Gyms and Fitness
Sports are for everyone, no matter where you're form. The French couple lifting weights in the corner, the Dutch lady on the treadmill and the elderly Iranians attending the Zumba class: A potpourri of different languages makes it crystal-clear that everyone is welcome in the many gyms of Hamburg. And staying in shape has great side-effects too: Sweating together is always a good way to meet both, Germans and fellow expats.
In order to get some overview of the most popular gyms in Hamburg, there are a couple of criteria that you should keep in mind. Most importantly, you’ll be hard-pressed to work out at a German “Gymnasium”: The word means grammar school. Much rather, you should be looking for a “Fitness Studio”!
Choosing a gym
Choosing from such a broad range of very different studios can be hard. There are some criteria to go by: True gym rats will assure you that the closer you live to your gym of choice, the more often you’ll actually go. Avoid reasons for staying on your couch and look in your immediate area. Also, temporary citizens of Hamburg should keep in mind that they usually sign half-year or one-year contracts that are extended automatically. Read contracts carefully before signing with one of the cheaper gyms. However, most gyms can also be entered at a daily rate. If in doubt, ask people at the gym for details.
Popular gym chains in Germany are McFit, Fitness First and Kieser Training. Registering with one of them means full access to every subsidiary in Germany or even worldwide. All of these chains operate several gyms across the city, just like the Hamburg-based Sportspass and Onstage.
The atmosphere is often a little more friendly at one of the smaller gyms. LeFit in Ottensen has affordable rates, whereas the exclusive facilities of Kaifu Lodge in Eimsbüttel or Meridian Spa (see photo) come at a significantly higher price. Elbgym offers high-end fitness centres at three locations in Hamburg. Lady Fitness Center in Altona is women only, while students are well-advised to look for “Hochschulsport” offers at their university. People who are interested in many different sports can look at Urban Sports Club and sign one contract for dozens of different sports providers.