The Best Gyms in Canberra

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Club Lime

Club Lime, one of Canberra’s most recommended gyms. Photo: Supplied.

If you’re looking to improve your physical and mental health you might want to join a reliable, well-equipped gym that suits your personality and needs. Heading to the gym regularly can increase your energy levels, help you sleep better, enhance your general strength, relieve stress, and make you feel better all round. Gyms can also be great places to meet new friends.

In this article, we’ll outline the qualities to consider when choosing a gym, and share where to find the best in Canberra.

What makes a great gym?

With so many types of gyms on the market, it can be overwhelming to decide which is right for you, whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned gym junkie. What’s important is to select a gym with the right atmosphere and equipment, as well as one that is safe and positive for everyone.

Here are a few key factors you should consider when choosing a gym:

  • Membership value. The fitness industry and gym landscape are evolving with members wanting more value. You’ll want to assess several factors when choosing a gym, beyond price. Does the gym have a sense of community? What services does it provide? Does it offer enhanced training experiences, say with coaching and new technology?
  • Screening. No matter what gym or training experience you have, all gyms should demonstrate due diligence to new members. You’ll need to fill in certain forms and will want a gym that will provide guidance on technique and feedback for your personal progression.
  • Equipment. The equipment in a gym can make or break your exercise routine. The best gyms in Canberra are stocked with a wide variety of top-quality and well-maintained equipment. The question is whether the equipment is the right kind for you.
  • Staff knowledge. Staff should be properly trained and qualified to perform the duties they’re performing. Check the gym’s website for staff credentials so you’re confident you can ask questions about using all equipment and exercising in a safe way.
  • Affordable and flexible. Many types and levels of gym memberships are available, depending on factors like the number of times you’ll head in for a fitness workout, whether you want classes, what hours you want to train, and length of membership. Prices vary and take into account the hours a gym is open for training.
  • Community. Gyms with a great sense of community will inspire you. Staff should be motivating and encouraging. They should make you feel welcome and comfortable.

The best gyms in Canberra

RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.

To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.

Club Lime

Club Lime

With 30 locations across Canberra and others planned to open soon, Club Lime is the ACT’s answer to all things health and fitness. Club Lime has a wide range of market-leading strength and cardio equipment, group exercise classes and small group or personal training options to choose from.

Their great family of professional personal trainers all have in-depth fitness knowledge and expertise and are on hand to help members achieve their goals.

Club Lime offers a motivating and non-intimidating environment and a wide variety of equipment, classes and other activities, so there’s heaps of choice. Most locations are open 24/7 so members can train how they want and when they want. With Club Lime there are no lock-in contracts, just a 30-day, no-sweat, money-back guarantee.

Alan Anthony wrote on Google about Club Lime Belconnen, “Got all the good weight training equipment and also has a massive studio where u get free classes once you’re a member. Totally worth it!”

Stockade Training Centre

Stockade Training Centre

Stockade Training Centre in Fyshwick is a state-of-the-art martial arts and boxing fitness centre catering to all levels from absolute beginners to elite athletes. It is a premier combat sports gym, with more than 1,000m2 of training equipment and mat space, a boxing ring, plenty of boxing bags and a dedicated wresting, grappling and BJJ training area.

Many Olmypic, Commonwealth and world-class athletes have trained and coached at Stockade. Most coaches have competed and place at international and national levels and they’re serious about helping members improve their fitness levels and even prepare for competitions.

Stockade Training Centre offers classes for amateur sparring, boxing, cross training, Mixed Martial Arts sparring, Muay Thai, wrestling and more. The gym is a safe and fun environment that is ‘ego’ free and family friendly. Even kids boxing is available for children aged eight and over, a great way to introduce younger enthusiasts to the principles of boxing.

Flexible membership options are available.

