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Choosing The Right Gym!

Choosing the right gym that will ensure your continued and overall progress is almost as important as finding a life long companion that will be with you through all the good and bad times.

Choosing the right gym that will ensure your continued and overall progress is almost as important as finding a life long companion that will be with you through all the good times and all the bad times as well. Throughout my years of training, I have always made finding the "right" workout facility one of my highest priorities.

Why? Because finding the right gym or health club for you will guarantee your success or failure in reaching your intended fitness goals. An environment conducive to your development may accelerate your gains ten-fold. An environment that is detrimental to your success, will eventually lead to definite loss in interest and motivation. I equate this to finding the right companion because it can be viewed as an investment in your future.

Making the right decision to invest in the gym of your dreams can be a very stressful decision to make. You really won't know until you actually start to "live" there whether the decision you made is going to be a lasting relationship. No matter what decision you make, there will inevitably be things that you won't like and things you will love about it.

Do You Live In An Area With Limited Gym Choices?


The key is having or finding more things to love than to dislike in your gym or health club of choice. Finding the things that you love will happen naturally in some cases. Others will develop with time and patience. Your fortitude and dedication will enable you to find and discover the things most important and building the relationship that will be necessary to achieve and drive you towards your ultimate success.

Failure to be open to changes and resistance to becoming flexible to change, can and will eventually lead to your discontent and disenchantment with being there and investing time trying to build a solid foundation. Doesn't this all sound like a relationship and things that could make or break one?

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That is the very reason that I was inspired to write this. I have realized how similar the two are in many ways. In this article, I intend to list some of the things that should be considered when trying to find the "right" place for achieving fitness results!

Environment And Surroundings

loveThis to me is crucial in determining whether the day to day trips to the gym will be something to look forward to or something to avoid or find reason to avoid. As in a solid relationship, how that relationship with a gym develops will depend on the surroundings that foster its development. Having other motivated and inspired members, will sometimes inspire and or motivate you to be there and to make sure you make it there.

Just as a married couple should attempt to surround themselves with other married people. As a married couple, there is great value in those surrounding yourself with those that have succeeded through the trials and tribulations of the day to day experience, the same is necessary in a gym or health club atmosphere.

Surrounding yourself with others who have achieved success will help to inspire you to also succeed. When deciding if a gym or health club is right, it is important to spend a week or even two, before joining, working out there at different times. Try morning and evening workouts to get a feel for the type of atmosphere a gym has.

This will provide much of the necessary exposure you will need to enable you to get a feel for the atmosphere and decide if it is right for you. Some gyms or health clubs provide or facilitate a highly social atmosphere. This type of atmosphere is important for those who see a workout as a social or networking experience. This is okay for those with less competitive goals. A bodybuilder, however, will probably prefer a less social atmosphere since timing and intensity are key elements to success.

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However, it is important to realize that this type of gym should not be discounted immediately by a bodybuilder. As I mentioned previously, it could be that the early morning atmosphere might be conducive for a bodybuilder while the evening environment may be more attractive to a person having more social aspirations. The only way to know for certain is to experience it first hand.

Equipment Evaluation

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Evaluating the type of equipment at the gym is like appreciating all the qualities that you desire in a companion. You might prefer a gym having more free weights than machines just like you prefer a companion that is tall or short. A great place to begin, again, is to actually workout at the potential gym. This will allow you to know how well the equipment fits into your overall development plan. Things that it will help you determine are:

  • Is there enough variety of equipment for differing angles?
  • Is the equipment sturdy and well maintained?
  • Is there enough of the popular equipment such that I can get to it during your workout? (i.e.. bench press, cable pulley etc..),
  • Does cardio classes fit into my planned schedule?

I equate this to being similar to taking a person on a date to help determine if they might become a future companion of choice. You most likely would not make that determination before several dates or conversations. Deciding on a gym, should include a small degree of the same type of investigation. Also with equipment evaluation, it is critical to consider the scope of equipment that is provided.

A bodybuilder may require free weights, machines, cardio equipment (i.e.. stair climber, indoor track, heavy bag...), etc. in order to be successful at reaching their required potential. Some gyms may be lacking in one or more and sometimes all of these areas. This is all dependent on your overall goal and should be considered in light of what that might be.

