The bodybuilders lifting heavy ass weights. Hot fitness girls in yoga pants doing straight-legged deadlifts. 400lb bench presses.
But you live in the suburbs, and there are no hardcore gyms around. Does this mean no gains for you?
I have been traveling the world for over 15 years. I have been to all of the chain gyms, private gyms and hardcore gyms the USA has to offer. And I also belong to a chain gym when I am at home in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago, IL.
Without further ado, here are the top 3 gym franchises in America based on my experience. And this is from a pro bodybuilder known for his training intensity. So if these can accommodate me, they can accommodate anyone!
What are the top 3 gym chains in America. Find out what Marc Lobliner has to say.
Comparing the Top 3 Gym Franchises in America
#3. Gold's GymThe Mecca, this gym has both corporate and franchise locations. While it has a hardcore history, the corporate version of this gym is just like any other mainstream gym and has little to no hardcore feel.
At the same time, some of the franchise Gold's Gyms are as hardcore as Metroflex! Thus, seeing as we are trying to evaluate the entire chain, Gold's Gym get docked points and is disqualified from being #1 due to its lack of consistency from gym to gym.
There are many Gold's Gyms, over 700 in the USA, and most accept your membership from other Gold's Gyms for a limited number of sessions per year. Due to their franchise model, one membership cannot cover all gyms for unlimited use, another reason they cannot be number one. However, Gold's Gym is a formidable #3.
Another issue is hours. While some are open 24 hours, most are not, some have select days, and it is the discretion of the franchisee. But with that said, saying you train at Gold's still has a hardcore sound to it and who the heck trains at 2am anyway?
#2. 24 Hour FitnessWorld's largest privately owned fitness center with 425 Clubs, 24 Hour Fitness lacks consistency despite its corporate model. And while most 24 Hour Fitness lcations are open 24 Hours, some are not despite its name.
The reason 24 Hour Fitness beats out Gold's Gym is the reciprocal membership option to all locations. The equipment quality varies from Club to Club which is also a knock to the brand.
However, like Gold's Gym, you have all of the equipment that you need to lift heavy weights and make gains.
#1. LA FitnessYou can go to an LA Fitness anywhere in the country and it will feel like you are at the same place. With over 800 clubs across the USA and Canada, LA Fitness combines all of the free weight equipment you need with ample cardio equipment.
This is the gym that I personally train at. While the newer LA Fitness locations only have dumbbells up to 100lbs, there is a good reason for that .no one ever uses the 125's other than me at every location I have ever been to!
I have never had an issue deadlifting or training heavy. There is every piece of equipment that you need to make serious gains. And their membership programs are extremely easy and reciprocal from club to club with very reasonable rates and child care, at a very affordable price.
You will be hard pressed in most states to not see an LA Fitness nearby, and unlike the other two gyms on this list, you know it will be just like the last one you trained at with well-maintained equipment.
Make Any Gym YOUR Hardcore HavenYou don't need dirty floors and tetanus-infested equipment to make gains. It's all gravity. Put those headphones on, blast some DMX, and make any of these three corporate gyms your personal Muscle Mecca.
Hardcore is a mindset, not a location and that's not a game!