As satisfied member Bronwyn Sainsbury said on Google, “The only place in Canberra to train, they have an amazing staffing team and are always kind and friendly …”

7 Kembla Street
Fyshwick ACT 2609
Elements4Life

Elements4Life

Elements4Life, affectionately known as E4L, is a market leader in delivering functional training programs in Canberra. E4L specialises in High-intensity interval training (HIIT), High-volume interval training (HVIT), Variable-intensity interval training (VIIT), strength cycles, personal training and semi-private training, always focusing on personal growth and movement quality.

E4L is about experience, teamwork and community vibe, as well as driving better results using science backed programming and well-structured workouts.

The E4L team believes training and health is a lifestyle choice and they’re passionate about working with like-minded members who live by the same values.

In Canberra, E4L leads the way in trademarked modular functional training systems and multi-experience services – Smart™ Experiences and Elements4Life for Harrison gym members and (soon) multiple Smart™ training experiences for Belconnen members.

Each unique E4L Smart™ training experience is built on scientific principles catering for multiple training styles, personal space compliancy and personal preferences. Multiple training experiences are offered. All Smart™ experiences have a cap on space so everyone has room to move when training.

E4L’s coaches are highly trained and experienced, each with a Certificate IV in Fitness, at a minimum, and a Master Functional Trainer certification.

The motivating and enthusiastic E4L team are market leaders in fitness experiences, compliancy, hygiene, innovation and facilitation. Their approach that’s smarter by definition and better in execution.

As satisfied member Christopher Van-bael wrote on Google “Great gym and awesome trainers. The gym has all the equipment needed and the group sessions are great for building strength and fitness. Highly recommended this gym.”

Units 79-81/170 Flemington Road
Harrison ACT 2914
The Den Canberra

The Den Canberra

The Den Canberra caters to all fitness levels and abilities and makes everyone comfortable regardless of their fitness level. Whether a professional athlete or a beginner, The Den Canberra offers something for all levels of intensity, focusing on stability, mobility and conditioning.

The gym’s ethos revolves around teamwork – ‘We all train better when training together.’

The Den, Nicole and Mick

Many classes are available, including strength and conditioning, metabolic conditioning, aerobic and anaerobic conditioning, strength sessions and adrenaline-boosting workouts. The flagship session at The Den is the 20/10 interval session, based on Tabata principals and designed for people just starting to improve their overall fitness, health and wellbeing, all the way up to professional athletes motivated to continually improve.

At The Den, members are treated equally, not by their fitness level. Motivating, supporting and encouraging one another is a priority. Experienced coaches are part of the team.

Opening hours and class timetables are flexible. Memberships are too, starting with casual visits, and including 10-session passes and unlimited session memberships. Gym only memberships are also available.

Steph Selmes wrote on Google, “Been going to the den for nearly 18 months seriously the best training facility in Australia! They are highly knowledgeable and experienced coaches.”

70 Kent Street
Deakin ACT 2600

Fitness First

Fitness First is a popular, well-equipped national gym chain with fitness centres in Civic and Deakin. It’s great gym option for those keen on supplementing individual weight or cardio training with group exercise classes. Choose from Bodyattack, High-intensity interval training (HIIT), Bodypump, Shockwave, yoga and more. Free guest passes and flexible membership options available.

As Jonathon Balzanelli wrote about Fitness First Deakin on Google, “This gym is a fantastic and welcoming environment that has all the facilities … I rate this highly and it’s also very very clean!”

If you’re looking for more information on gyms and other ways to get in shape, check out our articles on The Best High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Classes in Canberra and The Best Martial Arts Schools in Canberra.

Your experience with gyms in Canberra

Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback, if you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.

