ALABAMA: BENDER'S GYM
Bender's clients say they pay reasonable prices for up-to-date cardio and weight equipment and bonus tanning beds at this "friendly place" with expert staff and an overall spic-and-span facility.
ALASKA: ALASKA ROCK GYM
Alaska Rock has reasonable "pay as you go" fees and low-cost monthly passes, despite being in a stunning 24,000-square-foot facility that includes 20,000 square feet of climbing -- an entire floor of boulder terrain -- as well as fitness and cardio space and a peaceful yoga room, all in support of summiting.
ARIZONA: ELITE FITNESS
The 19,000-square-foot Elite is open 24 hours and emphasizes Tribe training alongside a variety of fitness classes. The owner is hands-on and offers a flexible, upfront payment plan.
ARKANSAS: ARKANSAS FITNESS & ATHLETICS
With a heavy emphasis on core, strength, and flexibility training, Arkansas Fitness & Athletics breaks from franchise gyms by including its hands-on trainers as part of three-month, six-month, or yearly memberships, though premium group or one-on-one coaching is available.
CALIFORNIA: A TIGHTER U
In the land of "gym scenes" where cliques rule, the smaller, friendlier A Tighter U gets high marks for "The Hollywood Trainer" Steve Zim's hands-on, low-key, approach, especially from women who don't want to attend large, corporate gyms. Bonus: You will likely see a celeb or two.
COLORADO: BLADIUM SPORTS & FITNESS CENTER
Bladium covers fitness from CrossFit and Group-X sessions to a kids' zone, youth and adult soccer facilities, and cardio, spinning, and weight training fitness rooms. Certified personal trainers are on site, including an Ironman athlete and corrective exercise specialist.
CONNECTICUT: THE GYM AT BLOOMFIELD CROSSING
Gym at Bloomfield Crossing experts are good at customizing plans by fitness levels -- and the site participates in the Silver Sneakers program, which gives seniors with the right insurance free access to more than 1,100 facilities nationwide by reimbursing their costs.
DELAWARE: HOCKESSIN ATHLETIC CLUB
Look for highly rated water fitness classes taking place in the Hockessin Athletic Club's huge pool, plus a few impressive clubs and activities from tap to martial arts, as well as some less about breaking a sweat -- Dancing with Parkinson's, and courses in women's self-defense, and CPR and First Aid.
FLORIDA: NAPLES STRENGTH & CONDITIONING
Naples Strength & Conditioning has lower rates than other CrossFits and gyms, and no contracts, making this a money-saving win. There are tough boot camps and master classes, but also community activities, nutrition counseling, and health and wellness education.
GEORGIA: BLUEPRINT FITNESS
Blueprint Fitness boasts a science-based nutrition program, group and team training sessions, and four different kettlebell instruction workouts to reshape a body.
HAWAII: HILIFE ATHLETICS OUTDOOR GYM
Flexible pay packages at HiLife can include unlimited classes for less than a dollar a day, but the real selling point is location: Everything is done outdoors in Oahu's fresh air.
IDAHO: JACK CITY FITNESS
Family-owned, 24-hour Jack City has sophisticated nutrition counseling, body analysis, and results tracking -- and, in addition to traditional personal training, group training, team training, and an innovative online training program.
If you ask the owner, Ageless isn't a gym, but a place of renewal and happiness, with a low-stress, playful approach where members earn "badges" for swag and bragging rights. It's open 24 hours a day and is in the Silver Sneakers fitness reimbursement program for seniors with insurance.
INDIANA: NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR FITNESS & SPORTS
NIFS is a 65,000-square-foot nonprofit gym owned by Indiana University, with sophisticated health assessments and everything from an indoor running track to a nutrition and wellness center, indoor pool, dry sauna, and steam room.
IOWA: LIED RECREATION ATHLETIC CENTER
A highly rated gym on two levels at Iowa State University, Lied packs in a huge pool, two full tracks, basketball courts, a climbing wall, and other equipment (and, for anyone in the extended university community, intramural sports ranging from flag football to poker, broomball, and curling).
KANSAS: ZONE 6 FITNESS
North Kansas City
Staff make a point of greeting everyone by name when they come through the doors at Zone 6. Classes include nutritional counseling and corrective exercise, and there's a "Fitnasium" for use by kids while parents work out.
KENTUCKY: EVERYDAY ATHLETES
Exercise at Everyday Athletes is customized to fitness levels, but trainers are prepared to go hardcore with CrossFit, Olympic-style lifting, strongman training, and powerlifting.
