2008 Gym Guide By Drex Earle, Ph.D. and Dan Gentile January 12, 2008

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Finding a gym in Austin is no easy feat, despite the abundance of options at our collective disposal. What kind of equipment should you look for? Is personal training emphasis important? What kind of classes does each gym offer? In our 11th Annual Gym Guide we do our best to break it all down for you, so you can spend less time looking for the right fit and more time getting yourself into better shape.

Monica Brant

Austin's Famous Fitness Icon

Since debuting as a fresh-faced cover girl for Muscle & Fitness Magazine back in November 1994, Monica Brant has evolved into one of the most important and recognizable female figures in the modern health and fitness movement. With more than 100 covers to her name and just as many articles to match, she has garnered national acclaim as an athlete, model and health and fitness mentor. Monica began competing professionally in 1995 and for the next four years competed consistently in IFBB contests around the world. One of the highlights of her career was a FITNESS Olympia victory in 1998, where she was also the first athlete to ever compete in more than one division of the Olympia competition. Today Monica resides and works in Austin with her husband Scott Peckham (entrepenuer and former bodybuilder) and her two dogs.

1-2-3 Fit

11521 N. FM 620, Bldg. E, Ste. 1500 / 335.0123 / 123fit.com

image Interested in less pain and more gain? 1-2-3 Fitness features the 30/30 Circuit, a 30-minute workout that alternates between cardiovascular exercise, strength training and recovery time at 30-second intervals to maximize the potential of your workout. Their revolutionary Simbio System, designed to eliminate unnecessary resistance and help increase strength, will cut down on the soreness of beginning a workout routine. These innovative features, as well month-to-month memberships, hope to attract and keep novice workout enthusiasts.

24 Hour Fitness

5 Locations / 24hourfitness.com

image The third largest chain of gyms in Austin, 24 Hour Fitness has made its mark on the Austin workout landscape. Tapping into Austin-pride, three of the five clubs have been designed in coordination with Lance Armstrong, complete with indoor cycling rooms. A wide variety of constantly updated classes and personal training options are offered for those who want to broaden their horizons, while popular 24-hour availability makes these gyms ideal for exercisers with busy schedules.

Anytime Fitness

14360 Falcon Head Blvd. Ste. 140 / 402.1991 / anytimefitness.com

image Catering to a wide range of fitness levels, Anytime Fitness prides itself on delivering a solid workout whether you're in serious training or just want to get off the couch. Anytime promises 24/7/365 access to their facilities to accommodate even the busiest schedules and their trainers' availability is equally flexible. A wide selection of quality equipment, a high-tech tanning booth, private showers and dressing rooms make this well-rounded gym a great option if you're looking to get back in shape or elevate your fitness to the next level.

Body Business

2 Locations / bodybusinessfitness.com

image An integral part of Austin's gym landscape since 1984, Body Business aims for comfort and privacy while maintaining a community feel. Large workout rooms are portioned into individual zones, reservations are available for specific machines and a welcoming childcare facility ensures that your workout time is your own. It's also easy to meet and enjoy the company of new friends in one of more than 120 classes or by relaxing outside on the inviting patio area. Body Business has something for everyone, regardless of age, gender or exercise ability.

BodyWise Gym

1603 Ranch Road 620 N, Ste. 100 / Lakeway / 263.5519 / bodywisegym.com

image Not a big gym, but a great gym, BodyWise emphasizes its inviting feel and home-grown atmosphere. A friendly and qualified staff offers readily available advice to make the most out of your workout and there is an extensive exercise video library for when you don't feel like one-on-one personal training. Free childcare and towel services take half the hassle out of finding time for heading to the gym and the latest equipment ensures an efficient workout. A great spot for those in the Lakeway area or commuters who want to get a workout in on the way home.

Castle Hill

1112 N. Lamar Blvd., Ste. B / 478.4567 / castlehillfitness.com - READER'S CHOICE

image One of the biggest draws of a gym is state of the art equipment and Castle Hill delivers. Their Velotron cycling simulator offers an unparalleled biking experience, reproducing realistic terrain in the comforts of an air-conditioned room. Other high tech perks include extensive fitness monitoring tests and advanced climbing walls. Castle Hill also offers a large selection of yoga, massage and acupuncture options for the more holistically minded. And don't miss their super healthy food/juice bar in the building adjacent to the gym.

CATZ

12611 Hymeadow Drive / 345.5547 / catzsports.com - EDITOR'S CHOICE

image CATZ (Competitive Athlete Training Zone) aims to condition its members for excellence in specific disciplines. Workouts are individually tailored, and group sessions focus on achieving fitness goals that apply directly to specific sports. It's endorsed by several local semi-professional sports clubs, as well as nationally by the U.S. Men's Volleyball team. In addition to first-rate specialized programs, CATZ also offers training programs to combat the growing trend of obesity in American youth. If you're looking for the fun in fitness, this is the place to help you find it.

