When selecting a gym, there are many factors to consider before signing on the line. Many gyms have a contract requiring payment whether or not you use the facility. The agreement may cover 12 months and be non-refundable. Our first advice is to read through the entire contract before you sign.
Make a List of Your Ultimate Gym
You’ve decided to get into better shape or maybe lose a few pounds. Maybe your doctor told you to start exercising to help your cardiovascular health. Whatever your reason, make a list of features and functions you desire in a gym.
Depending on your age and physical limitations, that can mean vastly different things to different people. If you enjoy walking, you may look for a gym with nothing but treadmills. If you are doing some weight training, you may want a gym with free weights or multi-machines to facilitate your routine.
It can be helpful to begin with a list of the things you may want to see in a local gym. Some items you might include on your list are:
- Weight machines for upper body fitness
- Weight machines for lower body workouts
- Free weights
- Swimming pool
- Showering facilities
- Lockable lockers
- Friendly staff
- Affordable monthly rates
- Hours of operation
- Close to home
- Close to work
Discover What You Need from a Gym
Our list is not complete. When you compile your list, add the things you like and want to see. If you’re adventurous and like rock climbing – find a gym with a rock wall. You may find an almost perfect place with all but one or two items on your list. All the other boxes have checks. Can you live without those things, or are they deal breakers?
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Research Available Facilities in Your Area
With the internet, it is relatively easy to research all the local gyms in your area without leaving your home. Most gyms have an online presence. They will typically include their equipment, monthly rates, rules, hours of operation, and more. You can discover answers to almost all your questions with a few minutes of clicking and reading.
Once you have most of your information, you may need to call the facility with specific questions you couldn’t locate on their website. We recommend making a list for those also.
Check the Online Reviews
While you are online, check out the references and reviews for each facility. Most websites will include only favorable reviews on their site. You can broaden your search to have reviews on Yelp, Google, and other independent review sites. These can give you great insight from genuine customers.
Use a Complimentary Visit
Most gyms offer a free visit to check them out. You can try the equipment, meet some employees, and see other clients. Even after online research, an in-person visit can be invaluable.
The facility visit lets you see the cleanliness and the equipment’s maintenance. If a gym bought new equipment ten years ago, took pictures for the website, and hasn’t upgraded or repaired anything since then, it is easy to spot. Utilize the complimentary visit. Take your list of questions. Don’t be afraid to take notes. Talk to their trainers and find out what type of fitness plan they would recommend for you.
Some facilities require you to schedule visits, so call ahead to arrange that. You can also check available classes and group activities and try to schedule your visit to coincide with something that interests you.
Don’t “Settle” Because It’s Close to Home
Regarding location, you may have specific needs based on transportation. If you are walking or riding a bicycle, you may be very limited in your choice. Your selection can be more comprehensive if you have a vehicle or are near a bus route. If you have access to senior community transportation, you can also use that to get to and from a facility.
Suppose you are working a job outside your home. In that case, you may also find a facility near your workplace that fits your needs if a facility has multiple locations. You can consider splitting time between them. One might be close to your home while the other is near your office. Many “chain” locations will allow you to utilize any facility in their network. Still, they may charge an additional membership fee for the privilege.
Weighing the Advantages of the Lowest Price-Choice
If you have a limited budget, the price of a gym membership may be a limiting factor. However, if the difference is only a few dollars, your lowest price choice might not be the best fit for you.
Consider the location, transportation costs, and other factors when weighing the price of a membership. If the lowest price facility only has half the equipment you want, is it a bargain? For many people, it is a better bargain to pay a bit more if the functionality of a facility is greater.
It’s Your Gym – Choose One Where You Feel Comfortable
The bottom line in selecting a local gym is to go where you feel most comfortable. If you go to the swanky place, will you be comfortable in your ten-year-old workout clothes and moving around slower? You might be more comfortable going to the run-down building with all new equipment and a clean locker room.
If you have questions about fitness, ask Anti-Aging & Regenerative Associates. Our staff is well-versed in matters relating to health and wellness.