8 Things to Consider When Choosing a Gym

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8 Things to Consider When Choosing a Gym

A good gym will fit your own unique personality, and motivate you to come back and exercise on a regular basis. When thinking about joining a particular gym, set up a tour and bring a list of questions you want answered. Try to set up this tour during the time you usually exercise. More often than not, the staff will give you a free day pass so you can try out the equipment, classes, and other amenities firsthand. Other than a free workout, there are key criteria to consider before you fork over the dough or sign a long-term contract. Keep these questions in mind as you begin your search.

Is the Location Convenient?

If you choose a gym on the other side of town, will you really make it there consistently to work out? Often, a gym located somewhere between your home and office (or school) is best. On days when you're crunched for time, having a gym close by will make things easier on your hectic schedule. After all, a good workout is supposed to lower your stress level, not increase it.

Do the Hours Fit Your Schedule?

Is the gym open when you'll use it most? While some gyms are open 24 hours a day, others are closed on weekends. Whether you workout early in the morning or late at night, make sure the hours fit your schedule, or you'll be paying for something you can't access.

Who are the Members?

Everyone responds differently to those around them, and you should keep this in mind before you choose a gym. You should feel relaxed in your exercise environment, not embarrassed or intimidated. Some gyms are co-ed, while some are same-sex only. Others attract individuals of certain age groups. Will you be comfortable exercising around the current members? On your tour, does the gym seem overly crowded?

How Does the Staff Stack Up?

The staff members of the gym should be supportive and courteous, ready to answer questions or spot you on a machine if needed. They are there to help you make the most of your workouts. Before selecting a gym, ask about the certifications of the staff members. Are they qualified to guide you through your fitness routine? If you need a trainer, what are their rates?

How Clean is It?

This may or may not be obvious on your first trip to the gym, so keep your eyes peeled. Make sure that towels are available to wipe off the equipment after each use. Also, look to see if staff members enforce this standard of hygiene. Peek into the locker rooms and showers, especially if you'll be using these often. Look at the toilets, sinks, and showers themselves to see that they're properly maintained.

Is the Equipment Available and Well Maintained?

Take a good look around. Are there enough of the "popular" machines to go around, or do members have to wait in line to use them? Find out if there is a sign-up sheet or a time limit on cardio equipment. If you run on a treadmill for an hour, then a 30-minute time limit won't really suit you. Make sure that there are a wide variety of machines, but don't be intimidated by new ones. Notice whether or not instructions and pictures are posted on the machines, or if staff is available to help you. Be cautious of out-of-order machines; this might be indicative of a poorly maintained gym.

Do You Plan to Take Group Classes?

Ask to see the schedule of fitness classes offered at the gym. Make sure that the classes you WANT to take are offered at the times you can attend, and find out if you need to show up early to reserve a spot. High-energy classes like Spinning might interest you, or a calming yoga class might be more up your alley. If group classes are the staple of your exercise program, find out if the gym charges extra for classes before you join. Decide whether or not these fees are affordable before you join, or you might be paying for a membership that you don’t really use.

What Will it Really Cost You?

Cost is probably the deciding factor when choosing a gym. Many gyms have a sign-up fee, but these are often waived during certain promotions. Take a look at the payment schedule. Do you pay each month, or do you have to commit yourself to an entire year as a member? Can you cancel without penalty? And ultimately, does a gym fit into your budget?

Think Before You Buy

When it comes down to joining a fitness center, you may feel like you're signing your life away--if you aren't informed and prepared. Be picky! Shop around, talk to friends, and take the tours until you find a place that meets all (or most) of your expectations at a reasonable price. After all, finding the right gym can be the key to a healthy lifestyle!

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Member Comments on this Slideshow

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4/9/2017 8:55:59 AM

It's so much easier and less expensive to work out at home.


4/15/2016 8:48:38 PM

I think the best bet fr the money is the YMCA they have everything icluding great instrustors and pools


10/8/2015 8:58:57 PM

CHRIS3874's SparkPage
I recall getting a 2 week free promo turned out all it was was an opportunity to do a HARD SELL. Ended up buying a memebership and then NOT using it for the majority of the time cancelling it and then getting the standard " Oh well if you don't renew right now we can't guarantee the fees won't go up!!" I nearly told the commissioned (OBVIOUSLY) jerk to F*** **F -needless to say I never went back if I ever do join a gym again it won't be THAT one. Oh and they OFFERED TWO FREE TRAINER sessions. The first one was SO PATHETIC I DiDN"T bother to get the other one. WAY TO GO W****D H*****H C**B !!!!! ( I do not think I am allowed to post the name of the clowns too bad it wouyld be a pleasure to save someone else the grief).


10/8/2015 10:05:49 AM

AQUASHIE's SparkPage


1/3/2015 4:58:39 PM

I need ideas on how to lose the wieght in the gym


1/3/2015 8:15:07 AM

RENEETC1's SparkPage
The gym I go to is close to the house so I can run over first thing in the morning, work out and then go back home to get ready for work. The staff is good, and very helpful. My problem is I need to be consistent about going.


1/3/2015 5:56:39 AM

LEANMEAN2's SparkPage
I have never gone to a gym. I prefer to exercise at home using exercise tapes and cds.


1/2/2015 8:39:34 PM

The most important thing about my gym is the child care center. It is hard to slack off when my three year-old is begging me to go play at the gym and harder to say no to another set when I know that the kids are well cared for and close by.


12/30/2014 8:52:08 AM

RARTMAN's SparkPage
Check with your health insurance. Mine covers gym memberships to certain gyms. I picked a gym not close to my house, but that offers classes I will want to take.

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