For lots of people, going to the gym can be a little intimidating. Maybe it’s the unfamiliar equipment, or perhaps it’s the rows of bulked-up muscle heads – either way, the gym can be an acquired taste. However, there are lots of tips, tricks, and pieces of insider information that can make going to the gym a more pleasant experience. Check out our list of gym secrets that usually don’t go past the front doors.
From the Moment You Arrive
Just like any other retail or service establishment, gyms are businesses. This means that their number one priority is to make money and that they might use a couple of marketing tricks to get you inside.
According to this first post, lots of gyms are purposely laid out so that they seem welcoming and calming on first appearance. Then, they spring the weights on you. This is like supermarkets where items like bread are at the back of the store so you have to walk through everything else.
They’re Not Bothered
One of the reasons lots of people stay away from the gym is that they’re worried about what their fitness instructor will think of them. The thing is, instructors or personal trainers expect to work with people of all levels. They don’t work on a reality show, they work in real life!
For this particular trainer, someone’s blood pressure and sleep quality are much more important than how they look. So, there’s really no need to fret about how you compare with others.
Gyms Are Nasty
Recently, we’ve all learned just how make-or-break handwashing and not touching your face can be. This is particularly true in a gym, where potentially hundreds of people have been dripping sweat and exhaling all in the same enclosed space. When you think about it, it’s pretty gross.
Gyms are packed with up-close contact and sweaty bodies, and that leads to fungi, bacteria, and viruses aplenty. Do yourself a favor and put some hand sanitizer in your gym bag.
Watch Your Back
This next secret is one you’ll want to pay attention to whether you’re thinking about signing up for a gym membership, already have one, or in the midst of canceling yours. Now, although this secret doesn’t pertain to all gyms, it’s important to track your bank statement in order to make sure that you’re not being charged for a terminated membership.
While we’d like to think that all professional businesses handle their customers with care, that’s unfortunately not always the case. So, better to be safe than sorry!
Avoid Annual Memberships
Controversially, our next gym employee tells us that annual gym memberships aren’t worth the price. Interesting! This person claims that annual memberships are presented as the best value option, but they don’t actually guarantee that you’ll show up regularly over the course of the year.
This person suggests that buying an annual gym membership feels like a satisfying action, but doesn’t necessarily lead to any results. Instead, they recommend setting short-term goals to keep your motivation high.
Seriously, Wash Your Hands
Remember when we said that gyms are seriously nasty? Well here’s more proof. This person specifically warns against the 30lb dumbbells at the YMCA, claiming that they’ll give you worms. Excuse us while we run into the distance screaming.
Because gyms are hotspots for bacteria, viruses, and fungi, you can indeed catch ringworm from the gym. To avoid catching these parasitic nasties, wash your hands, don’t share towels, and always wipe down your equipment. Don’t forget your hand sanitizer!
This next one isn’t so much a secret as much as it is a tip — what not to do at the gym. Even if you’re not an avid gym-goer, it’s important to understand all the rules and learn proper gym etiquette.
Now, if you’ve ever gone to the gym, you can understand what this Reddit user means. It can be pretty frustrating to walk over to a piece of equipment only to find that someone has left their belongings as a way to “save” their spot. Sorry, people, but that custom doesn’t apply here!
Carry Clothes With You
As well as popping some hand sanitizer in your gym bag, consider just keeping it with you at all times. If you always have a workout outfit in your car, then you’re much more likely to stop at the gym when you’re out and about.
Grabbing a prepacked bag is much easier than rushing around throwing items together, and it means you’re ready to go at any time. Simply exchange your sweaty clothes for a clean pair and you’re good to go!
Block Them All Out
Plenty of gym-goers just want to arrive at the gym, put their headphones in, and go. These people don’t want chit-chat, they don’t want tips on their form, they just want to work out and go home. Basically, headphones are the universal sign for “leave me alone.”
This handy gym tip is particularly useful for women. Unfortunately, plenty of women are hit on at the gym when they’d rather be lifting weights instead. Pass the AirPods, please!
It’s All About Consistency
This next gym secret is all about the bigger picture. According to this person, rather than dabbling with marathon running and extreme diets, people that want to lose weight should stick to the process.
