Finding a Fitness Club
How do you know which one best suits your needs?
You've decided to join a fitness club, but are bamboozled by all of the choices. Statistics show that between 30% and 40% of people who have a gym membership report rarely using it. Good intentions and well wishes give way to club sales pitches, only to find that people go for a few weeks and find the gym really isn’t a good match. To find a gym that’s right for you, take a tour of facilities in your area. Aside from assessing activities and amenities, ask the following questions:
- The first and perhaps most imperative question to ask: Why am I joining a club? Do you really need to join a gym? Maybe yes, maybe no? If you have been wanting to try hot yoga, or maybe you miss indoor cycling classes and want to get to it, you can immediately eliminate any clubs that don't have a cycling class or a yoga studio. Jot down a list of your absolute "must haves" in an ideal gym, which are different from the "nice to haves."
- Is it conveniently located? If not, you'll probably find too many excuses to avoid going. Studies have shown you’re more likely to use a club that’s convenient to your home or place of work. Do you plan to go during your lunch break or after work? Find a gym close to your office. If prefer to work out in the mornings or on weekends, a gym close to home is better.
- Visit when you’ll most likely use it. Make sure the facility is open during the hours you're most likely to exercise. That way, you can gauge the wait times for the machines and the size of the classes.
- Can I try it out? Most clubs offer free day or week passes to prospective members. Take advantage of this offer to to gauge your comfort level there.
- How does it look and feel? Inspect the facilities. Is the club well maintained? Check that the equipment, locker rooms, and floors are all clean. Pay attention to little details. Are the lights too bright or too dim? Music too loud? Classes too crowded? Too many rock-jocks? It's the little things that ad up to gym death by a thousand cuts.
- How much of the equipment is in need of repair? Too many "out of order" signs suggest poor maintenance.
- What classes do they offer? If you're keen on classes, find out what ones are offered and on what schedule.
- Are the employees welcoming and helpful? A supportive staff can help you reach your fitness goals. Expect an orientation by a personal trainer. New members usually get free one-time instruction on using the equipment and weights and their exercise program. Orientation should include the oft-overlooked basics, such as finding the “on” and “off” buttons on the treadmill.
- What do current members say about the club? This is possibly why you are considering a specific club in the first place, but always ask other members about their experiences at the facility.
To eliminate excuses for skipping your workout, choose a location based on your lifestyle. The bottom line is that you must define your why and make sure you are setting yourself up for success by finding a club that offers a lot of interesting, engaging elements that will keep you coming back consistently.