The gym industry is ever-changing with new fitness regimes and diets making claims to change lives drastically. When asked about changes in the fitness industry in the past five years, Balance Fitness Studios co-founder Morgan Luzier struggled to pick just one.

When she opened Balance Fitness Studios in 2001, women’s fitness revolved around cardio and nothing else. She remembers being one of the only women in her gym experience who focused on strength training instead of cardio.

Another change Luzier has noticed is the increase of what she calls “big box gyms” that include weights, cardio machines, pilates reformers, a pool and more. These gyms, like the Y, act as a one-stop shop for wellness. Her gym is the opposite, a boutique fitness space, focusing specifically on one or two areas of fitness. She focuses on strength training especially for women.

The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply impacted most aspects of the fitness industry, with many gym members turning to home workout videos or other personal workouts during the pandemic. Some gyms and yoga instructors pivoted to workout recordings or live workout sessions during the pandemic. Three years since the onset of the pandemic in Minnesota, gyms are still feeling the impact of the shifting fitness industry.

Luzier said that COVID has deepened the sense of community within the studio. The feeling of isolation that COVID restrictions caused spawned a greater desire to be together in the community space.

Luzier was able to move training outside in spring 2020 and started a virtual class that continues today.

The YWCA announced in August that it would close the Uptown (technically East Isles) and Downtown fitness centers on Nov. 1 and move all operations to the Midtown location. The reason? The Y said it was because the fitness centers were no longer financially viable and didn’t align with the organization’s shift away from health and fitness and towards early childhood education and racial justice advocacy. Memberships dropped from 7,200 in 2019 to about 3,000, according to the Star Tribune.

Luzier, who used the YWCA pool, said she’s had former YWCA members trickle to her studio over the past several years. For people looking to find a new gym, Luzier suggests the “a la carte” method. Find a trainer you like for strength training and a yoga class to take with your friends, or whatever combination of picking and choosing makes you happy.

Like dating, Luzier recommends you try a few different places to see what feels comfortable. Comfort is an invaluable factor in choosing a gym because you will continue to work out somewhere you’re comfortable, and consistency is key when it comes to fitness. Following where your friends go is another tip, because friends will make the experience enjoyable and encourage consistency.

When considering a gym, remember to ask the gym and your health insurance company for health insurance reimbursements for memberships.

For those of you looking for workout spaces, here are the gyms and other fitness spaces in Southwest Minneapolis. Many of these places offer yoga classes, but please know there are also a ton of yoga studios (too many to list!) in Southwest.


The Strength Box is a Loring Park gym that offers kettlebells, TRX training and yoga in addition to personal training. Regular gym memberships start at $60/month.

Los Campeones is a weightlifting gym  with workout equipment for members and personal training at its several locations, including a Whittier gym on Blaisdell Avenue. The gym is owned by bodybuilder and powerlifter Benjamin Loehrer. A regular membership costs $59/month.

TwinTown Fitness is the highly visible gym on 26th Street off Lyndale with huge doors that open in the summer to make it open-air. TwinTown Fitness is a class-focused gym that includes individual gym hours. There are one-on-one and group training sessions with rates starting at $149.

SRS Performance, which stands for strength, resilience and speed, is an East Isles gym owned by founder and trainer Spencer Scott. Scott offers one-on-one training that incorporates nutrition into personalized workouts.

57Fit is a Black-owned, “shame-free” gym in Lowry Hill East that offers personal training, semi-personal training, and online or hybrid training sessions. Personal and group training starting at $59/session.

Balance Fitness Studio is a co-op of fitness professionals offering personal and small-group training in Whittier. The studio has pilates reformers, nutritional counseling and sport-specific training. Prices are per service, not membership-based, starting at $35.

G-Werx, which is rebranding to Resist With Us, is a Lynnhurst gym specializing in group strength training using owner Phil Martens’ patented exercise machine. The gym offers free consultations for people curious about the gym.


There are also several chains in Southwest including the Blaisdell YMCA, which has a pool, LA Fitness in the Wedge, and Anytime Fitness in LynLake and in Lynnhurst.

Fitness centers

Vertical Endeavors has many locations including the Nicollet Avenue spot tucked between Icehouse and Starbucks. It’s a rock climbing gym with top roping, meaning climbing while attached to a harness, as well as yoga classes. Day passes cost $22 and  10-day passes cost $175. You can rent equipment for an additional $13.

X2 Fitness is a woman-owned gym in Whittier for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and kettlebell classes. The classes are divided into women only and all genders. Day passes cost $30 or $125/month for Jiu-Jitsu.

Minneapolis Boxing Gym is a Whittier boxing gym for boxers of all abilities, including complete newbies. The gym is owned by spouses Heidi and Joe Amouta, who bonded over their love of boxing and athletics. There are tons of membership options that include open gym, private and group lessons. A single class starts at $25.