The large towering structures shown on your map are known as Gyms. They will often have a Pokemon shown above them that will rotate. They are arenas that provide the opportunity to battle other trainers Pokemon. You can battle at rival gyms in an attempt to claim them for your own team, or at friendly gyms to boost their level and make it harder for rivals to take them.
Gyms are less common that Pokestops, and are generally located at larger local landmarks and places of activity.
They will be colored one of gray, yellow, blue or red with the color indicating if the gym is neutral (unoccupied), or which of the 3 teams is currently in control of it.
Not only do gyms give players the chance to battle it out to see who is best. But the gym leader’s avatar and name will be on display for all in the area to see. Rewards are also earned for every battle that takes place and comes in the form of:
To interact with a gym you have to reach level 5, and then pledge your allegiance to a team.
Once you have joined a team there are 3 ways to interact.
Battle friendly Pokemon at a friendly gym to gain XP and increase its Prestige
Defend a gym your team control by placing one of your Pokemon inside
Attack a rival gym in an attempt to take it over
You don’t have to be at a gym to see what Pokemon occupy it, you can check any gym visible on your map just by tapping on it.
If you wish to battle, defend or train at a gym you do have to head down to its physical location.
Why Bother with Gyms?
Gyms may sound a little confusing at first, but there are two main reasons why you should visit them.
Defending a gym gives you a defender bonus every 20 hours. This is currently the only way to earn Pokecoins without having to purchase them. For every Pokemon you have defending a gym you will receive 10 Pokecoins along with 500 stardust, the item required to power up your Pokemon.
Battling at gyms gives you XP which is needed to level your trainer. You can, of course, continue to obtain XP when catching Pokemon in the wild at 100 XP per catch, however battling at a gym offers a consistent stream of XP without having to spend time hunting for Pokemon to catch!
Find Out More
Gyms in Pokemon Go are unlike the gym’s found in regular Pokemon games. Read our guide to find out more.