Now, if you're like me then fitness and training is a big part of your life. When I go on vacation, I still try to make time for training when I can. I recently went to the U.K. and was lucky enough to train at Eddie Hall's 'Strength Asylum'. Once when I was in Spain, I trained at a hotel gym which had 5 dumbbells, a bench and a treadmill... god knows how I made that work.
I know what it's like, searching online for the best gyms in the area you're going to. It's such a difficult choice because you don't want to be let down by the facilities. Reading reviews can be helpful, but sometimes the reviews are written by people who aren't 'gym rats' or don't care too much about the equipment (Yes, I am a gym snob. Only the best will do).
Iceland is famous for its 'fitness culture', with it being home to many of the strongest men and women in the world. Including World's Strongest Man competitor and current Europe's strongest man Hafþór Július Björnsson (you may also know him as 'The Mountain' in Game of Thrones) and current Icelandic Crossfit champion Annie Mist Þórisdóttir.
I currently train at Jakaból (or nest of giants) which is famous for being home to many of Iceland's strongest men and also its hardcore vibes. Many of the equipment in the gym was handmade by owner and 4 time World's Strongest Man 'Magnús Ver Magnússon'. It's the perfect gym for strongmen competitors and powerlifters. Don't be worried if you're new to the gym world, the members are very welcoming and will be happy to answer any of your questions to point you in the right direction.
Jakaból was originally opened by the popular Icelandic strongman Jón Páll Sigmarsson before his premature death, and was later re-opened (albeit in a different location) by friend/rival Magnús Vér.
My side-kick gym is 'World Class Iceland'. This is probably the biggest fitness-chain gym in Iceland, and it's great to go here as most of them also have swimming pools, hot tubs and cold baths. The use of said facilities is included in the membership cost.
World Class is definitely much busier than Jakaból, especially at peak times (17:00 to 19:00) though if you go to Laugar then there will be no problem as the gym is HUGE (The Laugar gym is also located next to the Laugardalur camp site). I tend to go to World Class if I need to do cardio, accessory work, relax in the hot tubs or quite frankly don't have the energy to go all the way to Jakaból. There are plenty of conveniently located World Class gyms.
They also offer many classes such as spin classes, core classes and also HIIT. If you ask the trainer to speak English for you then they will be happy to oblige! World Class has all the necessary equipment and is perfectly suited for all kinds of athletes. I would recommend going here if you're new to the fitness world, as it is a great starting point.
For those of you that are avid Crossfit fans, then 'Crossfit Reykjavík' will be your haven! Personally, I have never been there, but Crossfit fanatics in Iceland rave about this place. It was opened in 2009 by Hrönn Svansdóttir and Ívar Ísak Guðjónsson in their garage! They moved to a much bigger location at Faxafen 12 in 2013 after the number of members grew drastically.
The Crossfit scene in Iceland is growing in popularity by the day, and this gym shows that. Boasting an incredible amount of members. Their equipment is top of the range, and they also offer classes for beginners and people looking to refine their technique.
Memberships also include access to their cold and hot tubs, and a number of their members have recently competed at the Crossfit Games.
The most recent gym to open in Iceland is 'Thor's Power Gym' which was opened by Game of Thrones star Hafþór Július Björnsson. This gym is small in size but boasts the necessary equipment for both strongmen and powerlifters.
I would recommend this gym if you're looking for a cozy workout space, with a hardcore atmosphere. This gym is very much on the down-low and may require you messaging in advance to attend. There may be limited equipment, but it is all of a great standard.
There are also other gyms such as Reebok fitness and Sporthúsið. Both are commercial gyms, similar in stature to World Class. But both only have a small number of locations, though Reebok fitness is growing quickly.
They both offer classes for beginners and so-called 'gymies'. They have very good equipment, and again both are great starting gyms.
The fitness industry in Iceland continues to grow, and, in my opinion, will only continue to do so. There are more and more people with a burning interest in lifting, which is only a good thing!
If you're a fan of the gym world then be sure to check out at least one of Iceland's gyms. You won't be disappointed! There are also a variety of competitions you could attend or even take part in! Do your research and find out what's going on in the lifting world of Iceland!