If you’ve recently made a resolution to get fitter and healthier or maybe to lose weight, then you’ve probably also decided to join a gym. The two tend to go hand in hand as people seek out a new lifestyle. However, when it comes to choosing a gym there are pitfalls. Do you simply look for cheap gym membership, consider the gym’s opening hours or should you just try and find the nearest gym to you? These are just a few of the questions that you need to ask before making the commitment – and it is a commitment. Gyms not only require a dedication to your training, they also need a financial commitment from you to pay as you train or subscribe to a membership. So whilst it may be tempting to pick the cheap gym membership, this is only one factor of many.
If you’re starting to feel a little daunted by the prospect of making the wrong decision or perhaps you just need a little help in making the right one, then read on as here we look at what to look for in a gym. Still interested, then let’s get started.
It has to be a factor, if you love a particular gym, but cannot afford it, then you will not be able to go. Your perfect gym has to be within your price range, so work out how much money you are able (and willing) to invest in your health and then eliminate all of those that do not satisfy the criteria.
There is however a little more to cost than the monthly subscription. You need to take into account some other factors. For example, you may be able to join on a discounted membership – but what happens when this discount runs out? There are also the add-ons to be wary of. Remember the gym is a business, and businesses would rather your money be in their pockets than your own, so they are adept at helping you spend it. Are there are extra classes you might have to pay for, or elements of the subscription that you will perhaps never use? Don’t sign up for the pool if you have no intention of diving in and neither should you sign up to all of the classes if you just want to hit the weights. Also, do you really need to commit for over 12 months, and what happens if you get an injury etc. It’s you training and it’s your money too so spend it wisely.
On the matter of cost there is one more element that needs to be considered. Many people join gyms because they believe they are the only means of attaining their fitness goals. This is wrong. You do not always have to hit the gym to get fit etc. Some end up joining and paying their subscriptions and then give up going when they do not see immediate results. These people are paying not to train – for the gym, they are the ideal members!
Although your training is all about you, and perhaps maybe a partner, you will need to consider the type of person who uses the gym. Some gyms are selective in who they offer membership whilst others are designed for specific groups. Either you decide whether or not you want to be a member of such a gym, or find one that is right for you.
If you do however want to train amongst only your peers then it may benefit you further as the gym may focus more on the type of classes and programmes etc. that suit your own goals.
The biggest factor however when it comes to who else trains at the gym is the question of how many are there?! If the gym is over-subscribed and too busy at the times you want to be training, then there’ll be periods of hanging around waiting for specific equipment to become free. Time stood still waiting is time not training, and remember you are paying for the privilege.
One good way of checking numbers is of course to ask, but another is to undertake your induction at the time of day when you would normally be training yourself. So say 6pm after work, go along and see just how busy it gets. If it looks like you could get lost in the crowd, then consider using a different gym altogether – there are many more available!
Part of the problem when it comes to numbers is the amount of equipment that the gym has to offer. So, if you are thinking of hitting the treadmill, but then there are only two and they are always in use, then this really isn’t the gym for you. Likewise if there is a surplus of rowing machines, but you want to hit the weights, then again perhaps it is time to look elsewhere. You should know before you train what elements you will be incorporating and then you can choose your gym accordingly.
Good gyms should have sufficient cardio machines such as treadmills, a well-stocked free weights area, with realistic weights too, static machine weights, a warm up/stretching area and enough space between the areas so as not to get too crowded. It is a given that they have suitable, sufficient, working and clean changing rooms etc. but you may also be looking for additional factors such as a pool, steam room and sauna or a fitness studio for classes.
Studies have shown that if you need to drive more than 15 minutes to get to the gym, then the likelihood is you’ll start skipping sessions, and eventually quit altogether. You’ll have already done a day’s work have got stuck in two commutes, so the last thing you’ll want to do is to sit for longer in your car just to get to the gym – it’s altogether too much and you haven’t even started training yet!
You need a gym that is accessible both geographically and at times to suit you. If you work shifts, you may need a 24 hour gym, but if you work more regular hours this may not be necessary – so why pay for it! Check the drive to the gym, the parking and the hours, and then see whether or not your preferred choice would be practical.
People go to gyms to sweat, sweat is a perfect incubator for germs, and although it is okay to train with your own sweat, you do not need to be training amongst other peoples! The cleanliness of a gym is very important but do not automatically assume that the bigger gyms are cleaner. Those smaller privately owned gyms can at times demonstrate a pride of ownership that isn’t seen by employees in big chains working on minimum wage. Looks can be deceptive!
Like cleanliness, maintenance problems can often go ignored at larger gyms, as the argument is that there is much more equipment. What you should care about however is that the machines are not only kept clean, but they are also kept in good working order and regularly maintained for optimum performance and safety.
If you’ve been to a gym you’ll know that there are always people willing to offer help – which isn’t the same as the gym being full of helpful people. There is always a myriad of advice that can leave you confused. What you need is clear, concise and correct advice and some gyms can offer this, whether it be through well trained staff who can help devise workout programmes and diets etc. or through the supply of personal trainers. Remember though, a personal trainer will probably want to be paid, and that is another expense to add onto membership, travel and clothing etc. A search you should consider is “cheap gyms near me”.
You’d think that joining a gym would be easy, and of course it is. The difficulty though is joining the right gym, which is less straightforward. Hopefully these words of encouragement and advice will help you filter out your choices and enable you to make the right decision. Thereafter it is entirely up to you to train, keep dedicated and invest in yourself. With one less thing to worry about though you are much more likely to succeed in achieving your goals. Now is the time to join the right gym for you!