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8 Things to Consider When Choosing a Gym

A Checklist for Fitness Facilities

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  • JSCHARBE
    In full disclosure, I own a gym and am a NASM certified personal trainer.

    Things you should consider most people don’t thing of.

    #1 Safety

    Most individuals starting a fitness program are surprise, not in shape. You should ask if the gym you are going follows all state laws regarding health and safety. In California, we are required to staff the facility at all times with an AED/CPR certified employee. Don’t assume it won’t happen to you emergencies happen more often than you think and age is not necessarily the factor. More often than not it involves new members not eating before exercise, drinking energy drinks or caffeine, or underlying conditions members didn’t know they have. We all train with our local EMS.

    And yes unattended facilities called “key clubs” are illegal in California, the law just doesn’t provide for enforcement.

    #2 Qualified Staff

    Don’t assume that just because someone is a “certified personal trainer” they have a clue what they are doing. You can get a certification online in hours for as little as $49.00. Our club only uses the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) Certified Personal Training (CPT) program because it is based on a methodology that has been developed for over 20 years. We know the methodology works producing superior results while avoiding injury.

    #3 Borden you concept of what a gym should do for you.

    Most customers want to lose weight or improve their fitness level. A good gym should do a lot more for your, using corrective exercise techniques it should:

    a) Restore proper movement
    b) Reduce or eliminate joint pain
    c) Re-establish neuromuscular control and improve your balance
    d) Improve your reaction time (avoid accidents)

    #4 Don’t be a loner

    Your odds of sticking with an exercise / nutrition program are significantly better if you workout with someone else. Does the club have a workout partner program? Get into a group exercise class where you can make friends. Hire a trainer. From a business perspective, we love it when people connect because they stay with the club longer, have more success, and provide more referrals.


    Hope this is helpful
    John M Scharber
    NASM CPT
    - 12/19/2008 3:48:00 PM
  • I have yet to find a gym with classes offered from times in the afternoon. A class from 2 to 3, or 2:30 to 3:30, 3 to 4, or 3:30 to 4: 30 would be PERFECT for me (teacher). I want to go to the gym right after school, and get home in time to fix dinner for my family and attend my daughters' sports/games. Any gym I've belonged to (except Curves, which in my town has very odd, sparse, inconvenient hrs), has classes during a working person's day, and then not again until 5 pm. I get bored from doing just cardio equipment every day after school. I recently went back to my old gym after a 6 month membership at a newer, trendy gym. Classes like Pilates, spinning, bellydancing, and tai Chi were only offered during my work hours or later in the eve. than I wanted to be at the gym.. I'd love a floor class from 3 to 4!!!!!! - 11/9/2008 6:31:28 PM
  • Another thing to do is visit the gym during the hours you plan to be there - a gym can look like it has enough equipment, but if at 5:30 pm or 7 a.m. every machine is in use and that is the only time you can workout, then it may not be the gym for you. I am in this situation and I had to start going to the gym at 5 a.m. to be able to workout on the machines that I like! - 11/9/2008 8:47:49 AM
  • For me one of the most important thing was finding a facility that was family friendly and could grow with us. The gym that I picked was not the closest, but has great facilities for my child. The hours are very flexible in the child care and they have lots of great activities for my child. They also have a pool area that's just for kids. Having my child be excited about going to the gym sure makes it easier for me to go regularly. - 11/9/2008 7:22:25 AM
  • I agree to pay special attention to cleanliness & fees. Location is also a great deal to me. Thanks SP for this article. - 11/9/2008 7:18:15 AM
  • Hi I'm new to spark people. I liked this article & it sounds a lot like what I went through with my past gym. It became so crowded constantly & it made me very uncomfortable. It was also loud which drove me crazy! My solution? I quit the gym & bought myself a threadmill! I love the privacy in my own livingroom, I listen to my ipod or watch TV, I don't have to wait for a machine & it's easy to work out when I am able. I also walk/run outdoors with my little dog! I use free weights for strength training & I have tons of workout tapes that target all body parts. I have lost about 55 pds since Feb 2007. This is/was my solution to a crowded gym situation. Someday I may want to rejoin a gym for the social aspect but it needs to work for me in all areas just like this article states. - 10/23/2008 5:57:04 PM
  • Great article. Definitely location is the first issue, however, like the author wrote if the atmosphere doesn't make you feel comfortable you won't go. - 10/3/2008 4:35:57 PM
  • EXPAT123
    Good article - I felt like Goldilocks when I was looking for a gym. The first one looked great from the outside but the locker room/showers were grungy when I went for a tour. Second one was brand new, everything was very clean but the place was packed, every single piece of cardio equipment was in use when I took a tour at the time I'd be using it plus they were very hard sell - rang me half a dozen times after I said I wasn't interested to persuade me otherwise. The third one was just right - its a chain like the other two but has locations close to my office and home, hours that suit me and they let me make up my own mind with no pressure. - 7/16/2008 5:34:16 PM
  • This article was right on time. I'm considering joining a gym. The article answered some questions I'd been thinking about in considering joining a gym. - 6/22/2008 5:58:37 PM

