New Yorkers are already among the most active humans on the planet—our walking prowess is rightly renowned (no wonder, with so many beautiful buildings to admire) and our ability to shake up a dance party is the stuff of legend. But with the explosion of boutique-fitness studios and new outposts of both low- and high-end gym chains across all five boroughs, deciding the best fitness options for you may seem a little daunting. We sweated through some of the city's hardest workouts and kept an eye on the wait for cardio machines all across NYC to give you a list of our favorite places to get your blood pumping.
RECOMMENDED: The full NYC fitness guide
The Bronx branch of this national chain, across from Fordham University, keeps in line with the qualities the gym's known for: clean, friendly, convenient. Along with a well-maintained selection of free weights and machines, the spot has a child-care center and group fitness classes that range from cycling and Bodycombat (a martial-arts–inspired cardio workout) to Zumba and hip-hop. 400 E Fordham Rd at Webster Ave, Bronx (718-924-2994, 24hourfitness.com)
This two-floor, 10,000-square-foot facility, which opened in June 2014, is currently the only space in NYC to feature Fit3D, technology that tracks your body-composition measurements with a full-body scan ($30 per session) for a physique assessment that's way more precise than your Fitbit or Jawbone. Owned by the folks behind New York Sports Club, the Chelsea spot offers personal training downstairs and group classes on its ground floor, including BFX Barre and Box & Bell (involving, you guessed it, boxing and kettlebells). We're partial to the hour-long hybrid Fusion Ride, which starts with Spinning in a stadium-style studio (complete with a giant projection screen that details your stats) and then transitions to free-weight conditioning in the high-ceilinged M Class space. 555 Sixth Ave between 15th and 16th Sts (bfxstudio.com). Individual class $30, monthly unlimited $349.
Sick of counting down the minutes for someone to get off the treadmill? It won't be an issue at the ever-expanding Blink Fitness empire's Concourse Village outpost, which offers three floors of cardio equipment, strength machines, free weights, medicine balls and everything else that suits your workout fancy. While Blink does not offer classes, its dirt-cheap monthly fee—which amounts to about half of what you'd pay for a single boutique-fitness session in lower Manhattan—can't be beat. 820 Concourse Village W between 158th and 159th Sts, Bronx (718-704-1600, blinkfitness.com). Monthly memberships start at $15.
Brick New York
CrossFitters have no shortage of "boxes" to choose from—so named because they're usually bare-bones warehouse spaces—but this Chelsea spot combines studio amenities (including showers) with the same killer workout. For those not quite ready for Olympic lifting, try the B/X class: a HIIT boot camp that uses kettlebells, medicine balls, rowing machines and other gear in heart-pumping circuits. 257 W 17th St between Seventh and Eighth Aves (646-692-4005, bricknewyork.com)
There's no such thing as beauty without pain, so it makes sense that there's no such thing as a Bodyburn workout with breaks. If Sebastien Lagree's trademarked fitness method doesn't make you feel like lava is coursing through your arteries, we want some of whatever you're having. Lagree promises, however, that your spine and joints will not suffer any stress, since every session uses slow movement paired with fast transitions, working everything from strength and endurance to flexibility and cardio. The nonstop 50-minute workouts, a mix of Pilates and cardio, can burn up to 800 calories. Damn. And the studio, which proved an instant success in Williamsburg (32 North 6th St at Kent Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn) in 2013, just opened a second location in Cobble Hill. 296 Court St between DeGraw and Douglass Sts, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn (718-382-1131, brooklynbodyburn.com). First class $18, five-class pack $79.
South Brooklynites can get their HIIT fix at this Gravesend training hub, run by not one but two sets of twins: David and Mike Chira, and Ashley ("Ace") and Marcus Derosena. Which explains the name of Concrete's most popular class, Twinsanity, led by the Derosena brothers, a high-energy, constantly changing circuit that includes everything from plyometrics to ab-torching variations on plank. If you're one of those people who slacks off when the instructor's not looking, beware—this time you've got two sets of eyes on you. 447 Ave P at E 3rd St, Midwood, Brooklyn (718-627-2369, concretefitnessny.com)
Equinox Printing House
There are gyms…and there's the multi-floor Printing House location of (the already-high-end) Equinox in the West Village. You'll find the typical amenities—including personal training, cardio and strength equipment, and a full schedule of classes offering boot camp, yoga, cycling and more—but members really come for the gorgeous rooftop pool, riverside views, sun deck and super luxe locker rooms with all the Kiehl's products that you'd never buy for yourself. Mmm. 421 Hudson St between Clarkson and Leroy Sts (212-243-7600, equinox.com). Monthly memberships start at $175.
Exceed Physical Culture
After making a name for itself on the Upper East Side (1477 Third Ave between 83rd and 84th Sts) and the Hamptons (10 Plank Rd, East Hampton, L.I.), Exceed Physical Culture debuted its new downtown outpost in June 2014 with even more opportunities to squeeze in its signature 50-minute workout. The classes, which vary in every session, all incorporate strength and cardio intervals with everything from rowing and TRX to jump ropes and med balls. Eagle-eyed instructors give super personalized attention and emphasize quality over quantity of reps performed, but if you want to make use of the spacious facilities with your own coach, head downstairs to the personal-training area that's filled with all your favorite fitness toys. Best of all, the locker rooms are just as clean but way more spacious than its UES studio and provide everything you could need to get spruced up before rushing off to work or cocktails with friends. 97 Reade St between Church St and West Broadway (212-406-3600). First class free, individual class $32, ten-class pack $310.
The ever-growing popularity of high-intensity interval training descended on Flatbush Avenue in May, and unlike most franchises that have only one HIIT option on the menu, this Prospect Heights newbie offers specialized varieties to tone up however you like. What the studio lacks in the bells and whistles found at many a Manhattan mega complex, instructor Mike Montanez makes up for in energy while leading several fat-burning sessions such as Just HIIT It (cardio kickboxing), Massive HIIT (weight training), Ultimate HIIT (total body) and HIIT Boot Camp (for those enviable early-riser types). 264 Flatbush Ave between Prospect Pl and St. Marks Ave, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (hiitbk.com). First class free, individual class $25, ten-class pack $200.
Limitless Fitness Studios
Can't decide what kind of workout you like best? This neighborhood studio's got you covered, with a grab bag of classes to appease every fitness appetite. The spot is fully equipped with TRX, kettlebells, battle ropes and agility ladders, combined in various ways for boot-camp-style classes; indoor bikes for cycling; and plenty of space for everything else: Masala Banghra dance, power yoga and no-equipment cardio challenge Insanity. Best of all, it's a community-minded place, with house rules like "Leave your ego at the door" and "Bring family and friends, why suffer alone?" 322 New Dorp Ln at Clawson St, Staten Island (718-351-6847, limitlessfitnessstudios.com)