Forget The Crowds At Auckland’s 6 Best Boutique Gyms

By Beau Johns
9th Jun 2020

Woman in black exercise gear has back facing a table she is using to support herself doing a squat

Coming down the alert-level ladder, a roadblock for many people wanting to head to the gym are crowds and lack of space. If you’re on high-alert, large group fitness classes might seem like a stressful option at the moment. We all know the benefits of working out regularly and for many of us, keeping ourselves sane in lockdown meant turning our pent up energy into sweat. But now it's time to take our new-found fitness bug out to the wider world.

Lucky for us, there's a movement away from one-fits-all style gyms and classes with smaller places set up especially to cater for those of us who are keen for a quality over quantity approach. Without further ado, here are the best small, boutique gyms in Auckland.

The Exercise Room


What’s in a name? If it’s exercise you want, then it’s exercise you’ll get, but gym-goer beware—if you’re here to do a few bicep curls or a light jog on the treadmill, this might not be the place for you. The Exercise Room’s mantra is, if it doesn’t challenge you, it simply won’t change you. So if you want to be a part of a gym whose focus is on pushing you to work for the change you want to see in yourself, make your way to Parnell in search of Hayley Feaver and her crew. With 24-hour access and memberships being kept to small numbers, there’s plenty of room and more freedom to interact with the trainers. Get in touch to see if this is the right gym for you. Also, anyone who joins in June doesn’t have to pay joining fee. Amazing. 

A woman in a grey room does a headstand on a yoga matSala


Just because you’re a smaller player in comparison to those bigger, cult-like gyms, doesn’t mean you don’t have all the bells and whistles. If anything, your bells are shinier, and your whistles are louder. The team at Sala doesn’t want working out to feel like a chore, which is the perfect next step in your fitness journey if you’re sick of hunching over your phone screen, attempting to do YouTube yoga on your bedroom floor. Sala has plenty of classes and promises no more boring workouts. Literally there are so many, so take your pick from Dynamic Yoga, HIIT, Kettlebells, HIIT Pilates, Yogasana, Core, Resist, Yin Yoga or Sound. At Sala, the world is your fitness oyster, and if you decide you’re not into one class, try your hand at another. Fill your boots. Nestled on Brown Street in Ponsonby, the interiors are chic and inviting, allowing you to feel calm and zen, right before you get your ass kicked. 

a woman smiles whilst she is holding a weight and connected to an EMS machineFu/Nis 

Auckland CBD

Ever heard of EMS? It stands for ‘Electro Muscle Stimulation’, and if that sounds a little out there—bear with us. We are, in fact EMS pros here at Urban List, so take our word for it—Fu/Nis will change your life and the way your tackle exercise from here on out. EMS training is a full-body workout that contracts your muscles with small electric impulses as you complete a personalised workout. Based in the CBD with each session lasting around 20 minutes, this is definitely a new and interesting way to work out. Even though the system is doing a lot of the work for you, don’t think for a second you won’t be doing any heavy lifting. 

two guys hold massive circular weights whilst they smileHabitat For Fitness

Kingsland & Newmarket

If you’re new to the gym scene, AKA don’t consider yourself a hardcore gym junkie, the idea of working out around other people can often be quite stressful or even off-putting. In an ideal world, you’d either have your own PT, or having a lol with your mates whilst you’re pumping iron together. Unfortunately, you live on this planet, and we’re all stretched pretty thin right now. Going to the gym shouldn’t be anxiety-inducing, which is why Habitat for Fitness is so cool. Their classes are run by passionate trainers who only want to see you succeed, and they’ve worked hard to build a community of exercisers who are warm and welcoming. Get moving with a bunch of classes including HIIT, TRX, Yoga, Barre and whatever else the team has to throw at you.

a group of happy exercise crew stand in front of the Fort Knox logoFort Knox 

Grey Lynn

You’ll find Kerry Knox and the Fort Knox crew in Grey Lynn, where they aren’t just changing bodies—they’re changing lives. Taking your time in their space with a holistic outlook, they aren’t as interested in how many reps you can do as they are about how healthy you can be as a person, inside and out. Their approach is looking at how you can improve you life as a whole, emphasising growth in four areas: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Take your pick from lots of high impact boxing classes, or why not give Brazillian jujitsu a go? If you want to join a gym that is going to challenge you in more ways than one, take a leaf out of our book and join the School of Hard Knox today. You won’t regret it.

A man attempts a box jumpThe Form Room


If you’re looking for a workout where you can do one-on-one or super small group workouts, The Form Room is the place for you. Also based in Ponsonby, The Form Room is a studio which boasts personal-trainer led sessions, they’ll work with you to help you understand you fitness goals, and how you can achieve them. You can either opt for one-on-one sessions, or a group session which goes up to maximum four people. Your days sandwiched into a sardine tin of a gym are over. With no long-term contracts, they only ask you to commit to two sessions a week. What are you waiting for?

Still thinking about it? Head out on one of Auckland's best running tracks to clear your mind.

Image credit: The Exercise Room, Sala, Fu/Nis, Habitat For Fitness, The Form Room

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