When you are trying to decide which gym to join, it is not always as simple as you think it might be. There is an endless list of factors that need to be taken into consideration to make sure that the gym you join is perfect for you. By finding a gym that perfectly suits your needs you will greatly increase your chance of sticking to your new training program, and you give your less chance for excuses and/or loosing interest, which when combined give you the RESULTS you so desperately want.
First of all you need to look at what your fitness goals are and what you will require in a gym in order to achieve them. Gyms can be great places and when you find one that caters for all your specific needs it can become your second home, to some even their first! A gym can also be a place that people find all manner of excuses to avoid at all costs, so try and look for a gym that gives you minimum excuses, remember the more excuses you make and miss sessions the harder it will be to get results.
Below I have listed some of the factors I think are the most important when considering which gym to join.
Gym – The gym floor itself, should provide you with a wide and well maintained range of equipment, including both CV and weight machines, also a good selection of free weights (if this is an area you use – and it should be). There should also be a decent sized stretching area, nobody need the excuses to miss out the stretching and cool down sections of their program. The most important thing is that there would be enough space and kit available at the times you are planning to go to the gym, you do not want to have to be waiting around to take your turn on a bit of kit you want to use.
Classes – If you enjoy the odd boxercise class or are a spinning addict, have a good look at the studio timetable and make sure that the classes you like are available at a time that you would be in the gym.
Pool – Make sure that the pool caters for your circumstances, if you are a serious swimmer make sure that the gym you wish to join closes off lanes at the times you are in. Or if you just want to go in a float about with the kids then make sure you are aware of the times that the pool is open for the kids to use or even better is there a kids pool? The pool may also hosts a range of classes such as aqua aerobics, if you like the water this is a class that is well worth trying out.
Atmosphere – This is an often overlooked aspect of joining a gym, in order to maintain your new found gym going it is vital that you feel comfortable in the club. The best way to find this out is to ask for a guest pass and train at the gym at a time you normally would and experience it for yourself. If this is not a possibility on your tour take your time to have a look around and see what feel you get for the gym and those who are using it. Remember some gyms are targeted at different age groups, younger gyms tend to be louder and more intense, as opposed to the family type gyms.
Services – What else would you be looking for from the gym you join? Lots of gyms offer the normal additional services such as Personal Training, Nutritional Advice, and Physio. Many larger health clubs will offer a wider range of services such as beauty therapy, hairdressers, crèche’s and much more.
Convenience – In my opinion this is the most important factors to look at when choosing a gym. Many people join gyms that they would have to travel to, and this is then often used as an excuse not to attend on those low energy days. It is best if you choose a gym that is very local to home, work or ideally on your way between the two and then you are much more likely to keep your attendance up. Also parking can often be a problem at some retail park based gyms, so ensure that your new gym has adequate parking spaces, especially at peak times.
Price – The monthly membership fees must be affordable and reflect what you consider to be value for money, gyms are not cheap but there are some more budget type chains. Obviously if you join a budget gym, the levels of service tend to be lower and the range of kit tends to be less. You should consider how many visits to the gym you will realistically make each month and work out the price on a cost per visit basis, this will allow you to look at the cost more realistically Most gyms now make you sign up for a twelve month contract, if you decide to join a gym using such a contract make sure that you thoroughly read the contract, especially the cancellation terms.
All gyms should give you a tour and allow you to have a look round before you join, also you will have the chance to ask any questions that you might have from someone in the sales department. I do encourage people to talk to other members and staff in different roles in the gym, this will allow you to get a much better idea of what the gym is really like. Some gyms, if you ask, will also give you a free day pass before you join so that you can try all the various facilities before you buy, I would always recommend that you try and get one of these and have a go!
Hopefully by looking at the above factors, and deciding what is important to you before you start to visit gyms, you will find the perfect gym for you. Remember a gym should be a place you are happy to be and enjoy training at, this will greatly improve your chances of sticking to your new exercise program, and most importantly getting the results you want!