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Canberra’s Best Gyms


Canberra Gyms

Whether you want to lose weight, bulk up, or maintain fitness, joining the gym is a fantastic way to boost your health and eliminate stress.

That being said, finding a reliable, well-equipped gym isn’t always easy. That’s why we have compiled a list of Canberra’s best gyms based on your opinions.

What Makes a Great Gym?

What makes an idea gym will depend on your age, gender, and fitness goals. But, there are a few key factors that must be considered in choosing a good gym.

Here they are:

  • 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.
  • Staff knowledge. Want a personal trainer? They better be knowledgeable enough to help you achieve your goals. Want to work out on your own? A gym’s staff should be able to answer basic fitness questions and be confident in adjusting and using the equipment.
  • Affordability. A gym membership doesn’t necessarily need to break the bank. Instead, the cost should be reflected in the quality of staff and equipment.
  • Flexibility. A great gym should meet your unique requirements, whether that’s specific opening hours or flexible membership and pricing options.
  • Relaxed atmosphere. Working out can be difficult if the gym’s atmosphere makes you uncomfortable. Loud music, screens everywhere, and creepy gym-goers can be real deal breakers.

Canberra’s Best Gyms

RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 19 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 20 locations across Canberra and another 6 scheduled to open in early 2019, Club Lime is the ACT’s answer to all things health and fitness and we’d be surprised if there’s not a Club Lime gym near you! There is a broad variety of market-leading strength and cardio equipment, group exercise classes and small group or personal training options to choose from. Best of all, most locations are open 24/7 and there are no lock-in contracts with a 30-day no sweat money back guarantee – so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by joining.

Reviewer Tara loves how convenient Club Lime’s locations are. “I joined the club a few months back & absolutely love it!!! Everything’s so new, so convenient! 🙂 … Staff are always happy & friendly & always want to accommodate!”

ANU Fitness Centre

You don’t need to be a university student to reap the benefits of working out at the non-commercial ANU (Australian National University) Fitness Centre. It’s a fun, non-intimidating gym ideally situated near the centre of Canberra. It boasts a variety of machines, pin-loaded equipment, free weights, and more.

The ANU Fitness Centre offers members a number of services including group fitness classes, personal training, custom group training, and wellness guidance.

Commenter Boomacat raved about the ANU gym in Canberra. They wrote: “[ANU Fitness Centre] is not a commercial operation so they’re focussed on providing a good service to members, not just ripping them off for the greatest amount of cash possible.”

They also mentioned the quality and cleanliness of the machines: “Rates are very reasonable and the gym is in excellent condition, shiny new equipment and very clean and tidy.”

Fitness First

Chances are you’ve heard of Fitness First. It’s a popular, well-equipped national gym chain with fitness centres in Civic and Deakin. Although not quite 24-hour, Fitness First is a fantastic option for those who enjoy supplementing individual weight or cardio training with group fitness classes. Choose from BODYATTACK, HIIT, yoga, BODYPUMP, Shockwave and more.

Fitness First in Deakin also has a creche, so you can work out while someone looks after the kids.

Here’s an insider tip from commenter Grundy: “Avoid it during weekday lunches (12-2pm) and afternoons (5-7pm) and you’ll love it.”

Life Personal Fitness

Looking for something a little more intimate from your gym-going experience? Life Personal Fitness is a small outfit that offers affordable shared and one-on-one personal training sessions. You work closely with a trainer to boost your fitness and improve your health.

One of the key benefits of Life Personal Fitness in Canberra is the membership structure. There is no lock-in contract, and you only pay for the sessions you attend.

“Good value for money and it means that you are not locked into a contract, ever,” wrote commenter youami. “The other good thing is that the only people in the gym at the same time are other people doing training sessions. It is not an open gym.”

Who did you pick?

Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback on the best and worst Canberra Gyms.

If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.

Please comment below detailing your experience with Canberra Gyms. Who would you recommend? Who would you use again? Who would you steer clear of?

What's Your Opinion?

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53 Responses to Canberra’s Best Gyms
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 11:43 pm 28 Oct 15

+1 for Elite Physique and AIS

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 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 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 10:00 am 11 Jun 09

Why call it Club Slime if you like it?

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

deye 1:09 am 13 Mar 09

R086 said :

-Maximum hot chicks ( you are there to get fit and healthy, not pick up… And good luck picking up at a gym as most girls are there to train & not be harrased by a jerk skinny guy)

It’s not necessarily about picking up, being a jerk or harassing anyone. Having a good looking woman around can be motivational in itself without even interrupting anyones workout. I have no doubt it’s a similar situation for women when there is a good looking male around.

That said, some of the music videos that play can get a bit distracting.

deye 1:05 am 13 Mar 09

jakez said :

Incidentally, as far as I am concerned if you are willing to spend the amount of money that places like FF want to spend, you either don’t know what you are doing, you have very specific needs (trust me YOU don’t), or you like to waste money.

Or it’s the only convenient gym to your location. Being male I can’t go to Fernwood (given some of the stories I’ve heard over the years thank goodness for that) so that leaves either the pool gym which is open less hours and in the opposite direction to I am going, or FF which I practically have to walk past every day to and from work.

Having to walk past it every day makes me feel guilty if I don’t go in and actually use my membership 😉

Now if they would only spend some of the money we pay them on actually maintaining the facilities properly. Mostly it’s fine, although the showers/sauna etc can get a bit not nice. Also some of the equipment is showing the amount of use it’s been getting – yes it does get reported.

Yes their hard sell is a bit annoying and I haven’t tried to leave yet so I’m not sure how painful that will be.

deezagood 11:27 pm 12 Mar 09

FC said :

Now I’m not usually a gym going person (preffering team sports and other active activity), however I once accompanied a friend to the Vikings Gym at Erindale. The facilities were fine, however I was shocked to see a fair few of the ladies in full makeup.
I found this quite strange. But then throughout my workout I noticed that there seemed to be more loitering and chatting the the muscle men than actually sweating.

Vikings is a ‘salt of the earth’ kind of gym; nothing fancy, cheap-as-chips, friendly staff (not up-themselves wankers), decent classes and equipment. But the bogan-quotient is predictably quite high, given the location and cheapness-factor (bogan quotient ascertained through application of my patented ‘number-of-teeth-per-person’ bogan scale). I like it there though; comfortable, don’t feel the need to dress up/slap on the lippy etc… most people there to actually exercise. There seems to be a few ‘hot chicks’ too (bogan-hot, but still hot). I am not one of them 🙂

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