“If you are going to choose a gym, then choose the one that fits you”
Choosing the right gym can be somewhat difficult because there are so many gyms to choose from but all of them are a bit different inside, pricing, offers, the types of people that flock to it, the size, the equipment, the hours of operation and the customer service. It’s especially harder for those who have never been to a gym, have anxiety working out in front of others, live in a smaller town, and don’t know what to look for in a gym. I have decided to provide a list of things that I believe are important when you go to choose the right gym for you, and of course this doesn’t mean you have to stick to just one gym, I know plenty of people who are members of multiple gyms and still workout at home so it doesn’t have to be the one and only place you exercise; and even myself included is considering joining a second gym that offers something different. Do this with an open mind.
Below is a list a things to consider when searching for the right gym:
- look at the location, is it near where you work, live, a place where you wouldn’t have problems getting transportation to. This is important, because I have met people in my life who choose a gym on the other side of town, & will use that excuse for why they don’t go (to save gas, it’s too far away, ect) so be aware of the location. I found that the closer the gym is to where someone works/lives the more often they will attend & the less excuses they will make.
- The price. Believe or not, the price can be a HUGE reason as to whether to choose a certain gym, all gyms range in different membership prices/fees so make sure to research them and ask. Gyms with newer equipment, more services, variety of equipment, classes, experienced staff and clean tend to be more pricey so take that into consideration. The cheaper of the gyms may not offer the same unique experience, or not have as much equipment, older building with less cleanliness, no services or classes OR the cheapest gym could offer the same and be better priced. NEVER GO BROKE because of gym membership. Choose something you can afford and feel comfortable paying but look at the pros & cons of each gym.
- Ask for second opinions; go online and search reviews, ask peers, look at magazines, talk to people that have worked there in the past, coworkers, Anyone!!, Tell them what you are looking for and match it up
- Take the free trial run, some gyms offer a 30 day or 15 day or even a 1 day event where you can come in and workout and visit the location, scope out the activities, the equipment, meet other people and see what they think, ask questions about the gym; hell go and workout for the day and see if you are comfortable. This is called “Test driving”, if you can do it, DO IT! it’s very important to take advantage of these events and offers because they are your help and can make a difference in your choices. Don’t be afraid to do this, it’s the one sure way of finding out if they gym fits your needs.
- General fitness vs specific workout area; This is important to consider; this is where you need to analyze your needs and wants. If you are someone looking to do yoga, and the gym only offers treadmills and elliptical machines and you can’t see yourself doing that, then you know you should find a gym that offers yoga classes or a yoga studio gym instead. If you are a bodybuilder or someone who prefers “free weights” and the gym has more machines and hardly any or none “free weights” then the gym obviously is not right for you and maybe you should find one with more “free weights”, if you are someone who doesn’t like “free weights” then find a gym with more machines involved. If you want to be a boxer and need to train, then find a gym that offers a boxing class or find a boxing studio dedicated to it. The problem is so many people “settle” & end up not benefiting themselves whatsoever because they choose a gym that isn’t what fits their needs. If you want a gym where you come to just walk a treadmill, then you need to look for a gym that offers them. If you are a swimmer and want a pool, then look at gyms that offer pools. It’s really not a hard concept but people overlook this when they choose a gym. Choose the gym based on what you need and want.
- Flexibility of cost; before signing up, ask them if this is a locked commitment membership or what their cancelling fees are, if the prices change monthly or yearly or if you get refunded.. ask questions like this because you don’t want any “unknown” fees. Not to mention this question can help make the pricing negotiations too; so that you are able to afford the gym. Most gym if they want to help you, will and with this knowledge it can help you decide what way to go.
- Gym hours; This important for those of you, like myself who have variable schedules and work/go to school or have other obligations. Make sure the gym hours correspond with your scheduling each week/month. If a gym isn’t going to be open on the days your available then that gym probably isn’t right for you. Having a routine can help you progress in the gym, if you want to go to the gym mon-friday and they aren’t open at the times you need then that will make it harder on you to get to the gym. I normally like gyms that are open 24 hours, these work with my schedule since I am a full time college student and work and so no matter what my day is like I still have time to make it to the gym. With these those, sometimes the gyms don’t have staff after certain hours; so if that would bother you, then I would ask and see. My gym luckily has staff at all times during the 24 hours & I like that. So it’s important to find a gym that works around your schedule so you can get into routine.
- Environment/surroundings; Again another important aspect to look at, for the reason being no one wants to feel uncomfortable working out in front of others. Different gyms have different types of people flocking to them. If you surround people who make you feel comfortable, you will be in a much happier place. I have heard of people saying they “hate gyms that have bigger guys grunting and moaning and throwing down equipment; showing off their muscles and boasting themselves.. ” which is understandable because it either intimidates them, angers them, whatever it might be and if that is you, then make sure you choose a gym where that isn’t allowed or where it doesn’t happen very often (rarely) so you can workout without feeling uncomfortable. On the other hand I’ve heard people say “I don’t like gyms where people only come to walk the treadmill and listen to their headphones, the free weights only go up to a certain amount and they don’t allow me to wear cut off shirts.. or shorts.. “; then obviously someone like this person should find a gym that compliments what makes them feel comfortable. If you have a family and want a family oriented gym, then look at gyms that welcome familie’s and have family memberships (like the YMCA) it gives both the adults and children something to do to stay active. If you are married and want to be around other married couples, find out where they go and look into it. The bottom line is, choose a gym where YOU ARE COMFORTABLE. If you aren’t comfortable, then you will find every excuse to not go.
- Cleanliness of the gym; I promote health and wellness, so you should take into consideration how clean the gym is and what they offer/if they offer something to clean the equipment. It’s hard to be healthy if you are constantly sick. A clean gym is important when it comes to staying healthy & promoting healthiness.
- Knowledgeable staff/good customer service. A gym should have staff that know how each machine works, can help identify which machine is used for certain exercises, if they have personal trainers ( preferably certified) then they should be able to help you get started & know stuff that can help you better understand what you need. I plan on becoming a certified personal trainer soon, so I know what it takes and know what they should know but not everyone does and if anything seems a bit “off” do your own research or ask another trainer. The staff should be friendly and willing to help and welcoming, if they look like they hate their job and want nothing to do with you, you should probably rethink your decision.
The gym isn’t meant to be a “bully” it’s meant to be a helping hand, to be your extra push in the right direction and offer you a place to get away and think about your needs and wants in health/fitness & work on self. If a gym is a place you avoid because you have had bad experiences, look into another one or find out what about that gym you didn’t like and when you are ready to find a new one if you choose then make sure you don’t make the same mistake twice and choose the same thing. If you are uncomfortable working out in front of others, that is understandable, not everyone likes being outside their comfort level with others potentially watching them but with that being said sometimes going outside your comfort level can actually make you stronger as a person. Just keep that in mind. if you have no gyms around you, then consider exercising indoors at your house or go outside and exercise; a gym is not the ONLY means of staying active. If your job or school offers a gym, join that one and see if you like it, you might be surprised as to who all uses it and most likely it’s probably free of charge. If you don’t like working out at a gym alone, then find someone you know who would commit to being your workout partner, if you can’t afford a gym membership then again find another means of staying active. A gym can be a safe haven or a hell.. you get to choose the experience and how you use it. Choose wisely.
Thank you for reading, feel free to follow me, comment, like and share.
Your blogger Shay-lon