Whether you just moved to a new area or have recently decided to add exercise to your weekly routine, choosing the right gym can encourage you to head there more often, hence garnering you positive results.
If you have the time, it's a good idea to visit a few gyms before settling on one in order to see the different things offered and the setup of the gym itself.
That said, here are some more things you should keep in mind before you sign a contract.
Choosing the right gym tip # 1
Location & parking
Is the gym located in a place that you would really head to before or after work, or even on the weekends? Women tend not to attend a gym that requires more than a 12-minute drive, so make sure the gym is close enough to where you work or live.
As well, if you like a gym but it takes over 10 minutes to find a parking spot, what are the chances that you'll really be motivated to go day after day? Make sure they have adequate parking facilities.
Choosing the right gym tip # 2
Staff & members
Are the staff polite and helpful or do they look at you in a territorial way? It's important to feel welcome by the staff or you may not want to go there very often.
What about the members? Although you can't head there for a week straight to check them all out, you can get a feel for what the clientele is like (I suggest visiting the gyms at a time that you plan to head there and train).
Feel free to ask members how they like it, what they don't like about the gym and how long they've been members. They have nothing to gain by lying.
Choosing the right gym tip # 3
Although gyms can't be 100% germ free, the staff can make an effort to dust and clean the machines regularly. If you see vents filled with years of dust or unhygienic practices, you shouldn't join.
Are there towels and cleaning products available for members to clean up after themselves should they end up sweating on the machines?
Besides checking out the actual gym, take a look at the changing rooms. Are the showers clean? Are the sinks filled with hair and dirt? Are the toilets in working order and hygienic? Are empty lockers filled with dirty tissues and dried mud from women's shoes?
Choosing the right gym tip # 4
Besides training facilities, does the gym offer daycare services, juice bars and tanning beds? It's awesome when your gym becomes a one-stop shop for all your needs.
What about blow dryers, towels, shampoo, and soap? Does the gym offer these things or will you need to bring them yourself? I've been to gyms that offer everything from free apples to the locks for your lockers, but the membership costs were ludicrous.
Choosing the right gym tip # 5
Hours of operation
Not only do you want to know what time the gym opens and closes, you also want to go there at a time when you plan to workout. This will help you figure out if this is the gym for you.
For example, if you plan on doing a lot of cardio at 5:30 pm, and the gym is packed and all the machines are taken, it's best to know that before you sign up.
Choosing the right gym tip # 6
Weight training equipment
What weight do they offer? Do the weights ascend in 2.5-pound increments or 5-pound increments (if you're a beginner, 2.5 pound increments is better)? Do the weights look old and abused or are they well-maintained? Are there a lot of benches?
What about the weighted machines? Are any of them broken or are they all well-maintained? Are there directions on how to use machines posted or are you left to guess what each machine is for?
Choosing the right gym tip # 7
Most gyms offer a host of cardio equipment, the most popular among them being:
o Elliptical machines
o Upright and spinning bikes
o Stair climbers
o Rowing machines
Not only should you be checking if the cardio equipment is well-kept and in working order, you should also take mental note of how many machines there are. During peak hours, chances are that most, if not all, will be taken.
Do you have to sign in to reserve a machine or does it work on a first-come first-serve basis? Is there a maximum amount of time you can use a machine for?
As well, is there an aerobics room available for jumping rope and other cardio activities?
Choosing the right gym tip # 8
Some gyms offer aerobics classes as part of the membership cost, while others charge you extra for attending classes. If yoga, Pilates, tae bo, and other classes are very important to you, then you need to find out how each particular gym works.
Choosing the right gym tip # 9
If you're checking out franchise gyms, ask about their gym-to-gym policy. That is, if you sign up to this gym near your home and there happens to be one close to your work, can you go to other one without a problem?
Some franchise gyms require that you purchase a "special 'membership in order to attend all available facilities.
Choosing the right gym tip # 10
Find out how the payment plan works. Sometimes, it's much cheaper to pay the entire year off in one shot rather than make monthly payments, but it's up to you to figure out which option is best for you.
Also, inquire about the gym's cancellation or delay policy. Some gyms will give you a partial refund and allow you to put your membership on hold if you want to go on vacation.
Before you commit yourself to the gym for a year, however, ask for a complimentary pass so that you can experience what the gym is like firsthand.
Choose the right gym
As you can see, there is a lot of ground to cover when you're hunting for the perfect gym, but with a little effort and a lot of questions, you can find yourself the perfect place to workout.
Work it out.