With the rise of commercial gyms and fitness franchises, the personalised element of exercise has been taken out of many people’s regimes. At the same time, there is a growing number of independent gyms and clubs, which are thriving and producing real results for their communities.
We wanted to highlight the grit and determination of Edinburgh’s hard-working fitness centres by creating an interactive guide to the best exercise spots in the capital. From boxing and martial arts clubs to CrossFit ‘boxes’ and independent gyms, our map includes a wide range of options for improving your physical and mental wellbeing.
If you’re looking to take up a new activity or want to experience a more personalised workout, our guide will help you find the right place.
27 Stewartfield, Edinburgh, EH6 5RQ
T: 07737 813995
Unique gym offering a detailed training experience and a close focus on proper technique. Individualisation is the key at #BOBSGARAGE, with every customer treated according to their current level of fitness and personal goals. Lead instructor Rob Clark aims to teach people the key technical skills necessary for effective and safe exercise, whether that be through improving weightlifting technique or bodyweight movements.
#BOBSGARAGE has a strong track record of improving the cardiovascular fitness and strength of attendees through HIIT and threshold training. It’s the place to go if you’re looking for a personalised way to get fit.
Broxburn United Sports Club, Albyn Park, Greendykes Road, Broxburn, EH52 5BP
T: 01506 853227, 07837 400248
Based at the state-of-the-art Broxburn United Sports Club (BUSC), this amateur boxing club is open to anyone over the age of 10 looking to break into the sport. Both the club and BUSC have a close connection with the surrounding community, offering a safe sporting environment and opportunities for personal and social development.
The club’s objective is to provide young boxers from all backgrounds with positive role models while promoting fitness, discipline and respect.
Unit 5, West Shore Business Centre, Long Craig Rigg, Edinburgh, EH5 1QT
T: 0131 629 3940
Powered by Under Armour, CaveFit is a leading functional fitness centre that’s suitable for elite athletes or anybody keen to train like one. CaveFit’s ambitious goal is to introduce sports conditioning workouts to the masses – no doubt this is an independent gym with serious drive.
Launched by head coach Peter Oakden in 2015, CaveFit aims to help people improve their health both mentally and physically through fun and non-competitive sessions. This raw, community-led gym offers a variety of strength and conditioning workouts in groups or in one-on-one tailored classes.
St Thomas of Aquin’s High School, 2-20 Chalmers Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9ES
T: 07866 586947
Offering high-energy kickboxing and combat-inspired fitness classes, Combat Solutions is a welcoming club for people at all levels. In this safe and friendly environment, everything taught within the sessions is completely optional and there are regular opportunities to socialise after an intense workout.
The club hosts free introductory sessions on a regular basis and offers private classes in Women’s Street Self Defence for groups of 10 people or more.
Castleview Community Centre, 76 Craigmillar Castle Avenue, Edinburgh, EH16 4DN
T: 07876 527462
Edinburgh’s Craigmillar Boxing Club is based in the Castleview Community Centre, also known as Sandy’s Community Centre. The club has been in existence since 1983 and has produced many high quality boxers over the years.
The club is led by Head Coach Kenny McCartney and the committee chaired by Stuart Anderson. It runs classes three nights per week and works with children from age eight upwards. A dedicated female session runs on a Wednesday night.
The club recently successfully secured £13,000 from sportscotland’s Facility Fund, enabling it to make structural alterations to the rooms of the community centre occupied by the boxing gym.
Russell Road Industrial Estate, Sauchiebank, Edinburgh, EH11 2NN
T: 07853 990554
William Graham (a.k.a Wull), the head coach at CrossFit Murrayfield, is an ex-Army man with a strong knowledge and passion for fitness and physical training. The community feel and experienced coaches at this box make sure every member is in the right frame of mind for a tough workout. Each class is an hour long and includes a warm-up, strength development and technique, as well as the workout of the day (WOD).
The gym also uses performance tracking software, which keeps you motivated throughout sessions. This will allow you to keep track of your progress over time and see if the hard work you’re putting in is paying off.
