My main problem is the salespeople. Going for a tour or trying to use their free pass is like attending a timeshare presentation. OMG, I was high pressured to join & I hadn't even gotten the tour. Seriously, the guy thought his 20 minute speech, on how great this gym is, should be enough for me to join. The topper was he offered me a great price, but I had to buy right then. The offer was a one time only deal.
Why do they have to be so obnoxious? A great gym should sell itself.
Also, I think it's really important to read online reviews of the gyms your interested in. These are members who felt strongly enough ( pro or con ) to take the time to write a review. If you see enough of a common theme, you'll know it must be true.
Most important thing to me? Environment. I need a gym that doesn't have children running around or people grunting and slamming weight obnoxiously. Planet Fitness is pretty good about this sort of thing :-) you have to be at least 13 to enter and they actually have an alarm you can push when people are being annoying in the weight section/
Child Care!! That is a HUGE factor for me as a single mom! Especially now that my kiddo is getting 9yrs old...That's why I fork over more for a Y membership...he loves it- they have the "hub" for him (5 & up)- it has pool, video games, arts & crafts, board games, etc...(they also have a nursery for under 5 that we used when he was younger) and 8&up can be in the pool alone as long as the parent is in the building. He loves when I go workout so he can play :) so worth the extra money to me.
I would add "parking situation" to this list. I found a conveniently located gym I liked, only to realize that during the evening the gym was big enough for the rush but the parking lot was not. Spending 20 minutes circling for an open spot before my tour was enough to drive me away before signing up.
My gym sold me when I looked at the ladies' locker room. If it is attractive, well-maintained and super clean, either they have cleaning services come in all the time or the members really care about the gym or both.
A very good article, with important points to consider when joining a gym. Unfortunately, the first point is the only one relevant for me -- Location, location, location! There are no gyms located where I live, work or anywhere in between. So either I have to choose an inconvenient gym (and hope I have the time and stay motivated) or forget about joining a gym.
Excellent article. I never thought about comparing a gym to a restaurant. Excellent tips. Shared them on facebook. This is why I like sparkpeople so much. Very informative, motivational, uplifting. Thanks for existing!!
I began at the local state of the art gym, 80 dollars a month for just me! After a while I saw that the locker room was nasty, showers full of hair, lots of hair, clumps and clumps of hair with hair in the drain so thick that you could not see the drain at all! UGH, I got out of there!
A new gym was built at my job and am starting to see the same locker room problem, but its 20 dollars a year so I just don't take a shower there anymore.
I was going to a gym before work that fit all the author's requirements. However, the changing room was so STEAMY that by the time I would leave headed for work, I would need another shower. I changed gyms.
I'm slowly starting to hate my gym. It's a tiny gym with many things I've decided I don't like over the course of the last 4 months or so. Once my 18 month contract is up (*head desk*) I think I'll go somewhere else, even if it does mean I have a 30 minute one way drive. If child care is an option that means I won't miss gym time if I have no one watch my kids.
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