We asked fitness enthusiasts around the country to tell us, in their own words, “What Makes A Good Gym?”

Here are some of their answers:

“For me, it’s having a wide range of equipment to choose from. It’s always good to mix things up with your workouts to keep your body guessing and adapting. Having a gym that allows you to easily do that is the main ingredient. Variety is the spice of life after all!”

Dan Wickens, IT Solutions Engineer & Pro Ultimate Frisbee Player, Philadelphia, PA

“I never used to sign up for gyms. Being a runner, I felt it unnecessary to pay for a workout when I could just lace up my sneakers and roam the neighborhood to burn calories (for free). But one thing changed my mind: a long trial. The commitment to a new gym is daunting and you want to make sure you’re absolutely sure before signing that contract. A good, long trial can show you the ins and outs of it all—the equipment, the workouts, the trainers, and the results.”

Melissa Mazurek, Communications Professional & Marathon Runner, Rochester, NY

“A place for the whole family: grandma, uncle Joe, the high school band instructor, some neighborhood kiddos, and people who greet you by name.”

Ellie Price, Investment Banker & Gym Enthusiast, Chicago, IL

“A good gym is one that transports you into the present and into yourself. Early morning hard rock, heavy weights, and solitude is my meditation. You might go for pop music and Pilates with your friends. Whether the iron is old and rusted, or the equipment is brand new, a good gym strips away all the bullsh*t, leaving you focused on the good and the strength to overcome the rest.”

Brendan Marks, Sports Marketing, Charlotte, NC


Anonymous, Personal Trainer, Washington, D.C.

“In my opinion, a good gym has to be “good” on all fronts. It needs to feel clean, safe, and up to date. Meaning, if you’re on a leg press that you feel like 10,000 sweaty butts have destroyed the seat, or the cables are going to snap on the lat pulldown as you’re repping out, then no thank you. 

The facilities are important, nobody wants to walk into a cramped, wet bathroom with a bunch of naked old men putzing around and having near misses with their genitalia… some privacy is nice.

But most importantly is the sense of community. The equipment [should be] pretty durable, there’s a lot of open space to work out or foam roll, do your PT exercises, etc. But, again, most importantly, when you walk in it feels like a home and the staff, coaches, and trainers know your name.”

Dr. Tyler Kenton, Physical Therapist, CrossFit Union Square, NYC