There are many reasons to join a gym. Your goals may be strengthening, weight loss, training for MMA or better overall health. There are almost as many gym options as there are reasons to join one, but not all of them may be right for you. It is important to investigate gyms carefully before you commit to a membership and find out later that the choice may not be a good fit. Here are some tips for finding a gym that is consistent with your fitness goals.
1. Understand Exit Options
A gym may not be right for you for a number of reasons. Maybe your personal trainer’s style is too abrasive. Maybe the gym is not sanitary enough. Maybe the multifamily utility company does not provide sufficient power. Whatever the reason, it may take you some time before you realize that there is an issue. This is why it is so important for you to understand what options are available for ending the membership before you make a long-term commitment. Be sure to read the paperwork carefully before signing and ask questions about anything you do not understand.
2. Check Credentials
It is important to find out whether the facility meets safety standards and the staff is fully qualified before you commit to a gym membership. Therefore, you should look into the credentials of both the facility itself and any instructors or trainers with whom you are to work before joining the gym. Check to see that the facility belongs to a professional organization and that the certifications of instructors are from accredited institutions. Verify that instructors have CPR training.
3. Find Out the Size of the Membership
Conventional wisdom holds that bigger is usually better, but this doesn’t necessarily hold true when it comes to gym membership. A facility that oversells memberships may be consistently crowded. This can mean a long wait to use the equipment, which eats up precious moments that you could be spending on your workout. Gyms that engage in the practice of overselling have a rationale for it: They want to recoup their losses in case some members do not show up to work out. The ethical defensibility of this practice is debatable, but it isn’t very fair to you, or to the other members, for that matter. This is something you should ask about specifically before signing up.
4. Look Into the Demographic Profile
More and more gyms are choosing to cater specifically to a particular clientele. Older people may feel self-conscious working out among those in the prime of life, or the classes may exceed their capabilities. Women may feel uncomfortable working out at a gym populated primarily with men. Overall, no one wants to feel that other people are judging them. If it is important to you that a gym cater specifically to your demographic, then you should make this one of your primary search criteria. If not, you still need to be aware of the demographic profile of a prospective gym. If you do not fit into its clientele, you should not waste your time looking into it any further.
5. Find Out About the Costs Involved
Most gyms charge a fee for membership. Early on in the process, you should find out how much the fee is and what costs it covers. Is it only the bare bones? Are there extra charges or fees for certain services, or are these included as part of your membership? Before making a commitment, be sure you know not only what membership will cost you but what you get for it. Shop around and compare to find out which facility offers the best deal.
Before you make a commitment, take a tour of the facility. Most gyms will offer these for free with no commitment and guide you through the entire place. This gives you the opportunity to gauge how you feel when you are there, which is an abstract consideration but no less significant for being unquantifiable.
Mikkie is a freelance writer from Chicago. She is also a mother of two who loves sharing her ideas on interior design, budgeting hacks, and DIY. When she’s not writing, she’s chasing the little ones or rock climbing at the local climbing gym.
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