Great! You’ve decided to sign up for a gym membership. Now, how do you find a gym that works for you? Here are some of our tips on choosing the right gym:
1. Location – The hardest part about going to the gym is getting there. Some days, you just aren’t going to feel motivated. That’s why it’s important to choose a gym location that’s as convenient as possible. Think about what time you want to work out and whether it would be easier to go to a gym that’s close to your work, school, or home.
2. Cost – Be sure to consider whether the gym charges an initiation fee in addition to a monthly membership fee. Some initiation fees can be hundreds of dollars. Check whether you can get a student or corporate rate – that high-end gym near the office might be less expensive than you think if your company is a corporate member! Some gyms will also offer reduced rates or waive the initiation fee at certain times of the year.
3. Contract – Ask about the gym’s contract and cancellation policy. Some gyms only require 30 days notice to cancel, while others have strict policies that require you to send a written letter to their corporate office. If you are unsure about whether you will be living or working in the same neighborhood for a while, it might be worth it to find a gym that offers month-to-month memberships, rather than locking yourself into a year long membership. Read any contract that the gym asks you to sign!
4. Try it Out for Yourself – Most gyms will let you try the place out for day or even a week. If you know someone who is already a member, you can also usually come in for free with a guest pass. Trying out a gym is really the best way to find out whether the gym is a good fit for your workout and personality.
5. Equipment – Does the gym have all the equipment that you need for your workout? Is there a good selection of free weights and machines? Will the gym be able to grow with you as you progress in your own fitness? Look to see whether there are enough mirrors in the weight room and that you have all the weights/machines that you need to complete your workout. Check for red flags, such as very old/broken machines and cleanliness.
6. Hours – Another important consideration when choosing a gym are its hours. Ask about holidays and weekends. Some gyms can get very crowded before/after the work day, so be sure to check the gym out at a time that you plan to go regularly to make sure that it’s not too crowded.
7. Reviews – Read reviews on Yelp and ask friends/colleagues for recommendations. Many gyms will give both you and your friend a discount for referrals, so you might even end up saving some money as well!
8. Staff - Are the staff friendly and helpful? If you plan on hiring a personal trainer, what is their education, certification, and experience? Does the gym have both male and female trainers? Are there staff members who can help you if you have questions or need a spot?
9. Fitness Classes - Does the gym offer complimentary fitness classes to its members? Ask to see a schedule of classes to make sure that they are offered at times that you’re able to attend. Many gyms offer a wide array of classes, including yoga, pilates, zumba, boot camps, and group strength training and aerobics.
10. Perks – More expensive gyms will often come with more perks, so you’ll have to decide whether they are worth it to you. Does the gym provide free lockers and towels? Is there a pool or sauna? What is available in the locker room? Some gyms even offer complimentary shampoo, razors, hairspray, etc. for their members.