Location and Hours

Location of a gym is a convenience that should have a major impact on your choice of the right gym. Again, as in finding the right companion, it is often required that a person of interest is within driving distance. Developing the foundation of a good relationship, requires a lot of time and care. The best way to provide the time and care is by having access to visit that person or talk with that person without a major investment of time or money!

This is especially important during the early stages of a relationship. The same holds true for finding the right gym. In the early stages of developing your relationship with the gym, it is important to find a gym with a convenient location and hours that facilitate your hectic schedule.

An optimal location is one that falls between work and home. This makes it easier to train before or after work without using the old, "It's too far out of the way and I'm running late..." excuse. It is also great to find a gym having multiple locations in the area. This way, you can have alternatives and it can provide more variety in terms of atmosphere and equipment.

How Long Does It Take To Drive To Your Gym?

10 Minutes Or Less.
30 Minutes Or Less.
1 Hour Or Less.
Over An Hour.

I find that, with six different gym alternatives, I can force a necessary change in my workout routine by simply deciding to train at a different location. I can also, depending on whether a competition is imminent or not, choose a gym that facilitates my atmospheric needs at that moment in time. You see, it can be advantageous in an effort to stimulate growth to have the option to choose a different gym to workout at from cycle to cycle.

It can help to revitalize you when working out in the same gym over and over becomes less and less exciting. That revitalization transforms into an opportunity for much higher intensity workouts meaning MORE GROWTH! Remember, finding and choosing a gym with a location and hours that adhere to YOUR lifestyle can help guarantee success.


Being healthy and staying healthy is the goal that most persons have who frequent gyms or health club establishments. Another key area to consider, while deciding on the right gym, is cleanliness. It is difficult to stay in a gym, train hard, and make progress when you are constantly sick! Assessing the cleanliness of a gym is paramount.

What Does Your Gym Provide For Wiping Down Equipment?

Paper Towels.
Cloth Towels.

It is, however disappointing or disgusting as it might be, necessary to investigate all aspects of cleanliness or intent to provide cleanliness. A gym that provides spray bottles with paper towels for wiping off equipment following use, indicates to me its seriousness in maintaining a healthy environment.

Whether its members choose to use the bottles is not as important as the attempt made by gym management. Showers and toilettes are another place to look that indicate cleanliness. These areas are continually used by gym members.

soapGym management that chooses to ignore the fact that keeping these areas exceptionally clean is important, obviously has very little care for its members. Having soap dispensers available and filled is another important area to check. Washing your hands, particularly after handling gym equipment, can help to prevent the spread of germs. Without anti-bacterial soap available, how certain are you that you are safe?

What will that tell you about the gym? As a bodybuilder, it can be catastrophic when an unexpected illness prevents you from being your best while in contest preparation. No matter what the cause. Being in a gym that doesn't provide a clean and healthy environment, is counter-productive and can have devastating consequences.

Once again, I will relate this to a relationship. How many times have you decided against a long-term relationship after determining that the person of interest led a more than disgusting lifestyle? Having the chance to discover this in advance, prevented an eventual life of unhappiness as a result of living in unclean surroundings. Get my point?

Knowledgeable Staff

Having a gym staff that knows why they exist and for what purpose they exist is another important consideration to be made. As important as I believe it to be, it is one of the most difficult things to find. As a gym regular, I have been asked many times by other gym members, how to use certain types of equipment, how to isolate a certain muscle group, how to diet, how often to train, how many sets are adequate, etc, etc...

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Many times the reason I am asked is purely due to the simple fact that the so-called "knowledgeable staff" is viewed as far less than knowledgeable. Many don't possess a legitimate certification of any form. Being a gym regular almost immediately implies to other new members that you are the resident expert even though the gym may claim to have on-site experts!

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As you search for a new gym or health club that will help you reach your intended goals, make sure you consider the things I have discussed in this article as well as defining areas that you feel are important to you. Remember, choosing a gym is an important investment and the choice you make can be a long lasting relationship that can lead to unending inspiration and success or turmoil and eventual failure.

Thanks again and I hope it was useful. See you next article...