People often choose gyms that don't make it easy for them to lose weight or to become fitter. For example, they join a gym that's out of the way or that has restrictive hours. Follow these three tips on how to pick a gym that you'll actually go to.
Write down your gym essentials
Want to ramp up your strength training? Then you're looking for different features in a gym than a person whose primary goal is to lose weight. Someone who wants to get slimmer might prefer a gym that provides group fitness classes and aerobic exercise machines such as stationary bikes, treadmills and elliptical trainers. In addition, such a person might need plenty of TVs to keep entertained while exercising. On the other hand, a strength trainer might prefer a gym that provides a space for free weights. Look over the following list of common gym features and decide which ones matter to you, then make sure any gym you're considering has those amenities:
- Child care
- All-hours access
- Group fitness classes included in the membership price
- Plenty of alternatives if your machines or equipment pieces are unavailable
- Personal trainers
- Locker rooms with showers
- Massage therapy discounts
- No contract
Think about what time of day you can work out
The location is a big reason that gyms don't work out for some people. Thus, it's critical that you sync your workout schedule with the location of your gym. Usual times to exercise include before work, during lunch breaks, after work and on weekends. It is important to choose a gym that does not require you to go out of your way.
- If you plan to work out during lunch or after work, check out gyms close to your office.
- If you plan to exercise before work in the morning, pick a gym near home. (An exception is if heavy traffic is a problem, and you can beat it if you exercise closer to work.)
- If your aim is to work out mostly on weekends or you work from home, opt for a gym close to where you live.
In general, you should choose a gym no more than ten minutes away from your home or office.
Experiment with different gyms
Before you hand over your hard-earned dollars to a gym, try it out. See if it truly fits your schedule, and if the amenities it offers are what you need. While you're testing out a facility, pay attention to the following details which may make or break your experience:
- How crowded the gym is
- How clean the gym and locker rooms are (check corners for dust and dirt)
- Availability of spray bottles or wipes
- Whether the staff members are friendly
- The lighting
- The volume of music
- Culture of the gym (are all types of folks welcome, or is there a focus on one activity, such as bodybuilding?)
Many gyms offer passes for free visits, and you can also find discounts on sites such as Groupon. Try out a prospective gym for at least a week before deciding to commit to it.