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How to choose a Gym

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When you are looking at which gym to join, it is not always as straight forward as you think it might be. There are so many factors that need to be taken into consideration to make sure that the gym you join meets your specific needs. By finding a gym that 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.

First of all you need to consider what your fitness goals are and what you will need from a gym in order to achieve them. Gyms are great places and when you find one that caters for all your needs it can become your second home. They can also be a place that people find all manner of excuses to avoid at all costs.

Below I have listed some of what I think are the most important aspects of a gym, and how they might effect your decision.

Gym
The gym floor itself, should provide you with a good range of equipment, including both cardiovascular and resistance type machines, also a good selection of free weights. There should also be a decent sized stretching area. The most important thing is that there would be enough space available at the times you are planning to go to the gym, you do not want to have to be waiting around for equipment.

Classes
If you enjoy the odd spin class or are a circuit addict, check the studio timetable and make sure that the classes you like are firstly available and secondly at a time that is accessible to you.

Pool
Make sure that the pool caters to what you would like to do in it, if you are a serious swimmer make sure that your prospective gym 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 to the kids. The pool 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 world 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.

Services
What else would you be looking for from the club you join? Lots of gym offer the expected such as Personal Training, Nutritional Advice, and Physio. Many larger health clubs will also offer beauty therapy, hairdressers, crèche’s and much more.

Convenience
In my opinion this is the most important factor 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. If you choose a gym that is very local to home, work or ideally on your way between the two you are much more likely to keep your attendance up. Also parking can often be a problem, 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. 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. 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 guided 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. 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.

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!

Tom Godwin is the Managing Director of Foresight Fitness Services (www.foresight-fitness.co.uk) and has been working within the well-being industry for 10 years, mainly as a personal trainer. Tom would love to hear you comments or your questions: info@foresight-fitness.co.uk, or if you would like to hear Tom’s many ramblings about exercise, nutrition, and wellbeing see his blog at http://personaltraineruk.blogspot.com/