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by inKin
14 Dec

How To Choose The Right Gym & Enjoy Getting Fit In It

You want to start going to a gym, but nowadays there is a gazillion of gyms available, and yet they’re all slightly different. There’s Gold's Gym for the bodybuilders, the Powerhouses for powerlifters, Curves for women; YMCA Fitness, David Barton Gym, MVP Sports Clubs, 24 Hour Fitness and on it goes into infinity.

You don’t want to be a member of a gym where you’re frightened by a guy that looks like the Terminator; the key is to locate a gym that feels like you’re working out in your basement. Otherwise, you might quit if you’re not at ease. Decide what it is you need in a gym and the workout you want. Are you going there just for the cardio equipment or for weight lifting? Are you interested in aerobic or martial arts classes or to make use of the courts or the swimming pool? Would you rather use each of these things?
That’s a lot of options! But they’re essential things that you should think about to find the gym that fits you like a glove. So let’s examine some important elements for how to choose the right gym.

During your search for that perfect gym, there are some questions you need to ask their staff:

  • What times of the day are the busiest?
  • How would I cancel my membership?
  • Does this gym have certified employees?
  • How new is the gym’s equipment?
  • Which equipment is used most often?
  • Does the membership price contain any hidden fees?
  • Will a trainer show me how to use this equipment? Is it free?
  • What are the gym hours?
  • What’s the cost of your membership and do you have any optional plans?
  • Do I pay the membership fee up front or are there specific billing cycles?
  • Are your employees trained and the gym equipped for emergencies?
  • How often do you replace the equipment?
  • Is there a limit on class size?
  • Does your gym provide child care and is it free?


Membership Price

This should be your most important consideration. Are you going to be getting your money’s worth with this gym? Most people don’t mind spending a bit more on membership as long as the gym doesn’t look like a cave with run-down equipment. You want a gym that’s an inspiration to be in and has top-notch equipment.
Be certain that you’re getting your bang for your buck and no more than that. In other words, don’t let anyone persuade you into paying for options that you won’t be interested in or obtaining services you’re not planning on using.
Think about what time of the year it is. Many gyms offer fantastic deals during the high times like September or around New Year’s. In the long run, you’ll definitely save yourself a bit of money if you can wait until those times of the year to join a gym.
Also, be aware that some gyms can lock you into a long-term contract without a way to get out of it. That may sound fine at first, but contemplate this: what would you do if, over time, something happens or you end up disliking the gym overall? Well, unfortunately, you’ll still have to pay for a gym that you, now, hate going to or just refuse to use. So when you inquire about membership price(s), ask if you’ll be locked into a contract.

Location, Location, Location!

Is the gym convenient for you to get to? You don’t want to pick a gym that’s halfway across the state! If it takes too long to drive there, most likely you’ll end up quitting. Who can blame you? Your time is precious in your busy day.
Think about trying to find a gym that’s near your work; this way you can do your workout either before work, during lunch or after work. Also, search for something near your home; you can get an exercise routine in whenever you’d like, and there won’t be any worries about eating up a lot of travel time. This is particularly great when you just want to perform some cardio or a quick workout.

The Variety

If you are looking for different classes and routines to try, you should pay attention to the gym's group classes - do they keep up to date with the latest and coolest classes? Is there a yoga or a spinning room? Is the gym's schedule convenient enough to accommodate different disciplines?


Features & Privileges For Members

Not everything is included in your membership, and you don’t want to be surprised with extra fees. Do they have a snack or juice bar? Do they offer member discounts on products that they sell? Does the gym have a daycare for your child while you’re in your spin class? Are there massage therapists on the premises? Don’t sign any paperwork without understanding precisely what’s provided in your membership.

Gym Maintenance

Just picture it: you go to your gym expecting to work on a specific body part only to find that a particular machine is out of order—noooo!
It’s understandable that the equipment may break down occasionally, but how it’s handled is an important factor when selecting a gym. Does the staff react swiftly to the problem? How fast is that equipment repaired? Sometimes, depending on the machine, it can take a bit of time for things to be fixed. But if it’s been broken for months, then it could be an indication that the gym is pinching pennies.

