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8 Things to Consider When Choosing a Gym

A Checklist for Fitness Facilities


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  • No recent comments here so I'll chime in on NY Eve Day. My local Y is 1/2 a mile from my house - it has a 4 treadmills (which I do use), 6 elipticals which I can't use (balance issues), 2 upright bikes. They were "supposed" to get a recumbent bike - that was in April when I first joined. The weight room is tiny and is oversubscribed and the classes are as well. Those do fill up quickly. The next closest Y is 15 from my house - lots more equipment but little I can use. I can use a treadmill, recumbent bike and a rowing machine. All of these pierces are very old and in need of repair. They have raquetball/squash courts but much as I loved these my body rules them out today. They have a large but chlorinated pool - again a problem with skin. Now they have classes I would be interested in .. but they are always oversubscribed. I guess a good instructor and convenient times. So much for the Y and a place at reasonable cost. Golds, Fitness 24, and a few others are here but are so filled with equipment and people all the time that my comment is - how could anyone like it there. I belonged to a Golds for many years due to a new club deal ... and that facility cared because of the manager ... but the rest, well, it's a business and the admit they are not in the business to make you happy. The places with nicer surroundings are much more expensive. Working out at home takes more discipline, but then again so does working at home which I did for years. I will not be renewing my Y membership as I seldom go and when I do it reminds me why I don't do it more often. I may get streak points here but since moving to So. Ca. I haven't found an answer to what's your gym? Workout buddies and friends non-existent here. I'm willing to commit to a walk every day but so far after the first week all I have left is good intentions that fizzle. I fall ... and if I walk out side I really do need a spoter since I also cannot use a phone. I agree with the gym manager - safety and cleanliness should be top priority. But as far as good information - a trainer is the last person I would trust. They don't get paid by the gym most of the time ... they are contractors. Good luck finding one that doesn't try to put you on a canned program. One week of doing X, moving forward the next week for Y etc. Most don't know enough physiology to recognize real problems. Best advice on trainers...go to PT first and get a dedicated workout for yourself.
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  • The first gym that I joined didn't have a pool, and closed at 10. I really would have liked a pool, and I can be a night owl sometimes. The second time I joined a gym, I joined a 24 hour place with a pool and a hot tub. It was a much better fit.
  • I was going to a gym before work. The gym met all the qualities listed BUT the locker room was SO steamy that I couldn't get out of there without needing another shower. I ended up changing gyms because of that.
  • I would love to join the Y, but the closest one to me is 25 minutes away from where I live, and that one really doesn't have much to offer for the price. There are three gyms within five minutes of my house, two do not have registration fees, all three are more than $30 a month, all have decent offerings. One is 24-hour but no classes, one offers a few classes, and the third has daycare and classes included in the price. Two are over 18 only, the third allows 13-year-olds and up the ability to join with physician permission (and younger on certain circumstances). That particular one has various levels of pricing. $50 a month without contract, $40 a month with one year and $25 a month with two year. Couples are $50 a month with contract. Also, you can take a guest at $5 per day/class. My current gym is my house, and I am looking at the best alternative. I work for a medical office. In our same building, there is a physical therapist who allows employees to use their equipment completely free of charge during regular business hours. I'm thinking lunch break, head over to PT, workout a bit, then go for a quick lunch.
    This is a deal breaker for me: some gyms will let you sign up without a long-term contract but only if you authorize automatic withdrawals from your bank account. These can be a nightmare if the gym turns out to be less than ethical and your bank isn't responsive to your problems. If you go with a monthly payment plan, use a credit card and preferably one, like American Express, you can rely on to back you up if things go wrong.

    In fact, authorizing automatic bank withdrawals is pretty dicey no matter who you're dealing with. It pays to proceed with great care.
  • I am considering joining our local Y as it is close to where we are living(at the moment) and the price is the most reasonable of the three gyms that I checked just not sure how much use I would get from a membership.I could walk to a closer gym but didn't like the lay out and there were just to many machines and not enough help.I have a nice elliptical machine at home and use it every day except sundays and I think I will start working out on Sundays also.Think I need different kinds of exercise as well as cardio that is one reason for joining a gym.My girlfriend seems to think that swimming is a must at the Y but I assured her she was wrong and working out doesn't have to involve swimming.I don't like to use public pools because of health issues.I do look forward to working out with a group of women like myself.
  • Great article! Former hater of gyms. Retired & go faithfully. I love the people, friendliness , etc. my day is now organized around my commitment to classes that I love.
  • I was a member at the Y but it was too much for me. I loved it. But now I go to this school where I pay less and my whole family can go on that price. They just don't have as much as the Y. Great article.
  • I wish I could afford a gym with classes. The Y is so expensive and it looks like it is always busy.
  • I love Curves for Women. It is designed for women and targets their fitness issues. The machines are easy to learn. You can get in and out in 30 minutes and have a complete workout. There is no spandex or people trying to win a fitness appearance contest. The coaches are great consultants but there is no pressure to join or upgrade. Occasionally they have a "free month" promotion. You can start at your own pace and move up when you are ready. I have lost weight with their program and all my other issues are improved as well: went from diabetic to "Pre-diabetic" in my glucose measures, off my cholesterol medication, etc. This is my 6th fitness effort and the only one I've been able to stick with for a year.
  • My advice would be to have a chat with the receptionist. They know EVERYTHING, like when the gym is busiest, quietest, the best trainers to work with. Also, chat with people who work there, like the trainers. They should be friendly, helpful and knowledgeable.
  • As a gym owner it is always nice to get an objective list of what potential gym members consider when choosing a gym. My personal priorities are gym cleanliness and safety. Thank you for your Insights!
    I tried a few of the no-contract gyms, but it just wasn't for me. Then I looked into the YMCA and that was just a little too over the top. I found a good medium that is actually 24hrs so I'm willing to pay the extra because I don't want to work out in an environment that doesn't fit me.

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