We think that this person means that it’s better to have a long-term, regular workout plan than to do extreme things every now and then. This person wisely points out that it’s costly and time-consuming to recover after extreme approaches.
Don’t Fool Yourself
Although some people are dedicated gym-goers, there are others that don’t have the same kind of willpower to keep up with a consistent regiment. Whether you’ve been working long hours or simply can’t find a babysitter to watch the kids, it’s perfectly understandable that you can’t make it to the gym every day — you’re human!
This Reddit user understands your pain. When asked what they wish they knew when they first joined the gym, this poster didn’t hold back one bit and admitted that they stopped going to the gym after a week. We can appreciate the honesty!
Good for Him!
An unnerving aspect of going to the gym is the paranoia that other people are looking at you. Let’s be honest — these are rooms with lots of mirrors and plenty of people who care about their physical appearance.
The thing is, while outward appearance may be part of the picture, it’s not on everyone’s mind inside the gym itself. According to this person, if anyone does happen to be looking at you, it’s for innocent enough reasons.
Pick the Best Time
Here’s a bit of strategic info from a gym employee. While gyms usually go into overdrive at the beginning of a new year, that’s not necessarily the best time to sign up. Sure, you might get a good deal in January, but you’ll also be competing for equipment with other people trying to achieve their new year’s resolution.
The advice? Just wait a few months until the newbies have disappeared. Once January has calmed down, you’ll have a better gym experience.
The Treadmill Isn’t Enough
When it comes to the actual nitty-gritty of exercising, we don’t know what to believe. Of course, it’s good to move your body, but there are so many conflicting reports on which type of exercise is best. According to this personal trainer, cardio isn’t the be-all and end-all of weight loss.
Indeed, some experts do say that too much cardio can be bad for you. While cardio does burn energy, it can be tough on joints and muscle tissue.
Your Day Will Come
This next gym secret is short and simple. While it might be intimidating to be one of the only skinny or muscle-free people in your gym, you aren’t the only one to ever be in that position. In fact, every single person in there started off less fit and less swole than when they started.
This is another reason to draw on the experiences of other gymgoers, but also just a nice reminder that we all have to start somewhere.
Don’t Forget About Nutrition
While it’s difficult to know what to believe when it comes to exercise, it’s even more of a minefield when it comes to diet. We’ve heard all sorts of claims over the years, and personal trainers are full of their own ideas and methods.
This gym employee points out that just because you’ve started working out, that doesn’t mean you can eat the same way you did before. According to this person, with the right diet, you only need to hit the gym three times a week.
Always Use Proper Form
Basically, any gym employee or seasoned weight lifter will tell you that using proper form is more important than lifting heavy weights. Without proper form, you’re much more likely to injure yourself and could cause long-term pain or discomfort. Instead, ask one of those muscle heads at the gym.
Proper form for lifting includes maintaining good posture, looking straight ahead, and not twisting as you lift. Despite popular opinion, lifting heavy things actually does have a technique.
Just Don’t Diet
Refreshingly, this gym employee says that it’s better to just avoid diets altogether. This is music to our ears, especially because dieting often causes stress and ultimately results in an unhealthy relationship with food.
This person points out that diets often derail people’s workout plans. When you’re restricting your eating and working out at the same time, it can stress out the body and cause what this person calls “malfunctions.” Carbs aren’t the enemy, they’re just a good source of energy.
Giving Us the Guilt Trip
There are numerous ways that gyms try to make us feel guilty. After all, their whole business model is about telling us we aren’t good enough and need to get through the doors. Without some psychological trickery, we could all be running around outside for free instead of handing over cash to walk on a treadmill.
One such trick is personal trainers themselves. If we commit to seeing one, the guilt of letting them down usually works as a pretty good motivator.
It Takes Drastic Change
Our next gym bunny is pretty territorial over their workout space. According to this person, you shouldn’t bother comparing yourselves with other people in the gym because you probably have wildly different lifestyles.
