Now that you've made the commitment to starting a workout program, the next step is choosing a gym that you will feel comfortable going to on a regular basis. If it isn't, chances are you aren't going to stick with any type of regular plan and will eventually just stop going altogether. By being sure your gym is a good fit for you, you help take yourself one step further to realizing your health and fitness goals.
Keep in mind that if a traditional gym isn't for you, you can definitely set up a home gym where you can get complete workouts all in the privacy of where you live. There are a number of home gym systems out there that include all the equipment you need to perform all the key lifts that should be included in any workout program.
Who really wants to spend twice as long driving to and from their gym as it takes them to do their workout? After a long day of work you are not going to want to spend a good hour fighting traffic, another hour working out, and then another half an hour driving home. Think about either choosing a gym that is located close to your house or else on the drive to or from work. This is a great option since if you have to pass by it every day, you'll be reminded of the fact that you should be working out if you choose to skip it.
2. Membership Cost
Gym memberships can really vary in costs so it's a good idea to shop around before making that final commitment. Also consider how long you are signing the contract for as this can vary too. Many gyms like to rope you in for years and if you aren't quite sure it's going to be a long-term arrangement, you're better off finding something that is more short-term.
Additionally, if you can wait until around late summer or New Year to sign up, you will find that often many gyms will have special promotions going on at this time.
3. Membership Demographic
Another factor to consider is the membership demographic that goes to the gym. Some women will prefer going to an all-ladies gym as it increases their comfort factor. For others, a mixed gym is the perfect solution because half of the reason they go there is to socialize and perhaps even find a date.
Whatever your needs, make sure you enquire about this and take it into consideration.
4. Additional Benefits
You will want to ask if the gym offers any additional services or benefits along with your basic membership and if there is a fee for these. Such examples would be daycare services, physiotherapy, massage therapy, nutritional counselling, and fitness testing.
5. Operating Hours
Always be sure to check the hours of operation of the gym. If you are an early morning exerciser you will want to be sure they are able to cater to this preference. Additionally ask about their holiday policies. Many people enjoy working out on the holidays because it is a relaxed day for them when they can really get in a good workout. If you are looking forward to this and then go and find out the gym is closed, you are going to be more than disappointed. Similarly there are some people who prefer working out late at night so you need to be sure that if this is the case you will be able to do that.
6. Personal Training Services
Having some good, qualified personal trainers on hand is critical to helping you realize your full fitness potential. Even if you are fine with your program right now, consider that in a year down the road you might be plateauing and in need of a 'check-up' so to speak on your current regime.
Having the option available of knowledge staff cannot be stressed enough. Unfortunately many gyms hire almost anyone who has a basic interest in fitness, so be sure to enquire about the actual certifications these trainers hold.
7. Group Fitness Classes
Be sure to ask about all the various group fitness classes that are offered at the gym you are considering. Often, when boredom kicks in on your workout plan, this is just the thing to get you going again.
These days there are currently thousands of different fitness class styles available, so there is sure to be something that suites your interest.
When checking up on this, again inquire if there are any additional fees associated with it so you are prepared for when you go to sign up.
One very important factor you want to look for is the cleanliness of the gym. You do not want to be working out on equipment that is not clean as gyms are a place where germs can be in high concentration. Also make sure they have towels and spray bottles in various places around the gym to clean up after workouts, and have a look at the bathrooms and change rooms to make sure they are up to your standards.
9. Type/Quality Of Equipment
Looking at the type and quality of the equipment offered in the gym is another thing you must factor in. If you prefer free weights, make sure there is a large number of dumbbells present because during rush hours, these could be hard to come by.
Likewise, if you prefer doing your weight training on guided machines, you'll want to be sure they have enough variety that you can work all the necessary muscles on your body. If you find yourself doing a lot of cardio training as part of your workouts you will want to be sure there are ample machines available.
Nothing is more frustrating than getting to the gym after work to find out that there is not a single machine in sight available for you to use. Ask if they offer a sign-up list where you can write your name and time down to reserve a machine. This is a great solution that many gyms have now come up with to make sure their members can get their workouts in.
10. Cancellation Policy
Finally take a look at the gym's cancellation policy. If you sign up for a 3 year membership and then end up moving after a year due to work, are you going to be partially refunded? It will be a bad situation if they offer no refund or transfer membership.
Some gyms are good about this and some are not so you will have to weigh the likelihood of your cancelling among other things that are discussed above when making your decision.
So, be sure you are considering all of these essential factors when choosing gym. Overlooking just one could lead you to being less than happy with your workout facility and this could end up being the reason why you do not stick with your program.