Beijing's best gyms

Work out your fitness regime in 2016 at the city's best gyms for all budgets

A good gym is hard to find which is why we've sweated our way through the city to bring you Beijing's very best gyms, fitness centres and health clubs.


To get going, just click through by area below and we'll give you an idea of what to expect from the best gyms in the the neighbourhood - from machine time to facilities like pools and saunas - and, of course, price.


Our price guides give an overview of each gym's fee range but if our research throughout the city taught us anything it's that you shouldn't be afraid to bargain. Most gyms require some haggling to get a decent membership rate so ask for available ‘promotions’ (huodong, 活动).


You can also save money by nabbing a membership from friend leaving town (many gyms allow memberships to be transferred) or going to 58.com (Chinese-only) to find memberships at a bargain.


Got it? Click through below to start searching for the right Beijing gym for you.

As befits its place at the centre of the Beijing expat universe, Sanlitun has many accessible, affordable gyms and the same goes for gyms in Chaowai, nearby.

CHAOWAI

The office-heavy area around Chaoyangmen subway, south of Gongti, is home to several well-equipped gyms.

Sportathlon


China Life Tower, 16 Chaoyangmenwai Dajie See full address details

Petite but perfectly formed, Sportathlon is a particularly relaxed spot as far as gyms go. There’s a lounge with coffee, tea, sodas and water, plus towel service included in the membership. While the exercise area itself is crammed with a couple of dozen new machines, things are generally well designed and there's also a 25-metre pool, steam room and sauna. There’s a simple locker pass system (no padlock nonsense) and the place opens at 6.30am, around three hours earlier than everywhere else in the area.

Price guide About mid-range: 5,500RMB per year; 3,200RMB for six months; 2,100RMB for three months; 900RMB per month.



Ants fitness


Huapu Building, 19 Zhaowai Street See full address details

Ants is at the rough-and-ready end of the spectrum but more spacious than other options in town. There’s a large hall of machines and weight equipment plus several good-sized studios for classes, which are included in the membership. It has all the standard features expected out of a gym, but is a little on the tatty side with a small changing room and very limited showering facilities. But if you’re not after anything fancy and just want to exercise, it’s got everything you need at bargain prices.

Price guide Dirt cheap for this area: 2,600RMB per year; 1,800RMB for six months.



Will’s


U-Town mall, 2 Chaoyangmenwai Dajie See full address details

A smart set-up with plenty of equipment of all types, Will’s has decent changing rooms and plenty of new-fangled equipment from high-end brands Technogym, Nautilus, Life Fitness and Star Tac. There’s a boxing ring if you want to do a few rounds (though that costs extra).

To make things even easier, you can rent a locker for 200RMB a month to leave your stuff there, and membership lets you use both Beijing branches (the other one is in Chaowai Soho).

Price guide Another mid-range option: 5,000RMB per year; 3,000RMB for six months.

SANLITUN


B Active


Sanlitun SOHO, 8 Gongti Beilu See full address details
(also Chaowai SOHO, 6 Chaoyangmenwai Dajie See full address details)

Since opening last year, B Active’s Sanlitun Soho location has taken the neighbourhood by storm. It’s not a huge space, but the 20-or-so Life Fitness machines (treadmills, bicycles and ellipticals) are all brand spanking new and the gym is kitted out with a handful of SciX air filters throughout. They’ve even installed a hanging green wall of live plants to keep things naturally fresher. Swipe cards allow members 24-hour access.

Classes are available at an extra cost, sold in packages and conducted largely in English. Muay Thai and boxing in particular are a big part of the B Active community, due to the quality trainers. We also like that when you sign up for six months and you can pause your membership for a month; two year members can pause for two months.

Unfortunately, facilities are minimal (co-ed shower and changing area) and despite a promise of limited membership, peak hours (6-8pm) can get massively overrun. These small caveats aside, this is a top choice for the area.

Price guide 180RMB weekly, 310RMB (off peak, 11pm-11am); 460RMB per month, 1,600RMB (off-peak); 2,200RMB for six months, 2,300RMB (off-peak); 3,300RMB per year. One-off club access 200RMB. One-day free trial available.



Pacific Century Club


Fifth floor, Pacific Century Place See full address details

At 2,000sqm, Pacific Century Club is unrivalled as Sanlitun’s premier workout destination. The centre of the roomy gym features a massive Total Resistence eXercise (TRX) training zone as well as other state-of-the-art equipment, including Life Fitness and Body Masters weight machines, plus top-of-the-line Precor bicycles, treadmills and elliptical machines. Six Blueair filters keep fresh air flowing, which is quite a relief after a hot yoga session. There’s a playroom to park your kids in while you’re sweating it out and a plush changing room for freshening up afterwards. There's also a sauna, steam room, 17-metre pool and tennis courts (extra cost).

