First off, you must determine your own fitness goals. Are you aiming high? Are you aiming low? Are you merely trying to remain healthy? Do you want to build? Do you want to tone? Do you just want to lose weight? Or do you just need a place to hang out and talk to chicks (which in my view, is not a good place)?
Whatever the case, not every fitness facility on every street corner is going to adhere to the needs of every particular person. For example, if you are a middle-aged woman looking to trim the excess body fat, the hard-core testosterone of a Powerhouse Gym may not be your cup of tea. On the other side, if you are ready to take the bodybuilding circuit and next year's Arnold Classic by storm, then the lighter, more subdued Bally's Fitness may not help you find the beef you have been searching for. After you have determined what your fitness goals ultimately entail, forget what you have heard about that downtown gym through word of mouth. At almost every gym you will enter for the first time, an employee will offer you a tour of the facility. Take them up on it. There is no better way to assess the health club than to see it for your self. Here are a couple of factors to consider when joining your gym.
You do not want to be that sore thumb, sticking out in the gym. Once again, find the gym that best adheres to you. Often times, new gym-goers who suffer from insecurities of being in a new environment prefer a quieter, more subtle crowd. Gyms that are packed from wall to wall with muscle blasters may be a bit too much and could ultimately force them out the door, for good. Meanwhile, there are many trainers who crave the competitive gatherings and need the constant scrutiny of fellow trainers in order to propel them toward their goals. It all depends on you. But if there is anything that determines the characteristics of the gym, it is certainly the characters themselves.
After all, this is why you are really here, isn't it? If you were just doing sit-ups, you would do them in your own living room. Right? The equipment that your gym carries both the quantity and the quality. It is a lot like your car, it takes you where you want to go in your fitness journey. While hard core bodybuilders generally prefer to ride their success through free weights, many of the toning crowd will gravitate to the Nautilus-type machines. There are many trainers who crave specific machines, like cable apparatuses or Smith machines. Check out the availability of this equipment before committing to the gym.
Hours are a big key. Some gyms close at 8 o'clock on the weekdays. Others stay open until midnight, even beyond. For you night owls, that could be an ideal situation. And there are numerous other intangibles that figure into your health club requirements. Elements like cleanliness, heating, and even lighting can often make or break your opinions of a facility. If you are like me, and there is not a big selection of gyms to choose from, there is always a 24 hours gym nearby or a YMCA. The location is very important too. Often times, people are discouraged from going to the gym because it takes 20 minutes to go get there. Try to pick one nearby if you can.
But, of course, nothing determines a gym sale more than the almighty buck. Afford ability will always take top priority. Not trying to advertise for any gyms, but, there are a lot of gyms out there that give out bargains for graduating seniors (high school). You can usually bargain them down to a great monthly rate, but the only thing that hurts is the initiation and enrollment fee. If you are not up for giving 500 bucks for an initiation and enrollment fee, head over to your YMCA, they might not have a lot, but it is usually fairly cheap, and you do not pay any initiation fee. Test drive the GYM. After you have chosen a few gyms, go to them and pay them for the guest pass (sometimes it is free). Try it out; get the feel for things, just as you would when you are buying a car.
Check out our review of the new Gold's Gym in Meridian, Idaho. It will show you what features some good gyms have!