The massive Hongqiao
Lu branch of this
spans four floors
and is comprised
of a gym, swimming
pool, yoga studio and
massage and beauty
treatment area. While
it’s fully-equipped with
pretty much everything
you’d ask for from a fitness
centre (including longer
opening hours than many other
gyms in town), it does admittedly have the
appearance of a once-smart club rather
gone to seed, thanks to some slightly naff wallpaper and not-quite-up-to-scratch
levels of cleanliness.
The gym itself has extensive workout
and resistance equipment, more
than most of the gyms we visited,
including a TRX suspension
system. There’s an on-site
spinning room too.
The locker rooms,
meanwhile, are spacious,
and decked out with
large hot tubs and cushy
chillout areas (in case
you fancy joining some
of the other members in a
spot of naked sofa lounging)
equipped with tasty (and free)
An enormous chain gym which offers basically everything, California Fitness is
a good choice for buff corporate types who
travel between Asia’s business hubs, as
membership includes all of the chain’s
branches across the continent. The
Huaihai Lu edition is a labyrinth snaking
over two floors at the top of the slightly rundown
Infinity Plaza mall, and is well-stocked
with a yoga studio, a weights area, a boxing
ring, spin studio, mat space and two
main areas of cardio-focused machines,
including treadmills and step machines.
The changing rooms include a sauna and
steam room, plus more than 20 showers
and plenty of space for changing. Our
reservation here is that the gym’s central
location means it has potential to get
extremely busy at prime times – when we
stop by on a weekday afternoon it’s already
fairly crowded. Fortunately the opening hours are impressively long, meaning
there’s really no excuse not to pop by.
How much? 3,880RMB for one year,
off-peak; 4,880RMB full-time annual
membership. A little negotiation also
gets rid of the ‘joining fee’, and a bit more
pushing gets us an additional month free.
Where? Fifth Floor, Infinity Plaza,
138 Huaihai Lu, near Longmen Lu,
Huangpu district. Open
6am-midnight Mon-Fri; 8am-midnight Sat-
Sun. See full venue details.
Mr and Mrs Fitness
The Xuhui branch of Mr and Mrs Fitness
has provoked some pretty dire comments
on our website from users bemoaning
the gym as ‘filthy’ and the staff as ‘rude
and dismissive.’ But it seems with its
impressive new branch on Jinan Lu near
Xintiandi, that they are determined to
put these wrongs right. With excellent
equipment, spa-esque locker rooms, and
general mod cons, this was one of the
poshest gyms we tried out, although if
you’re going to fork out 16,000RMB per
annum for a membership, you’d expect it to
be – you probably wouldn’t be able to afford
to go anywhere else if things go awry.
Luckily, there’s a lot to keep you
occupied, from the well-equipped free
weights area (including chains and
kettlebells), an extensive number of
machines, and even a mini climbing wall.
Find working out boring? Go make a tea or
coffee in the sexy lounge and have a surf
on the gym iMac, or book yourself in for an
on-site beauty treatment. If you prefer to
exercise in luxury, this is your mothership.
How much? 16,000RMB a year. Steep.
Where? There are gyms all over the city - we tried: Third Floor, 9 Jinan Lu, near
Taicang Lu, Huangpu district. Open 10am-10pm daily. See full venue details.
With nine prominent branches across the
city, Physical is one of Shanghai’s most
ubiquitous gym chains. It’s also one of
the most popular, meaning that you’ll find
yourself in close quarters with lots of fellow
exercisers if you visit at peak times. This
is particularly the case with the Metro City
branch that we tested; the convenient
Xujiahui location means that the gym is
packed out on weekday evenings.
Still, the facilities are all clean and well
maintained and though there are some
small gripes, such as not enough water
fountains and slightly pokey changing
rooms, it’s about what you’d expect from
a mass appeal chain gym experience. The
numbers-controlled spinning, yoga and
belly dancing classes are less cramped,
there’s a boxing ring that you can book
and the reception area is reasonably
comfortable – overall it’s good value if
you get a multi-club membership. A quick
check of some of their newer branches – at
Crystal Galleria, Huaihai Plaza and Bund
Square – revealed fewer people and nicer
facilities, so you may want to opt for one of
these as your regular work out spot.
How much? 3,300RMB for one year, multiclub
(in Shanghai) membership. Trials are
available for 100RMB, which they’ll knock
off the membership fee if you sign up; you
can also negotatiate a three-day trial and
take in other branches.
Where? Third Floor, Metro City, 1111
Zhaojiabang Lu, near Tianyaoqiao Lu, Xuhui
district. Open 7am-10pm daily. See full venue details.
Tera Wellness gyms are ten-a-penny
around Shanghai; this is one of the most
frequently chosen gym options here
in Shanghai due to branches being so
close to home/work/your favourite bar.
We visit the Zhangyang Lu edition of the
Terra Wellness chain given its proximity to
the Time Out office. It’s small, basic and
largely unremarkable – except for the price
of its annual membership which earns its
inclusion in our round-up, an extremely
reasonable 2,700RMB. It’s also clean, in
good condition, and generally does the job
for its clientele, most of whom work nearby.
Along with the standard gym equipment
and machines, there are kettlebells and
ropes, a boxing ring, and a studio space
which hosts a variety of classes including
lunch-time yoga sessions. Changing
rooms, meanwhile, are equipped with mini
saunas, and that’s pretty much your lot
extras-wise. Staff and personal trainers
seem to be in abundance, although most
don’t speak English.
How much? 2,700RMB a year for single-club
membership; 3,000RMB for multi-club
in selected in Pudong gyms.
Where? Tons of locations. We tried: Eighth Floor, Times Square,
501 Zhangyang Lu, near Pudong Nan
Lu, Pudong district. Open 10am-10pm daily. See full venue details.
Another prominent chain, Will’s has 20
branches around town. The contents of the
branch beside Xintiandi are in answer to
its central location: it’s a smart but basic
gym that accommodates the busy worker
seeking a quick bout of exercise. Its prime
spot also means it fills up quickly, but with
its stylish, contemporary vibe it’s still an
Along with up-to-date equipment, there’s
also a boxing ring, a spinning room stuffed
to the nines with bikes, a Power Plate,
and a wide range of classes including
Zumba, basic yoga, and Les Mills-branded
workouts including Body Pump and True
Grit. All in all, Will’s is a slick place to get
your sweat on.
How much? 3,788RMB for membership, or
4,988RMB for a multi-club membership.
Where? 220 Madang Lu, near Xingye
Lu, Huangpu district. Open 10am-10pm daily. See full venue details.