How to Choose a Gym

3 January 2024

If physical fitness is on your 2024 agenda, you may be considering joining a gym. That’s a very good idea, but you need to be sure that this facility will be right for you and your needs before signing the contract. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you do your research.

Hours – Having a place to work out that will fit into your schedule is very important. It is not just the hours that they operate but what services are available during those times. That includes the trainers that will be around to help you, sections or amenities that may or may not be closed. It could be that you can arrange your workouts during the times you need the services they offer the most.

Training – It is very nice to have a professional around to guide you through some of the exercises, to correct your use of equipment, or offer suggestions. Some gyms offer group sessions or classes. It will depend upon your personal preferences. Some workout facilities will have a list of personal trainers that you can hire on your own terms.

Locations – Decide where you are most likely to want your gym. Close to home, or work, or both? Is it on your regular route or will you need to go out of your way? If you travel, you may want to seriously consider a franchise that has places in cities where you are most likely to go. On the other hand, if you are more of a homebody, consider something else. Supporting home town businesses is always a good idea. There are many β€œboutique” work out spaces that will give you more personalized attention and could use your patronage.

Value – You deserve a clean, friendly environment. That could include shower availability without worrying about mold and quality machinery that is in good working order. If you want a video or newscast, are televisions readily available? How is the parking? Will you need child care? Be sure to tour the facility. After the employee takes you around, ask to wander by yourself a bit to take it all in without someone talking in your ear. Compare fees, commitment, and amenities before signing on the dotted line and forking over a payment. Check out the cancellation clauses.

Next let’s look at some of the steps to follow:

Evaluate Need – After you have made a list of all the β€œmust haves,” you should prioritize. It is likely that you will value some amenities over others and not all work out facilities will offer the same package. Also think about whether at-home equipment would be a better option.

Shop Around – Check out social media, Check feeds for posts by current members. Look at comments and reviews on Yelp and Google. If there are complaints, see if they are something that would irk you as well, or something to be dismissed as petty. Also, see how, or if, the owner responds.

Free Trial or Package Deals – Before committing to at least a year’s membership, see if you can sample their wares through a week of free workouts or individual classes that appeal to your interest.

Finalize the Arrangement – So, here we are. Before you make that final signature, check with your employer and insurance carrier to see if they offer any discounts or incentives. If you are speaking with the owner or manager, see if you can arrange any discounts. Note, the receptionist or assistant probably doesn’t have the authority to do so. Make sure you thoroughly understand all the terms and conditions, including what is and is not included. If it is complex, make notes for yourself and ask questions. Feel free to walk away. You might be surprised at how often the gym will call you back in a few days to see if you have changed your mind or offer a better deal. Generally the best deals are made in January and September.

Happy Fitness!

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