Price guide 12,000RMB per year; 7,000RMB for six months; 4,300RMB for three months; 1,700 per month. One-time joining fee 1,500RMB. One-off club access 180RMB. *With a ‘promotion’, we were offered 9,600RMB per year, without a joining fee.
Find out more Pacific Century Club location and opening hours



Nirvana


2 Gongti Bei Lu See full address details

Nirvana’s Sanlitun location is a towering affair spanning six massive floors. Several of the floors are crammed with well-used but perfectly functional equipment, meaning there’s never a wait for machines. This branch puts a heavy focus on yoga – standard and hot, for which there are two dedicated rooms and a specific membership fee – but also offers a selection of other courses like Les Mills, Zumba and folk dance. There's also an on-site spa (extra cost). No-frills changing rooms are spacious and clean enough. Nirvana won’t be bringing you to new planes of enlightenment, but it gets the job done.

Price guide 8,599RMB per year (yoga and gym); 5,580RMB per year (gym); 4,500RMB (yoga, 50 classes). *With a ‘promotion’, we were offered 7,137RMB per year (yoga and gym); 4,580RMB per year (gym only).

Gyms in Dongzhimen and Dongcheng are oddly thin on the ground but we tracked down a few good options.


DONGZHIMEN


Power up: a branch of the reliable powerhouse chain is your best bet around here. 

Powerhouse Gym


Kenzo Oriental Building, 48 Dongzhimenwai Dajie See full address details

For Dongzhimen dwellers and worker bees, the huge perk to Powerhouse used to be the pool. It’s since closed – first temporarily for renovations and now, seemingly, more permanently – so Powerhouse has lost a bit of its lustre but still remains a decent gym option for the area.

Changing rooms are nothing glamorous but certainly serviceable, while the workout space is similarly outfitted – brand-name machines (Technogym ellipticals, Life Fitness treadmills) fit snugly but not uncomfortably into the room. Outdoor basketball and tennis courts are also available (150RMB per hour) adjacent to a spacious free weights area. Multiple locations available. Perks Lots of natural light.

Price guide 4,200RMB per year; 2,800RMB for six months; 6,000RMB for two years. *With a ‘promotion’, we were offered 3,400RMB per year.

DONGCHENG 


Gyms in the hutongs? Tricky, but not impossible. 


Shichahai Fitness Club


Basement, Building 6, 57 Dianmen West street See full address details

Tucked away behind the Martial Arts Sports School, this gym is one of the few in the Gulou area. Located underground, the facilities are fairly basic, space is a bit tight, showering’s not so private and it’s really, really hot. However, the machines are modern and there are plenty of them.

Classes run the gamut, but include Bikram yoga and the whole variety of Les Mills courses. While the staff don’t speak a lot of English, they’re very helpful. Plus, it’s a gym! Near Gulou!

Price guide 3,280RMB per year.




E-52 Enter Total Fitness Club


17 Hepingli Middle St See full address details

E-52 is a gem of a find about two minute’s walk from Yonghegong station. While the space won’t wow you with glitzy new equipment and all the bells and whistles, it’s fitted out with 23 treadmills, a few cross trainers and bikes plus a variety of weight machines and free weights. If a boxing ring and punching bag are more your style, you can sweat it out that way. Classes like yoga, tai chi, aerobics and pilates are available, with spinning classes offered daily. There's also a ladies-only weight and stretching room. Get it girl.

Price guide 2,799RMB per year. *With a ‘promotion’, we were offered two extra months free.

Head to Chaoyang Park and Shuangjing for some of Beijing's best air-conditioned fitness and wellness centers.


SHUANGJING


Yuppies abound in Shuangjing which, it turns out, makes it an excellent place to find serious, well-equipped gyms, as well as more basic, and cheaper, local places.


R&F Club


59 East Third Ring Road See full address details

Sure, R&F’s carpeted facilities and the dated building it calls home are a bit drab, but this doesn’t stop the fitness club being one of Shuangjing’s most reliable options. After office hours, you‘ll find neighbourhood yuppies crunching their abs with personal trainers, lifting weights, running on treadmills or bending backwards in yoga class. The space is well maintained and outfitted with four air purifiers for those bad air days.

Sport lovers will enjoy the facility’s badminton, basketball and tennis courts, which you have to rent for a small fee during peak hours (5-10.30pm) but are otherwise free to access. The same rules apply to the pool, and while they prevent overcrowding as intended, we’re not so sure. There's also a cigar club, oddly.