Curves

22 Locations / 800.848.1096 / curves.com

image Curves has more than 20 Austin locations to choose from and a whopping 10,000 gyms worldwide, claiming to be the fastest growing franchise in history. A gym for women only, Curve focuses on a thorough 30-minute workout plan that aims to not only keep women in shape, but bring them together in a friendly encouraging atmosphere. Without the pressure or pretentiousness that tend to accompany more hard-core gyms, Curves is a refreshing change of pace - a place woman can go and have a good time while also getting in a good workout.

Executive Fitness

515 Congress Ave. / 391.0804 / executive-fitness.net

image Just more than a year old, Executive Fitness is one of the newer gyms on the Austin health club scene. It was created with working professionals in mind and has succeeded in giving the downtown dweller another convenient and notably luxurious workout option. Founded by longtime exercise professional and personal trainer Justen Aranda and located at 6th and Congress in the Bank of America Building. Executive Fitness features flat screen TVs, massages, swanky locker rooms and validated garage parking.

Fitness19

3 Locations / 249.6030 / fitness19.com

image Started by a former partner of Family Fitness Center, Fitness19 is a new chain of affordable fitness clubs located in residential neighborhoods. Gyms in Avery Ranch, Round Rock, and Cedar Park create a family oriented fitness experience focused on cardio, free weights and strength training. The membership fees are extremely affordable and Fitness19 prides itself on its childcare facilities so you won't need to hire a nanny. If larger gyms aren't your style, Fitness 19 has the neighborhood charm that you've been looking for.

Fit Studio O2

3267 Bee Caves Rd., Ste. 118 / 329.5655 / fitstudio02.com

image Convinced that most people have trouble following a regular workout, Fit Studio 02 stresses the necessity of a personal trainer. The women's only studio focuses on a combination of Strength, Cardio, Functional Training, Pilates, Yoga and Nia that's personalized for every workout. One-on-one meetings with fitness professionals prior to each session ensure that you're working towards and achieving your specific goals. If you need a personal touch to become motivated, this Westlake studio is right up your alley.

Frost Bank Executive Health Club

401 Congress, Ste. 150 / 482.8839 / fbtfitness.com

image The Frost Bank Executive Health Club is located in the 11th floor of one of Austin's most iconic buildings, offering an enlightened workout experience in the heart of the downtown area. A 20-mile panoramic view let's you enjoy the Austin skyline and much more while taking advantage of state-of-the-art Technogym equipment. Complimentary personal trainers help make the most of your workout and plush locker rooms with private showers won't compromise your comfort. Owned by the Hill's, this is a great urban extension of their Westlake facility.

Gold's Gym

10 Locations / goldsgym.com

image Originating in Venice Beach in 1965, and featured in Arnold Schwarzenegger's seminal bodybuilding documentary "Pumping Iron," Gold's Gym has become the most prominent co-ed health club chain in the nation. Gold's offers a complete fitness experience in each of its 10 Austin locations, with stand-out features including "women's only" workout areas, certified chiropractors, Cardio Cinema rooms, Olympic-size swimming pools and free childcare. A popular choice for many Austinites, Gold's typifies what most people consider a workout club to be.

Gym One

3300 W Anderson Lane / 459.6165 / gymone.com

image A neighborhood gym with a personal touch, Gym One has taken over the former location of Busby's Total Fitness on Anderson Lane. Despite the change in name, Gym One is still locally-owned and operated. Gym One has made important strides in improving the facility it inherited - recently expanding their weight room, adding new equipment and priding themselves on having a wide variety of personal trainer options. Don't forget to make use of their dry cleaning drop off and pick up service, a unique perk for the busy Austin professional trying to balance work and working out.

Hyde Park Gym

4125 Guadalupe / 459.9174 / hydeparkgym.com

image Driving down Guadalupe it's almost impossible to miss Hyde Park Gym - a rippling bicep extends out of the building hoisting a larger than life free weight. Distinguishing itself as uniquely Austin, the gym offers a "no frills" workout environment with a focus on strength training. The professional staff features several bodybuilding and power-lifting champions and the "Ask the Gym" training forum is a place for regulars to get useful tips and increase their fitness knowledge.

Ironsmith

2 Locations / fitnessdoctors.com

image Ironsmith is the first Texas company of its kind to apply the tenets of rehabilitation training and post-rehab conditioning towards injury prevention and training for the general public. Playstrong Training Courses are offered for fitness professionals looking to increase their know-how or amateurs wanting a more thorough understanding of the art of fitness. Conveniently located downtown as well in Jefferson Square, Ironsmith is also one of Austin's best options for triathletes, featuring the nationally recognized Tri-Fit USA Training program.