Have you had experience with any of the gyms listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I expect from a good gym?
A good gym should be well-equipped, hygienic, staffed with professional and friendly trainers, and offer a wide range of classes, including for those who prefer guided exercise to independent work outs. When shopping around for a new gym, do some trials to get a feel for the place. Take note of some of these qualifiers, and look out for the most important one - how comfortable you feel in the gym!
I'm a beginner. Can I still join a gym?
Absolutely. A good gym caters to all levels of fitness and experience, especially to those who don't have a lot of experience working out in gyms. A good place to start would be to take a few classes your gym offers, or consider hiring a personal trainer to guide your fitness journey, gain great results and keep you safe from injury.
Are gyms worth the membership price?
This depends on what kind of membership you're looking for. Gym memberships are priced on how many facilities you have access to. Lower-tiered memberships can, for example, give you access to the basics and all the classes on offer, while higher-tiered memberships might give you access to things like steam rooms, pools, discounts on items for sale, and maybe some deals on personal trainers. Think about what you're trying to get out of going to the gym and if any of these services will help you. Then decide which gym is best for your needs.
How often should I go to the gym?
Going to the gym more often is going to show you faster results, but you need to be careful not to risk injury by overdoing it. Depending on your fitness level you could go a couple of times or perhaps even 3 to 4 times a week. There is no hard and fast rule and frequency depends on your goals, fitness levels and how much time you have to commit!
What should I do at the gym?
When first starting at a gym, the array of equipment and number of classes can feel a bit overwhelming. Talk to staff and ask for recommendations based on your fitness goals. Even ask for a quick tutorial on how to use any equipment you're unsure about. You can also try out different classes. Pretty soon you'll have a pretty good grasp on what works best for you.

What's Your Opinion?


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56 Responses to The Best Gyms in Canberra
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franh1984 franh1984 8:02 pm 29 May 20

I can not recommend Elements4life enough. I’ve been a member of the gym for 6 years and it has become my second home. The community is amazing, supportive and a just great group of people who train hard but also have a lot of fun. The coaches are very supportive and have helped me drop over 60kgs down from over 160. I’ve always felt welcome, accepted, part of a team from day one and encourage those of you thinking of joining to do so. The SmartTeam sessions are interactive, varied and provide a challenge every session. I’ve never committed to anything this long in my life and E4L has helped me realise my passion for fitness and am so happy that I walked through the doors 6 years ago. Thanks to Sab, Erin and Joe for creating an amazing space that is so special to me. I’m so grateful for everything that they have helped me achieve. I now have the confidence and ability to get out there and do things which I don’t know that I would’ve had the courage to do so without the support of E4L.

Sebastian Jago Sebastian Jago 1:21 pm 27 May 20

One thing I do know is Erin, Joe and myself love coaching and love what we do here at Elements4Life. Our E4L community has really grown and we can proudly call everyone our mates and they inspire us everyday. It is humbling being in a role such as this where fitness, training in a team (or on your own too) and working for better is so important to so many people. It can however be taken for granted, especially when it is taken away from you. Recent events have highlighted this fact and I think everyone who trains on a regular basis can agree how important your coach, your training mates and your regular programming truly is. We are so grateful to be able to do all of this again (once this world event subsides) and can’t wait to see everyone back at Elements4Life doing what they love. Bring on the reopening I say and let us gym junkies back into the game. It’s time. Feel free to reach out to us too if you want to see what we are about.

Mel Robens Mel Robens 5:04 pm 26 Dec 19

Definitely golds gym, no other… child care facilities, smoothies, supps, training and posing rooms, cardio strength the whole lot. great staff and it is a great environment! HANDS DOWN GOLDS GYM, I train there each day and couldn’t be happier

John Moulis John Moulis 11:01 pm 30 Aug 17

I’ll put my two cents worth in. I’ve been at Club Lime since Gold’s Gym collapsed a year ago. I’ve found it really good. Several gyms around Canberra including the mother of all gyms – the incredible CISAC in Belco (“The bull pen”) which has three floors of equipment plus an Olympic sized pool *and* a branch of Elite Supplements. It reminds me of the sadly departed State Sports Centre in Melbourne which was privatised then closed down by Jeff Kennett’s government in 1993.

What you want from a gym is up to you. But once you settle in and gain more knowledge you can eventually write your own programs and exercise alone, or else pay extra and be coached by a PT. Writing your own program comes with time. As you get engrossed in the BB culture you discover more and more exercises. You put some in, you take some out. You might stop doing the cable shrug for traps and do the muscle up instead. You might stop doing the dumbbell pullover and do it with the hammer curl bar instead. The sky’s the limit.

