A major highlight of going to your local gym is the post-workout sauna session. Especially if you’re looking to join a new gym, you might be asking- which gyms have saunas and what kind?
The most popular gyms that include saunas or steam rooms are LA Fitness, World Gym, Gold’s Gym, Life Time Fitness, YMCA, Equinox, and 24-hour Fitness. Not all locations offer the same amenities and pricing may or may not be included in standard membership. Check your local franchise for specific details on hours, prices, and rules.
Keep reading to discover which gyms have saunas and what types, how much gym saunas cost, what you need, and all about gym sauna etiquette.
Which gyms have saunas?
It’s important to note that gym membership fees and amenities often vary by location. However, if you’re looking for a gym with sauna or steam room services, there are a few you should check out.
The most popular gyms with a sauna or steam room are World Gym and Gold’s Gym. World Gym offers a traditional, infrared, and steam sauna depending on the franchise at around $19.95/month. Gold’s gym offers gender-specific traditional or steam saunas for $33.00/month.
Here is a list of the most popular gyms that include saunas along with important information about pricing and availability:
|Gym||Average Membership Cost||Type of Sauna||Women Only Sauna||Men Only Sauna||Unisex Sauna|
|World’s Gym||$19.95||Traditional, Infrared, Steam||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Gold’s Gym||$33.00||Traditional, Steam||Yes||Yes||No|
|Life Time Fitness||$119||Traditional, Steam||No||No||Yes|
|24-Hour Fitness||$46.99||Traditional, Steam||No||No||Yes|
Saunas are becoming an increasingly popular amenity in private fitness facilities. Most gyms with saunas are typically in the top 10% of membership fees. While they aren’t uncommon, most basic gyms do not have them.
Be sure to check out the amenities list at the local gym of your choice before signing up if a post-workout sauna session is non-negotiable for you.
What type of sauna is at the gym?
Depending on your gym and membership level, you will have access to a traditional, steam, or infrared sauna.
Traditional saunas are typically the most common type of sauna you’ll see at gyms. Steam saunas are typically found in YMCAs and other wellness centers that prioritize holistic health. Infrared saunas are the least common; however, some World Gyms have them available for use.
There are pros and cons to each. We’ll discuss more of the features below to help you decide which type of sauna is the best fit for you!
Traditional saunas are the most popular type of sauna found in gyms. They are cheaper to install and maintain than infrared or steam saunas but provide a more limited experience.
Traditional saunas are kept at around 177°F and provide 30% humidity with stones and a water well. Traditional versions heat the air, your skin, then your core (in that order) using electricity or gas as the power source. Various World Gyms and Gold’s Gyms have these types of saunas.
Traditional saunas are a great option if you’re looking for a basic sauna experience that is affordable for you and cheaper for your gym to maintain.
It is recommended that you use any type of sauna, traditional included, after your workout.
There are a few pros of a traditional sauna as it relates to your workout performance:
- Increased blood circulation– This is not only beneficial for muscle recovery but also for your heart. The heat from the sauna can cause a “massaging” effect on your heart to help it to pump more efficiently to regulate your breathing after intense cardio.
- Increased sweating– This helps to flush out lactic acid, which builds up in your muscles when you work out. Additionally, it increases the removal of other harmful toxins from the body.
- Deeper stretching– Try some light stretching in a traditional sauna if there’s room. The heat relaxes your muscles and allows for you to get a further stretch.
Some claims state that one-time sauna use will result in weight loss. While true that they help over time, any immediate change seen on the scale will be a result of loss of water weight. Keep some water with you to avoid dehydration.
Although there are pros to using a traditional sauna after your workout, there are still some negatives to make note of.
Associated cons of a traditional sauna in relation to your workout performance:
- Skin irritation– The moisture from a traditional sauna can cause your pores to open, leading to irritation or rashes if you have sensitive skin. If you’ve been working out and are sweaty, a traditional sauna can lead to more skin flare-ups.
- Exposure to bacteria– There are many people using the sauna. The hot environment is a catalyst for the spread of germs and bacteria, especially in a communal setting.
- Dehydration- As mentioned before, you should always drink water before and after traditional sauna use. With the added perspiration of your workout, you risk becoming dehydrated quickly.
Steam saunas are found in gyms less often than traditional saunas but more often than infrared. They are typically more expensive to install because of the steam room’s added features.
The steam sauna is usually 112°F with 100% humidity. They provide a unique humidity release: water vapor as compared to traditional and infrared saunas, which use stones and water wells. In-Shape locations in California and some World Gyms have steam rooms.
These saunas are a great option if you enjoy more moisture with less heat.
Steam saunas are a great way to cleanse the body after a workout. They share some of the same pros as a traditional sauna.
- Increased sweating- They help get rid of any toxins that have been released from your workout. If used regularly, you can also increase your cardio stamina.