Jewish Community Association of Austin

7300 Hart Lane / 735.8208 / jcaaonline.org

image More community center than traditional health club, the JCAA offers an inclusive atmosphere with something for everyone. The sports and fitness facility has an outdoor heated pool, a one-mile crushed red granite track, sports fields and an 11,000 square-foot double gymnasium. Programs include swim lessons, gymnastics, sports leagues and classes, and Silver Sneakers Senior Fitness Program. Cultural exhibits on theater, music and art will keep you busy when you're not working out.

Liberty Fitness

3 Locations / libertyfitness.com

image With a focus on fitness, nutrition and weight-loss, Liberty Fitness aims to not only change how women work out, but how they live. Founder Liberty Harper feels most Americans underestimate the effect their food has on overall wellness, and aims to help women overcome dieting myths. Combined with a revolutionary 30-minute workout where you rotate machines every 30 seconds, this Austin headquartered fitness club has already made great steps towards increasing the health and fitness of women all over the country.

LifeForce Personal Fitness

34 Round Rock Avenue / 248-0508 / lifeforce-fitness.net

image Oftentimes a gym membership isn't enough to keep one motivated and working out actively. Life Force tries to correct this with scheduled one-on-one sessions with their knowledgeable staff of personal trainers. Life Force's setup is simple - their personal trainers are all self-employed, setting their own rates and hours to provide a more personalized experience. Located in Round Rock, Life Force mixes up the typical gym model and prides itself on tailoring the workout to you.

Life Time Fitness

2 Locations / lifetimefitness.com

image This is not your neighborhood gym. Both Austin locations are gigantic, sprawling facilities that have everything a health club could offer. The 24-hour fitness centers boast athletic leagues, plasma big-screen TVs, and more than 400 exercise machines designed to work every muscle in the body. The complex also features a caf, nutrition store, spa and salon, rounding out one of the most thorough gyms in town. After a walkthrough, you won't believe memberships are as affordable as $49 a month.

Mecca Gym & Spa

524 N Lamar Blvd. / 381.2680 / meccagymandspa.com

image Designed with attention to both body and soul, Mecca combines the relaxing properties of a spa with the energizing aspects of a state-of-the-art fitness facility. Mecca is a self-described "urban wellness retreat," and prides itself on its attention to detail. Located across the street from Whole Foods Headquarters, Mecca boasts a Pilates studio, personal training, and soothing spa treatments - all this in addition to top fitness equipment and a beautiful view of downtown Austin.

Oxygen Fitness

2410 E Riverside Dr. / 444.3333 / oxygenfitnessaustin.com

image Unique in its location east of I-35 (just off of Riverside drive, and only a five-minute drive from downtown), Oxygen now offers new and innovative fitness programs that include screenings, massage therapy and fitness assessments. With affordable membership rates as well as bilingual trainers and instructors, Oxygen members can feel comfortable working-out in a non-competitive, down-to-earth environment where gym-goers don't feel pressure to put on makeup pre-workout. For fun workouts and a change of pace, Oxygen is a breath of fresh air.

Pinnacle Elite

1501 W. 5th St., Ste. 104 / 476.7334 / pinnaclefit.com

image Pinnacle Elite describes itself as having been designed by trainers for trainers. So, true to its claim, on any given day you will see more than a dozen independent contractors offering a broad range of personal training services without the burden of a monthly gym fee. Pinnacle Elite offers the amenities of a full-scale gym (changing rooms, lockers, shower facilities, etc.), without the frills...and more importantly, without the crowds. If you're looking for the one-on-one attention of a personal trainer, Pinnacle Elite is a great option.

Premiere Lady

2 locations / 707.7700 / premiereladyfitness.com

image Calling all female multi-taskers and those short on time! Here is a women-only gym where convenience is the name of the game. In addition to standard gym equipment and class offerings, Premiere Lady offers a heated indoor pool, sauna, steam room and whirlpool, spa services, hair styling, tanning beds, manicures/pedicures and a nurturing childcare facility. Offering weekly equipment orientation classes as well as a circuit program designed specifically for women, Premiere Lady is a fitness oasis offering something for every woman.

Pure Austin

2 locations / 242.2200 / pureaustin.com

image Designed for exercise enthusiasts without boundaries, Pure is famous for its most unique amenities: kayaking in private Quarry Lake, an outdoor heated four-lane pool, and outdoor spin classes. Pure's emphasis on the outdoors puts it literally in a league of its own, with highly educated exercise specialists who push boundaries and constantly seek to innovate at both the Town Lake and Quarry Lake locations. Also notable are a variety of unique boot camps, including the Holiday Survival Boot Camp as well as the Bride-to-be Boot Camp.

