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THE BEST GYMS & STUDIOS IN SAN FRANCISCO

15 PLACES

UPDATED JAN 9, 2020

From boutique studios to homegrown gyms, San Francisco is packed with tons of sweat spots. And with this list in hand, you'll have no trouble finding a workout that's innovative, challenging, and, above all — fun. Time to get after it!

author

CASSANDRA PISONE

FITT SAN-FRANCISCO CONTRIBUTOR

If you’ve ever walked past a SoulCycle post class, then you know this is a sweaty workout — in all the best ways. Just when you think you can’t push the pedals another revolution, you’ll pick up the weights and go through an upper-body strength series for a full-body muscle burn. And with a handful of locations in the Bay Area you’re never far from a high-intensity, cardio session in the saddle.

The calming vibes at this beautiful Pilates and barre studio in SoMa will almost make you forget about how hard you're working… almost. Here, you’ll focus on small, sculpting movements on their Reformer machines, and sit back and relax with a free Nespresso afterward. Think you won’t sweat? Just wait, their instructors will push you until your muscles are shaking — you’ll thank them later.

During a sweat sesh at Orangetheory, your performance stats will be displayed on a board in front of the entire class, so you can hold yourself accountable and push yourself to the next level — that’s why we love working out at OTF. You’ll get your heart rate up as you switch between the treadmill, the rower, the TRX, and free weight circuits in a one-hour workout of epic proportions. Check out their locations in Mission Bay, FiDi, and Mid Market, and keep an eye out — there are more gyms in the works!

Barry’s prides themselves on using science to craft the most effective workout possible, and after you go to class just once, you’ll be a believer. They have four locations in the city—FiDi, SoMa, the Castro, and the Marina—and each class includes an interval circuit on the treadmill and a strength-training circuit on the floor. If you’re able to walk after, treat yourself to the Malin + Goetz products in the locker rooms and a post-class smoothie. You’ve earned it.

Some people have kindly described CORE40 as “Pilates on overdrive”. But this place isn't just about Pilates — it mixes traditional lengthening and strengthening moves on the Reformer with circuit training AND cardio. Simply put, if you attend one of their classes, good luck getting out of bed the next day. And with seven studios around the city, you no longer have and excuse to not get to class.

At Basecamp Fitness you can expect an adrenaline-boosting workout that will push you out of your comfort zone. Each minute, you’ll switch between the Assault AirBike and the mat, leaving your heart pounding and the sweat dripping. The Russian Hill studio also offers amenities like showers with toiletries, towel service, and planned happy hours, so you can get to know the Basecamp community.

BODYROK’s Megaformer classes are no walk in the park. Luckily, you'll be so focused on working your legs, core, and arms, it'll be over before you know it. Want to switch things up a bit? They also offer cycling and yoga. Even better, they keep their class sizes small, so you get the individualized attention you deserve. Head to one of their six studios around the city (and outposts nearby in Berkeley, Oakland, and Petaluma) and get ready to rock that body.

CorePower Yoga has made quick work of taking over the San Francisco fitness scene and they're bringing the heat — literally. They pair heated yoga classes with light-weight training for a full-body practice you won't find anywhere else. No wonder we’re in love. Not sure you're ready for the 95º room? They offer a beginner-friendly class that doesn't crank the thermostat.

Don’t let the beauty of Salt fool you, this boutique studio in the Haight isn't messing around. They offer both 60- and 45-minute class options from Knockout (a pylometrics-meets-kickboxing class) to 7X7 circuit training and mash-ups of the two. Looking to turn up the intensity? Try out their Hella Salty workout — a HIIT class that's the ultimate full-body challenge.

Love group fitness but want a little more one-on-one attention? You’ll want to check out The Boombox in The Castro. This studio only allows six students per class and your “box” (aka station) will be set-up for your personal fitness level once you arrive. They integrate a mix of bands, kettlebells, jump-ropes, TRX—and just about every other fitness tool available—so no workout will ever be a repeat.

If there's one thing we know for sure, it's that this workout is not like the others. Here, you'll train like a champ in a 45-minute, boxing-inspired sweat session. With the lights down low and the music cranked way up, you'll alternate between punching it out on their water-filled, tear drop-style heavy bags and torching your muscles with a series of strength training and bodyweight exercises. See for yourself Rumble is all about at their studios in FiDi and Palo Alto. Fitt Tip: when you're looking for a change of pace, head to their indoor treadmill studio Rumble Train in the Marina.

Dryft is easily one of the most unique fitness concepts to grace San Francisco. This roaming studio features a semi-trailer truck that parks at the Marina Green and at Ocean Beach and then transforms into a full-equipped gym featuring rowers, weights, and even lockers. And when it comes to the workout, get ready for a circuit-style bootcamp class that mixes bursts of cardio and strength training. Good thing you'll have the fresh air and epic SF views to carry you through.

Located in the heart of the Marina, Karma Yoga is known for its friendly staff and a calming aesthetic that'll get you in exactly the right headspace to perform at your best. Put your whole body to work in one of their HIIT-focused Hot Pilates classes, or build strength in one of their fast-paced Power Yoga practices. And when you need to de-stress and zen out, their Yin Flow infused with essential oils should do the trick.

No matter what class you take at this studio in Nob Hill, Palo Alto, and the Mission, you'll be movin' and groovin' in a music-fueled workout with party vibes. Clip in for a dance-inspired ride complete with choreographed exercises (and all the tap backs you can handle). Or, take it to the floor in their bootcamp-style GRIT class. Either way, you're in for a whole lot of sweat.

If you've jumped on a rower during a bootcamp class once or twice, you probably think you know what this place is about. But trust us — this workout is not to be underestimated. Row House in Belmont and Walnut Creek (with more locations in the works) takes everything you thought you knew about this full-body workout, cranks up the intensity, and then throws weighted strength training into the mix. Yep, you'll alternate between paced endurance sessions on the rower and floor work. Though, if you're not feeling the weights (or you're still hurting from a class the day before), sign up for their Full Row class, which keeps you on the rower for the entire 45 minutes.

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