Choosing a Gym: Don’t Underestimate the Importance!

Hey guys! Sorry for the long time since the last update but you know how life gets!

But I’m happy to be back and thought I’d talk about something that can be ultra important when getting started on a weight loss fitness plan: choosing a gym.

choosing a gym is an important decision

What to look for in a gym

There’s a lot of things you need to consider when you’re searching for the gym that’s right for you. Types of equipment available, whether or not you want things like a pool or a running track, and other amenities like tanning if you aren’t super white like me :)

But in my opinion, the most important thing when choosing a gym is location.

Just like in real estate, picking the gym that’s right for you is all about location, location, location.

No matter how great a fitness club is, how many free workout plans they give you, etc., if it’s in a crappy location you won’t go.

But a gym right down the street that you CAN’T ignore, can’t help but seeing it whispering “lose weight fast” or come “work on your abs” every time you pass, that’s the gym for you.

I’ve got lots of gyms near me

That’s great! That’s when you really start to get pick about choosing a gym. This where the things we discounted earlier like amenities, personal trainers, size of gym, cleanliness of locker room, and more come into play.

How do I test the equipment

When you’ve got a few gyms near you that you’re thinking about, go in an ask for a free week pass or personal training session. Tell them you’re in the process of choosing a gym and they’ll likely be eager to get your business. You can also try looking online, most major gyms will have specials running pretty much year round.

The more local the gym, the more they may be willing to work with you on giving you a trial pass.

During your trial pass, you want to pay attention to things like how well maintained the equipment is (look for fraying wires, torn bench padding) and how good a job people do at putting their equipment back. This is something that I’ve found totally depends on staff and gym rules.

All gyms should have rules to put your equipment back, but many will not enforce it at all. At these gyms, even the people who practice good gym etiquette eventually give up and stop putting their dumbbells back as well.

Make sure you get in a full body workout during your gym pass trial. Try all the equipment you think you might use if you become a full gym member there. Don’t be afraid to switch up your workout for just that week (or however long it is) to ensure you try everything you want to during the period before you’re obligated to pay.

Things to look for in fellow gym goers

Here’s some of the things I look for in a gym that has a good, supportive culture for all body types:

  • courteous behavior (this includes taking care of the equipment)
  • proper hygiene (wiping down machines and benches after use)
  • proper noise levels (no excessively loud music or grunting)
  • MOST IMPORTANT: respectful

The last one can include everything from men (or women) not leering at other gym goers, STAFF not leering at gym goers, and generally a judgment-free zone.

There are no excuses for poor gym etiquette and proper gyms will not allow it. If you see it happening at your prospective gym, cross it off your list. These problems start at the top and the gym staff clearly have not made your gym experience a priority.

Here’s a helpful video about gym etiquette you might like:

 

It’s time to sign-up for a gym membership

So, you’ve found a place to workout that’s close to home, has well-maintained gym equipment, and courteous staff and attendees. Here’s some tips for signing-up for a gym membership.

  1. Avoid long term deals at all costs. Don’t let them get you wrapped up into a 3 yr deal by telling you how much you’ll be saving per month. A lot of things can change during that time including you moving or the gym changing ownership. Some gyms have even been known to make you prove that you’ve moved before allowing those who moved out of state out of contracts.
  2. Take advantage of group deals. Make sure you do your research before signing-up for you fitness membership. Check sites like Groupon and see if there’s any group deals you can get in on. You can often save by signing-up on line rather than in person, as well.
  3. Maximize your discounts. If you work for a large employer in the area there’s a good chance they’ll have deals in place with the local gyms. Ask during sign-up what affiliations the gym has, and see if your workplace is one of them. You may also be eligible for other discounts if you’re a student or in the military.

The most important thing about choosing a gym

USING IT! It doesn’t do your body good just being a debit on your checking account every month. Get out there, get up off your soon to be firm butt, and make that money you’re shelling out worth it! You’ve got nothing to lose but the old, less fabulous you!

Happy lifting/running/whatever you do! :)