Joining a new gym can be much like choosing a new school for your children, or even a new doctor or dentist. When you are trying something, new there are a series of observations you should make and questions you should ask. This also goes for choosing a new gym, as it can be a very big decision if you are planning on spending time there 3-5 days a week.
There are several characteristics that make a gym “good quality,” and it is always best to shop around for better membership benefits before settling on one that costs the same as the others but may not offer as much to its members.
When to Join a Gym
The best time to join a gym is the moment you discover you need the health benefits. Waiting around for a specific starting time can cause you to become anxious during the wait. It also encourages you to eat more because it’s will be your last chance to binge before starting the big diet and exercise plan. This can set you up for failure before you even start, so get started choosing your gym, any time of year will do.
When you are ready to become an avid gym goer, the best thing to do is make a list of all the gyms and fitness centers within ten to twenty minutes from your home. The best location will actually be somewhere between work, and home. If your gym is too far out of your way you will be less likely to become committed.
Take the Time to Visit
Once you have your list of gyms and fitness centers, visit each one. Most placed offer a free day pass to try and gain your business. They will want to sell you with the perks or their business and will likely spend more time showing you around the establishments and letting you know their gyms selling points. On your tour or during your day pass, make a list of the things you like and dislike about the gym.
What to Look for in a New Gym
Some of the features you should look for include:
- Comfort – Being a new member of anything can be a little uncomfortable for anyone but be sure if that is going to be the gym you choose, you enjoy being there. Look at the general population and the staff as well.
The person at the desk should be kind, courteous and willing to show you around. Also, if you live near a major university or college, know that the gym’s busiest times will be after college classes and from August until May. Then there will be a down time over the summer months. If you are not comfortable working out with big populations of men, or college athletes, you may want to avoid a gym near a campus.
- Equipment – Walking into a gym ready to get your burn on can quickly turn into a disaster if you have to wait to use a treadmill. Make sure the gym you are touring has enough machines during peak times where you won’t have to wait to use one.
If you are interested in aquatic fitness activities, obviously you will want to make sure there is a pool. Sometimes a gym or a fitness center will have a yoga room where you can bring your yoga mat or exercise ball to work out.
- Classes – If you are the type of person who needs external motivation or can commit to exercise better by having support, make sure there are classes available that will fit into your schedule. Some common classes include, but are not limited to yoga, kick boxing, zumba, pilates, and usually whatever the newest fitness craze happens to be!
- Professional Trainers – Most fitness centers and gyms have professional trainers that will come in and work with you, usually it’s for an additional fee, but sometimes they will give out free sessions to attract future business.
- The Cost- Be sure you ask how much the membership is and whether classes, or the pool comes with it. Also, if they offer you a long-term membership, try starting out with a month-to-month trial first to make sure you like it there. Also find out if you are eligible for any discounts whether it is a student, senior, or if they accept your insurance.
Quality Over Quantity
As always, you should also check to make sure the establishment is clean. If the gym is not well kept, there is a possibility that the machinery isn’t well kept either. Gym equipment requires routine maintenance, so if you see machines with signs that read “out of order,” there is a good sign the machinery isn’t well kept.
By taking a few simple steps and knowing what to look for, you can find the perfect gym for your workout needs. A bit of work in advance will make sure you’re pleased with your choice and will enjoy it for as long as you want.
Happy gym hunting!