This person says that being in great shape requires a drastic lifestyle change, not just a few trips to the gym. So, next time you find yourself wondering how someone else in the gym looks so great, consider that they probably spend hours there every day.
Pleasing the Personal Trainer
We just talked about how personal trainers can be pretty effective guilt trips. If some jacked-up dude looks at you funny every time you miss a session, you’re less likely to skip a workout. However, apparently, there’s a whole bunch of people who like to get in shape before seeing their trainer.
This reminds us of those people who like to clean before their cleaner arrives. It obviously makes no sense, but it speaks to the psychological effect of having a trainer.
It’s Actually a Positive Place
While plenty of people consider the gym a punishing place to go, others recognize it as somewhere full of positive people and motivation. While gyms might summon up scenes of dumbbells and serious stances, there are also places with yoga, steam rooms, and a bunch of people who like to keep moving.
It’s possible that changing your attitude to the gym will change how you spend time there. If you think of gym people as positive, you might enjoy your time there more.
Lower Is Better Than Higher
Well, here you have it again. Here’s another gym employee reminding us that proper form is more effective than higher weight with poor form. It’s annoying, but it’s the truth. As we’ve said, using proper form means you’re less likely to strain, sprain, tear or break anything.
Plus, using proper form means you’re using your energy in the most effective way. Rather than wasting it on the wrong muscles, proper form allows you to use your energy for that extra push.
Clawing Back Control
Here’s another positive observation from a gym-goer. Whilst lots of people do end up feeling insecure in the gym, this person says they find it inspiring to watch people start their fitness journey.
For this fitness fan, seeing people take charge of their lives through exercise is inspirational as you can see them realize that they’re in control. Perhaps thinking of the gym as an inspiring place rather than an intimidating one could make all the difference.
Stay Off Social Media
We’re on board with part of this next piece of advice, but we can’t verify any scientific claims about exercise. This fitness instructor says that a workout with selfies and music is “almost meaningless” because you’ll end up overloading your nervous system.
We’re willing to bet that our nervous systems can handle a bit of Britney while we run, but we think we get the point. Overall, it’s better to focus on the task at hand rather than sending Snapchats to your pals.
They’re Only Trying to Help
We’ve had a few pieces of advice along these lines, and here’s another gym employee telling us to trust the buff dudes. According to this person, gym muscle heads aren’t interested in patronizing you or looking down on your technique – they just want to help!
Taking people’s advice in the gym is generally a good idea, otherwise, you might end up with a bunch of painful, unintended injuries. So, next time a buff man criticizes your squat, maybe listen to them.
Pushing the Limits
Fitness centers and gyms can play host to all sorts of big egos. Let’s be honest — with that many mirrors and muscly men, there’s bound to be a bit of unspoken competition going on. However, it’s best to avoid this immature posturing and actually take a break when you need to.
While it might seem athletic to push yourself past your limits, it’s actually just a good way of getting injured. Rather than trying to beat your neighbor, just try and beat yourself.
Forget the Anabolic Window
Again, we won’t pretend to know anything about actual physical science and nutrition, but this person claims that you can eat whenever you want when you work out. While people have long believed in an “anabolic window” where it’s best to eat within 30 minutes of exercising, there isn’t much evidence to back this up.
According to this person, and other experts, it’s more about eating the right amount of calories than eating them in a particular window of time.
Always Come Prepared
Some people think that going to the gym is enough. They arrive, put on their headphones, and mosey around the machines. They do 15 minutes on the treadmill, 10 minutes on the rowing machine, and then head off to the mats to finish up with some squats.
While this might end up being a reasonable workout, it’s much more efficient to come to the gym with a workout plan. Figuring something out that meets your fitness goals is better than just making it up as you go along.
Watch Out for Weight Machines
For many people, going to the gym is synonymous with using weight machines. In fact, a bunch of people go to the gym just to lift heavy objects and have no intention of breaking a sweat with cardio. While lifting weights may seem appealing, it’s actually not a suitable exercise for everyone.
This gym instructor claims that weight machines are best for people with injuries or for bodybuilders looking to bulk up. Because the machines work just one muscle, they don’t provide a full-body workout.