South Austin Gym

515 Congress Ave. / 266.6640 / southaustingym.com

image Having recently merged with Vazquez Academy, South Austin Gym, originally a boxing and kickboxing facility, now provides programming in both boxing and mixed martial arts. Though better-known for its boxing emphasis, South Austin Gym is also outfitted with a fully-equipped weight room, cardio area, tanning center and pro shop. Champion kickboxer Randy Palmer brings more than 25 years of training experience to the ring, and with its new martial arts programming, anyone can start sparring at this great neighborhood gym.

South Congress Athletic Club

1109-B South Congress Ave. / 445.0773 / socoathleticclub.com

image As soon as you set-up your membership, you'll appreciate the experienced staff at South Congress Athletic Club. Co-owner Mike Frazier's 27 years of training experience works towards creating a personalized weight program for your needs. Focusing on boxing conditioning, sport-specific training and Olympic-style weightlifting, this athletic club combines traditional training techniques with a few modern touches, including a blog to keep you updated on special events.

The Hills

4615 Bee Cave Road / 327.4881 / thehillsfitness.com

image Long considered one of the most luxurious gyms in Austin, the Hills Fitness Center is located on an eleven acre campus that houses indoor and outdoor recreation and fitness centers, as well as an in-the-works medical office building. In addition to superior cardio and weigh equipment, a Health Food Internet Cafe, Massage Therapy Center, physical therapy, and spa services all combine to make this creek-side fitness center a model for other exercise facilities and perfect setting for fitness for mind, body and spirit.

The Hilton Tower Health Club & Spa

500 E. 4th St. / 482.8000 / hilton.com

image What's better than a gym membership that allows you to charge fine hotel dining to your gym account? The Hilton Tower Health Club & Spa boasts two cardio rooms, free-weights, state-of-the-art exercise equipment and personal training. But that's just the beginning. Get a luxurious facial in the wet treatment room or make an appointment for a relaxing massage. With no initiation or cancellation fee, membership at The Hilton Tower Health Club & Spa is as carefree as going on vacation.

Westlake Rehab & Wellness Center

5656 Bee Caves Road / 329.6655 / westlakemedical.com

image Situated within the Westlake Medical Center, this newly constructed, cutting-edge facility is a one-stop shop for rehabilitation, physical therapy, pain therapy and surgical services. What's not particularly surprising is that Westlake Rehab offers a variety of medical procedures including X-rays, MRI, CT scan and conventional lab tests. However, you may be caught off guard to learn that it is also a gym - housing a fully-functional workout facility with resistance and cardio equipment abound, to help facilitate patient recovery and physical therapy outcomes.

Wild Basin Fitness

2 locations / 266.6161 / wildbasinfitness.com

image Memberships are limited at Wild Basin Fitness in order to maintain member/personnel ratios required for constant customer attention. With locations in Westlake and Steiner Ranch, Wild Basin has state-of-the-art facilities and a highly educated and experienced staff; something that ends up being ideal for all levels of fitness. With a clean, cutting-edge and functional workout environment, the exercise experience at Wild Basin is rounded out with only the best equipment and service. It's a shame memberships are limited.

YMCA of Austin

8 Locations / austinymca.org

image Join one YMCA, and you join them all! But that's not even the best part. Perhaps the best perk of joining the Y is that you'll receive free group exercise classes, year-round swimming and childcare - all for some of the most flexible and affordable membership fees around. Members also have access to child and teen programming which emphasize a life-long commitment to health and fitness. Austin is home to eight YMCA locations, so wherever you are, you won't be too far from a great community and fitness facility.


  • Multiple Locations: 24 Hour Fitness, Body Business, Curves, Fitness 19, Gold's Gym, Liberty Fitness, Life Time Fitness, Premiere Lady, Pure Austin, The Hills, Wild Basin, YMCA
  • Basketball: Fit Studio 02, Gold's Gym, JCAA, Life Time Fitness, Oxygen Fitness, Pure Austin, The Hills, YMCA
  • Pool: 24 Hour Fitness, Body Business, Castle Hill, Gold's Gym, JCAA, Life Time Fitness, Premiere Lady, Pure Austin, The Hills, The Hilton, YMCA
  • Tanning: Gold's Gym, Gym One, Premiere Lady, Pure Austin, South Austin
  • Childcare: 24 Hour Fitness, Body Business, BodyWise Gym, Busby's, Fitness 02, Gold's Gym, JCAA, Life Time Fitness, Premiere Lady, The Hills, Wild Basin, YMCA
  • Running Track: 24 Hour Fitness, BodyWise Gym, JCAA, Life Time Fitness, Oxygen Fitness, Pure Austin, The Hills, YMCA
  • Racquetball: Life Time Fitness, The Hills, YMCA
  • Volleyball: JCAA, Life Time Fitness, Pure Austin, YMCA
  • Physical Therapy: Body Business, CATZ, Executive Fitness, Gold's Gym, Pinnacle Elite, Pure Austin, The Hills, Wild Basin, YMCA
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