UPDATED OCT 29, 2019
You wouldn’t know it from the volume of breakfast tacos Austinites consume, but this city’s fitness scene is alive and thriving. From hardcore HIIT studios to dedicated rowing concepts, boxing gyms, and everything in between, if you're looking for a muscle-burning workout, these top Austin sweat spots have you covered.
This boutique fitness studio in South Austin makes the word ’boutique’ a little less cutesy. Workouts are uniquely planned, interval-driven, and involve a combination of strength and endurance training. Each week you can expect to experience three kinds of workouts: momentum, anaerobic, and durability (MAD). Not to worry though, intensity is tailored to your needs and they welcome all levels of fitness.
You’re guaranteed a one-of-a-kind experience at Black Swan. Each class is different because the instructors are encouraged to make their practice their own. Everything about this studio is specially curated by them — even the music playing in the lobby. There are three studios spread across the city in the north, south, and right smack dab in the middle of downtown. Bonus: the classes are donation-based, meaning you pay what you can afford.
You’re not going to find a lot of machines or egos at this East Congress sweat spot, and we’re okay with that! The founder, Inez, is a born-and-raised Austinite who brings the city’s open-minded and funky culture into the gym. You get a spacious Olympic-style weight room (it’s wide open!), a dedicated MMA area, and group classes to break out of those plateaus that come with a routine. A session at their St. Elmo outpost is just one of those rare workouts you’ll actually look forward to.
The Barre Code on South Lamar and downtown is a key player in the Austin barre bubble. Take the traditional TBC (total body conditioning) class, or mix it up with their high-paced BRAWL class, which integrates more cardio and kickboxing. If you’re looking for a one-stop shop, The Barre Code has everything you need: cardio, strength training, and restoration-style sessions.
Is this a gym? No. It’s more than a gym. At least that is what Dane himself claims. Dane’s Body Shop is all about setting and reaching goals. They have a run club, recovery yoga, community workouts, and a whole bunch of other strength-hybrid classes on the schedule. The original Dane’s is on Guadalupe, but there’s a second gym on Manor Rd. as well. Write your goal down on a brick (really, they’ll have you do this) and start working for it.
KNOCKOUT is a boutique studio on W. 6th with a fresh concept: rave boxing (our words, not theirs). It may sound weird, but we can’t think of a better way to relieve stress and burn some calories than kickboxing in the dark to pulsating music. Convinced? Us, too. Let’s rock out and refine that left hook.
DEFINE is making moves in more ways than one. Their SoLa location is massive and hosts a combination of yoga, cycling, barre, trampoline, and hammock classes. But don’t get too excited for that last one — you’re still going to break a sweat.
Low impact doesn’t always mean low intensity. In one rowing stroke, you’ll engage your arms, legs, back, and abdominals. That’s a lot of sore muscles to look forward to after a workout with Rō! What’s awesome is their original downtown location moves the rowing machines outside when the weather’s nice — you’ll feel just like you’re gliding down Lady Bird Lake. And Rō has opened a second location in Tarrytown, so you have even more opportunities to get a good workout in.
Onnit Academy Gym is the real deal. The trainers here focus on technique and advanced methodologies that deliver crazy results and peak performance. Think CrossFit with the focus turned up even higher. But don’t be intimidated, though — there are classes for all levels. You’ll get an in-depth understanding of training fundamentals from trainers who really know their stuff. Head over to this South Austin gym if you’re ready for ropes, weighted maces, sprints, and one heck of a post-workout protein shake!
Does rock climbing remind anyone else of their childhood sleep-away camp days? Don’t be fooled — this workout will challenge any in-shape adult. Crux Climbing Center is right off South Congress, offering rope climbing, bouldering, and strength-training classes for all levels of climbers. The gym is packed with different climbing walls, the trainers are supportive, and most of all, the workout is fun!
At Athletic Outcomes on E. Riverside Dr., they’re not taking themselves too seriously. Here it’s all about health, fitness, and fun. Their small group classes ensure you’re getting the most out of your workout with instructors that are with you every step of the way. Their signature AO Fit class will get your heart pounding and your muscles burning with functional movement patterns and strength and conditioning training. Just make sure you don’t skip out on the recovery lounge. A cold tub followed by 45 minutes in compression boots — yes, please.
Not every gym has it all. But CHF on 12th and Lamar and on 360 and Westlake Dr, legitimately offers everything you could ask for from a full-service fitness space — weight floor, cardio machines, 80+ yoga, Pilates, stength, cardio, and cycling classes, personal training, infrared sauna, and a spa. Seriously, it’s like a maze in there with Austinites sweating it out upstairs, downstairs, and to the outdoor arena. Not to mention, this is one of the oldest locally-owned gyms in town, and they are famous for their good community vibes. Take advantage of their free 3-Day Trial to see this gem of a gym for yourself!
If you've never sweat it out in a SoulCycle class, get ready for an incredible experience. What you're in for is a full-body workout featuring cardio-heavy choreography (yes, small hand weights are thrown into the mix), high-energy beats, and top-notch instructors motivating you to push yourself to your edge. Did we mention it all takes place in a candlelit room? There's a reason this cycling studio is now a household name. Check it out for yourself at their studios in Downtown Austin and The Domain.
With studios peppered all throughout the city, Orangetheory Fitness makes it easy to carve out a little time to get your heart rate up. And that's exactly what you'll do in their adrenaline-fueled, interval-based classes. Over the course of your hour-long workout, you'll switch between the treadmill, bike, or rower and a series of strength-building floor exercises that integrate the TRX and free weights. All the while, you can track your performance using their custom technology and even get your stats emailed to you after class.