Enjoying the Endurance
Our next gym secret is actually a good tip for life in general — find something you enjoy. Once you start doing something that you actually like, you’re much more likely to keep doing it. If exercise is considered a punishment, why would you ever be motivated to do it?
This person advises finding something you enjoy in the gym. It might be a certain machine, it could be a great album for running, or it could be the feeling you get from working out a particular area.
Instagram Isn’t Everything
Nowadays, a lot of people turn to social media platforms for their fitness content. However, this gym instructor claims that “normal” fitness professionals don’t have a huge Instagram following because they’re too busy working.
While some well-known faces might have millions of followers online, that doesn’t necessarily tell you anything about their skills. After all, social media is home to all sorts of fakery. Instead, ask your friends and family and see if you can get a personal recommendation.
Two Birds, One Stone
We like this next savvy gym secret that promises to get you fit and caught up with your favorite series. This person recommends choosing a TV show that you only watch while working out. That way, when you really want to see what happens in the next episode, you have to get your sneakers on and do something.
This is a good tip because it works on a psychological level. Watching Netflix at the gym will eventually feel normal, making working out much easier.
Nobody Cares Like You Do
We’ve seen this type of tip already, but it’s worth hearing it one more time. While it’s perfectly natural to feel shy in the gym, nobody is really paying attention to you. Instead, you’re probably dealing with spotlight syndrome, where you think there’s a spotlight on you but really everyone is just worrying about themselves.
Once you get used to working out without fear of judgment, you’ll have a much more positive experience at the gym.
Listen to Your Body
Finally, we close our list of gym secrets with a very important piece of advice. According to this person – and all wise gym-going folks – when something hurts, stop. Now, of course, there’s going to be a little bit of dull pain when pushing yourself with a higher weight.
However, there should never be sharp, stabbing pain. For this reason, if anything at all doesn’t feel quite right while working out, then listen to your body and stop.
30+ Architecturally Impressive Sports Stadiums in the World
Century Lotus Stadium, Foshan, China
Opened in 2006 and designed by German von Gerkan, Marg and Partners, this stadium costed $155 million to build. It has a unique spoke-wheel construction, covered by a folded white membrane roof that is 1,148 feet long. The design is supposed to resemble a lotus flower.
It hosted the first-round game between Myanmar and China during qualifying matches during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It has a capacity of 36,686, and is primarily used for soccer matches.
Donbass Arena, Donetsk, Ukraine
Beyoncé performed at the 2009 opening ceremony of this stadium, which was awarded “Event of the Year” at the 2010’s Stadium Business Awards. Later, it hosted a number of matches during the 2012 UEFA European Championship. Designed by the sports division of Arup, a global professional services firm, it costed $416.5 million to build.
It has a very peculiar roof that makes it look a lot like a UFO, something that is definitely supported by the way it lights up at night. It is home to the soccer team FC Shakhtar Donetsk.
AAMI Park, Melbourne, Australia
With a very unique geodesic domed roof, AAMI Park has been labeled the most iconic stadium in the world, at least in regards to the Stadium World Congress Awards in 2012. It has a special “bioframe” that required 50% less material to build than traditional construction.
The geodesic domed roof also offers unobstructed vision for the entire audience. The stadium is home to a large number of Australian sports teams, including rugby team Melbourne Storm and soccer team Melbourne Victory FC.
Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London, England
More commonly referred to simply as Olympic Stadium, this stadium was built as the host venue for the London 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. The first public event at the stadium took place in 2012. Olympic Stadium was nominated for the RIBA Stirling Prize.
Oddly enough, that stadium received mixed reception when it was completed, with some feedback saying that it was magnificent, while others claimed it was magnificently underwhelming.
AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
Home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, and one of, if not the, largest domed structure in the whole world. It opened in May 2009 and has 80,000 seats. It costed $1.3 billion to build, making it one of the most expensive stadiums ever built.
One of the most notable things about the stadium is the huge high definition display that it has, being one of the largest in the whole world. It’s so big, it’s been hit several times by punts during games.
