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Woman Lifts Weights in Gym in New York City

NYC Life Hacks

How to Decide Which NYC Gym Chain to Join and Tips to Get in Shape in The City

THIS is the year. This is YOUR time. You’ve decided you want to get in better shape and NOTHING is going to stop you.

But wait – where do you start? If this sounds anything like you, we completely understand. Getting in shape sounds great but actually taking the necessary steps is a whole other ball game. There is so much information online about how to actually get in shape and this can be so overwhelming that a lot of people don’t even get started. But if you’ve taken the leap, decided getting in better shape is something you really want to do, and want to join one of NYC’s many gym chains then you’re on the right track. We’ve put together a guide to help you through the process as well as a list of some of our favorite gym chains in NYC and what they can offer you.

Step 1: Write down your goals and gym preferences

Writing Down Goals is Essential to Accomplishing What You Want

Knowing what you want out of your gym membership is key and writing it down is a great way to clarify this for yourself and remind you of what you’re getting into. Are you going to the gym because you want a summer beach bod? Do you want to get in shape so that you can play in an adult sports league? Do you just want to feel healthier? Figure out what’s behind your motivation and write it down. We also recommend making a list of your gym preferences before you start looking so that you know what to ask or search for when looking at your options. For example, if you’re inexperienced and you want access to professional trainers at your new gym, this is something you’re going to want to write down so you don’t forget to ask. If you’re a relatively seasoned weight-lifter – you’re going to want to write down all the machines and equipment that you typically use (This is easy to overlook but very important – some gyms limit their equipment for liability reasons – ie many have smith machines instead of squat racks because the former results in less injuries). All this said, the extent to which you write down your goals is obviously up to you and should reflect what will be valuable to you – if you’re just planning to use the treadmill than obviously you don’t need to write down a list of machines you want to use.

Step 2: Decide what are you willing to pay

We recommend thinking about this realistically before you consider a gym. It doesn’t have to be set in stone but knowing what a gym membership is worth to you beforehand will prevent you from getting into an expensive contract purely because it was marketed well and not because it’s what makes sense in your life right now.

Step 3: Choose your Gym

An Open Gym with Lots of Workout Equipment in New York Next step is considering your options and deciding on the right one for you! Here is a list of the most popular and common gym chains in NYC, and why they might be right for you. New York Sports Club

  • Monthly Rate: $70-$100 depending on the plan.
  • Locations: 37 locations in Manhattan alone! 7 in Brooklyn, 1 in Astoria and 1 in Staten Island
  • Classes: Cycling, yoga, cardio kickboxing, Zumba, pilates
  • Best for: Slightly higher tier gym with lots of locations in the city and access to a lot of classes.


  • Monthly Rate: $50
  • Locations: 5 locations in Manhattan, 4 in the Bronx, 3 in Brooklyn, 2 in Queens
  • Classes: No Classes
  • Best for: Keeping in simple – if you want to just show up, do your thing, and then move on this might be the place for you.

Planet Fitness:

  • Monthly Rate: $10-$20 depending on the plan.
  • Locations: Too many to count and plenty in every borough.
  • Classes: Sorry $10 gym memberships don’t come with classes
  • Best for: Simple and cheap access to good equipment. Also, for people who travel frequently for work – these gyms are everywhere in the US.


  • Monthly Rate: $100 – but this doesn’t include the start cost of $340.
  • Locations: 9 in Manhattan, 2 in Brooklyn, 1 in Bushwick and 1 in Crown Heights.
  • Classes: So many options – from the classics like cycling, zumba, yoga etc… to the much more niche options like surf, and pole.
  • Best for: Anyone that loves to go to a variety of different class types.


  • Monthly Rate: $160-$250 depending on the plan.
  • Locations: 20 in Manhattan, 1 in Brooklyn – many more wordwide.
  • Classes: The standards: Cylcing, yoga, barre etc… with some more signature classes like interval training classes.
  • Best for: A more luxury gym experience – Equinox is known for it’s high class accommodations like eucalyptus towels, laundry service and locker rooms stocked with Kiehl’s products.


  • Monthly Rate: $35-$100 depending on the plan.
  • Locations: 12 in Manhattan, 4 in Brooklyn, 2 in Queens, 1 in Staten Island
  • Classes: A huge variety including some niche classes like cardio kickboxing and Tai Chi for Arthritis.
  • Best for: Families – the family package is a great deal at the YMCA and the environment is also kid friendly.

Step 4: Visit your Gym choice before committing to a membership

Woman Lifts Weights in Gym in New York City We highly recommend that you do this. For any of these gyms, some locations are better than others, and so spending the extra time to visit the location(s) that you are going to be using will really pay off. It’s no fun to show up on the first day of your binding gym contract just to discover that there is something you really don’t like about your new gym. Good luck on your fitness journey!

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