Price guide 6,400RMB per year. R&F only offers annual memberships, which includes access to the swimming pool and gymnasium during non-peak hours (7am-5pm). Between 5-10.30pm, the pool and other recreational facilities are 100RMB.




A+ Fitness



Launched in April by professional dancer Tony Jia, a famed salsa and cha cha dancer (according to staff at the gym at least), A+ is shaping up to be one of Shuangjing’s best gyms.

The glossy hardwood floors, clean machines, six Blueair purifiers and an abundance of workout classes make A+ a real bang for your buck. It boasts more than 30 classes per week, offering a variety of different yoga styles (hatha, Iyengar, flow, fly and more), Zumba, modern dance and marital arts-style workouts such as body combat. There’s also TRX – or Total Resistence eXercise, a form of suspension training created by former Navy Seal Randy Hetrick, which uses rope and webbing to develop strength, balance and flexibility. The 2,000sqm gym is bright, youthful, and, so far, not so busy, with only 50 customers coming through daily, which we’re sure will ramp up soon. In the mean time, everything is brand spanking new and totally pristine.

Price guide 5,000RMB per year; 800RMB per month; 100RMB per time.


CHAOYANG PARK



Head to Chaoyang for a gym with extra oxygen. Now that's swank. 


Park Avenue Wellness Center


Park Avenue Business Center, 6 Chaoyang Gongyuan Nanlu See full address details

You can taste the change in air quality on walking into Park Avenue Wellness Center. Besides 12 Broad Air purifiers and a freshair filtration system, they pump extra oxygen into the gym with a generator. These guys take air quality pretty damn seriously. Of all the gyms we visited, you’re likely to get the most out of your lungs here.

The workout area is surprisingly light and cheery, unlike most basement gyms, and it’s stacked, but not crammed, with every kind of Technogym machine you could want. In the last year, they’ve opened a new, gorgeous personal training room and there’s also a dedicated Total Resistance eXercise (TRX) room. Membership includes all classes, including hot yoga courses, which are often priced separately. There's also a sauna and a 25-metre pool with a small balcony for laying out during the warmer months.

Price guide 9,600RMB per year; 6,720RMB for six months; 16,000RMB for two years. *With a ‘promotion’, we were offered 8,160RMB per year; 5,712RMB for six months; 14,000RMB for two years.You can pause your membership when you go out of town for over two weeks (a total duration of three months per year).

CBD


Beijing's Central Business District delivers just what you'd expect: well-managed chain gyms, at CBD prices.

California Fitness



While it’s not Venice Beach in the ’80s, California Fitness has one of the top atmospheres in the city for putting in some body toning effort. Situated on the third floor of The Place, the workout space is open, full of light and spilling over with machinery. The sizeable weights area would do Schwarzenegger proud, plus there’s a boxing ring and even an indoor basketball court.

The staff seem far more interested in getting you fit than signing you up, which is a welcome change and makes us think that the full-on health analysis suite might actually get some use. Popular with office workers in the area, the gym gets slammed during lunch and early evening hours, but no surprise there. Facilities-wise, there's a half-size indoor basketball court, sauna, steam room and pre-work early hours classes.

Price guide 6,888RMB per year; 8,888RMB for two years; 5,000RMB per year (Mon, Wed, Fri & Sun only or Tue, Thu, Sat & Sun only or off-peak hours only – cannot use the gym 5-9pm). An ‘Asia membership’ is available and valid at any branch in Mainland China and Hong Kong.




Alexander Health Club


Bldg 8 Central Park See full address details

This large, upmarket gym spreads out over three floors in Central Park. It boasts a heated swimming pool and a wide range of machines, including 20 Technogym treadmills, step and rowing machines and cross trainers. If you prefer pumping iron, there’s a separate weights room with a variety of free weights and machines.

Alexander also offers an extensive range of classes, with an interesting focus on dance. From folk dancing to ballet, K-pop and hip-hop, they’ve got every base covered. Bust a move! Sauna, squash court, swimming pool, tennis court.

Price guide 14,000RMB per year.

GUOMAO


Similarly to the CBD, gyms in Guomao tend to be among Beijing's upper crust, with plenty of high-quality equipment on offer.

Powerhouse Gym


IFC Towers, 8A Jianguomenwai Dajie See full address details

Just over two years old and located in the basement of the swanky IFC building, this Powerhouse branch holds its own as an excellent choice for a gym. The atmosphere’s friendly and accessible, there are individual TVs on the treadmills and very friendly staff.

