I’ve addressed it before and I’ll address it again: in the gay culture, vanity reigns supreme whether you like to believe it or not. Finding the perfect gym that not only fits your amenity-based needs, but provides killer classes that whip you into shape, is essential in Manhattan. When was the last time you didn’t discuss your workout routine over brunch or dinner with friends? We’re all guilty of trying to impress, adding in what classes we’ve taken and what we can lift; we’re proud of ourselves and why shouldn’t we be? Contractually, some gyms may get you as they aren’t all month to month; save your pocket a little dough, considering you can always have the option of trying out each location prior to signing on the dotted line. Another tip? Be realistic about when you’re going to work out. If you’re not a morning person, you sure as hell are not getting up at 5:00am, so save yourself, your alarm clock and your pet/mate/husband/one night stand the aggravation of having to rise and shine before you’re due to log in that extra hour and a half. Try out a gym that works around your schedule, that’s closer to work or closer to home and be sure to pack your bag with the right post-gym products; this may sound a bit much, but searching for the ideal gym also saves you a buck or two. Also, let’s be blunt here: if you are looking for JUST a workout and steam rooms that aren’t too troll-y with eye candy that oozes sexuality, I suggest working out at home as you’ll find all of this at any given Manhattan fitness arena.
A good endorphin kick is just a click away, just consider these gay friendly choices that will make your task of finding a gym less daunting and provides further information to what caters to your everyday needs.
Smart advertising, clean locker-rooms and classes that are built around their guest’s needs, say what you want about their prices but it’s fully worth the experience. Equinox is the gym-bunnies paradise, where Mark Hendricks, Angel Alicea and Patricia Moreno reign supreme on the class front. Not only will you begin to see results, but while watching the toned bodies (who come to their gym as a place to worship) sculpt around you, you’ll feel motivated to step into their sneakers for a day. It’s gay friendly, the staff is incredibly helpful, the juice bars are pretty damn good and it’s the perfect pick-up spot for a date. They have a yearly membership, so if you’re going to take the plunge, do so with your budget in mind and you year planned out; it’s not cheap. If you do sign up, may I suggest doing so with Sebastian Sosnowski down at Greenwich? He’s eye candy gold, plus he’s super sweet and a charming face to pop by and say hello to on your way to a workout.
The expected pick of the litter, this is where Amanda Lepore gets in top form, along with every other go-go dancer, Chelsea meat-head and NYU gay-in-training, for a good cardio fix. It’s atmosphere says it all: the interior designer was either extremely high at the club the night before or was watching ‘Queer As Folk: The Complete Series’ while contemplating his task ahead. It’s a gay haven, filled with tight bods, eye-rape and pumped out jams from every main DJ’s megamix. Their classes are pretty intense and completely worth it (my favorites: Guns followed by Buns down on Astor Place). While trekking down into the depths of the locker room, you’ll probably hear some foolish twink’s Grindr go off while soaking wet in a towel and cruising for trouble. All I’ll say is, go into the steam room at your own discretion.
The gym that will blow the lids off of every other gym in Manhattan is located, you guessed it, at Chelsea Piers. A bit far away, but while burning off that morning brew of choice, prepare yourself for a day visit. From the rock climbing wall to the basketball courts to classes that’ll allow you to defy gravity, this is the place for the kid at heart. It’s never crowded, incredibly spacious and the people working out around you aren’t pretentious; it’s a true gym experience. Don’t be intimidated by the large track or the swimming pool, you’ll get your body in no time with free classes and tan outside on the deck while watching the water. If you don’t see yourself utilizing all of it’s amenities throughout the week or training to be in a triathlon, I’d save the $160 a month and try something a bit closer to home.
A luxury gym where the wasp-y go to kill some time between meeting the nanny (or manny) and the husband for dinner. It’s sheer luxury, with glass fireplaces, serene music and little to no personality. The staff is sweet, almost a bit too attentive and they have everything you could ask for in their space, but the price tag is a big extreme (ranging to around $200 a month!). This is for the wealthy, but it isn’t for someone who expects a lot of energy at their fitness club (be prepared and pack a solid playlist). Perks? They provide flip-flops for the locker-rooms, boxing gloves for their top notch classes, personal saunas and a private concierge service if you and your ego so desperately need somebody to hold your water bottle for you.
Derek Jeter’s gym just got a tad gayer. Tommy and I both frequent, along with mutual friend Adam‘s recent side-venture into teaching cycling (check locations for schedules). Did I forget to mention Mario Godiva teaches here too? It’s convenient, it’s clean and it’s easy – I’d prefer heading over here instead of Crunch or NYSC any day. With TV’s that charge your iPod on the treadmill, it’s be hard not to spot me lip-syncing my way through a work out. The machines are specifically designed to help you through your work out, so if you’re a bit clueless on what to do, they provide guidelines along with moving with your body to prevent any harmful injuries from occurring. Best part? If you’re on a budget and bills are taking up your checking account, you can freeze your account free of charge and just let them know when you can come back in; their membership is on a month to month basis.