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Body By Brando Waterloo Gym
Photograph: Supplied/Body By Brando

The best group fitness classes in Sydney

Improve your wellbeing and your social life at these top Sydney bootcamps and fitness classes

Maxim Boon
Written by
Maxim Boon
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Mates make everything better – even exercise. So if you’re looking to kickstart your fitness aspirations, a group fitness class might be just the environment to put you on the path towards a healthier you. There are plenty to choose from across Sydney, so we’ve picked out a few of the finest. 

If group fitness isn’t right for you, why not check out one of Sydney’s excellent outdoor pools, or even one of the city’s great climbing gyms, where you can boulder to a better bod? Looking for something a little weirder and whackier? Try one of Sydney's most off-beat fitness classes. And for those frugal fitness seekers out there, many of the city's excellent parks have outdoor fitness stations that are absolutely free to use.

Recommended: the 13 best walks around Sydney

The best group fitness classes in Sydney

This Olympic lifting and CrossFit inspired studio doesn’t just get the blood pumping – community spirit also courses through the veins of the men and women who train here under the guidance of founder Brandon Hasick and his team. At Body by Brando’s two studios, in Waterloo and Paddington, each one-hour workout is crafted so that no matter your skill level, anyone can join in and feel like part of the crew. Classes can be amped up or scaled back to meet the fitness and experience levels of individual participants, ensuring everyone gets a thorough sweat on without being left behind.

Barry’s has an international reputation, not only for being a world-class fitness brand but also for the calibre of its facilities, where the ambience, lighting and soundtrack are every bit as important as the exercise gear. Sydney now boasts three studios, in Surry Hills, the CBD and Kings Cross, where the circuit style workouts are overseen by a crack team of top fitness professionals. The training philosophy at Barry’s marries a combo of weight training and high-intensity interval cardio to improve tone, strength and endurance, all at the same time.

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There are spin classes, and then there are Cycology spin classes. Biking to bangers is the simple yet powerful niche of this Surry Hills-based studio, where pedal power is synced in time to the beat of the best floor-fillers of the moment. With motivation provided by a qualified ‘cyclogist’ (aka your spin coach), you’ll feel those party vibes as the soundtrack builds, climaxes and then eases you into a chilled out wind-down – just like a real dancefloor.

On an unassuming residential street in Camperdown, housed in a converted warehouse, you’ll find one of the city’s sleekest CrossFit studios. Play is more than just the name of this gym, it's also its guiding principle – workouts here are designed to be challenging but fun. Quality fitness with a strong community ethos is the vibe here, with group training programs on offer in the gym’s bright and stylishly appointed open-plan space, as well as personal training options for those looking to perfect their lifting technique under closer supervision.

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Established in mid-2019 by Kesava Commerford – a well-known heavyweight of Sydney’s fitness community – Undercard is a boxing gym with a difference. This is no spit and sawdust outfit, but a sleek and stylish studio that effortlessly casts off the men-only yoke of old school boxing fitness. That's not to say that classes at this Oxford Street venue pull their punches. Fusing high-impact boxing with high-intensity interval training, these trainer-led workouts pack a wallop, burning as many as 1,000 calories per session.

It’s not just the pros who strut their stuff at SDC’s Walsh Bay HQ. The city’s premier contemporary dance company also offers 85 fitness classes a year, where participants of all skill levels can twirl their way to a healthier life. Classes cover a huge range of abilities and dance styles, from ballet to jazz, hip hop to tap, and just about everything in between, as well as pilates, yoga, and ‘stretch’, a yoga-infused dance style aimed at building core strength and better mobility. There are also classes specifically for seniors aged 55 and over. Get those dancing shoes on. 

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As you might imagine, a fitness brand with more than 1,200 venues in its native US must know a thing or two about getting its members in shape. Indeed, it’s the level of scientific knowledge and holistic thinking behind Orangetheory’s one-hour classes that have gotten the brand onto opening its ninth gym in Sydney alone (and counting). During classes, participants spend between 12 to 20 minutes with their heart rate elevated, but even this short amount of time is enough to boost the metabolism and burn through calories like wildfire. Using heart-rate monitors, trainers can ensure clients are in the optimal effort zone – its helps them help you. 

One of the advantages of living in a city like Sydney, where alfresco living is par for the course, is that the great outdoors can be your gym. The Outdoor Squad takes full advantage of this, with a range of group classes taking place daily under Sydney’s (usually) sunny skies. Recognising that when it comes to exercise classes, there isn’t always a one-size-fits-all solution, the Outdoor Squad has a variety of different programs on offer, each tailored to a different goal. For example, Cardioburn classes improve heart and lung health with high-intensity interval training, while the Hustle’n’Flow classes combine a circuit of exercises linked with fluid transitions to hone technique and conditioning. Focus on one, or mix it up – the choice is yours.

Explore outside the ordinary

  • Sport and fitness
  • Walks

In the national parks that sit on the city’s fringes, you'll find several wonderful hikes that are perfect for those who prefer a relaxed amble to a major expedition. Lace-up those boots, grab a fistful of trail mix, top-up your water bottle and head out on one of these easy day hikes near Sydney. 

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