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.
I thought about joining a gym near us, but the girl behind the desk new NOTHING at all about fitness herself!! That was a real turn off for me!
1/7/2010 11:15:34 PM
Very good article. My husband and I belong to a gym that is within 10 minutes from home, and is on the way home from work for both of us. We have found that the fit is right for us as we both do a lot of the group classes, and as a result have got to know people, which has added to the enjoyment for us.
Very rarely do I have to wait for euipment in the cardio room. One other thing I would suggest that if you live in a warmer climate is that you check whether the cooling is adequate, as the gym I attend can fail on this point in the warmer weather. They have added more fans, but they need more especially in the weights room where the sweaty bodies can make it smelly.
Before we joined they had a 30 day trial on offer, so this was able to give us a good idea as to whether the gym was a good fit for us.
With regards to payment we pay our membership up front as it makes us commit, and also has allowed us bargaining power when it comes time to re-sign, and also they allow us to suspend our membership whilst on holidays without charging a fee.
The gym at the University where I work used to post a chart showing peak usage times (during the previous month or week, I forget). This was really useful for people who had the flexibility to work around peak times! That came to mind because if you were to judge the availability of workout machines this week (first week in January - everyone eager to start their new workout plan!), you might get a very different impression from May or October. Similarly, the time of day probably makes a difference in how crowded a gym is, based on whether it is primarily used by people who go before work or what have you.
very good article and I agree that small gyms can be very surprising as to the quality of the atmosphere. I dont like large facilities if you are just a number. I like going there to see my friends. an encouraging smile, a little advice, and a supportive atmosphere goes along way.
1/6/2010 6:00:38 PM
As the owner of a small gym, I do have to mention one very important thing you left out - Customer Service. My husband and I own a small gym in Hawaii, and we pride ourselves on knowing all of our members by name and being available to them for fitness and nutritional questions. I think this was a very well-informed article, and gym seekers shouldn't look over the small neighborhood gym with less equipment because you never know what else you may find in there.
Really good article. I joined 5 different gyms before I found one that met all my requirements - there really are things that aren't obvious on the first visit. I was too shy to ask all that I should have. Not any more though. My present gym is a perfect fit.
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