- Muscle pain relief- The humid environment is also an excellent relief for sore muscles and joints. Heat exposure after a workout can lessen delayed-onset muscle soreness by around 47%.
- Sinus relief and skincare– Steam saunas warm the mucous membrane and provide a great way to relieve sinus issues (especially if you’re just getting back into working out after being sick). The steam can also help open your pores slightly to allow for greater penetration of topical beauty products such as serums, oils, etc.
While the added moisture has its benefits, you should be aware of the tradeoffs of using one at the gym.
Associated cons include:
- The expense– Steam saunas are typically more expensive than other types of saunas because of the added moisture and more complex features. This can result in higher gym membership fees for your facility to make up for the costs.
- Lack of seating– Since steam saunas don’t have multiple levels (climbing around people could cause slipping and injury), there usually isn’t enough room for more than a couple of people at a time. You need to wait your turn to get in and out.
- Exposure to bacteria– There is an even greater risk for the spread of germs in a steam sauna. Moist environments are the most ideal breeding grounds for bacteria and illness.
Infrared saunas are a great option for you if you’re looking for a dryer, cleaner environment in a sauna. They are the least common type of sauna found in gyms.
Infrared saunas are typically 125-155°F, with low humidity. They heat your body from the inside out without first heating the air around you and operate using low-EMF carbon heating panels. Infrared saunas are found in some World Gym franchises.
Let’s take a look at some of the positives and negatives.
Although they are less common, infrared saunas are the safest and cleanest option for a gym to have available for its patrons.
Some of the post-workout pros are:
- Less bacteria- Infrared saunas heat your body directly, so there is little to no moisture in the small amount of air around you. This environment limits the spread of germs.
- Less heat– The heat is less intense with infrared saunas, limiting the risk of dehydration.
- Increased sweating– Like steam and traditional saunas, infrared versions make you sweat and offer the same benefits of toxin release, muscle recovery, and deeper stretching.
Regardless of the pros, watch out for these cons regarding using an infrared sauna after your workout.
- The expense– Like steam saunas, infrared saunas take more expensive technology and components to build and maintain, increasing membership fees.
- Less humidity– Since there is little moisture in the air when using an infrared sauna, your sweat evaporates especially quickly. After a workout, your tolerance for heat will be down and may not allow you to stay inside for the recommended time.
How much does a gym sauna cost?
While most gym saunas are included in your typical monthly or annual membership fees, how much do they cost on average and can you pay for just the sauna?
Your average gym membership that includes sauna access is around $38 a month (minus initiation fees). While World Gym includes this amenity in their standard membership package, Gold’s Gym requires Tier 3 membership to access their saunas and steam rooms.
There is no written offering that states you can pay for JUST the sauna at the gym. However, it never hurts to ask!
What do you need for a sauna at the gym?
Since many people wear workout clothes to the gym, it is a good idea to pack other essentials if you plan to use the sauna afterward.
Load up your gym bag with these items:
- Flip-flops– It’s okay to go barefoot, but only after you’ve found your seat. Use rubber flip-flops when walking into any sauna or steam room to avoid catching pesky fungi.
- Small towel– I like to bring two: one for sitting on and one for wiping off sweat. Bring a third if you plan on taking off your gym clothes.
- Swimsuit- Usually, you can enter a sauna or steam with your workout clothes, but if you want to limit heat rashes, opt for swimwear.
- Water, water, and more water– Load up on water during your workout and before and after the sauna to avoid dehydration. Add lemon to help detoxify your liver!
How do you use a sauna at the gym?
There are a few general rules to follow that help make a sauna or steam room at the gym enjoyable for yourself and those around you.
- Keep your distance– Keep conversation to a minimum inside of any sauna or steam room. Respect people’s personal space and avoid sitting too close to someone else.
- Use your headphones- If you want to bring a cell phone inside (which I don’t recommend), make sure you listen to music on headphones. Not everyone has the same taste in music.
- Cover-up appropriately– After all, this is still a public place. Especially in gender-specific saunas and steams, resist the urge to go au naturel even if it’s permitted. Trust me; no one needs it.
- Rinse off before entering– This is a closed space. Sweating is expected, but there is nothing worse than entering a sauna or steam room engulfed with the scent of someone’s post-workout body odor.
- Limit stretching and exercising– A communal sauna is not the environment for conducting your own hot yoga session. You can stretch if there’s room, but make sure it’s not interfering with someone else’s experience.
You can’t control what others do, but if you adhere to these basic guidelines when using the sauna at your local gym- your fellow gym buddies will thank you later.
To sum it up, saunas can be a nice addition to your workout routine, but you should know that they’re not available at all gyms. To find out which gyms have saunas and what kind, make sure to check with your gym’s membership offerings before signing up!