LOUISIANA: FUEL CENTER OF FITNESS
Classes and top-notch equipment rule in Fuel Center, and so do brands and buzzwords. Stay up to date with Boot Camp Challenge, Total Body Eclipse, X-Cycle, S.P.A.C.E. Program, and Nitro Kick Boxing if doing circuit work is boring. Add to that, a full gym with Power Circuit X-press, Piloga, Bokwa, and Zumba too.
MAINE: MAINE WARRIOR GYM
Maine Warrior is for the whole family, but a specific kind of family that wants parkour training grounds, adult and youth ninja programs -- and outright "American Ninja Warrior" TV show training from a two-time finalist in addition to cardio machines and classes. Coming soon: A virtual-reality obstacle course workout.
MARYLAND: FIT! GYM
Go high-tech (but not high-priced) at Fit!, where there's infrared heat therapy; a "cardio theater," where movies and TV take the pain out of a workout; a Fit! Beach for training on sand; a women-only section; and a free MYE AppAudio system for smartphones.
MASSACHUSETTS: EVERYBODYFIGHTS | BOXING GYM
The luxurious EverybodyFights co-founded in 2014 by George Foreman III has kickboxing and fighting classes for beginners and more advanced fighters, as well as innovative classes such as BoxFIIT, a heart-pumping mix of boxing, yoga, running, Pilates, and CrossFit.
MICHIGAN: MICHIGAN KETTLEBELLS
Customers have raved about weight loss results at family-owned Michigan KettleBells, with its focuses on women's fitness and classes. Co-owner Dawn Sylvester has specialist sports nutrition certification as well as being a certified fitness trainer.
MINNESOTA: LOS CAMPEONES GYM
Customers say Los Campeones is unlike huge commercial gyms -- except in its ability to provide tons of upgraded equipment at reasonable prices. Look for everything from the expected cardio treadmills to tires and even cement balls.
MISSISSIPPI: REBEL BODY FITNESS 24-7
Small, clean, and personable, Rebel Body is open 24 hours for traditional workouts but also offers lots of community outdoors fitness events for members.
TheGYMkc has a strong sense of humor online and a self-deprecating vibe that puts its devoted members at ease. Membership includes 24-hour access to all the usual: cardio machines, free weights, weight equipment, classes, and locker room amenities.
MONTANA: MONTANA ATHLETIC CLUB-BIGFORK
Basketball, racquetball, and squash courts, jacuzzi, dry sauna, and steam room, child care, and a huge pool are pluses at this Montana Athletic Club, a facility that has both world-class equipment and scholarship memberships with financial aid for qualified individuals and families.
NEBRASKA: FIT FARM
Loads of high marks for Fit Farm, a 10,000-square-foot gym with amenities such as a dedicated personal training room with low-impact flooring and a strength-focused area for powerlifting, but also programs such as aerial yoga.
NEVADA: FLEX APPEAL
The 24-hour Flex Appeal has everything you'd want in a gym -- and also on-staff chiropractors and massage therapists.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: ELEVATE HEALTH STUDIO
In addition to top-of-the-line gear, the 6,000-square-foot Elevate has classes including gravity training, BodySolid training, and Kinesis fitness, combining cardio, strength, and flexibility training for all fitness levels. A la carte pricing helps customers select what they need.
NEW JERSEY: THE GYM
The family-friendly facility called The Gym can also sound a lot like a spa, with customized facials, massages, and reflexology, fresh, plush towels, salon-style hair dryers, and a sauna and restorative steam bath alongside yoga, Pilates, Group-X, and a Kinesis station. There's a juice bar with complimentary Wi-Fi, of course, and child care.
NEW MEXICO: BLACK BOX FITNESS
Black Box is a CrossFit affiliate and the home of High Desert Weightlifting and specializes in elite-level coaching in athletic performance, weightlifting, strength, and nutrition. It welcomes all levels, though, and newcomers are given four hours of one-on-one personal training to CrossFit techniques and tools.
NEW YORK: DRIVE 495 CLUB
No big bargains, but plenty of high marks at Drive 495, whose owner, Don Saladino, is a personal trainer for athletes and celebrities including Scarlett Johansson, Ryan Reynolds, and Blake Lively. It's got golf simulators and golf lessons, cryotherapy, laundry service, acupuncture, filtered water, and high-end shaving supplies. Bring your wallet. Leave lighter.
NORTH CAROLINA: CAPITAL STRENGTH & CONDITIONING
If you haven't considered the barbell as a key fitness tool, let Capital school you. Barbells are used as a core training tool at one of the state's rare independent gyms, where there's eight individual racking areas to load for maximum versatility.
