With an ever increasing focus on personal health, and perhaps a bit more expendable cash, folks in the Baltics are turning more and more to fitness centers or gyms to help them stay in shape and pass time. This trend is visible in the number of fitness centers all over Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius. But it takes courage to show up at one of these places, all decked out in sport garb extraordinaire, to grunt, groan and sweat in public - no matter that the other clients are doing the same.
Finding the right place, where you feel comfortable and will go to on a regular basis can be challenging. Many gyms simply don't meet our own personal standards. But TBT staff has taken the time to visit some fitness centers in the Baltics and has a few suggestions for places that just might get you in a routine.
Rupniecibas iela 23
Reaktors is a great place to go for a workout. They offer almost everything you could dream of, from kickboxing to Latin dance to pilates to martial arts, this place has it all. It is light and airy and has high ceilings in all the workout areas which means you won't feel claustrophobic in this place.
A one stop image overhaul facility, Reaktors also offers beauty treatments, hair styling and a cafe that offers healthy and delicious meals and snacks. Club members enjoy a 10 percent discount in the cafe.
The staff at Reaktor is friendly and helpful. The changerooms are large and clean and the women's changeroom is conveniently across from the beauty salon.
Why not try some belly dancing or yoga while you are at it?
1 month Basic Membership - 26 lats (37 euros)
Students - 17 lats
Wellness Sport Club - Imanta
Anninmuizas bulv. 40a
While this club is not right in the city centre, the trip to the suburbs might just be worth it. They offer almost everything. Fit ball, yoga, hip-hop dance, judo, and pilates are all on the list.
There are three large training halls and the largest has large windows from which you can watch passersby from above as you go about your workout.
The changerooms are large and private and the showers are clean. Staff are very professional about their services and are eager to provide advice.
Wellness also has a sport bar that serves up healthy cocktails as well as free internet, sauna, tanning beds and a beauty salon.
All you could ask for a simple tramride away from the downtown core.
1 month Basic Membership -29 lats (42 euros)
Marijas iela 13/8
REVAL HOTEL LATVIJA
Elizabetes iela 55
Saharova iela 13a
Nometnu iela 59b
With a number of locations around town including Berga Bazara and the Reval Hotel Latvija, City Fitness is a known and recognized brand name in Riga. City Fitness offers the usual array of services - Aerobics, Yoga, BodyBike - as well as some more interesting options such as ballet. The quality of the facilities vary from center to center, but perhaps the most impressive site would be Berga Bazara with its large windows overlooking the quaint shops that the square is famous for. This could be a benefit for some or a hindrance for the more timid fitness fan. The Agenskalns site has an interesting and airy design.
City Fitness is a clean gym and the staff is helpful for the most part but perhaps because it is a chain, it lacks a bit of the personal approach that others offer. This facility also offers its clients sauna, massage services, a hair salon, cafe and fitness shop.
1 month Basic Membership -34.50 lats (50 euros)
This is the ideal facility for anyone who is budget conscious and seeking a regular workout. You may even get fit finding your way around this orange maze. There are several rooms at this multi-level gym - the nicest a wood trimmed dance studio.
The staff is friendly and helpful and it's a great price for the size and services offered. Massages are the most luxurious, though spacious changerooms and a large sauna add to its appeal. The women's change room is also multi-level and has comfortable chairs, hair dryers and toiletries for sale. The showers are clean and modern. Overall however, the facilities could be better organized.
There is a boxing studio, squash courts, a pool and a large weight room. You'll also find aerobics, water-aerobics, shaping, spinning, yoga and pilates classes offered.
If you'd like to diversify your workout, try a water-aerobics/spinning class. It'll be hard to find this combo anywhere else. While you're at it, sign up for Latin dancing. Cha-cha, rumba and tango classes are also available.
1 month Basic Membership - 450 Kroons (29 euros)
Students - 400 Kroons
Stuudio 99 Fitness and Beauty
Uus Tatari 25/Veerenni 13
If you'd like your fitness and beauty needs met in one spot, this is the place to come. Not surprisingly, this gym is more popular among women. After a workout, you can get your hair or nails done.
