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Which Gyms Have Saunas & What Kind? (Traditional, Steam, or Infrared)

For many of us, the sauna has become an essential part of our lives. We are dependent on it for our physical and mental well-being. So, we tend to look for ways to visit the sauna as often as possible. Naturally, you’d want to know if your gym has a sauna because you have heard sauna after a workout can do wonders for your body. 

Quick answer: Not many gyms offer sauna facilities because installing a sauna requires investment. Moreover one has to maintain the sauna so that people would want to keep using it. This leads to higher sauna membership charges and some fitness groups like Planet Fitness are built on low-cost models, therefore, they can’t afford to add saunas and steam rooms. That said some gyms do have sauna facilities. Namely:

  • 24-hour Fitness
  • World Gym
  • LA Fitness
  • Life Time Fitness
  • Gold’s Gym
  • Equinox
  • YMCA

These gyms have sauna facilities and as you can imagine, they have expensive membership fees. It’s important to remember that the gyms we mentioned don’t offer such amenities in all their locations. And the price of the sauna may not be included in the membership plans available on their website. 

In the next section, we have created a chart showing you what the membership costs are but we recommend going over to your local franchise and checking details on the price, hours of operation, and other rules. 

gold's gym sauna in los angeles
Gold’s Gym sauna in Los Angeles (Image source: goldsgym.com)

Which Gyms Have Saunas?

The gyms that have a sauna are 24-hour Fitness, World Gym, LA Fitness, Life Time Fitness, Gold’s Gym, Equinox, and YMCA. 

World Gym and Gold’s Gym offer the cheapest plans. Gold Gym has gender-specific sauna facilities and you can avail traditional or steam saunas at $33 per month. In World Gym you can avail traditional, steam, and infrared saunas, depending on your location for a monthly fee of $20.

Now let’s take a quick look at the pricing and other facilities offered by the gyms that have saunas. 

GymsAverage Membership CostType of SaunaUnisexWomen OnlyMen Only
World’s Gym$20.00Traditional, Infrared, SteamYYY
Gold’s Gym$33.00Traditional, SteamNYY
LA Fitness$35.00TraditionalYNN
24-Hour Fitness$47.00Traditional, SteamYNN
Life Time Fitness$119Traditional, SteamYNN
Equinox$500+VariesVariesVariesVaries
YMCAVariesVariesVariesVariesVaries

As you can see there are various factors to consider before signing up. Be sure to check the types of sauna available at your local gym. In the following section, we have briefly covered the different types of sauna and the specific benefits they offer in a post-workout sauna session. Let’s dive in. 

What Type of Saunas Are Available at Gyms?

There are 3 types of saunas available at gyms. Those are: traditional, infrared, and steam rooms. 

Most gyms offer traditional sauna but fitness centers like YMCA are more focused on a holistic approach towards one’s well-being so they offer steam rooms. Infrared saunas are uncommon and only a few gyms like the World Gyms offer infrared saunas. 

Now, all 3 types of sauna have benefits and drawbacks. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of traditional, infrared, and steam rooms.

inside a traditional sauna
Inside a traditional sauna (Image source: Dnipro Hotel from Pixabay)

1. Traditional Sauna

Traditional saunas are found in most gyms that offer sauna sessions after a workout. Gold’s Gym and World Gym offer this type of sauna at their fitness centers. In a traditional sauna, it’s common to find the heat set at 177 degrees Fahrenheit. An electric or a gas heater is used to heat the air which ends up heating your skin and your body.

Pro Tip: If you have the good fortune of using the sauna when no one’s around – we know that’s unlikely – but if you do then try doing some light stretches. It helps relax your muscles and you’ll feel wonderful afterward.  

Traditional saunas are recommended for a basic sauna experience. Now, let’s look at the benefits and the drawbacks. 

Pros

Better blood circulation: As the temperature of the room rises, your body heats up and reacts to it. Increased blood circulation is just one of the many changes that occur in your body. Better blood circulation is good for your heart and it also helps in muscle recovery after a good workout session. 

Flushes out toxins: Increased temperature in the sauna helps your sweat profusely and that ends up removing harmful toxins from your body. An additional benefit of using the sauna after a workout is that it helps remove harmful lactic acid which builds up in your muscles during those intense gym sessions. 

Note: Many of you are probably hitting the gym to lose weight and want to use the sauna hoping to lose weight quickly because some people claim that the sauna helps reduce weight. While there is a bit of truth in it but you won’t be noticing any immediate change. 

Cons

Dehydration: It’s a no-brainer. Using the sauna leads to dehydration and you will feel strange after the session ends. Luckily, you can easily fix this by drinking a lot of water. For people with an overactive bladder, sauna sessions are challenging. 

Infections: Public saunas are riddled with bacteria because many people are using them. If it’s well maintained then there’s no need to worry. But be careful the first couple of times you visit a gym sauna. Make sure you avoid using the sauna if it’s too crowded. 

Skin problems: The heat inside the sauna causes your skin pores to open up and while that helps cleanse your skin, for some it leads to skin irritation and rashes. If that happens leave the room immediately. 

2. Steam Rooms

Some fitness facilities offer steam rooms instead of traditional saunas. Both steam rooms and traditional saunas have benefits and drawbacks. Some of you may prefer a steam bath over a sauna. We recommend reading this article before signing up for a steam room post-workout session: Sauna vs steam room.

World Gyms are known to offer steam rooms. Installation of steam rooms is an expensive business and gyms that offer steam rooms are likely to be expensive. 