  • I loved this article, it sounds like me, still wanting to be a couch pototo but knowing I have to exercise, excuse me, knowing I want to exercise. Thank you!! SassyLou1 - 6/22/2008 2:36:59 PM
  • Great article, I like my gym but I am having a tough time actually finding the time to walk in the doors!!!!! I work full time and have a 4year old. I cannot go before work because I have to take him to his grandmothers am, and usually afterwork I have to pick him up. I dont want my kid at his grannys more than with me!!!! I try to do a few lunch visits during my week. But woe is me. My husband works alot of overtime so I cannot complain too much to him. All the arobic classes start the same time I get off!!!! If I join the class 10 minutes late they all have to move to give me space (small arobic room & Lots of ladies)

    My goal is to go the one class that is offered at 615 on mondays, its a spinning class. That will kick my butt into gear! There is usually not alot people in this late class so sounds good hu?

    I need to stop complaining and start losing!

    Thanks for letting me vent!
    nina
    - 6/5/2008 3:49:26 PM
  • This article is right on time. My membership is up real soon for the gym I currently go. It's a small 24 hour gym. In the beginning it worked fine for me, but now I need new surroundings, I want a larger space and selection of activities, and the owner just did some upgrades, and made all his back rooms administration offices, which cuts down space to do my ab work, ride the bike, and do my ploymetric exercise in front of the mirrow. In addition, he did all the upgrades to the back, but ignore my request to tint the glass in front. As I'm working out, its easy for someone from the outside to see me, but difficult for me to see anyone which have been a security concern. The one thing it has going for it is location (3 to 5 minutes from my house) and my familiarity with the gym. The gym I want to join is 16 minutes away. Which will kill my routine of working out early in the morning before going to work, so I'm still unsure. - 5/20/2008 2:14:09 PM
  • Location is HUGE to me...I have always said, and it has held true over the years, if it's not easy access, I'm much more likely not to use it. I pay a little more than I'd like, but the gym is really nice, lots of machines, lots of classes, a great lap pool and outdoor pool for summertime, as well as the fact that it's open 24 hours...not that I use it in the middle of the night, but nice to know that if I'm running late in the evening, I don't have to rush to get there by 9:30 b/c it's closing at 10 or something like that. I love doing classes so that's another major thing I look for! Thanks! - 5/20/2008 1:31:45 PM
  • I living near a big square and recently (a month ago) i decide to go 3 times a week at 06am to do my gym there, I found there a monitor who has a team of 20 persons they are doing 4 times gym with him, he is excellent in many exercices , really i found the option very practicable than a club fitness , it suits my hectic weekly programme and at07h15 im at home under the bath. Im so motivated to keep on that healthy option. - 5/20/2008 5:17:33 AM
  • DOUGROST
    Great article nicely written and very practical. Good job author!

    I like my gym because they know me by name there and everyone is very down to earth. It is friendly but not phony.
    - 5/19/2008 9:31:52 PM

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