Recently a dear friend of mine went completely gaga over a restaurant, highly recommending it. I went there with my wife and found the service very mediocre, and food terrible! I paid the bill and vowed never to return to that place.
With the gym, things are very different. Joining a good gym usually requires lengthy financial commitments and therefore it becomes all the more important to carefully research your options before taking the plunge.
Following are the top 10 things to consider before choosing the right gym:
1) Location: For those of us living in a major city traffic congestion should be a top consideration. Selecting a gym that is far from where you live /work will test your motivation in getting to gym on days when you just want to curl in front of the television. It is prudent to check the traffic congestion on routes during the time you are likely to go to the gym. Any place more than 15 minutes away will test your fitness resolve!
The other thing you can do is to select a location between your work and home. You would have no excuse not to stop by the gym for an hour when you are always either on your way to, or on your way from one or the other.
2) Cleanliness: It is important to consider the cleanliness and hygiene of a fitness place. You obviously would not like to shed that extra kilos and pick germs along the way. Remember germs like to thrive in damp, wet and dirty environment and gyms are associated with sweating- it is a potential place to pick up those germs. Inspect the workout areas, equipment, environment, change rooms etc. to ensure that they have the required level of cleanliness and hygiene.
3) Equipment Offered: Looking at the type and quality of the equipment offered in the gym is another thing to consider. If you find yourself doing a lot of cardio training as part of your workouts you will want to be sure there are ample machines available. Nothing is more frustrating than getting to the gym after work to find out that there is not a single machine in sight available for you to use.
Similarly with weight training, if you do more free weights than machines (which you should ) check out how many dumbbells they have of each weight. If you are looking for a pair of 40 pounders and they only have one set, you could be waiting a while since this is a common weight that people will use. I would also highly recommend checking if they have a squat rack or better a power rack, a pull-up and a dip bar as you can easily cover your entire body with these basic equipments. Infact in my FBX training system you will be using these basic equipments very often.
4) Changing Rooms: they have become a necessity now-a-days especially if your fitness centre lies on the way between your work place and your house. Secure place to keep your valuables, steam, showers are bliss after a gruesome workout. Please check whether all these costs are included in the membership itself.
5) Group classes: Find a group fitness class schedule that the gym offers so you can see if there is anything of interest to you there. Often when your motivation is lacking to do yet another session on the treadmill, a cardio kickboxing class can be just the thing you need to get you into the gym that day for your workout. Enquire also about any additional fees to join these classes. Some gyms offer them as part of your membership and others will charge extra – either per class or as a package deal.
6) Staff: Some of us do not need knowledgeable staff because we already have a game plan, but this is a minority. Like the majority if you are unsure of what it will take, besides an exercise routine, to get fit then you will have a lot of questions. A little guidance and assistance on eating right, resting, etc is essential to get optimum results. Getting yourself into shape and getting others into shape are two totally different ballgames. Interact with the staff and trainers during the trial period to check your comfort levels and their attitude to imparting information. Believe in hard facts and ask them what certifications their trainers have, if any.
7) Costs and Fees: For those who are concerned about finances, the membership cost of your gym is going to be a prime decision-making factor. Gym memberships can vary in cost depending on what type of plan you go on (length of term, type of usage – student, couple or otherwise). Your best bet is to check out a few different gyms in your area and then compare prices with the services they offer. If you can wait until around late summer or New Year to sign up, you will find that often many gyms will have special promotions going on at this time. Check out third party sites like Group-on where you can find many deals going on at any given point of time.
8) Clientele: What types of people are working out at the gym? Do you see many men? Do you see mainly women? Is there a good spilt between both? Make sure you feel comfortable working around the people you see at the gym.
9) Overall area of the gym: I like small intimate gyms. It allows me to focus on what i am doing, without too many distractions. My wife prefers bigger gyms with high ceilings and fancy equipments with lot of people. Well to each his own, keep that in mind when choosing a gym.
In summary, choosing the right gym should be a priority when it comes to getting in shape. You need to make sure you are happy with your decision or it will be another barrier you have to overcome when trying to get in your workouts. If you look over and enquire about all the things on this list though, you should end up making a decision you are comfortable with and find a gym that you enjoy visiting on a regular basis.
What type of gyms you like to workout in? Have anything you like to add? Let me know in the comments below!