Seattleites love their rainy days, but it doesn’t mean they stay inside and pack on the pounds. More likely than not, these Northwestern fitness aficionados are keeping in tip-top shape year round at one of the five best gyms in Seattle. From intense Crossfit workouts to cutting-edge cardio and strength training, Zumba classes, swimming pools and dry saunas, there’s something for every type of person and every fitness level.
1. Orangetheory Fitness
Orangetheory Fitness in Shoreline comes out on top for many reasons, not the least being its free workouts and “health studio” mentality. Taking the entire person into account, this gym seeks to increase energy and burn calories while getting solid, recognizable results from the scientifically designed “Orange Effect.”
Using heart-rate monitors to track the intensity of the workout while stimulating the metabolism, their 60-minute free workout sessions alternate between cardiovascular and strength training using an interval fitness concept.
Endurance, strength and power are the name of the game at Orangetheory Fitness, and the equipment is just a means to an end. But that doesn’t mean the equipment is less than awesome, with state-of-the-art treadmills, rowing machines, TRX suspension training and free weights.
Contemporary lighting and inspirational art elevate the experience to a tranquil state-of-mind consciousness without being gimmicky or overtly obvious.
2. Olympic Athletic Club
Some gyms in Seattle incorporate a more comprehensive athletic club experience, and one of the best in this category is Olympic Athletic Club in Ballard. The family-owned club inhabits a former 1890s hotel, giving it a social-clubsy vibe with separate studios for classes, personal training, cycling and Crossfit.
There are two swimming pools, racquetball and basketball courts, private steam rooms, saunas and hot tubs, making it feel more like a spa than a gym. The classes are no joke either, with a constant array of choices such as Kraken Crossfit, TXR, Barre, kickboxing, Zumba, yoga and Pilates.
With energetic names such as Serious Sculpt and Step Jam, it’s hard to resist the fitness pull. There’s even a belly dancing class one night a week – and who can resist that?
3. Anytime Fitness
Over in Fremont, the self-proclaimed “Center of the Universe,” Anytime Fitness racks up points for its 24-hour access and primo location on North 34th Avenue along Lake Union.
Though it’s a multinational chain and seemingly less personal than locally owned gyms, a major perk is the reciprocal-use policy at more than 3000 locations across the globe. The Fremont location is small, but typically uncrowded, especially in the evenings after 8:00 p.m. Its size doesn’t seem to limit the scope of activities, with numerous classes that include Zumba, yoga, cardio, body conditioning, spinning and adaptive motion.
There are also wellness programs, cardio TVs and electronic classes. They offer a 7-day free trial period, as well as a free Get Started Plan after joining.
Everyone knows that parking in Fremont these days can be challenging, but Anytime Fitness has that covered, with validated underground parking and 24-hour security.
4. Transform 180 Training
The Denny Triangle downtown boasts one of the best strength and endurance training facilities in Seattle, at Transform 180 Training on 5th Avenue. This one is for serious fitness buffs, and it’s a no-joke workout by anyone’s standards.
The dedicated cardio gym provides small group classes that incorporate high-intensity movements and aerobic drills, while the barbell strength-training studio caters to body sculptors and those with longterm commitments to muscle building and weight control.
Even with the gym’s high percentage of fitness fanatics, most members agree that the trainers are very laidback, and the ambiance lacks that intimidating “machismo” attitude pervasive in high-level training gyms.
Some of the most popular programs at Transform 180 are the outdoor and indoor boot camp classes geared toward intense anaerobic workouts.
5. Oxbox Gym
Most gyms in Seattle offer some form of Crossfit training these days, but Oxbox Gym specializes in it.
They establish a core approach with each member that helps build a heightened body awareness known as proprioception. The idea is that this awareness allows better control and injury prevention through a foundation of mindful, functional movement.
To top it all off, each instructor at Oxbox is a licensed massage therapist specializing in deep therapy work, including sports massage, deep tissue, Swedish, trigger point work and myofascial release.