Picking a gym can be like choosing your home away from home. It's a spot where you can not only log workouts, but also shower, kick up your feet, enjoy a meal and build a community, depending on the facilities. Because gyms can become a regular and important part of your routine, it’s important to choose the right one for your needs. Before signing any papers, make sure you consider the following points.
“A gym has to be somewhere that’s convenient,” said Lisa Fleming, Personal Training Program Manager at Blink Fitness in New York City. “If it’s not convenient, you won’t go.”
When you begin your search for a new gym, start with Google maps. Identify places nearby your home or office and then take a tour of each one to find out more about the facility.
Your Fitness Goals
Before you visit a gym, make sure to make a list of your fitness goals, said Stephen Locicero, the Area Personal Trainer Manager at Blink Fitness in New York City. This way, you can make sure the amenities match your needs.
“If you are looking for extra guidance, but not for personal training, you should look for a place with group classes,” he said. “If you want cardio machines, make sure [the gym] has a wide variety of equipment so you don’t get stagnant.”
Other amenities may include towel service for those who need to shower, an on-site restaurant or smoothie bar, swimming pools, saunas and other luxurious features. Many gyms provide a brochure with an overview of the facility.
Once on the tour, the first thing you should look for is the tidiness of the space, Locicero said. If this is not a place you feel comfortable, you won’t be inspired to go. Pay particular attention to the state of the locker rooms, including the showers and bathrooms.
Attitudes of the Staff
While you’re walking around the gym, take note of the way personal trainers and other employees act toward gym members.
“Friendliness of the staff definitely correlates with the type of customer service you will receive,” Locicero said.
The amount you spend should not just be based on your income, but on how often you plan to use the facilities, Fleming said. If you plan to go once a week and shower at home, you may want a place with the bare essentials. If you’re training for a triathlon and plan to spend hours working out, find a place with more bells and whistles.
Always make sure to ask about any discounts. Many gyms offer deals for new members, students or people who are switching from another gym.