Gym Hours

It’s a huge pain when you’ve reached your destination only to realize they aren’t open yet or close in 10 minutes—argh! If you’re going to be a member, you should check that the gym hours coincide with your fitness schedule. Otherwise, you might as well be throwing your money in the trash.
The best bet would be a 24-hour gym. No matter what time of the day it is you’ll be able to get in your workout at your leisure — even if it’s 2 am!

Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness

Exercising in a clean gym is necessary—especially in today’s world. As you visit each gym on your list, look around to see if gym members are wiping down the equipment they’ve just used. Would you want to use the bench press after a guy has sweated all over it? Likewise, the employees should perform a daily wipe-down of the equipment. But don’t just pay attention to equipment cleanliness—check out the locker rooms, are they kept clean? Is there litter on the gym and/or locker room floors? All of these things are significant when selecting a gym. After all, if the staff members aren’t taking care of their gym, what makes you think they’d take care of you?

Gym Equipment

You’ll want to know if each piece of equipment is something that appeals to you and in good working order; so seek out the different brands and styles of the machines the gym provides. The gym you choose needs to have equipment that’s in tip-top shape.
What about their free weights room? Check that the barbells don’t have worn-out grips to the point that they’re entirely smooth. If this is the case, it could spell disaster for you or another gym member. There should be complete pairs of dumbbells, none of the pairs should be missing, and not one dumbbell should be broken. Also, observe how gym members are treating the equipment. Are the machine weights being slammed down when they’re through with a set? Do they put the dumbbells away when they’re done with them? Do they handle the treadmills, bikes, elliptical and rowing machines with care? Do the members bang the barbells? It’s just as important to look at how the staff treats the equipment and deals with situations like those just described. Does the employee speak to the gym member about proper treatment of the equipment or do they just walk away? If they ignore the problem, chances are they don’t really care about their equipment, and it’s most likely not the gym for you.

How’s The Atmosphere?

You don’t want to go to a gym that feels like it’s a rainy Monday every day. You need to be part of a gym that motivates you to workout. Search for that one gym that’s bright, cheery and will energize you! Is there a good blend of men and women members or is the gym geared toward one gender? Take a look around to notice the interaction between people. Are the gym members and staff friendly and welcoming or do they seem intimidating and stand-offish? A large part of being inspired to do an intense workout is comfort—a gym should present a “homey” atmosphere.

Give The Gym a “Free Trial” Before You Join

Don’t judge a book by its cover. Would you walk into a car dealership and just buy the first car you like without test driving it first? Of course not.
It’s best to try out the gym for a day or two; ask if they’ve got a guest pass, trial membership or something similar. Many facilities will provide you with a guest pass to test their equipment, yet there are some gyms that don’t and will charge you about $10.00 each day. Let’s face it, investing $10 in finding out if you'll like a gym is certainly worth it. It’s better than paying $450.00 and discovering you hate it.
When you get your guest pass, use the gym at the times you’d ordinarily want to perform your workout; this way you’ll know how crowded it is when you plan to be at the gym.

Read The Fine Print Before Signing On That Dotted Line!

It’s better to be knowledgeable about your contract—then they can’t put anything over on you. So read everything in your contract including the fine print; yes, it might be long and boring but it’ll give you vital information about the length of your contract, membership payment, their cancelation policy and other things you should know.
In the last few years, the fitness world has seriously expanded, and facilities have cropped up in nearly every city or town. This makes it, even more, important that you are aware of what you want in a gym and ask the questions listed at the beginning of this blog.

If there’s something about a gym that doesn’t sit well with you, keep searching. As you visit each gym, never be afraid to ask any questions. If the employee answers around your question or avoids the question entirely, then check off that gym on your list and move on to the next one. Think of it this way: a gym membership is an investment for a healthier you. Happy workout!


Photo Credit: Shutterstock


Additional reading:

Gym Etiquette 101: The Basic Do’s and Don’ts in the Gym

The Pros and Cons of Hiring a Personal Trainer

How To Communicate With Your Personal Trainer For The Best Results

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