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 such as 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 maintained a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.
Make health happen at Anytime Fitness. With 14 Canberra locations, members have 24/7 access to state-of-the-art facilities and can work out any time. All clubs have supportive staff and heaps of workouts, recipes and advice on the Anytime Fitness website.
With Anytime Fitness, members are joining Australia’s biggest fitness community. As well as access to all Canberra locations, members can head to more than 500 clubs across the country and 3,200 Anytime Fitness gyms worldwide.
Anytime Fitness has a wide range of equipment and facilities so members can work out their own way, including with free classes.
Cardio equipment includes cardio TVs, elliptical cross-trainers, exercise cycles, rowing machines, spin bikes, stair climbers, treadmills, adaptive motion trainers, and SkiErg Trainer.
Strength and free weight equipment includes barbells, dumbbells, plate loaded, squat racks, and sled track.
Functional training is made possible with equipment such as battle ropes, BOSU, dumbbells, jump ropes, kettlebells, medicine balls, dead balls, plyometric boxes, resistance bands, and Queenax.
At Anytime Fitness, members have access to training and coaching services, starting with a fitness assessment. Personal, small group and specialised training are available, as is Pilates and virtual coaching.
Anytime Fitness is open around the clock, seven days a week, with 24-hour security. Some hours are staffed.
Nick Eckhardt wrote on Google, “Anytime Fitness Canberra City has been my home gym for years and will continue to be for a long time. The club itself is perfect for everyone regardless of where they are in their fitness journey.”
Hale Gym is a wellness destination. It’s a sanctuary for the body and mind. It’s a place for body transformations that delivers measurable physical improvements for all members and guests.
Members have available leading-edge Technogym equipment (backed up to the Technogym My Wellness Cloud with a customised app). The Hale Gym environment is non-intimidating, contemporary and sophisticated.
Hale Gym has developed the “12-Week Method” incorporating mobility, strength, conditioning and rehabilitation. The holistic approach ensures members sustain general physical preparedness and benefit from specific training.
At Hale Gym, other classes include Lean Lab, Pure Strength, Pilates, Yoga, Barre, and Buff Bones. Hale Gym offers private and group classes.
Wellness education events are led by industry leaders and inspirational wellness experts. Retreat programs adopt an integrated approach to optimise wellbeing.
Hale Gym’s amenities include a plunge pool, sauna and steam room. Open seven days from 5:30 am to 11 pm.
On Google, J.G. Seabrook wrote, “Excellent and luxe! The Hale Gym is gorgeously upmarket and makes working out less primal and more about refinement … Go here for a great workout without the intimidation of muscle boys and heavy metal. A great gym for all body shapes and goals.”
The Women’s Gym at Stellar offers state-of-the-art facilities, qualified staff and a friendly atmosphere. Open 24-7, and located on the top floor of Woden’s Stellar Building, this all-female facility is about living a healthier, happier lifestyle.
Over 400 square metres, is a wide range of new equipment and functional fitness space. Equipment includes free weights and pin-loaded equipment. Traditional cardio equipment is in the gym and so is a range of HIIT cardio equipment. Kettlebells, medicine balls, core bags, suspension trainers and other equipment are all available.
Stellar has a beauty bar and a relaxing green room—a calm social space to have a cuppa, catch up with friends and freshen up after working out.
Women’s Gym members have access to more than 100 group fitness classes. They also have members’ access to the Stellar pool, with graded depths, warm water and the latest filtration systems. The pool is 17 metres long by 8 metres wide.
Qualified and experienced female trainers at the Women’s Gym help members achieve their health and fitness goals, including through personalised work out plans. They can assist with weight loss, setting up gym programs, injury rehabilitation, sports specific training and advanced training techniques.
Opal Club and Diamond Club memberships are available with no joining fees or lock-in contracts. The Women’s Gym is open 365 day a year. Staff are on site from Monday to Thursday, 7:00 am to 7:00 pm, and Sunday from 10am to 2pm.
On Google, Ste F wrote, “I really enjoy working out in the Women’s Gym. Lovely atmosphere, great, easy-to-use equipment and lots of space to work out.”
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 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 Jacqui Carswell wrote on RiotACT “E4L is definitely the best gym in Canberra. I have been a member since we came out of the COVID lockdown and Joe, Erin and Sab have supported me to work hard and feel great.”
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 …”
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, the best martial arts schools, best CrossFit gyms, best yoga studios, best Pilates studios and best boxing schools our city has to offer.
For advice on improving what and how you eat, check out our article on the best dietitians in the Canberra region.
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 workouts. 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 haven't worked out in such an environment a great deal in the past. 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 such as steam rooms, pools, discounts on items for sale, and maybe some deals on personal trainers. Think about what you want from a gym and whether 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 will give 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 three to four 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 starting at a gym, the array of equipment and number of classes can feel 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. Soon you'll have a good grasp of what works best for you.