Boroughmuir RFC, 2 Meggetland Wynd, Edinburgh, EH14 1XN
T: 07912 40995, 07885 227536
With two boxes full of state-of-the-art equipment, CrossFit Skirmish is an inclusive club and a not-for-profit social enterprise promoting the belief that this popular fitness program is for everyone. The club looks to get the best out of each person through high-quality coaching. CrossFit Skirmish’s progressive programme incorporates all elements of fitness: cardio, strength work and gymnastics.
All workouts are scaled for individual capabilities, making classes inclusive and fun, with all sizes, fitness levels and ages able to participate. CrossFit is progressive and different every day, so if you’re new to it, CrossFit Skirmish hosts Lite classes which offer a mix of the technique and support required to progress into mainstream classes.
Epworth Halls, Nicolson Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9BX
T: 07952 233559
Serious yet fun; this is the training environment at the Edinburgh Aikido Club, a friendly and welcoming space to learn the modern Japanese martial art. Following the influence of prominent aikidoka Tamura Shihan, the club offers weekly adult classes at Epworth Halls on Nicolson Square. Weekly classes and seminars are on offer, led by head instructor Scott Reed (5th Dan Aikikai). All Dan grades are certified by the Aikikai Foundation.
13 West Harbour Road, Waterfront, Edinburgh EH5 1PN
T: 0131 551 5454, 07870 810514
The Edinburgh Boxing Academy was set up in 2009 by Sean Heron, former Canadian and Scottish Boxing Champion who once ranked number four in the UK. The Academy offers an extensive range of classes, from adult to youth and beginner boxing. You can also try out one of the popular T.E.B.A. Ultimate Fitness classes – the same workouts used by professional boxers. These demanding sessions often produce swift results through a combination of Plyometric exercises, circuit training, cardio, boxing and weights.
St Stephen’s Centre, St Stephen Street, Edinburgh, EH3 5AB
T: 0131 225 7800
Set up in 1996, Edinburgh Jitsu uses a style called Shin Tai Wa Ryu, meaning ‘coordination of body and mind’ in Japanese. With over 40 active members and a roster of highly trained instructors, this club offers an ideal space for learning self-defense techniques while meeting new people. Edinburgh Jitsu has a flexible and relaxed attitude, meaning you can attend classes however often you like. The club runs introductory sessions which give you the opportunity to try out Ju-Jitsu training and see if it’s right for you.
St Margaret’s House, 151 London Road, Edinburgh, EH7 6AE
T: 07710 795216
For over 40 years, Edinburgh Judo has been the city’s home of this gentle martial art. The club is based at St Margaret’s House and offers high-quality training to people of all ages. Billy Cusack, Head Coach and Director of Coaching, was Head Men’s Coach for the GB team at the 2012 Olympic Games, while long-time club member Sally Conway won a bronze medal at the 2016 Games.
The success of the club is backed by its close involvement with the local community. By supporting youths from disadvantaged backgrounds, Edinburgh Judo aims to have a positive impact on people’s lives and to nourish future talent.
Gracemount Leisure Centre, Gracemount Drive, Edinburgh, EH16 6RN
T: 0131 657 1630
Edinburgh Tae Kwon Do teaches the key tenets of this ancient form of Korean unarmed combat. Instructor Angus Budge is a 5th Dan and former Scottish and British champion. Passionate and knowledgeable in his discipline, Angus opened the Gracemount club in 2001 with the continued aim of developing the next generation of Tae Kwon Do champions. In addition to Gracemount Leisure Centre, classes are also held at Inch Park Community Sports Club and Liberton High School, with sessions open to all age groups and abilities.
[EN]GAGE Sports and Fitness Centre, Sighthill Campus, Edinburgh Napier University, Sighthill Campus, Edinburgh, EH11 4BN
T: 07415 458884
Whether you want to compete or simply train and get fit, Edinburgh Wrestling Club is a great choice for anyone age eight or above who is looking to try wrestling. The club was established in September 2012 and was officially registered with the British Wrestling Association in January 2013. Based at Edinburgh Napier University’s [EN]GAGE Sports and Fitness Centre, this is the only Freestyle Wrestling Club in Edinburgh and is. The club is open to everyone in the community and has the only full-size competition wrestling mat in the city.