Gym training and fitness work is never dull or boring, it has saved a lot of lives as many men who suffer depression have taken up the weights which has warded off the black dog and prevented self harm.

Take it from me, a 40 year gym veteran.

batmantrilogy batmantrilogy 11:43 pm 28 Oct 15

+1 for Elite Physique and AIS

zllauh zllauh 4:13 pm 27 Jul 15

why not try cross fit.
just saw famous you tube hit video of bar brothers and i have gone mad watching them.
gym junkies cannot do what they can . crazy

Nerde Nerde 1:33 pm 24 Sep 14

Anyone who has a problem with so called ‘posers’ is just jealous. I mean, do you even know them personally?

CFitter CFitter 6:35 pm 13 Jun 09

Amen to CrossFit!
It’s the sprot of Fitness!
Its something you can do anywhere with minimal equipment – commercial gym, home or outside or get right into it with a good set up.
It does have a HUGE focus on safe and propper form (as everything should but unfortunately neglected far too often!) But in saying that there are countless workouts you can do with pure body weight and basic movements to get great results it’s all about the variety, intensity and functional movemetns!

Certainly no posers… egos left at the door!

Hot chicks… if getting heathly and fit is your goal… who cares!

Cheap as chips if done at home/outside minimul equip or with classes and instruction can get a little more pricey but you get what you pay for really.
CrossFit Base runs from the Southside.

3, 2, 1…go!

jakez jakez 10:00 am 11 Jun 09

Why call it Club Slime if you like it?

Die Lefty Scum Die Lefty Scum 9:46 am 11 Jun 09

Thanks for your input RAers. I’m sure that you’ve all been dying to know which gym I ended up joining, so I’ll end the suspense: I joined Club Slime in Tuggers for about $650. The equipment and space is very impressive. I avoid peak hours so I can’t comment on the busier times but during th day its blissfully free of poser types, while parking is ample and free. My only complaint is the occasional but outrageously loud Ministry of Sound-type music that can be heard over the top of an iPod on full volume. As for me, the man-boobs have already dropped a cup-size and my pipes are ready to burst. Look out for me this summer – I’ll be the bloke down at Pine Island kicking sand in everyone’s faces.

BellaBoo BellaBoo 10:07 pm 30 Apr 09

First post…long time reader.

I’m looking at joining Alive at Mawson. Can anyone tell me what its like?

Just after a easy going gym, just want to use the treadie, cross trainer etc. Maybe a few weights.

Don’t want to pay a fortune…which I’ve done previously at Flames – its just not for me.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Danman Danman 11:27 pm 21 Mar 09

Just saw this thread and if your immediate concern is to get rid of your man boobs, may I suggest aerobic rather than anaerobic workouts.

Get your heartrate up and keep it up.

Gyms are handy for this, light free weights, lots of reps and sets – cross trainers, rowers, and exercise bikes, but not the be all and end all.

Someone mentioned running, but for lower impact extreme cardio, punch out 10km a day on your bike, tackle some hills, do sprints and interval training on the flats. My pet peeve is exercising for no gain, so I generally avoid gyms and prefer to get my exercise in the outdoors rain, hail or shine.

The first time I got stuck in 2 torrential downpours on my way home, I arrived refreshed and with a huge grin on my face. Nothing like playing in the rain to bring the kid out 😛

The first morning I rode to work, I got there with ice on every forward facing surface, I was not smiling then, but it set a benchmark that I am yet to break.

I will not deny that gyms are not good, but there are far less posers out on the paths at 0645 and 1700 on my 3 days I ride to work.

prettysam prettysam 6:06 pm 21 Mar 09

It is really good to have a chiseled chest that women ever wanted.
Many of us wants to have a sexy and perfect body in order to catch others attention.
It’s amazing to have these products and help us get the body we’ve ever dreamed of.
Of course there are lots of guidelines online on how to lose man boobs and have a great chiseled chest.