Steams rooms offer some of the same benefits as a traditional sauna and much more. 

Pros

Better toxin removal: Needless to say, in a steam room the moisture level is much higher and therefore you tend to sweat a lot more. This leads to better flushing out of toxins. 

Pain relief: Just like a hot traditional sauna, humid environments can also cause pain relief in joints and muscles. 

Sinus relief: Steam is useful in getting rid of respiratory infections and sinus issues. The warm air softens the mucous membranes allowing you to breathe easily. 

Cons

Expense: As we mentioned earlier, the installation of a steam room is expensive because of the various components involved. And maintenance is a nightmare because of the amount of moisture in the room. This means gyms that offer steam rooms are expensive which is why not many fitness facilities offer steam rooms. 

Bacteria: The moist environment is a breeding ground for bacteria. Moreover, the spreading of infections and illnesses occurs rapidly in such environments. Don’t be surprised if you fall into fits of sneezing or see a rash on your skin after a steam room session. 

Small rooms: Steam rooms are small and don’t have multiple levels of seats as they do in a traditional sauna. So you might have to stand in a queue to be able to use a steam room. 

inside an infrared sauna
Inside an infrared sauna (Image source: Patricia York from Pixabay)

3. Infrared Sauna

Infrared saunas are rarely found in fitness centers but some of the World Gym franchises do have them. 

If you are looking for a dry and clean environment, then an infrared sauna is a good option. The infrared panel heats your body directly so you may feel a bit strange after visiting one. But there’s nothing to worry about. Just make sure you keep yourself hydrated. 

Let’s look at the pros and cons of using an infrared sauna after a workout. 

Pros

Safe from infections: As we said earlier, the infrared panels heat your body directly. There is no moisture in the room which is often the breeding ground for infections and illnesses. An infrared sauna offers a safe environment. 

Flushes out toxin: In an infrared sauna, you will find yourself sweating profusely and that will help you release toxins from your body. 

Cons

Expensive: Infrared saunas are very expensive because of the various components one has to install and maintain. This leads to a higher membership fee. 

Too hot: After a workout, people’s tolerance to heat is low so an infrared sauna may seem too hot to bear. Since there’s no moisture, sweat will evaporate quickly and the body’s capacity to cool down will be pretty low. 

With that, we have come to the end of this section. Now let’s look at some more of the common questions about saunas in the gym. 

How Much Does a Gym Sauna Cost?

A gym sauna will cost you over $20 as per our average membership plan cost calculation (see table in the previous section). That said, the cost will differ based on parameters like location, fitness franchise, type of sauna, etc. So instead of going over to the gym’s website and signing up, we recommend visiting the fitness center and asking for price details. 

And it’s probably worth noting that gyms don’t offer access to the sauna without a gym membership. But, guess it wouldn’t hurt to ask.

What Do You Need to Use a Sauna at the Gym?

You can pack your bag with the following items if you are planning to use the sauna right after workout: 

Towels: Carry at least two towels. You’ll use one to cover the seat because you don’t want to leave the seat wet. That’s sauna etiquette 101 (more on that later). The second towel will be used to wipe off sweat from your body. 

Sauna suit: If you don’t want to use the sauna in your gym clothes, then consider carrying a sauna suit with you. 

Rubber flip-flop: While many of you may prefer going to the sauna bare feet we recommend wearing shoes. Nothing fancy just grab a rubber flip-flop. A public sauna floor is not the cleanest place in the world. Precautions are recommended. 

Water: Needless to say, the sauna will cause dehydration, and to avoid getting dehydrated, you need to drink a lot of water. Carry a large water bottle inside. 

That’s it. You are ready for a nice sauna session after working out. 

How Do You Use a Sauna at the Gym?

Glad you asked. We have covered what you should and shouldn’t do at a gym sauna in a separate article: Gym sauna etiquettes. But we will list down the basic points below for a quick look: 

Maintain distance: Respect people’s personal space. Do not sit too close to anyone and don’t initiate a conversation unless people look like they are willing to engage. People visit the sauna to relax so any kind of disturbance can be annoying.

Dry before entering: You will sweat inside the sauna so what’s the point of drying before entering. Well, the point is to get rid of post-workout body odor. Walking in with a terrible body odor is bad sauna etiquette. 

Cover-up: This one’s kind of obvious but it’s still good to remind you that it’s a public sauna and therefore you can’t be nude or even semi-nude. 

Use headphones: This is a no-brainer but not everyone has the same taste in music and not everyone whats to listen to music in the sauna. That said, we think it’s a bad idea to carry smartphones or any other electric devices inside the sauna. Electric devices don’t respond well to heat. 

Don’t stretch or exercise: unless you have the sauna for yourself, avoid exercising or stretching. At a sauna, people are meant to sit back and relax. 

That’s it. You are now ready for a nice sauna session. 

Conclusion

By now you know which gyms have a sauna and hopefully, one of those gyms is available nearby. If that’s not the case, then we recommend setting up a sauna for yourself at home. Plenty of portable saunas is available at affordable prices. Why not give it a try? Here’s a curated list of the best portable steam sauna

If you have any questions, let us know in the comment section below. 

Issac Maxfield sauna hacks

Article by

Issac Maxfield

I used to be a marketing guy working for technology companies. After 15 years of corporate life, I burnt out. Severely. I turned my focus on my health and made drastic changes in my life. Today I’m the happiest person I know.

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