Dues: $100 initiation fee; $350 per year
Contact: (817) 465-9331; metroflaxgym.com
THE SPORTS CLUB/LA | 1835 Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles
If sipping a smoothie next to Mark Wahlberg sounds appealing, this club is for you. While The Sports Club/LA is known for its clientele, its size, services and equipment are also A-list. The 100,000-square-foot complex boasts every athletic feature you can think of, including a massive weight room. Even better: valet parking, salon, day spa and executive locker room with laundry service.
Dues: $1,200 initiation fee; $150 per month
Contact: (310) 473-1447; thesportsclubla.com
GOLD'S GYM VENICE | 360 Hampton Drive, Venice, California
This is The One--the big daddy of gyms. The Venice Gold's is the flagship of the largest coed gym chain in the world, and although it isn't the original location (it's No. 3), it's still considered the mecca of bodybuilding. History melds with modernity everywhere you look, from the pantheon of bodybuilding greats on its walls to its healthy mix of old and new equipment. The gym is spread out over three floors, plus a loft area for stretching, cardio and Spinning rooms, and a posing room for elite bodybuilders. It's also one of the best places to catch a glimpse of celebrities doing something we rarely see them doing on camera--sweating.
Dues: Call for rates
Contact: (310) 392-6004
BEV FRANCIS' GOLD'S GYM | 235-C Robbins Lane, Syosset, NY
From the moment you step foot into the cavernous 30,000-square-foot building, you know Bev's means business. Legendary bodybuilding couple Bev Francis and Steve Weinberger have applied their vast experience to assembling a gym that meets the needs of everyone, regardless of experience or goals. The gym floor is spacious and chock-full of free weights and myriad machines for working every bodypart from every angle, not to mention 70 pieces of cardio equipment. When you're done pumping and pushing, you can recharge at the front counter with a cold protein drink. Little wonder Bev's is the unofficial home of fitness celebs Davana Medina and Frank Sepe and former hoops star Chris Mullen.
Dues: Approx. $44 per month (depends on length of contract)
Contact: (516) 933-1111
AMERICAN AIRLINES CENTER | 2500 Victory Ave., Dallas
If Dirk Nowitzki and Michael Finley seem more ripped than the average NBA all-star, credit ever-generous Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban for installing the plushest workout facility in pro sports today. Adjacent to the Mavs locker room and practice court at American Airlines Center, the 19,000-square-foot carpeted facility houses dozens of Hammer Strength machines, intricate power racks, stationary bikes, treadmills (one of them located underwater in the training room), tons of dumbbells and bumper plates and other state-of-the-art equipment nestled within its brick walls. Frankly, the place looks more like a Barnes & Noble than a weight room.
Dues: Free (provided you play for the Mavericks)
THE SPORTS CENTER AT CHELSEA PIERS | Pier 60, 23rd Street and the Hudson River, New York
Located on the edge of Manhattan's Lower West Side, The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers yanks city stress right outta ya. Measuring three football fields in length and situated on the water, the pier features a 14,000-square-foot strength deck, 100 cardio machines, a quarter-mile track and a pool. For those who really want to break out, there's also a boxing ring, a 10,000-square-foot climbing wall, the city's only indoor sand volleyball court, a juice and sushi bar, two sundecks and a day spa. Certified instructors offer more than 140 classes a week and head up competitive running, swimming and triathlon clubs. Plus, members get a discount on other Chelsea Piers activities, including ice and roller rinks, a driving range and batting cages.
Dues: $450 initiation fee; $154 per month
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