Choosing a gym doesn’t sound particularly difficult. While there might be a lot of variation – some specialise in martial arts, some in weight training etc – every fitness club is essentially concerned with the same thing and that’s getting its members into good shape. In my experience, however, your choice of gym is fairly important. Picking the wrong one results in workout failure: basically, you lose motivation and stop going. To help you to avoid this kind of outcome, I’ve done some research and put together a list of 8 ways to choose the right gym for you.
When you pick a gym, chief amongst your criteria should be location. Remember, you want to choose an establishment that’s convenient and close by. Joining a fitness club that’s miles from your work and home will just give you an excuse not to go: look for somewhere in your area, preferably a few minutes from where you live.
2. Take a Few Tours
When picking out a gym, many people will simply opt for the biggest and most popular local establishment. While this might be the easiest strategy for finding a place to work out, it is always a good idea to check out other options as well. Arrange to take tours of a few different fitness clubs. This way you’ll be able to make an informed decision, and even if you do go for the big commercial gym after all, you’ll know it’s because it’s definitely the best for you.
3. Assess the Atmosphere
Most successful fitness clubs try to cultivate a certain in-house atmosphere. Some, for example, attempt to motivate members with loud music, bright colours and lots of activity. Others opt for a more tranquil zen-flavoured vibe, stressing mind-body balance and exercise as a route to better, all-round mental and physical stability. It’s important to select an institution in which you feel comfortable; if you’re not a fan of bombastic energy, go for a quieter club and vice versa.
4. Consider the Staff
The attitude of staff members across the board plays a significant role in your experience of a fitness club. You should feel at-home, welcome and relaxed in your gym: if you don’t you’ll view your work out with general trepidation and this won’t make it any easier to get yourself training on a regular basis.
5. Evaluate the Facilities
Obviously, you want to access to a wide range of good, well-maintained facilities. If you’re a big swimmer, for example, make sure the club you join has got a decent pool. Be sure to take a good walk through every area of your potential fitness club; ask to be shown everything from the free-weights to the tennis courts.
Gyms are sweaty places by definition, and the one you choose should deal with this fact effectively. On your tour, keep your eyes open for general grime and also pay attention to the way the place smells. If it’s adequately ventilated, it should be odour free. Also, make sure you check out the bathroom and shower facilities. If they look a little on the dodgy side, consider taking your business elsewhere.
7. What is the Focus?
It’s always a good idea to find a gym that complements any sporting interests you may already have. If you’re a keen rock-climber, for example, find a gym that caters to this. The same goes for martial arts fans or dancers. A specialist gym will help you to develop your skills, and will also introduce you to a range of supplementary activities which will help you to improve: climbing gyms often feature a yoga centre, for example, to help improve flexibility, and an MMA academy might include a cardio section and free weights.
8. Can You Afford It?
Gym contracts are not cheap, and in order to make them worth the money you’re paying, it’s very important that you take maximum advantage of facilities and services offered. Before you make any decisions, ask yourself firstly, if a membership fits into your budget and secondly, if you’re really going to use it. You can also investigate off-peak deals and student discounts, both of which will reduce the fees involved.
If you’re serious about getting into shape, finding a gym that meets all of your requirements is very important. Motivating yourself to work out is difficult, to begin with, but it’s almost impossible to get excited about exercising in a fitness club you really don’t like. Hopefully, my list of 8 ways to choose the right gym for you will help you to join an establishment that matches your personality perfectly; do you have any suggestions to add to it?
Top Photo Credit: lululemon athletica