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What Should I Consider When Choosing a Gym?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 14 November 2016
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Choosing the right gym is important, because it will encourage you to work out more and maintain your training program, whether you are conditioning for a triathlon or just trying to get in better shape. There are a number of things to think about when you are joining a new gym to make sure that you are making the best decision and it can be helpful to assemble a checklist when you are investigating ones to join. The first thing to do is to get a list of facilities in your area along with basic information so that you can compare them side by side, eliminating obvious bad candidates before you even go out to look.

Once you have established where the local gyms are, start considering location more closely. The closer your gym is, the more likely you will use it. If it is part of a chain, find out if you will be able to use other branches around your city, which may be convenient. Find out if the location includes parking and childcare facilities if you need these services. Also find out about hours and fees, because these will have a big impact on your decision. Make sure that the hours fit in with your schedule.

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Next, look at fees. Most gyms have an initiation fee, so make sure that you know the total cost of joining, which usually includes the initiation fee and the cost of a month membership. Many offer promotional memberships to people who prepay in quarterly, semi, or bi-annual increments; find out how much a discount you may receive by paying this way. Also look at the terms of the contract: find out if you are locked into a year, if your rates will be fixed regardless as to rate changes at the gym, and what the cost for canceling your membership is, if you need to do that.

Think about the facilities you need in your gym. The more facilities, the higher your fee will be, so if all you need is weight training equipment, for example, seek out a more minimal gym. Large ones may have pools, tennis courts, cardio equipment, climbing walls, weight training equipment, resistance training equipment, and an assortment of classes and training options. Some also have massage therapists and personal trainers on staff; think about your needs when looking at brochures so that you can pick a gym which will satisfy them.

Once you have narrowed down your list a bit, it is time to actually visit some gyms, to see which one appeals to you most. Many offer a complimentary pass for visitors to come inspect the facilities and work out, to see if the place is to their liking. If a gym does not offer this, pick another one. When in their facility, interact with the staff to see how friendly and helpful they are while you check the condition of the equipment and how crowded the gym is. Try to visit when you would be working out, so that you can see what the gym feels like when you would be there. And do not be afraid to ask the staff lots of questions: this is what they are there for.

If you are interested in personal training or fitness classes, find out if you can attend a class or personal training session first, without joining the gym. Many offer aerobics, yoga, Pilates, kickboxing, weight training, and a variety of other fitness classes which can keep you focused and having fun. Take a class or two to experience the various instructors and students and decide if the environment feels right for you, or book a session with a personal trainer to see how you interface together.

Finally, look at the amenities that the gym offers. Find out how clean the changing room is kept, and if locker rental is available. Check out the bathrooms and see if it has a lounge for people to rest in after working out. Find out if the gym has saunas or jacuzzis, whether or not towels are provided, and if you will have to pay extra for any of these amenities. Ask other patrons about their experiences as well; in addition to giving you an idea of the prevailing friendliness level at the gym, you may also glean important information.

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turquoise
Post 5

@alisha-- Some gym prices can be exaggerated but for the most part it's worth it.

Gyms with memberships that cost less usually have older and limited types of equipment. They usually don't have showers, lockers, saunas and the like either.

I go to a relatively expensive, 24 hour fitness gym but it has everything. It has LCD TVs, the best equipment, showers, lockers, an indoor pool and even a cafe. I spend most of my weekends there. I workout, swim, shower and usually hang out at the cafe for a while because I get hungry after workouts.

discographer
Post 4

Gyms vary a lot in cost. Are the expensive ones really worth it? What's the difference from a cheap gym membership?

ZipLine
Post 3

I'm not claustrophobic but I don't feel well when I spend a long time in enclosed and dark places. So when I decided to join a gym, I started looking for one that has a glass view of the outside. It was not easy, many gyms don't have that.

But I finally found one that has large glass windows and gym fitness equipment in front of the glass. So I can look outside and also get natural light while I workout. It's great, I don't get bored and I also don't feel flustered.

comfyshoes
Post 2

Sneakers41- Wow,that is great that you wake up so early to work out.

For me, I prefer a home gym. I also like that I can work out when ever I want, but I prefer to run on my treadmill after my husband goes to work and my kids go to school.

Otherwise, I run at night after my husband gets home. I also use resistance bands and I will sometimes do the Wii Fit exercises with my kids.

sneakers41
Post 1

I just want to add that the location and the amenities are the most important factors when choosing a gym.

For example, the Gold’s Gym by my house is only two miles away and is opened for twenty-four hours. This is great because if I want to start my workout at 4:00 or 5:00 AM, I can and they will be opened.

Also, this gym offers spinning classes which I love which is another reason I joined.

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