Unlike many basement locations that can feel dingy and cramped. Equipment, like the Life Fitness treadmills and Star Trac weight machines, still appears brand new. There’s nearly 50 machines and, unless you’ve come at lunchtime or just after office hours, it’s easy enough to find a free one. Changing rooms are perhaps the crown jewel here, with sleek blonde wood and absolutely massive showerheads. The whole place is pretty plush.


Price guide 4,699RMB per year; 880RMB per month; 6,699RMB for two years.



Kerry Sports Beijing



Kerry Sports Beijing is as good as working out gets – with prices to match. The 7,000sqm space boasts a tricked-out collection, over 90 pieces strong, of Life Fitness equipment; a spacious five-lane, 35-metre indoor swimming pool plus a children’s pool, a Jacuzzi and a plunge pool; a 220-metre outdoor track on the rooftop terrace; and a multi-function court that converts into an NBA-compliant basketball court to full-sized specs.

Group classes, which are included in the membership, focus primarily on yoga and pilates, with a few types of dance and twice-a-week spin sessions. Speciality classes led by ‘star coaches’ cost extra for members (150RMB) but are open to the public (200RMB). Perks Members get discounts like 20 percent off court rentals and Kerry Hotel’s restaurants. The Adventure Zone – with its vertical-drop slides, climbing apparatus and ball pool – keeps your kids occupied while you’re hitting the weights.

Price guide 25,000RMB per year; 42,000RMB per year (couple).
These northeast residential areas have several excellent fitness options.  


D-Space


Fangyuan Nanli, Jingtai Lu See full address details

With a collection of airy workout rooms, Lido’s D-Space offers a good variety of machines, spaced far from one another, and well-maintained equipment. Things can get a bit crowded during peak hours and the quality kickboxing and yoga instructors – which offer classes in English, Chinese and Korean – draws a crowd so arrive early and stay late to have your pick of the machines. The changing facilities are clean and private, if a bit small compared to the sprawling gym.

The best part of D-Space is easily the pool complex. Separate from the fitness area, the three pools offer serious lane space, casual dipping and even a kids’ pool. Wangjing location also available.

Price guide 5,100RMB per year; 1,400RMB per month.



Le Wellness


Capital Mall, 8 Guangshun Bei Dajie See full address details

Le Wellness opened over four years ago but it looks (and smells) like it could have opened yesterday thanks to a recent renovation. The tenth-floor complex is spread out over two stories, with two main fitness rooms housing cardio equipment and weight machines. The rest of the impressive space is devoted to smaller classrooms and a top-quality changing facility. Private showers, designer toiletries and immaculate facilities make it feel more like a spa than a gym locker room.

Le Wellness also offers Les Mills courses, like Body Pump and Body Combat – choreographed exercise-to-music classes straight from the heart of New Zealand and, unusually, Korean dance classes (seriously, we’ve never seen those offered). Zhongguancun location available.

Price guide 4,588RMB per year; 8,188RMB for two years; 800RMB per month.
Beijing's student district isn't short of places to get buff between classes: as well as the gyms listed below, most of the university campuses have fitness centres or pools open to their students at good rates.

WUDAOKOU


In terms of private gyms, there are also a number of good options. 


Surmont Fitness Club


Chengfu Lu (just west of the Wenjin Hotel, next to ICBC bank) See full address details

We did a double take when told how much a yearly membership at this gym costs – 799RMB. This basement gym is not huge (only 16 treadmills, for example), but has everything you need, with stretching space to spare, and a large studio for classes that range from belly dance to yoga.

Both the classroom and central workout space are clean, bright and well kept. There’s no pool or spinning room, however, and while the changing room is kept clean, it’s a tad on the cramped side. Everything’s open, old school and a bit rusty. But at these membership prices, it’s no worse than most mid-tier gyms, and therefore shockingly good value.

Price guide 799RMB per year; 299RMB per month.




Nirvana


8 Zhongguancun Donglu See full address details

Compared to its Sanlitun sister branch, this gym is much newer, with better machinery, and is far less cramped. There is even a separately heated area for Ashtanga yoga. The fourth-floor studio is spacious, bright and south-facing. The facilities aren’t ever too oversubscribed, even during peak hours. There are more than seven classes throughout the day, including spinning, with many classes being from the Les Mills portfolio and an emphasis on yoga.

The building is only a five-minute walk from Wudaokou subway station and has clean clean showers and locker rooms. A giant sign gives the daily PM2.5 reading but the two air filters can be found in the main class studio and nowhere else. You'll also find a specialist yoga studio and no wait for machines.

Price guide 4,280RMB per year; 3,900RMB per year (students); 800RMB per month.
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