Boroughmuir RFC, 2 Meggetland Wynd, Edinburgh, EH14 1XN
T: 0131 443 6526
Energy Gym, part of CrossFit Skirmish, boasts an impressive team of over 10 fitness instructors and personal trainers who specialise in a variety of fitness disciplines including bodybuilding, Olympic weightlifting, Pilates, powerlifting and hockey. Many members of the team have left bigger gyms to support this independent, not-for-profit social enterprise aiming to improve the fitness of the community. Gym Manager Callum Watt has climbed all 282 Munros and brings that same level of determination to his job. He’ll match you with the right trainer to ensure you get the most out of your Energy Gym experience.
34 Tennant Street, Edinburgh, EH6 5NA
T: 0131 554 1512
Set up by Leszek and Joanna and initially financed by customers, Fitness Soul is an independent studio that encourages visitors to reach their fitness goals in a fun environment. With a mixture of dance, fitness and conditioning classes, Fitness Soul really is a space for anyone looking to improve their health and have a good time in the process. The variety of classes on offer is impressive, including Zumba, Fitmamas and Pound Rockout – the world’s first cardio jam session inspired by the intensity of drum playing. Fitness Soul’s introductory offer gives you unlimited access to all classes for seven consecutive days.
10 Stewartfield, Edinburgh, EH6 5RQ
T: 07525 262368, 07857 547290
Hanuman Thai Boxing is the home of Muay Thai in Edinburgh. The club caters for beginners and advanced students, with experienced instructors Roan and Wojtek offering their expertise in the popular Thai combat sport. Both regularly visit Thailand to better their technique so they can return to teach at the top of their game. The club also organises the Muay Thai Jam – Scotland’s greatest annual Muay Thai event. If you’re keen to try it out, Hanuman Thai Boxing offers free individual introductory lessons as well as a six-week beginner boot camp.
Stoneyhill Community Centre, 5 Stoneyhill Farm Rd, Musselburgh, EH21 6RN
T: 07863 135269
Located in Musselburgh, the JKA is family-run club teaching traditional Shotokan Karate. Sensei Bert Stewart focuses on good technique and concentration, enabling students to improve their self-defense abilities. The encouraging and supportive atmosphere at JKA Karate is ideal for a good workout and the first lesson is always free – you just need to bring along some loose-fitting clothes.
104 Gilmore Place, Edinburgh, EH3 9PL
T: 07872 958814
Established in 2001 by Robert Steggles (6th Dan) and affiliated to the Japan Karate Shotorenmei (JKS) Scotland, JKS Edinburgh teaches traditional Shotokan Karate. With ‘Tigers Classes’ for 4-6 year olds and main classes for ages six and above, the club caters for all ages and abilities. JKS Edinburgh offers a free first class for anyone interested in trying out this popular martial art. Sensei Robert also offers private lessons at the club’s dojo or can bring his Karate expertise to you with a home lesson.
28 Academy St, Edinburgh EH6 7EF
T: 0131 333 1112
Leith Victoria AAC was established in 1919 in the shipyard area of Leith during the difficult post-war period. For almost a century, Scotland’s oldest boxing club has produced champion after champion, and continues to strive for excellence today. Super-featherweight Alex Arthur and flyweight Johnny Hill and are just a couple of legendary names that have passed through the ‘Vic’. History and success define Leith Victoria AAC and make it one of the most famous independent clubs in the capital.
112 Sleigh Drive, Edinburgh, EH7 6EN
T: 07817 470304
Over the past few years the club has garnered a reputation as one of Scotland’s chief conveyor belts for young talent, a commendation cemented by the rise of Commonwealth stars Lewis Benson and Josh Taylor, who started their careers at Lochend.
In addition to Taylor and Benson, a number of other up-and-coming former amateurs who trained under Lochend co-founder and coach Terry McCormack have made bright starts in the professional ranks. Outside of training boxers, the club offers keep-fit sessions open to all members of the community.
10b Lower Gilmore Place, Edinburgh, EH3 9NY
T: 0131 221 9904, 07855 644460
Grandmaster Yee Chi Wai, a highly accomplished Martial Artist and scholar, teaches the complete martial system of Hung Ga Kung Fu. Following traditional Shaolin philosophy, this form of exercise encourages both spiritual and mental growth, and includes training in self-defense, weapon forms, body conditioning and more. Mondays are specifically for beginners, but you can drop into any of the evening sessions and everyone is welcome.