Finding A Gym: What to Look For

I recently moved and am in the process of ‘gym shopping.’  Speaking from a shopping lover, you would think this task would be fun however, it is anything but!  If you have ever been in the market to find a new gym, you know exactly what I am talking about.  The task can be daunting, intimidating and annoying.

It is possible though to make gym shopping simpler if you know what you are looking for and stick to your list. Much like dating, you need to make sure you have your list of non-negotiables that you know you absolutely need and negotiables that you could perhaps compromise on if needed. ♥  Here are a few of my ‘non-negotiable’  I look for that make my work-out experience so much better.

Top Things To Look For When Finding A Gym:

1.  Does this gym give me my ‘workout of choice.’  Meaning, if you love spin, does the gym offer spin classes.  If you love lifting weights, how are the weight machines.  If you love circuit training and plyometrics, do they have medicine balls and jump ropes available.  You want to make sure the gym has all the tools you need to do your ‘workout of choice.’

2.  Class Schedule.  As mentioned above, it is important to have your preferred workout available.  But, it is also important to have a new workout available that you might want to try.  Classes are a great way to try something new while getting an amazing workout and being pushed by a certified instructor.  Check out the class schedule and aim to try at least one new class a week.

3.  Convenience of facility.  Make sure the gym can easily incorporate itself into your already established routine.  If you want to go on the way home from work, make sure it is on the way so you don’t have an excuse not to go.  If you work from home, make sure the gym is close enough that you won’t stop yourself from going thinking about having to drive there.  The easier the gym is to get to, the more likely you will go.

4. Friendliness of staff.  This may sound silly but trust me, the last thing you want to feel when you walk into the gym at 5 am with no makeup on, or walk out after your workout dripping sweat, is judged.  Make sure the staff is kind, welcoming and willing to help.  Ask about things like gym tours or intro training sessions where they can teach you about the equipment and how to properly use it – many gyms offer these types of things for free when you sign up.

5. Cleanliness of facility.  If you don’t see sanitary wipe containers hung around the gym, that is your first red flag.  Make sure they not only have wipe containers around, but that the machines and floors also look professionally cleaned.  I would even ask when their cleaning staff comes just to make sure they come often; if they look at your quizzically, just say you prefer to workout when they are not there so you don’t have to go around them.  Simple but it gets you the answer you are looking for.

6.  Amenities offered.  Most gyms offer more with your membership then just gym access.  Group classes, towel service, waters, showers, steam room/sauna, ect.  Your paying for it, so make sure you are getting enough for your money to make it worth it to you.

7.  Hours. Make sure the gym is open the hours you prefer to go.  This is also a good time to ask what their busiest time is so you can be prepared and work around that if possible.

8. Cost.  For obvious reasons, you want to know the cost.  Many gyms offer a low monthly payment but charge you a huge start up fee.  Do the math and add everything up to get your total cost for the year.  Also, don’t be afraid to competitive shop.  If another gym is offering a lower price, tell the gym you want to go to about their offer and see if they can match it.  I also have found that many times if you don’t get the price you want with one of the enrollment people at the gym, you can sometimes call their corporate number and get a better price over the phone – note that this is really only for larger, chain gyms.

9. Try them out.  Lastly, ask for a guest pass and come try the gym out before you sign up and pay.  Try the gym at the time you would likely go (so if you plan to go on your way home from work, go one day after work).  When you get there, do everything like you normally would so you can get the full experience.  Go change in the locker room, do your cardio, lift weights, ect.  You can quickly get a feel for the gym and the people that go to that gym when you immerse yourself in it.

Good luck finding the perfect gym for your!