A Guide to Santa Fe Fitness Centers and Gyms

Staff | SantaFe.com - April 21, 2010

Santa Fe offers a wide array of gyms and fitness studios for every budget and in locations all over town

It's not hard to stay fit in Santa Fe (despite all the good food!). Our glorious terrain and weather make the City Different a mecca for hikers, bikers, skiers, and rafters. But you don't have to be the outdoorsy type to get or stay in shape-Santa Fe offers a wide array of gyms and fitness studios for every budget and in locations all over town. Whether you're looking for fitness classes, serious weight training, or a full-service gym with pools and steams rooms, you'll find it in Santa Fe.

Carl and Sandra's Physical Conditioning Center (DeVargas Mall; 982. 6760). Other Santa Fe gyms come and go, but Carl and Sandra's has been here seemingly forever with the most basic concept: a work-out customized for each client and changed by Carl every six weeks. The aim is to maximize cardiovascular conditioning and weight management with free weights, aerobics, and machines, while keeping close tabs on a client's progress. Carl, a former coach for the U.S. Olympic team, resists fads. Membership prices vary and are not inexpensive, but are more reasonable than having a personal trainer.

Perfect Fit (formerly the Bull Dog Gym) is housed in a comfortable warehouse (909 Early Street, 988.5117) where half the space houses free weights machines, both cardio and strength, and pilates equipment. The other half is large and cavernous and reserved for rigorous "bootcamp" classes (about $10 per hour session) as well as individual client workouts with plenty of mats, balls and bands. Except for boot camp classes, this is a "personal trainer only" gym, with rates ranging between $50 and $60/hour. Perfect Fit trainers are creative in their approach, varying routines to keep workouts lively and fun. There is also a sizeable outdoors area for spring and summer training. No initiation or annual fee.

Fort Marcy Recreation Complex (490 Bishop's Lodge Road; 955.2500) and Genoveva Chavez Community Center (3221 Rodeo; 955.4000) are arguably the top overall fitness centers for value in Santa Fe, and include swimming pools, basketball courts and complete workout facilities (there's also an year-round ice rink for skaters and hockey players at Chavez, an indoor running track, and three pools). Classes for children, adults and seniors are popular at both locations. Prices are rock bottom, and while class sizes can be large for joga or Pilates, the instructors get high marks from clients. Another city-managed facility, Salvador Perez (601 Alta Vista, just west of St. Francis; 955 2604), is similar to Ft. Marcy and Chavez with its swimming pool, spinning classes, and weight training and cardio facilities, but smaller in scale (no basketball court.) The pool is the main draw here, with swimming lessons for kids and water aerobics and lane swimming for adults. City tennis courts, soccer field, and a park are right next door.

Superior Fitness (6700 Cerrillos; 474.3058) offers a full gym with the latest in cardio equipment, strength training machines, free weights and accessories. A monthly fee of $48 gives you access to the gym seven days a week, for your own workout, or you can hire a personal trainer on staff. There are no classes.

Evolve (541 Cordova; 992.2639) once centered its program on spin classes and free weights, but in its relatively new location on Cordova, Evolve has evolved into a full-service gym with full-line cardiovascular, elliptical, impact and resistance machines (many with individual TVs and I pod docks). There are also free weights, Bosu balls, Dyna discs and recumbent bikes. Classes and personal training sessions are available at reasonable prices.

The Buddah Fitness Center (formerly Body and Mind Fitness Studios on Marquez Place) is reopening in a larger space in the Railyard Lofts (703 Camino de la Familia, behind Warehouse 21; 983.7909). Owner Douglass Lawder and partner Tara Lyons focus on a variety of cardio equipment, free weights, as well as strength, balance and core training. The TRX exercise system-equipment developed by Navy Seals to train their recruits-is the heart of the program. There are also plans for a "cardio-fusion" class that encompasses yoga and spinning. According to Lawder, a seasoned Santa Fe fitness trainer who worked for ten years at El Gancho, the emphasis at Buddha will be personal training with a spiritual consciousness, emphasizing liberation from ignorance, suffering and rebirth. Individual membership fees are $80 per month, with a one-time initiation fee of $250, or $150 and a $350 fee for a couple. Corporate memberships are also available.

Undisputed Fitness (915 W Alameda St; 992.2677) ranks on the hard-core side of the fitness spectrum, with classes in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, combat and cardio kickboxing, and strength and conditioning programs that aim to maximize everyone's potential. Anyone who has watched cage-fighting on television and marveled at the bodies and stamina of the fighters can relate to UF goals. However, the atmosphere strives to be a "positive, friendly environment without the involvement of negative, ego-driven competition," according to the UF website. There are classes for all ages and skill levels, including a women's self defense class and "cross-fit" sessions by certified trainers.

Anytime Fitness (720 St. Michael's Drive; 424.0500) is a national franchise that stresses value pricing with something for everyone. This co-ed fitness center never closes (24 hour secure access), and you can train with a certified trainer or work out on your own with free weights, strength-training and cardio equipment, and an assortment of bands, balls and rollers. Shower and tanning facilities too. The staff is friendly and advises on everything from diet to wellness to injury prevention.

