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8 Tips for Choosing the Right Gym

Fitday Editor

When it comes to making exercise part of your routine, finding a gym that meets your needs and expectations can play a major role in your willingness to work out and for motivation to remain consistent. Before you commit to a lengthy membership, take a tour of the gym using this list as a guide for what to look for, ask, and expect of a facility.

1. Location

A 45 minute workout plus thirty minutes to and from the gym each day does not sound like a recipe for success. Think about when you are likely to exercise and consider a facility close to home or your place of work. If driving to the gym becomes a hassle, it will also become your first excuse to skip a workout.

2. Hours

If you plan to exercise before work, but the doors to the gym don't open until 9 a.m., it's not going to do you much good. It's also important to consider evening, weekend, and holiday hours that might compromise your workout schedule.

3. Price

First, consider initiation fees and monthly dues. Then, ask what is included in that price. Do you get a fitness assessment, personal training sessions, or access to fitness classes? Do ask about discounts or special packages offered. Do not get locked into a long term contract with costly termination fees.

4. Cleanliness

Two telltale signs of gym cleanliness: the bathrooms and the corners. If the bathroom is dingy and there's dirt or dust-bunnies in the corners, upkeep is an issue. Another point to take note of: every facility should provide a means of disinfecting equipment after use. Look for gym wipes or a spray bottle and towels, and see if anyone actually uses them.

5. Equipment and Classes

Are you looking for a specific group fitness class or do you prefer a certain type of equipment? Tour the facility and ask to see the equipment and classes being offered. Follow up by assessing the quality of the equipment and instructors available. Also, pick up a copy of the class schedule to be sure you are able to attend classes when they are being offered.
6. Amenities

Do you enjoy swimming or pick-up basketball? If yes, check out the quality and availability of the swimming pool and basketball courts. Other considerations might include outdoor fields, parking, child care, and locker rooms.

7. Usage

While touring the facility or talking with a membership representative, ask about the number of people who use the facility and when they do. The workout you have planned for 6 p.m. might coincide with the height of traffic on the equipment and machines. That could turn a 30 minute workout into an hour of waiting around instead of working out.

8. Trial Period

Last, but perhaps most important, ask for a week or two of access to the facility prior to committing to a membership. This will give you the opportunity to get a feel for the staff, other members, and the atmosphere of the space.

Once you have toured the facility, asked all of the important questions, and have given the place a trial run, you can be confident in the gym you select.

Joe Vennare is an accomplished fitness entrepreneur who develops, instructs and writes about innovative fitness programs. He is the co-founder of Hybrid Athlete, Kettlebell Cardio, and Race Day Domination.

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