The location is small but modern. There is a wood trimmed aerobics studio where pump, spinning, step and yoga classes are offered. Personal training is extra. Classes for youth are also available.
The changerooms have saunas and they're modern and clean. It's like working out in the comfort of your own home. Because it's so small you won't have difficulty finding a staff member to help you out.
It's in a basement so there is no natural lighting and the cramped quarters might not be suitable for some people. But if you like a quiet and inviting atmosphere, you'll like Stuudio 99.
1 monthbasic membership - 650 Kroons (42 euros)
Youth - 300 Kroons
Paldiski Mnt. 96
The name says it all. This luxurious club is for those willing to shell out the dough on their exercise regime. Be careful not to be lured only by the lavish surroundings. For starters, a spacious weightroom overlooks a sparkling 21 X 7 meter pool. Poolside you'll find plenty of reclining chairs and a comfy hottub.
From the weightroom you can access a rooftop patio, used for sunbathing and eating in the summer. Large windows create a bright atmosphere and make the club seem even more spacious. And don't forget that while excercising or swimming you'll be treating yourself to a view of the Baltic Sea.
Membership includes the following services: cardio test and annual individual training program, a playroom for children and a junior sports program. Members may visit the club according to their choice of package. There are bronze, silver, gold and platinum memberships. The platinum membership will earn you 10 massages each year, plus every other perk the club offers. This includes a gym, aerobics, yoga, pilates, spinning, squash, pool and saunas, a fitness program, nutrition program and solarium. A basic membership will offer all facilities but doesn't provide fitness or nutrition counseling. A hefty joining fee makes it less appealing but their new free DVD rental offer might make you reconsider.
Joining Fee - 10 000 Kroons (640 euros)
Packages range from 7 500 - 15 500 Kroons
The sauna is the highlight in this quaint facility. Renting it for an hour only costs 250 kroons. A steam sauna and pool are also available for use. There is a gym, aerobics classes and Tulbi's latest addition is fitness tests. Here you'll work out in a comfortable, carpeted environment and afterwards you can treat yourself at the facility's beauty salon.
Tulbi Club is clean and modern. The machines are new and with the especially inviting pool and sauna, it's a good deal. The staff are also helpful and friendly.
1 month - 650 kroons
Olimpieciu str. 3
Body Gym offers the full range of fitness services by certified professional trainers. Whether you are interested in aerobics, sculpt classes, funk dance lessons or yoga, Body Gym has something to offer. The gym operates on the premise that there are five parts to optimum health: strength training, weight management, cardiovascular conditioning, flexibility training and nutrition and therefore endeavors to train their clients to focus not just on one area, but all five.
Body Gym also has a traditional karate studio, a cafe, spa services, massage studio and tanning beds.
One month membership: 180 litas (52 euros)
Forum Palace Sports Club
On the ground floor of the Forum Palace Entertainment Center you will find a sports club which is equipped with the latest, most up-to-date equipment. The thing that sets this place apart from the majority of complexes in the Baltics is the 25 meter swimming pool with underwater currents.
Forum offers the usual range of fitness activities from aerobics and spinning to weightlifting and martial arts as well as massage, medical services and a beauty salon. The modern facilities are clean, bright and have been designed with the well-being and good mood of the client in mind.
The complex also has a sports bar with a summer deck that boasts a view of the Neris.
Basic monthly membership - 420 litas (122 euros)
Unavailable for rating
Impuls Sports Club
L. Asanaviciutes av. 15
Impuls is one of the newest and claims to be the largest sports clubs in the Baltics. They claim to set the standard for their high quality service, good music, high technology equipment and their comfortable atmosphere.
Impuls has the full range of fitness programs and weight training options. What perhaps makes Impuls unique is their facilities that can be rented for birthdays or other special events. Choose from the Japanese Lounge with it's Japanese decor and sauna or the Arabic Lounge with a Turkish bath and art frescos on the walls - sure to make your special day a real hit.
Impuls offers child care for their clients as well as prenatal training programs for moms-to-be.
One month membership: 230 litas (67 euros)
Unavailable for rating