How to choose a gym

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  • Clay Health Club + Spa

  • Crunch

  • David Barton Gym

  • Curves

  • Equinox

  • New York Health & Racquet Club

  • New York Sports Clubs

  • The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers

  • Synergy Fitness Clubs

  • YMCA

Clay Health Club + Spa


RECOMMENDED: Fitness guide to NYC

Clay Health Club + Spa


Number of NYC branches: 1 25 W 14th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-206-9200, insideclay.com)
Cost: $160--$200 per month
Equipment highlights: Clay's Matrix treadmills feature iPod docking stations with video/audio playback.
Class highlights: Chair Dance, taught by professional dancer-acrobat--pole instructor Marlo Fisken
Luxury amenities: May through October, lounge, dine or enjoy a spa service on the roof deck.
All-access membership? N/A
Personal training: $90--$125 per hour
Free passes? One-day; via website or in person

Crunch


(crunch.com)
Number of NYC branches: 10
Cost: $70--$100 per month
Equipment highlights: All clubs offer Precor elliptical trainers, Life Fitness treadmills and Netpulse bikes. Certain clubs also have Pilates equipment—there's even a rock wall at 59th Street.
Class highlights: September offerings include Glee Club, a dance workout for Glee fans.
Luxury amenities: Drop into the Pit Stop caf at the 59th, Lafayette or 38th Street location, for performance and recovery shakes.
All-access membership? Yes, varies with membership type
Personal training: $61-$135 per hour. New members receive one free personal training session.
Free passes? One-day, available online or in person. Special week passes available to TONY readers at tony.crunch.com.

David Barton Gym


(davidbartongym.com)
Number of NYC branches: 3
Cost: Initiation fee $400--$500, plus $125--$179 per month
Equipment highlights: Clients don't have to limit their time on any one machine. The gym also has a no-rule policy—meaning there are no restrictions in terms of cell phone usage, etc.
Class highlights: Junk, a lower-body workout that leaves just enough in the trunk, and Pain & Pleasure weight-training classes
Luxury amenities: The Chelsea bathrooms offer Bumble and bumble products. All three locations feature live DJ sets.
All-access membership? Yes; varies with membership type
Personal training: $85--$115 per hour.
Free passes? Yes, available online through corporate partnerships or as part of a monthly promotion.

Curves


(curves.com)
Number of NYC branches: 24
Cost: Initiation fee $30 through October, plus monthly membership fees (vary by location)
Equipment highlights: The Curves circuit consists of hydraulic resistance strength-training machines that allow members to perform cardio and strength training at the same time—all in just 30 minutes.
Class highlights: There are no classes.
Luxury amenities: Curves offers free weight-management classes with its 30-Day Diet Plan.
All-access membership? Yes
Personal training: Most clubs offer CurvesSmart, a personal coaching system in which each piece of equipment is programmed with the members' information and provides constant feedback during the workout.
Free passes? Varies. During the summer months, nonmembers took advantage of "Try Us Out" Tuesdays.

Equinox


(equinox.com)
Number of NYC branches: 18
Cost: Initiation fee $525--$645, plus $145--$175 per month
Equipment highlights: Cardio equipment includes treadmills, ellipticals, StairMasters, rowers, bikes and hikers.
Class highlights: The Brazilian Butt Lift mixes an intense cardio workout with strength and flexibility exercises.
Luxury amenities: Locker rooms are stocked with Kiehl's products. There's free computer access, trackable workouts, child care and laundry.
All-access membership? Yes, varies with membership type
Personal training: $85--$150 per hour
Free passes? Members get two one-week guest passes and two one-day guest passes, so you have to know a current member

New York Health & Racquet Club


(nyhrc.com)
Number of NYC branches: 10
Cost: In September, join for $0 down and $99 per month with a two-year commitment.
Equipment highlights: All but the Cooper Square location have a pool; Cooper Square boasts a two-story bouldering wall.
Class highlights: The Tidal Wave water running class; coming soon: burlesque
Luxury amenities: Members gain access to the club's private yacht, beach club and two golf resorts.
All-access membership? Yes
Personal training: $65--$100 per hour; members receive 10 percent off when they join.
Free passes? One to three days; one-week for corporate clients; available in person

New York Sports Clubs


(nysc.com)
Number of NYC branches: 53
Cost: Initiation fee $20--$149, plus $49--$89 per month; initiation fee reduced in September to $19.74.
Equipment highlights: Personal viewing screens, some machines have iPod docking stations. Most clubs offer between 65 and 100 pieces of cardio equipment, including treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, climbers and rowers.
Class highlights: Upcoming TRX suspension training, kettlebell and Zumba toning classes
Luxury amenities: Sports massages: 30 minutes $47--$50; 60 minutes $75--$80; 90 minutes $90--$95
All-access membership? Yes, varies with membership type
Personal training: $70--$125 per session; new members can purchase a single session for $36 when they join.
Free passes? Varies, depending on promotion, from one-day to one-week; available in person

The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers
Number of NYC branches: 1 20th St at Hudson River Park (chelseapiers.com/sc)
Cost: $105--$177 per month
Equipment highlights: A 25-yard, six-lane indoor pool, rock-climbing wall and new glass-enclosed cycle studio. There are no sign-in sheets for cardio equipment—use them as long as you'd like.
Class highlights: Rock climbing, water aerobics and triathlon training
Luxury amenities: A bunch—The Caf, sushi bar, full-service spa, towel and robe service, two sundecks and Wi-Fi
All-access membership? N/A
Personal training: $65--$115 per hour; new members receive three complimentary personal training sessions (including one fitness evaluation).
Free passes? Yes, one-day to one-week, but interested parties must meet with a membership consultant

Synergy Fitness Clubs


(synergyfitclubs.com)
Number of NYC branches: 7
Cost: Initiation fee $75--$149, plus $39--$49 per month
Equipment highlights: Life Fitness, Precor and Matrix machines, many of them with personal screens
Class highlights: They vary by location. The Astoria branch has Brazilian jujitsu.
Luxury amenities: Month-by-month memberships and 24-hour locations
All-access membership? Yes, varies with membership type
Personal training: $65--$85 per hour
Free passes? Yes. Currently lasts four days, available via the website.

YMCA


(ymcanyc.org)
Number of NYC branches: 19
Cost: $39--$93 per month; families $60--$167 per month. Through October 11, the enrollment fee will be waived.
Equipment highlights: Life Fitness cardio and strength-training equipment, plus standouts like the interactive Sport Wall at the Dodge YMCA in Cobble Hill
Class highlights: Parent-and-child yoga, senior chair aerobics, ballet
Luxury amenities: Most branches have pools and water activities, and all offer financial assistance.
All-access membership? Citywide membership can be purchased at each branch.
Personal training: $35--$70 per session.
Free passes? One-day, available online or in person

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