Shanghai Stadium, Shanghai, China
It was originally built to be the primary venue for the National Games of the People’s Republic of China in 1997. However, the stadium has gone on to host many sporting events, including very prominent events, such as several 2008 Summer Olympics soccer matches and the opening ceremony for the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games opening ceremony.
It has an asymmetric, saddle shaped roof that is easily identified among other buildings in the area, and won several awards for its design.
Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary, Canada
The 19,289-capacity Saddledome first opened in October 1983 after 27 months of construction and $89.1 million. The stadium is home to box lacrosse team the Calgary Roughnecks, NHL team the Calgary Flames, and junior ice hockey team the Calgary Hitmen.
The saddle shaped roof is designed to allow for an unobstructed view from every single seat within the stadium. It also has, allegedly, the longest span of any hyperbolic paraboloid-shaped concrete shell in the whole world.
Kaohsiung National Stadium, Zuoying District, Taiwan
Well, it’s pretty obvious what makes this stadium impressive at first glance: it looks like a dragon, which is pretty unique among most stadiums. But it’s also very green, fulfilling almost all of its power needs via solar panels.
Roughly 60-70% of the stadium’s outer surface is comprised of solar panels, and the stadium produces 1.1 million kilowatt-hours. It’s also the first stadium in Taiwan to be certified for gold-level green building.
Ericsson Globe, Stockholm, Sweden
This iconic stadium is the largest hemispherical building in the world, with a staggering volume of 21,188,800 cubic feet. Being Sweden’s National indoor arena, it has hosted all sorts of sporting events, including UFC events and the Ice Hockey World Championship.
Oddly enough, the Globe represents the sun in the Sweden Solar System, which is the biggest permanent scale solar system in the world. It was completed in 1986.
NSC Olimpiyskiy, Kiev, Ukraine
This stadium is the largest venue for sports in the entire Ukraine, and even the second largest in all of Eastern Europe. The Trotsky Red Stadium used to occupy its place in 1923, and in 1980, several soccer games took place there for the Moscow Olympics.
It was significantly renovated to the state that it is in today, when it opened in 2011. It has a ceiling that completely covers the entire seating area. It also hosted the final of the 2012 UEFA European Championship.
Rungnado May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea
This stadium is one of the largest in the world, capable of holding 150,000 people and possessing a total floor space surpassing 2.2 million square feet. It was named for the Rungnado islet of the Taedong River, which is near its location. It has a scalloped roof composed of 16 arches, intended to look like a magnolia blossom.
It opened in May 1989, and while it has held many soccer and athletic events, its fame is tied far more heavily to the Arirang festival, a massive gymnastics festival that can include up to 100,000 participants.
Olympic Stadium, Montreal, Canada
This is Canada’s Biggest Stadium in regards to seating space, with a capacity of 66,308. Often called the Big O because of a roof that looks like a donut, the stadium was developed as the principal site for the 1976 Summer Olympics.
However, thanks to a ton of delays and upsets in its construction, it took nearly ten years longer than predicted to open, and costed more than ten times the amount of money to construct, making it one of the most expensive stadiums in history.
Beijing National Aquatics Center, Beijing, China
Affectionately and very appropriately dubbed the Water Cube, this stadium was built to host several of the water sports events for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The outside is made up of 4,000 ETFE segments, which is a transparent polymer that transmits more light than even glass.
Possessing a surface area of 1.07 million square feet, the National Aquatics Center is the biggest ETFE covered building in the world. The ETFE reduces energy consumption by 30% compared to regular glass.
Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi, Russia
Another famous design from the architecture firm Populous, millions around the world saw it as the venue for the 2014 Winter Olympics opening ceremony. Named after Mount Fisht, it is designed to look like a snow-topped mountain, blending it with the Caucasus Mountains and Imeretinskaya Valley surrounding it.
Opened in 2013, Fisht Olympic Stadium was featured on a commemorative 100-ruble banknote in Russia before the Winter Olympics began.
Olympiastadion, Berlin, Germany
This stadium was built to be the principal venue for the 1972 Summer Olympics, though it has also hosted a number of other sporting events, including the 1974 FIFA World Cup final. The stadium was intended to represent a more democratic Germany, to be a counter to the 1936 Summer Olympics, which went down under Nazi rule.
