There are few places in the world fitter than Sydney and the signs are clear: activewear is always appropriate brunch attire, leaving work early to squeeze in a workout is excused, and you can’t turn a street corner without spotting another HIIT studio. Whether you’re looking to improve flexibility, tone away pesky body fat, build an unstoppable cardio engine, or increase raw strength, there’s an option to suit every fitness fanatic! Check out our faves.
From the streets of Los Angeles to the snows of Sweden, Barry’s Bootcamp has proven its claim of being “the best workout in the world” all over the planet. With the luxe amenities, energetic trainers, and all ’round calorie-torching workout split between strength work on the floor and intervals on top-class treadmills, you’ll learn to love Barry too. Plus, with a focus on a different muscle group each day, you can keep coming back to Barry’s (there are multiple in Sydney) again and again.
The ethos here is very much in the name — the key to the Fitness Playground mentality is that fitness should be fun! With a bunch of awesome small-group training sessions, plus a huge gym floor with all sorts of top-notch equipment (think strength rigs and metal cages for gymnastic work), Fitness Playground will transport you back to a time when exercise was playtime rather than a chore. With premises in Marrickville, Surry Hills, and Newtown, this gym brand is growing strong in both senses of the phrase.
Treadmills are so 2015. Row your way to a rocking body and make cardio fun again! In 45 minutes of high-intensity, upbeat training, CREW will have you throwing around weights, sweating through lunges and squats, and firing up your metabolism with sharp bursts of intensive rowing. No two workouts are ever the same — and with a convenient CBD location and five classes every weekday, there’s bound to be a time that suits your busy schedule.
Heralding as Sydney’s “premier training facility”, ION takes pride in building top athletes! Unlike some strength facilities, ION employs only the market’s best coaches and caps classes at a maximum of 6:1 athlete-coach ratio, so you get expert attention and an instructor that knows you by name — but without the massive price tag! Drop by ION’s central CBD spot on a Wednesday or Friday for metabolic conditioning, or visit any other weekday for a pure strength focus.
With five studios across the city and 15 years of operation in the market, BodyMindLife is the pinnacle of Sydney’s yoga scene. BML runs hundreds of classes per week —- heated and non-heated, catering to the yoga newbie all the way to Dalai Lama-level skills. Plus, the facilities are amazing (with free WiFi if the meditation just doesn’t cut it!). And if you don’t think yoga is challenging, try out their reformer Pilates classes at any of the locations — we guarantee you’ll work up a sweat!
An offshoot of Fitness Playground, The Bunker is a boutique gym with impeccable, modern design, ample equipment, motivating trainers (with a fine sense of humour), and tonnes of different programmes that’ll get you in peak fitness — from boxing and mobility to strength training and the breath-taking (literally) Afterburn HIIT class. And the fact that it’s subterranean and accessed via escalator only adds to its charm.
If it’s a full-body, sweat-inducing workout you’re after, look no further than Vicious Cycle. Nestled in the swanky Hilton Hotel, this ultra-modern studio offers choreographed, scientifically-developed cycling training. Expect banging soundtracks and ultra-enthusiastic teachers as you ride your way to enviable legs. Plus, the changing facilities are about what you’d expect from a luxury Hilton — winning!
BUF Girls has been training Sydney fitness bunnies since 2015 in a variety of picturesque outdoor locations, but you need to experience their beautiful studio in Bondi! Get your girl squad together or show up solo to one of the eight daily sessions. Our fave class? UNSTOPPABLE (which you can do in the studio or out on the beach). And because BUF Girls is all about the community, you can count on a bit of extra motivation from your newly discovered fitfam!
Equal parts fitness studio, café, and spa, the wellness retreat that is The Shelter in Double Bay is an experience all its own. Between the cycling classes or newly introduced boxing regimen (or the 45-minute combo Punch & Pedal), your fitness experience is sorted. Recovery is in the mix, too, with saunas and ice baths on offer. And to refuel, Shelter’s in-house juicery range is chock-full of superfood mixes and adaptogens.
Fitness First is a proud Australian institution and a great place to get in a workout — but we’ll tell you not all FFs are created the same. The Zone has recently undergone a makeover, in both outward physical aesthetic and training philosophy, to bolster their regular, varied classes taught by industry-leading trainers. And while The Zone is our pick of FF spots, it’s worth mentioning that a membership here allows you access to NSW’s 30+ locations. Talk about value!
A fresh concept taking Darlinghurst by storm, Undercard’s boutique boxing classes combine intervals of punches on personal, water-filled (low-impact) punching bags and sprints on the treadmill. 10 rounds of HIIT moves and technical boxing skills will have you dripping sweat. And with orange mood lighting, the hottest music blaring from the sound system, some very qualified coaches, and old-school hip-hop ethos, this studio is cooler than cool.
There are a number of Virgin Active gyms about Sydney, but the luxurious elite of Sydney Central gyms is Virgin Active’s Pitt St facility. It has: 1) an indoor climbing wall, 2) a full-length lap pools with spa and saunas, and 3) zero-gravity sleep pods. No, really! And while the pods and high-tech amenities may make it feel like being on an ultra-modern spaceship, it’s also an excellent place to grind out a workout. Whether you’re into cardio, weight training, or, you know, napping, hit up the CBD Virgin Active.
Another take on your traditional cycling class, Infinite Cycle (in Waterloo and Pitt St. CBD) promises to burn 20% more calories thanks to modern, efficient bike technology. It takes a little getting used to—the responsive bike leans, tilts, and turns—but once you get the hang of things, you’ll feel totally immersed in this full-body workout. Take a bunch of co-workers and compete in an uphill virtual reality race — we can’t promise it won’t get ultra competitive, but we can promise an epic sweat session!
The jewel of the Eastern Suburbs, BeFit has built up about as much of cult following in Double Bay as a skinny almond milk cappuccino with low-calorie sweetener (it’s popular, if you don’t get it). And while the trainers might be easy on the eyes, that’s about the only thing that’s easy about the workout! Sweat, sprint, and sculpt your way to get crazy-fit (and gain a few new Insta obsessions in the process).
Everyone knows ballerinas have legs to die for — toned yet powerful, and flexible to boot. And how? Barre training! Contrary to what you might have seen in Swan Lake, it’s not all slow stretching and pointed toes; Xtend Barre combines strength, cardio, and resistance training to build muscle and push fitness to the peak. The instructors are high-energy and knowledgeable, and with studios in the CBD as well as the North Shore, there’s bound to be a location convenient for you.