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 12:37 pm 15 Mar 09

I joined FF in Civic when they opened and am therefore on a reasonable rate. But there are far more expensive gyms around. They are comparable with CISAC for instance, about the same as Bodyworks (but FAR better facilities), way way cheaper than Flames.

FF should have secured the vacant place next door before it go hired out, as the group classes room is too small and that bloody pillar in the middle is a pain. Some of the more popular classes like Attack, Step, Pump and Balance are getting crowded – they need more classes to thin it out a bit. They did promise on opening to have Cardio Box classes but I’m still waiting…

The clientele are mainly there to do what they need to do. The only creepy one is a little guy who hangs around in the change rooms and showers hoping someone will be interested…

Slightly off topic: CISAC’s lack of cleaning and maintenance is pathetic. The pool surrounds are very slippery and have been for 2 years – they are clearly coated with algae. I have raised this multiple times with staff on deck and on the counter. I’m told “management don’t listen to us” and that the floors are hosed every day. I try to tell them that it clearly isn’t working and they need to Gernie the floors, but never does anything happen.

My son slipped just walking (I was right behind him) and his head just missed the steel step at bottom of the water slide – would have peeled him open if he hit it. I find it difficult to walk around the pools without slipping – it’s far worse with kids and the inevitable running.

CISAC has already had one coroner’s inquiry into a death there – what will it take to get them to clean the place properly??

Pommy bastard Pommy bastard 9:37 am 15 Mar 09

Let’s hope Mrs G doesn’t find out about Mrs G, it could lead to all sorts of shenanigans.

Special G Special G 6:56 am 15 Mar 09

Mrs G who’s post appears above is not my Mrs G who simply posts under my login every now and then and signs off as Mrs G.

MrsG MrsG 10:07 pm 14 Mar 09

jakez said :

Yeah bodyweight exercises are great. I’m too performance based to rely on them now (I need maximal strength and explosive strength for my sport), however people really don’t need a gym membership to start.

Ditto to that. It’s amazing how effective bodyweight exercises can be…I got particularly good results for upper body and core strength from Pole Dancing classes…but I guess that’s not really an option for most guys!

But for more targeted results for sports I have been very happy with working out at Fitness First in civic.

I mostly go on Friday nights after work or on the weekend and it’s pretty much empty then. I love Friday nights with my PT since there’s plenty of space to do creative exercises as well as traditional weights…and anyone there on a Friday tend to be there to workout and not pose/pickup, although pumping out a few pull-ups tends to get some attention as a girl.

Before you settle on a gym it’s worth checking out deals they’re all offering – my FF membership is only $13 per week which is around half price than normal cos I signed up at the right time : )

jakez jakez 9:10 am 13 Mar 09

Yeah bodyweight exercises are great. I’m too performance based to rely on them now (I need maximal strength and explosive strength for my sport), however people really don’t need a gym membership to start.

Besides, there’s nothing like a one legged squat to tear down someones ego.

frontrow frontrow 8:56 am 13 Mar 09

Deckard @29,

If you have genuine man boobs, winter is the only time you can go outside and have a waddle. Summer is all about airconditioning. The sun is evil.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 6:24 am 13 Mar 09

Buy yourself a decent pair of runners and get outside. Unless you’re a bodybuilder everything you need for an all body workout can be obtained in the great outdoors. Empty kids playgrounds pose a wealth of opportunity for adult exercise

Great advice. I used to go to the gym a lot as a uni student, but over the past few years have been getting into bodyweight exercise and calisthenics, and am much stronger and healthier than when I was using weights regularly. I’d suggest starting with bodyweight type exercises, then once you have done this for a while, buy the few pieces of equipment you want and use them from home. Also think about learning boxing, as the exercise component is awesome for body conditioning.

If you want to firm up and lose the manboobs, this will probably be a better approach than paying to use workout machines that simulate the real thing. As for weights, get strong enough to lift yourself first.

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