Shimmy in to your Lululemons, you're going to want to visit one of these unique gyms immediately
Reportedly 10 million of us in the UK are members of a health and fitness club, of which there are over seven thousand across the country. Whether we actually go or not is another matter. Ever booked onto a 6am HIIT class, only to roll over and cancel it from the comfort of your own pillow the next morning? You’re not the only one.
Since the pandemic, the fitness industry has had to work hard to reach new audiences. Most of us realised in lockdown that it doesn’t take fancy machines or mood lighting to get us in shape. But there is only so much you can do on a chewed up yoga mat in the garage, and with more of us realising the value of investing in our wellbeing, we are looking for exciting ways to work out.
Luckily in Leeds, a number of boutique gyms have popped up over the last few years, offering a more bespoke way to train.
So, we’ve hoisted on our lycra and rounded up the top ten boutique gyms in Leeds.
Barre workouts use ballet techniques and choreography to strengthen the core and lower body, with the method proven to improve flexibility, muscle tone and posture. Unlike many of the headbanging gym classes in Leeds, here the focus is on low-intensity training with an emphasis on isometric (holding) and pulsing movements, often with resistance bands or light weights. It’s perfect for those of us who want to feel the burn without wanting to curl up in a sweaty ball afterwards. But don’t be fooled, Barrecore classes aren’t easy, you’ll be shaking with fatigue before you know it.
Unit A, Spicemill, Wharf Approach, Holbeck, Leeds LS1 4EZ
Coach Gyms have latched onto the boutique fitness trend and found a gap in the market for those who want luxury features without the whopping price tag. Coach Gym on Kirkstall Road is no exception. Expect state-of-the-art hairdryers, nutritiously conscious shakes, Wi-Fi, neon strip lights and over two-hundred pieces of equipment, all available from just £17.99 a month. There are classes too. Choose from boxfit, spin, body balance, even bounce, which involves - you guessed it - mini-trampolines. What’s not to love?
385 Kirkstall Rd, Burley, Leeds LS4 2EZ
Form stands for formidable, which is certainly the impression you get from visiting this huge space in Holbeck. Who knew this purpose-built CrossFit gym with cool showers made entirely of scaffolding was so close to Leeds city centre? Now, as devotees know, CrossFit isn’t just a workout, it’s a lifestyle, and at Form with its regular roster of competitions and events, you’ll be sharing your WOD (workout of the day, duh) in no time.
6 Leodis Ct, Holbeck, Leeds LS11 5JJ
At Graft Häus, the clue’s in the name. These guys are serious grafters. With a large unit on the cardigan fields industrial estate and a cap at 750 members, Graft Häus ensures there’s no waiting around for someone to finish their reps at the squat rack. Oh, and did we mention the on-site café, sports therapists, sunbed and infra-red saunas?
Unit 4, Cardigan Trading Estate, Milford Pl, Burley, Leeds LS4 2BL
Ever watched The World’s Strongest Man and wondered what it’s like to pull a truck, or flip a massive tractor tire? Well, training at Implexus is probably the closest you’ll get to that in Leeds. With classes designed to maximise your one-rep-max, this is premium fitness backed by science, thanks to founders from elite sports and powerlifting backgrounds. Expect Leeds Rhino regulars and an affordable £40 per month membership.
Carlton Mills, 9B Pickering St, Armley, Leeds LS12 2QG
Leeds Aerial Arts
At Leeds Aerial Arts you can swing through the air like the circus performer of your dreams. But this isn’t just for show, each class is a full-body workout, designed to build strength, increase muscle tone and improve flexibility. Try aerial hoop, aerial sling, aerial yoga, even flying pilates. For those who prefer being on ground level, there are some fabulous stretch classes too. The environment is super friendly and inclusive, so first-timers will feel right at home.
Unit 5, Cardigan Trading Estate, Burley, Leeds LS4 2BL
Despite opening in 2020, which was perhaps the worst year in the history of gyms, ever, North Studio has managed to gain an impressive following. Offering everything from holistic therapy, to Cycle45; a high-energy spin class, and Vinyasa yoga, to the cleverly named HIIT and run. With a refuel kitchen serving up freshly-made smoothies and juices this is wholesome living at its best. Let the grass on the walls soothe you on the way out.
Roman Terrace, Roundhay, Leeds LS8 2DG
Primal is all about small group personal training, which gives you the best of both worlds – the motivation of others, and the expertise of a quality instructor. Primal's ethos is built upon consistency, which is the key to progress (so the experts say). Classes include, Primal Strength, focused on progressive overload to help you get fitter and stronger every week. Primal Conditioning and intervals use calisthenic moves to get your heart rate up and endorphins flowing, a fun alternative to hours pounding the treadmill.
4 The Blvd, Leeds LS10 1PZ
Leeds’ fitness fanatics go wild for this uplifting mix of athletic sass and club music. RYDE is the brainchild of entrepreneur Kyle Harris, who observing the health trends across London and New York, decided to bring a more personalized service to Leeds. Think scented towels and premium changing rooms with vegan toiletries and get ready for some serious hair flicking on a bike.
Opening this Summer: 16a East Parade Leeds LS1 2BH
You can’t beat brands with numbers replacing letters in their name. And there’s good reason for Trib3 describing themselves as a "next level boutique fitness studio," as not only do they embody their protein gene epithet with a popular post-workout shake bar, but the classes consist of three elements; treadmills, resistance and intensity (TRI). Community is also their thing, with each group's metrics tracked on-screen thanks to their custom heart rate monitors. Motivation or what?
68A Wellington St, Leeds LS1 2EE
Read next: The best laptop-friendly spots in Leeds (where you can actually get work done)
Read again: Calories on menus: what does it achieve?
Get the latest news to your inbox
Get the latest food & drink news and exclusive offers by email by signing up to our mailing list. This is one of the ways that Confidentials remains free to our readers and by signing up you help support our high quality, impartial and knowledgable writers. Thank you!