If you’re not already a member, how to choose a gym may be a question you’re asking yourself. Gyms and fitness centers seem to be on every city block these days, but not all are created equal! Just as you should have goals in mind for individual workouts, you should consider what qualities you’re looking for in a gym or fitness center.
1. Location, location, location. I always recommend trying to choose a gym that’s closest to your home, work, or a place you frequent on a daily basis. You eliminate the amount of effort needed to get to the gym! Don’t make it difficult to get there, because you may try to turn that into an excuse for not going!
2. What are your goals? With workouts I always advise clients to set big goals but have realistic expectations. For example you may want to lose weight and that’s great. Having a gym membership isn’t going to accomplish that, doing the work will! Are you using the gym for group exercise like taking spin class, or are you more interested in weightlifting? Choose a gym that suits your needs.
3. You get what you pay for isn’t always true! Don’t be fooled by forking over a ton of money each month for a spa like gym facility if you’re not going to actually use all the amenities. Some of the small independently owned gyms are much more reasonable. Sure they may not have all the bells and whistles, but they get the job done!
4. Take if for a test drive! You wouldn’t by a car without taking it for a spin. All gyms offer free or very inexpensive passes to try out their facilities. I suggest getting a week long pass and going on different days at different times. You’ll be able to see just how crowded the busy times are as well as keep an eye out for cleanliness of the facility. They all look clean and in perfect working order when no one is in there, but when it’s busy some places tend to lack attention to cleanliness.
5. Are they trying to take your money, or help you reach your goals? Every gym needs to sell memberships to stay in business. The dirty little secret is that they rely on most new gym members to NOT use their facilities after a short time period. This is why they try to sell you year or two year long plans. Ask what free services they may offer if you sign up. Most gyms I’ve seen offer free fitness consultations and one or two personal training sessions.