An interesting fact about this stadium is that the construction was made easier by the large pit it was being built in, which was created by a bomb in World War II.
Emirates Stadium, London, England
Opened in 2006, this stadium costed $650 million. It was designed by international architecture firm Populous and is home to the English Premier League soccer side Arsenal, though it often serves as a venue for public performances as well.
Unlike many stadiums, the design was less focused on the field itself and more on the spectator services and stadium facilities. It won Best Major Project at the 2007 Building Construction Industry Awards.
Estádio Do Maracanã, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
This stadium used to hold the title of largest in the world. The stadium was constructed for the FIFA World Cup in 1950, and hosted the competition’s final that year even though it wasn’t fully completed at the time. The capacity of the stadium is far reduced from years past, but it is still the largest stadium in South America.
It underwent an extensive series of renovations at the hands of several Brazilian architects, and has held more than one FIFA World Cup Final, a very rare distinction among sports stadiums.
Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland
This stadium is the home the Irish national rugby union team and the Republic of Ireland soccer team. It takes into consideration the close proximity to local homes, and thus has a sweeping curve at the north end designed to allow as much natural light to hit the homes throughout the day.
It was opened in May 2010 and was designed by international firm Populous. In 2011, it won the international category of the British Construction Industry Awards.
Universiade Sports Center, Shenzhen, China
Designed by GMP Architekten and opened in 2011 after $530 million was spent on its construction. It was a major venue for the 2011 Summer Universiade, a multi-discipline event for university athletes that is organized by the International University Sports Federation.
The outer structure is crystalline and made from panes of triangular laminated safety glass and polycarbonate. At night, the structure is illuminated to showcase its true beauty.
FNB Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa
While this stadium, often called Soccer City, hosted the 2010 FIFA World Cup final, it’s also the place where Nelson Mandela performed his final key public appearance during the closing ceremony of that event. It’s the biggest stadium in Africa.
The unique design is supposed to represent a calabash, otherwise known as an African pot, on an open fire. It was the overall winner at the 2010 LEAF Awards.
MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey
MetLife Stadium has many distinguishing features about it. It’s home to both the New York Giants and the New York Jets, making it the only stadium that accommodates two NFL teams. And at $1.6 billion, it’s also the most expensive stadium ever built.
It has the most expansive permanent seating capacity in the NFL, capable of holding 82,566 fans. Despite being twice as big as the old stadium for the Giants, it expends 30% less energy overall.
Sapporo Dome, Sapporo, Japan
It may look like a giant horseshoe crab, but it is a sports stadium. It’s the home venue for both the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters (yes, that’s their real name) baseball team and the Consadole Sapporo soccer team. It opened in June 2001.
Most notably, the stadium has a retractable grass pitch, a literal hovering field that can be moved in and out of the stadium via pneumatic mechanism. The process takes a few hours, but makes the stadium ideal for multiple purposes.
Wembley Stadium, London, England
Home to the English national soccer team, Wembley Stadium is Europe’s second biggest stadium and costed $1.3 billion to build, making it one of the most expensive stadiums in the world. Completed in 2007, it has hosted many major British and European club soccer games, but also a number of American football and rugby games.
Wembley’s unique and spectacular arch stands at a height of 436 feet, and with a span of 1,033 feet, that makes it the largest single-span roof configuration in the whole world.
Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town, South Africa
This stadium was completed in 2009 at a cost of around $600 million. It used to have a larger seating capacity, but now only holds 55,000 people. Cape Town Stadium hosted several games during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, most notably the semi-final between the Netherlands and Uruguay.
Thanks to the Teflon-coated woven fiberglass shell on the exterior, different light conditions cause the building to give off gray, reddish or blue hues under different light conditions caused by weather in the city.
Qizhong Forest Sports City Arena, Shanghai, China
This tennis stadium was built as the venue for the ATP World Tour Finals between the years 2005 and 2008. The spectacular petal shaped parts of the segmented steel roof are designed to look like a blooming magnolia, and can open or close in just eight minutes.
