Every Gym Membership in NYC Finally Explained

We're breaking it down for you (no cardio involved)

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Finding “the one” is hard, especially in New York City. Between awkward first meetings, commitment issues and messy breakups, it’s basically the worst.

So we’re making it easy for you: Here’s what you’ll get at 12 popular NYC gyms, from free pizza to personal trainers dressed as unicorns. (What did you think we were talking about? Love?)

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Getty Images / Michael Buckner

Best For Madonna Arms: Core: Club

Train with CORE: Club trainer Josh Holland (his clients include Madonna and Oscar Isaac), and you’ll be ready to join the gun show. This ultra-high-end gym and social club is the best of the best, and it has an original Andy Warhol in the hallway to prove it.

Cost: $50,000 up front and $17,000 per year to join. Hey, you don’t need an apartment, 401K or savings account. Live a little.

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Mark Fisher Fitness

Best For Theater Majors: Mark Fisher Fitness

In “The Enchanted Ninja Clubhouse of Glory and Dreams,” you won’t just get a workout, you’ll get glittery trainers in unicorn costumes who attack you with hugs and use way too many sexual innuendos. We’re in.

Cost: $110 to $325 per month, depending on class package.

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The Plaza

Fanciest Basement Gym: La Palestra

Remember that makeshift gym your mom set up in the basement with her hand weights and NordicTrack? Yeah, this isn’t that. This gym in the basement of the Plaza Hotel has golf and bowling, as well as an internist, orthopedist, massage therapist and psychologist on staff.

Cost: About $9,000 per year. (Compared with Core: Club, that’s a steal.)

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Best Place To Meet A Kennedy: The New York Health & Racquet Club

OK, we admit it. We’ve considered joining this gym for the Seinfeld references. Repeat after us: “I look amaaaaaazing in this leotard.”

Cost: Three marble ryes and a chocolate babka. We kid, we kid. Access to all NYC locations is $130 per month.

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Best For Actual Athletes: The Sports Center At Chelsea Piers

Guys, there’s a boxing ring, a basketball court, a barre studio, a track, a pool, a gymnastics center, a rock climbing wall, a sand volleyball court and basically anything else your heart desires.

Cost: $125 to $230 per month, depending on membership.

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Most Fabulous Pampering: Equinox

You know what makes a grueling workout way more bearable? Draping yourself in eucalyptus towels and slathering your skin with Kiehl’s moisturizer afterward. Oooh, so luxurious…

Cost: Varies by location.

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24 Hour Fitness

Best For Insomniacs: 24 Hour Fitness

Hooray, now you can finally hit the treadmill at 2 a.m. while watching Golden Girls reruns!

Cost: A basic membership is $80 per month, plus an $80 initiation fee and $50 annual fee.

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David Barton Gym

Biggest Party: David Barton Gym

If weekend clubbing is your scene, you’ll feel right at home at this gym with flashing colored lights, thumping music and a giant disco ball desk. Added bonus: The classes have hilarious names, like Ass Blast, Six-Pack Attack!, and Muscle Playground.

Cost: Between $130 and $192 per month, depending on location and membership.

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Blink Fitness

Best For The Basics: Blink Fitness

The machines are in working order, the locker rooms are clean and there are weights. That’s about it.

Cost: $25 a month. If you don’t care about classes (there aren’t any) and just want to hit the treadmill in peace, it’s a steal.

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Best For Swimmers: Ymca

Welp, the Y doesn’t sell designer water and it's typically full of grandmas, but it gets the job done. When you’re a member, you can take cool classes like African dance and capoeira and get access to 28 pools all over the city--not too shabby.

Cost: $98 per month for adults, plus a $125 onetime fee.

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Tone House

Best For Masochists: Tone House

No one said the transformation from couch potato to svelte athlete was going to be easy. Let former college football player Alonzo Wilson whip you into shape--and help you burn 800 to 1,000 calories per class. (Damn.)

Cost: Single classes are $35 each, with class packages available.

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Best Free Pizza: Planet Fitness

Yep, this gym has free pizza on the first Monday of every month, free bagels the second Tuesday of the month, and free Tootsie Rolls at the front desk any damn time you want.

Cost: $10 a month. Hey, we can eat $10 worth of pizza in five minutes. So worth it.

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Freelance Editor

From 2015-2020 Lindsay Champion held the role of Food and Wellness Director. She continues to write for PureWow as a Freelance Editor.