As many of you know, I’m up at the crack of dawn and at the gym by 5am (7 days a week, 365 days a year – yes, really). In fact, make that 366 days this year! Anyway, going to the gym is an important part of my health regimen (both physical and mental). And although I’m not a happy camper when the alarm rings around 4:30 in the morning, I can’t imagine starting my day without visiting the gym. And because of this, I know how important it is to choose the right gym. After all, I don’t need any excuses to not go.
Thinking about adding a gym membership to your own routine? If so, consider these suggestions before making any decisions. This way, you’ll find the right atmosphere for achieving all of your health and exercise goals (as opposed to so many others who join a gym only to go a couple times and then never set foot in it again).
Location, Location, Location
Choose a gym that’s within close proximity of your home or office – depending on what time of day you’ll be using it. You want one that’s close by, easily accessible and with easy (and cheap or free) parking. Studies show that if people have to travel too far to their gym, they stop going pretty quickly. Don’t become part of that statistic by choosing a gym that’s easy to get to.
You want to choose a gym that’s accommodating to all fitness levels. Sure, it might be fun to workout amidst models and actors (good ‘eye candy’ while on the treadmill). But this could also result in your self-esteem taking a dive. Choose a facility that caters to people of all ages and sizes. It’s about community – and feeling comfortable wherever you’re crunching, aerobicizing or bench pressing.
Try Out Any Freebies
Taking advantage of any “free workouts” or trial memberships is an important step in deciding on a gym because you truly do need to get a feel for what it’s like to workout there, atmosphere wise – and crowd wise. Be sure to test out the gym at the time of day you’ll most likely be using it. In other words, if you’ll be working out in the mornings, don’t take advantage of your free workout or visit during afternoon hours. You want to experience the conditions that will be going on at the time of day you normally workout.
Training equipment should not only be plentiful (you shouldn’t have to wait too long to use certain equipment), but should also be well maintained and clean. Equipment should also accommodate people of all skill levels. Look for posted charts and graphs that can help you through your workout.
What is the gym’s staff like? This is important to note, as it says a lot about the facility. Do you see people on staff readily helping other members? Are they on-hand to offer advice or solve problems? And what’s their attitude like? You want to workout at a place where you’re not afraid to ask questions. Also, you don’t want to feel like a sales statistic. If someone on staff comes on too strong to make the sale, make it clear you’re there to get information and won’t be making your decision during the initial visit. However they respond to this will tell you a lot about the atmosphere and attitude at that particular facility.
It might be tempting to join a gym with a friend or coworker, but don’t make that your sole reason to join. Sure, it’s fun to have someone to go with on a regular basis. But ask yourself, will you keep going even if your friend doesn’t? Whichever gym you decide on needs to feel comfortable to you even if you’ll be there by yourself.
Be careful in regard to the possibility of getting talked into hiring a personal trainer. This can be a very expensive endeavor that isn’t always beneficial unless you can afford personal training more than once per week. Most gyms come with a complimentary training session when you join. Definitely take advantage of this, but be wary of signing up for more intensive (and expensive) training unless your budget and schedule can afford it. After all, you are a supermodel who is becoming more informed about achieving overall health and can find training info elsewhere.
A Touch of Class
If you’re able to “test” the gym for free, try taking one of their classes. See what the instructors are like, how information is related to students and if instruction is easy to follow. Also take a look at the schedule and ask how often it changes. You want a variety of classes to be available. Bonus points go to gyms that offer yoga, Pilates and stretching classes. These types of classes can be as important to your fitness routine as sweating (and variety is the spice of life).
Lastly, if there are a few different gyms for you to choose from, take time to visit and try out each of them. That way you end up at the place that’s right for you – and your fitness goals – from the get go!
Do you have any tips of your own? Or gym-related war stories to share? Information you wish you had checked into before joining a gym? If so, don’t hold back! Please comment below, as I’m all ears. As opposed to all biceps (but I’m working on that).