Designed by Japanese architect Mitsuru Senda of Environment Design Institute, it earned the recognition of IOC/IAKS Silver Award for exemplary sports and leisure facilities.
National Stadium, Warsaw, Poland
Home to the Polish national soccer team, it was completed in 2011 for $685 million. In 2012, it won the World Stadium Award for best multifunctional stadium design. The wire mesh façade is painted red and white to represent Poland’s colors. It also has a retractable roof.
The venue has hosted a varied and impressive number of games and events over the years, including several matches from the 2012 UEFA European Championship, including the semi-final played between Germany and Italy.
Beijing National Stadium, Beijing, China
Often known as the Bird’s Nest, this stadium is actually two separate structures, one being an 80,000-permanent seat central concrete bowl, and an outer shell made of steel. Plans for a collapsible roof were in place at one point, but those plans were scrapped after the collapse of a vaulted roof at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, France.
This stadium was the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, and won the RIBA Lubetkin Prize in 2009.
Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
One of the most popular sporting venues in Germany, this stadium is home to both of Munich’s primary soccer teams. The outside consists of 2,760 inflated ETFE foil panels, and each and every one of them can be illuminated white, blue or red.
Even though the panels could be illuminated in a multi-color pattern, German police insist on single-color schemes, with some traffic accidents on the nearby A9 autobahn believed to have been caused by shifting color displays from the stadium.
San Siro, Milan, Italy
San Siro was originally built in 1925 to hold 35,000 fans, but much later in the 1990s, it was transformed into an all-seating venue. Two different tiers were added to facilitate this over the course of the renovations, requiring the addition of eleven concrete towers to the structure.
Thanks to the addition of all of these concrete towers, San Siro has a unique aesthetic to it that almost no other stadium can boast to.
Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Originally a massive stadium when it first opened in 1927, Michigan Stadium is still one of biggest football stadiums in the United States, capable of holding 107,000 fans. Originally, the structure used 440 tons of reinforcing steel and 31,000 square feet of wire mesh.
Designed shortly after the Yale Bowl, almost 75% of the structure is beneath ground level because the building was constructed on top of an underground spring.
Municipal Stadium, Wrocław, Poland
The third largest stadium of its kind, this stadium has an all-seating capacity of 42,711. Opened in 2011, it was designed specifically for the 2012 UEFA European Championship for about $240 million. It’s the host to the elite Polish league soccer side Śląsk Wrocław.
There is a Teflon-coated fiberglass mesh around the building, and an advanced lighting system lets the outside of the stadium be changed to different colors at will.
Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain
One of Europe’s largest stadiums, Camp Nou is a steel and concrete construction that covers 13.5 acres and is 157 feet tall. Oddly enough, this famous red and blue stadium is unique because it isn’t just a stadium.
The odd extras involved in the construction includes television studios, a museum, and even a chapel that players go through to get to the surface. This undoubtedly makes it one of the most unique stadiums out there.
Forsyth Barr, Dunedin, New Zealand
One of the things that sets Forsyth Barr apart from other stadiums around the world is that it grows its own grass indoors. It also has a completely ETFE transparent roof, allowing for a climate controlled environment no matter what the outside conditions are.
The five-acre roof is roughly 12 stories tall and must be supported by a total of five arches, each of which is a 344 feet long.
Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts
Fenway Park deserves recognition for being the oldest professional sporting venue in all of North America. Built in 1912, the stadium is not only seen as a symbol of American summer, but the Green Monster left field wall has long made it appear as a quirky place.
The wall was originally built to block people from viewing inside the park from outside of it, and it has been made of wood, plastic, and plenty of other materials. One way or another, the Green Monster wall makes it one of the most recognizable stadiums in the world.
PGE Arena, Gdansk, Poland
Another soccer specific venue, PGE Arena opened its doors in August 2011, and it was built to be one of the host venues for the 2012 UEFA European Championship. The cost of construction was roughly $253 million.
To represent its place on the Baltic coast, the stadium has 18,000 polycarbonate plates that give it the appearance of amber, which had been extracted from the coastline around those parts for many years. The architecture firm that designed it won an IPC/IAKS distinction and a Bronze IOC/IAKS Award in 2013.