Choosing A Gym - 10 Things To Look For!

Now that you've made the commitment to starting a workout program, the next step is choosing a gym. Here are ten great tips on choosing a gym that is right for you!

Now that you've made the commitment to starting a workout program, the next step is choosing a gym that you can call your home away from home. This should be a place where you feel comfortable to go on a daily 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. You definitely want to avoid that at all costs so take these factors into consideration to make sure you make the right choice!

1. Location

    It is going to be essential that the location of your gym is convenient or you are going to fall off the bandwagon before you know it.

    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. You wouldn't get back until 10 at night! Instead, choose a gym that is on your way home. You will be much less likely to skip it and will feel guilty if you just drive by.

How Long Of A Commute Do You Take To Your Gym?

Under 5 Minutes.
6-10 Minutes.
11-20 Minutes.
21-30 Minutes.
31-45 Minutes.
46 Minutes - 1 Hour.
Over An Hour.

2. Membership Cost

    For those who are concerned about finances, the membership cost of your gym is going to be a prime decision-making factor. Gym memberships can vary in cost depending on what type of plan you go on (length of term, type of usage - student or otherwise) and depending on if it is a more exclusive type of club.

Gym Membership Costs? Gym Membership Costs?
"What are typical prices of gyms? I usually lifted after school in the school weight room, but they made that against the rules now since some idiot vandalized a couple of the machines." - Xc
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    Your best bet is to check out a few different gyms in your area and then compare prices. 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.

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3. Membership Demographic

    Another factor to consider is the membership demographic. Some women will prefer going to an all-ladies gym. They do not like the feeling that males are watching them while they workout. For others, a mixed gym is the perfect solution because part of the reason they go there is to socialize and perhaps even meet a potential partner. Whatever your needs, make sure you enquire about this.

Choosing a Gym
Click Image To Enlarge.
Who Are You Looking For?

4. Extra Services

    You will want to ask if the gym offers any extra services along with your membership or at an additional cost. For mothers, a daycare service could very well be the thing that sells the membership. If they do not have the money to afford both a membership and a babysitter, the gym that offers this to them is going to win out.

    Other services could include massage, physiotherapy and nutritional consultation. All of which can add value to your membership.

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5. 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 open at the time you wish to go. 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.

When Do You Normally Workout?

Late At Night.

    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 Trainers

    Check and make sure the gym you are thinking about offers qualified personal trainers. Far too often gyms will hire personal trainers more for their sales abilities than their actual knowledge about health and fitness.

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    This could make for a potentially disastrous situation if you are new to working out. Make sure there are a wide variety of trainers as well so you can be sure to find one at the specific time you wish to be trained.

7. Group Fitness Classes

    Find a group fitness class schedule that the gym offers so you can see if there is anything of interest to you there. Often when your motivation is lacking to do yet another session on the treadmill, a cardio kickboxing class can be just the thing you need to get you into the gym that day for your workout.

Choosing A Gym
Click Image To Enlarge.
Group Fitness Can Be Very Motivating.

    Enquire also about any additional fees to join these classes. Some gyms offer them as part of your membership and others will charge extra - either per class or as a package deal.

8. Cleanliness

    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 are aplenty. Make sure they have towels and spray bottles in various places around the gym to clean up after workouts and also take a peek at the bathrooms and change rooms to make sure they are up to your standards.

Be Honest: Do You Always Wipe Down The Gym Equipment After Using It?

Yes. I'm Not A Jerk!
No. Let The Next Guy Take Care Of It.
Well Sometimes I Forget.

9. Type/Quality Of Equipment

    Looking at the type and quality of the equipment offered in the gym is another thing to consider. 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.

    Similarly with weight training, if you do more free weights than machines check out how many dumbbells they have of each weight. If you are looking for a pair of 20 pounders and they only have one set, you could be waiting a while since this is a common weight that people will use.

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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, what is going to happen? 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.

Get Out Of Gym Membership. Get Out Of Gym Membership.
"I signed a year long contract with my current gym. The only two ways to get out of the membership is to show proof that I moved or show that I have a medical condition that makes me unable to continue to work out." - 2hundred
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Choosing a gym should be a priority when it comes to getting in shape. You need to make sure you are happy with your decision or it will be another barrier you have to overcome when trying to get in your workouts. If you look over and enquire about all the things on this list though, you should end up making a decision you are comfortable with and find a gym that you enjoy visiting on a regular basis.