The first gymnasiums in history can be dated back 3,000 years ago to Ancient Persia, and were known as “Zurkhaneh,” which refers to an area that encouraged physical fitness. A flawless physique has always been a measure of beauty and strength, especially in Ancient Greece and Rome. Sculptures such as the statue of David are visual evidence that aesthetics ranked high among the many values and principles of the ancient world.
Today, this ideal of physical beauty and visual aesthetic is still considered important and even desired. The media floods our every day with images of celebrity women showing off flat, toned stomachs and celebrity men flexing their rock-hard muscular arms. As we flip through the pages of magazines depicting these images and attitudes, we suddenly make an oath to ourselves to start going to the gym more. However, this is usually easier said than done.
While everyone wants to sport a newly toned bod, going to the gym can seem like a chore to some. Break out of your normal workout routine or lack thereof, and shake things up at some of the hottest gyms throughout the country. This year, stay true to your resolutions and get that sculpted body you always wanted. Don’t hide from the sun in t-shirts and jeans at the beach, break out from restriction and show off the new you! However, getting fit at these gyms will cost you more than burning a few calories.
10 L.A Fitness: Up To $87/Month
As a chain, L.A Fitness sports many locations across the country and charges the highest fees for the use of their state of the art gyms. With a dedicated staff, motivation will be easy to seek to get that sexy body you have been yearning for. Classes at L.A Fitness facilities start as early as 6am and run continuously all day long. Get in shape with a yoga class, or go easy on your joints with an aqua aerobics class. Whatever your workout style is, you can be sure you will burn those calories before you slip on that suit.
9 Crunch Fitness: Up To $110/Month
With 31 locations in New York City, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Boston, Portland and Miami, Crunch Fitness is known for its variety of classes such as boxing, martial arts and the newest workout craze; pole dancing. The class requires advance sign up due to the increasing popularity. All classes offer one on one training from fitness experts. Crunch is New York’s “go to” gym, and many local athletes use their facilities to train. Crunch also offers childcare services for an additional fee; for the price you would expect the membership to come with a “little tike” class.
8 David Barton Gym: $400 Initiation Fee, $125/Month
For 20 years, David Barton has been the "king" of the gym scene. This fitness center located in Bellevue, Washington offers many amenities such as laundry service, shoe shine, saunas, NBA regulation basketball courts and hundreds of classes weekly to keep you looking and feeling your best. With state of the art cardio exercise equipment, you are sure to get the results you want. The gym also offers personalized training, nutrition coaching and individualized weight loss plans to help keep you on track and stay motivated.
7 East Bank Club: $500 Initiation Fee, $170/Month
Located in Chicago, this fitness club is one of the priciest in the region. Less of a gym, and more of a social club or spa, this facility features the ultimate in luxury with two indoor swimming pools and one rooftop pool complete with water aerobics, as well as a 60,000 foot sundeck, indoor driving range and eight tennis courts. This premier club is sure to not only get you in shape, but offer a tranquil workout environment to accommodate the needs of the wealthy.
6 SoulCycle: $32/Class, $3,000/50 class pack
Cycle your way to a fit physique at this spinning-only facility. These bicycling classes will burn off the fat, as well as your dollar bills. Some of this fitness center’s New York City locations offer high-tech spinning classes that run all day long. In every class, an interactive screen will allow you to track your progress, and even gives you the option to “race” other class members in a wholly new challenging and unique experience. At $32 an hour for each class, it will be the most expensive bike ride you have ever taken.
5 New York Sports Clubs: Up To $255/Month
This popular chain has fitness centers in Washington, D.C., Boston and Philadelphia. Crank up the heat and sweat it out with the latest in elliptical equipment, cardio theatre, racquetball courts, basketball and boxing rings. Cool off and dive into fitness with an Olympic sized swimming pool, complete with aqua aerobics classes at some locations. If you’re a busy mom or dad, don’t worry about bringing the kids. Some locations also offer childcare services at an additional fee so you can get fit without the added stress.
4 The Houstonian: $24,000 Initiation Fee, $365/Month
Part of The Houstonian hotel, this fitness center located in Houston, Texas is all about keeping in tip top shape! Lazy days just aren’t an option, and with up to 150 classes per week, there is just no excuse to “miss” a class. Perfection and dedication seem to be the common themes at this gym, as Houston’s top professional football players train at this facility. These celebrated athletes are offered only the best; with swimming pools, batting cages and a driving range all on reserve just for them.
3 The Detroit Athletic Club: $400/Month
Your newly toned body won’t be the only scenic view at this Detroit, Michigan gym! Offering boat access, spectacular scenes of the Detroit River and Windsor, Canada skyline are the main attraction to this elite club. Amenities include several floors of state of the art equipment, racquetball, as well as marina and boat docking. Members of this private social and athletic club include businessmen and professional athletes; such as Ty Cobb, who was an American Major League Baseball outfielder and a former member of The Detroit Athletic Club.
2 Equinox: Up to $500/Month
Known as one of the most expensive gym’s in the country, it is no wonder why celebrities are crawling all over the property! This new age fitness center offers not only the equipment for a healthier body, but also the fuel. Celebrities can work out their diva-tudes with the latest in cardio technology, and then re-charge their batteries afterwards at the fresh juice bar to quench their thirst. Other accommodations that make it seem more like a spa rather than a gym include saunas and whirlpools. Classes at the Equinox feature some of the best instructors in the country and there is often a waiting list to get into these sought-after, adrenaline pumping sessions; from Vinyasa Yoga, to Spin, Zumba and Strength Training, there is something for everyone.
1 The Madison Square Club: $26,000/Year
Sculpt that body and get in shape with David Kirsch! Celebrities such as Heidi Klum and Liv Tyler turn to this wellness guru when they need to see results fast. Founder of The Madison Square Club, this celebrity trainer uses a holistic approach and philosophy of “Sound Mind, Sound Body,” the perfect balance of mind, body and spirit; to his workouts. The New York City gym has all the amenities you could ever need for a workout experience as luxurious as possible; with private showers, laundry service and even monogrammed towels to ensure all members are pampered to satisfaction post-workout.