NORTH DAKOTA: VERGE FITNESS
Verge believes its Code Blue fitness apparatus gets bodies in fighting shape even better than parkour -- but along with all the gear and ReGymen and other classes, there's also time to chill out with a smoothie in a fireplace lounge.
OHIO: ARENA DISTRICT ATHLETIC CLUB
In addition to top-of-the-line equipment and the amenities (laundry service is available), Arena District Athletic Club has free nutrition consultation, unlimited group fitness and spin classes and special wellness and fitness events.
OKLAHOMA: HUB GYM
The 24-hour Hub actually proclaims itself the "anti big-box gym," not just because it's got a killer location in the town's thriving arts and entertainment district, but for its personal touch, including custom fitness plans for all and trainers who take time to explain every machine to newbies.
OREGON: VAULT HEALTH AND FITNESS
Vault Health and Fitness gets plenty of details right, from the 24/7 keyless access to the private showers, a solid collection of gear, and performance nutrition consulting and weight loss consulting at affordable rates.
If Rascals weren't already drawing members with good gear, free InBody testing, and its philosophy ("our gyms have been created for normal people who don't want a hardcore fitness regime, but who do want to get the most out of life by keeping active"), it also offers membership in Silver Sneakers and ClassPass, which allows access to classes and programs to fitness lovers visiting from across the United States, U.K., and Canada.
RHODE ISLAND: BRIDGE TO FITNESS
On top of the variety of equipment, classes, and expected amenities, family-owned Bridge To Fitness has two notable additions: a staff chiropractor and a physical therapist, who's available for people getting back into shape after injuries.
SOUTH CAROLINA: CHUCKTOWN FITNESS
The magic of Chucktown is captured in its unassuming name. It's a locally owned, 24-hour hotspot where everybody knows your name, and there's a bit of everything a workout needs -- including a belief that providing child care is a top priority.
SOUTH DAKOTA: FITNESS 365
Locally owned and operated Fitness 365 adds tanning, a supplements bar, and massage therapy to the mix, as well as a spin on efficient workouts called PACE, a 30-minute fat-burning, muscle-toning, circuit-training workout room.
TENNESSEE: EXCLUSIVE FITNESS
Exclusive gets a lot of its juice from its hands-on owner, certified personal trainer and bodybuilder Wade Wilburn, who runs a staff good at helping people with weight loss, bulking up, sport conditioning, or regaining strength, balance, and coordination after an illness.
TEXAS: TROPHY FITNESS CLUB
Not everything in Texas is big. Owner Kelley Gray, who now consults and manages several Texas gyms, found a niche at Trophy between cheap, impersonal chain gyms and pricey fitness centers for the elite. Trophy's three locations emphasize the personal touch (but every cardio machine still has attached flat-panel LCD screens).
UTAH: DASH FITNESS STUDIOS
Salt Lake City
Dash is the home of a high-intensity, low-impact workout patented and trademarked in Utah by studio owner Lacey Bruschke. Called Obsidian, it combines cardio, resistance, core, balance, flexibility, active recovery, and weight training into 60 minutes of calorie-burning and muscle building.
VERMONT: VERMONT SPORT & FITNESS
Vermont Sport & Fitness is big -- with 10 health and fitness professionals on staff in a 39,000-square-foot club with a training-size basketball court, Olympic weightlifting area, and outdoor pool. For $59 a month, it's a luxe experience at a YMCA cost.
VIRGINIA: WAREING'S GYM
The Wareing family has whipped locals and luminaries into shape since 1960, and Wareing's looks it -- it's old school, not shiny, but it has the latest barre and spin classes and gets respect for a five-decade mission of getting everyone living healthier.
WASHINGTON: SEATTLE FITNESS
Seattle Fitness is one of the city's oldest health clubs -- it opened in 1984 -- and has spent the time figuring out how to keep such a small club from feeling crowded and how to see to winning details (don't be surprised to find showers stocked with body wash, shampoo, conditioner, hair gel, and a blow dryer) when a day pass is little more than $10.
WEST VIRGINIA: WV FITNESS
The never-closed WV charges little and offers a lot: Along with a full gym experience comes 40 yards of turf, a pool and hot tub, child care, and, on Fridays, free use of the golf simulator and batting cage.
WISCONSIN: PINEHURST FITNESS
Pinehurst is more like a devoted community, made up of all ages and fitness levels with different goals. It offers personal training and intensive nutritional support, and everyone gets a no-strings, free two-week trial.
WYOMING: LARAMIE FITNESS
Laramie doesn't just get tough by stocking heavy-duty equipment, but with cross-training and mixed martial arts training. Public hours are limited; members get access from 4 a.m. to midnight 360 days a year.