One of the biggest keys to reaching your fitness goals can easily be the place where you workout. Choosing the right location can either motivate you to achieve success or push you away from a fitness lifestyle altogether. Here are some important factors that are key in helping you make a successful gym selection.
Location: The gym you choose should be easily accessible. Try to find one that is within 20 minutes of both work and home. This can often be done by selecting a gym chain that has multiple locations for you to use. If you have to choose between proximity to home or work, choose a gym that’s closer to your home. Choosing one that’s close to work won’t help you on weekends or holidays or if you change jobs.
Atmosphere: The key to finding a gym with the right atmosphere can be summed up in one question, how comfortable do you feel being there? This will be different for different people. What motivates some may intimidate others. Try visiting prospective clubs during the time when you will actually be training to get an accurate feel for the place. Is the staff friendly and helpful? Is it too crowded? Is it too hot or cold? Is the music too loud or not to your liking? Is the locker room clean? Is there enough parking and is the lot well lit and safe for both you and your vehicle? Do the members seem friendly and respectful or will you need pepper spray? If you’re female, are there enough other women present that you don’t feel out of place, or is it a boys club? The feeling of comfort can play a big role in your future training enjoyment.
Equipment: Does the gym have what you need to accomplish your training objectives? Are there enough pieces of apparatus that you won’t have to wait? Is the equipment of good quality and variety between free weights and top machine brands? Are the machines properly maintained? Is there a separate cardio area with a good amount and variety of pieces? Does the gym have any specialized equipment that you would want to use like kettlebells, medicine balls, prowlers, lifting platform, TRX, heavy bags, or stretching apparatus. Does the club have someone to assist you if you have a question or problem regarding any equipment? Are the dumbbells heavy enough or light enough? Are there multiple sets of dumbbells so you don’t have to wait all day for a pair you need? These are all questions that should be in your mind when touring a facility.
Amenities: The services that a gym provides can often be a big factor in determining if it is the ideal place for you. Do their hours of operation fit your schedule? Do they offer personal training for their members? How’s their aerobics room and floor? Are there any classes that you might be interested in like spinning, kickboxing, Zumba, Ujam, Pilates, Bodypump or yoga? Will you be paying for things you may or may not use like basketball courts, swimming pools, or racquet ball? Make sure your prospective gym has all the things you absolutely need. A juice bar and a pro shop may be great but won’t matter much if you need child care and they don’t offer it.
Price: Although it’s always important to get the best price possible, this should never be the most important factor in choosing your new gym. Many facilities will purposely undercut their competition to get you in the door knowing that the majority of new members will not last out the year. What makes this strategy work is that some of their contracts are next to impossible to get out of unless you relocate to another area, and even then you may be required to transfer to their local facility. Never join a gym simply because it is the cheapest. Also, never choose a long term installment contract over a month-to-month agreement. First, find the places you like the most and feel confident that you would enjoy being a member. From that list you can make your decision based on the previously mentioned factors. If there is one place you happen to like but the price is causing you to hesitate, many gyms will have no problem making you a reasonable offer in terms of price as it relates to their competition.
Conclusion: By utilizing these guidelines, you will have the tools necessary to find the best possible place for your training enjoyment. If you have limited options in your area and can’t seem to find any place that has what you ideally want, don’t fret. With the right amount of imagination and determination, you will find a way to overcome whatever shortcomings your facility might have. But if you take the time initially to do your homework, you will probably make a decision you will never regret.
Location: Metroflex Gym, Texas Photo: Terry Goodlad Model: Natalie Benson