As its legion of loyal clients will confirm, there is virtually no fitness activity or spa service that Body (333 Cordova; 986. 0632) does not offer. Everything from Pilates, Nia, and yoga classes, to luxury spa treatments and massages, to a fitness gym, the large facility also includes a vegetarian cafe, a fashion boutique, lectures, community events, and a large, friendly, and knowledgeable staff. Though about seventy five percent of the clients are women, most classes are co-ed and geared to different levels. There's even a day care center for younger kids while you work out. The Body website (www.bodyofsantafe.com) is comprehensive.

Curves (2426 Cerrillos Road; 505 216.7927) caters exclusively to women. Its famous thirty-minute interactive training circuit combines aerobics while working every major muscle group with resistance machines. A successful national franchise that has built its brand around the 500-calorie burning thirty-minute circuit, and selling its own vitamins and supplements and even a magazine ("Diane"), the Curves staff advises clients on weight control as well as health and aging issues.

El Gancho (104 Old Las Vegas Highway; 988.5000) bills itself as a private "fitness, swim and racquet club" and appeals largely to families looking for a large, multi-faceted facility. In addition to tennis and swimming (there are indoor and outdoor pools), there are adult spinning and fitness classes, group exercise rooms, and a sauna and steam rooms. Classes for kids are popular in the summer, and swimming lessons year-round. Membership involves an initiation plus monthly fees, though the spa facilities are open to the public. The Steaksmith restaurant, with a popular and reasonably priced menu, adjoins El Gancho.

Quail Run (3101 Old Pecos Trail; 986.2200) is an exclusive condominium development that includes a fitness and health club that offers a limited number of outside (and expensive) memberships. These allow use of the restaurant, a nine hole golf course, indoor Olympic size pool, cardio and strength training equipment, tennis courts, and a wide range of fitness classes with exceptional instructors.

Santa Fe Spa (786 North St. Francis; 984.8727), recently renovated and located half a mile north of DeVargas Mall, is a large, popular, full-service facility that runs the gamut from cardio equipment (with TVs attached), free weights, and Matrix fitness machines, to cycling, aerobics, dance, yoga, Nia, and Pilates mat classes. There are a dozen personal trainers to chose from (rates vary from $35 to $65 per hour) or you can work out on your own. Reasonable membership fees allow for "freeze time," and new members receive a complimentary fitness assessment.

Pilates Santa Fe (839 Paseo De Peralta #N, 995.9700) is a studio for serious Pilates students with state-of-art equipment (Reformers, Cadillacs, Trapezes etc.) and only Pilates-certified teachers. There is room for a maximum of five clients at one time, but often you have the whole facility to yourself. W Prices range from $55-$75 per 55 minute session. Most are individual sessions, but it's also possible to train as a couple, and there are mat classes (maximum of five students) as well. Like Joseph Pilates, the founder of the movement that bears his name, this studio is devoted to the harmony of mind, body and spirit.

YogaSource (901 West San Mateo; 982.0990) offers "over 40 classes per week to students at every level of practice, taught by a long-standing staff of dynamic teachers, all of whom are highly trained and devoted to Yoga," says the Yogasource website. The studio calls itself a sanctuary, and indeed there is a feeling of the sacred as you enter. Fully equipped with props including custom-made benches, rope walls and back-benders, besides the plethora of classes, catering to all levels and offering all types of Yoga, there are frequent workshops by visiting teachers.

Mandrill's Gym (708 West San Mateo; 988.2986), formerly Gold's Gym, is a huge, open gym with more equipment-some new, some old-than any other gym in Santa Fe, reflecting every conceivable philosophy on how to train and strengthen body parts. This seems to be the haunt of serious body builders-it conjures up the ghost of Vic Tanney and Charles Atlas-but you shouldn't be intimidated if you're a first-timer who just wants to get in shape. There are a number of personal trainers to guide you toward your goal.

Studio Fit (492 West Water Street; 982.4434) focuses its training on core, flexibility and balance work, reflecting the bodywork and movement education of Dr. Ida P. Rolf., (the woman who started "Rolfing Structural Integration," a form of bodywork, including cranialsacral therapy, that reorganizes connective tissues and dramatically alters a person's posture and structure). The functionally integrated training at Studio Fit is ideal for anyone recovering from certain sports injuries or is simply interested in the Rolfian principles of healing and wellness.

Form Fitness, Core Conditioning (1219 Cerrillos Road, Suite 3; 424.9944) gives its clients a comprehensive approach to nutrition, fitness, and an "in-depth understanding of range-of-motion, bio-mechanics, correct posture and the critical components of core strength," according to its website. "Core" refers to muscles that impact joint stability and pain-free mobility. "We strengthen your body from inside out," asserts the website, and this well-appointed, by-appointment-only studio, besides protecting your spine and joints and improving your balance, will keep your waist line slim too.