How to Find the Right Health Club for You

Ditch the machines and TVs for wide-open spaces to roam.


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Injecting play and primal movements into your workouts won't be easy if you belong to a big-box gym. Larger chains tend to be packed with machines, leaving little open flooring and nothing to climb on. Look for a place that offers the opposite: few or no machines, mirrors, or TVs but plenty of ropes, balls, and small weights—along with open floor space and things attached to the walls and ceiling to climb on. A couple of examples to guide you in your search: CrossFit franchises can be found in industrial spaces with loading docks, and they usually provide little more than a climbing station, a squat rack, and some kettle bells and boxes. StrengthBox, a MovNat-inspired gym in Toronto, hangs a log from its ceiling and pulls open its garage door to let the air in during the spring and summer. Expect to be nudged out of your comfort zone.

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