Things To Consider When Choosing A Fitness Center
Being a Go Red For Women Challenger has me doing more than quitting smoking and eating healthy. I am also going to a gym on a regular basis and working out. I have sore muscles in places I didn't even KNOW I had muscles!!! But that's exciting...it's making a difference in my body!!! If you are considering a gym experience, according to Liz Noelcke at Sparkpeople.com, you should consider a few things before you make the choice.
Finding the right gym is a lot like finding new restaurant. A good gym will fit your own unique personality, and motivate you to come back and exercise on a regular basis. Unlike a restaurant, joining a gym is a large financial commitment, so it’s even more important that you research your options before signing on the dotted line.
When considering a particular gym, set up a tour and bring a list of questions you want answered. Try to set up this tour during the time you usually exercise. More often than not, the staff will give you a free day pass so you can try out the equipment, classes, and other amenities firsthand.
Other than a free workout, there are key criteria to consider before you fork over the dough or sign a long-term contract.
1. Location, Location, Location
If you choose a gym on the other side of town, will you really make it there consistently to work out? Often, a gym located somewhere between your home and office (or school) is best.
Is the gym open when you’ll use it most? While some gyms are open 24 hours a day, others are closed on weekends. Whether you workout early in the morning or late at night, make sure the hours fit your schedule, or you’ll be paying for something you can’t access.
You should feel relaxed in your exercise environment, not embarrassed or intimidated. Some gyms are co-ed, while some are same-sex only. Others attract individuals of certain age groups. Will you be comfortable exercising around the current members?
The staff members of the gym should be supportive and courteous, ready to answer questions or spot you on a machine if needed. They are there to help you make the most of your workouts. If you need a trainer, what are their rate.
This may or may not be obvious on your first trip to the gym, so keep your eyes peeled. Make sure that towels are available to wipe off the equipment after each use. Also, look to see if staff members enforce this standard of hygiene. Peek into the locker rooms and showers, especially if you’ll be using these often. Look at the toilets, sinks, and showers themselves to see that they’re properly maintained.
Are there enough of the "popular" machines to go around, or do members have to wait in line to use them? Find out if there is a sign-up sheet or a time limit on cardio equipment. Make sure that there are a wide variety of machines, but don’t be intimidated by new ones. Notice whether or not instructions and pictures are posted on the machines, or if staff is available to help you. Be cautious of out-of-order machines; this might be indicative of a poorly maintained gym.
Ask to see the schedule of fitness classes offered at the gym. Make sure that the classes you WANT to take are offered at the times you can attend, and find out if you need to show up early to reserve a spot. High-energy classes like spinning might interest you, or a calming yoga class might be more up your alley. If group classes are the staple of your exercise program, find out if the gym charges extra for classes before you join.
Cost is probably the deciding factor when choosing a gym. Many gyms have a sign-up fee, but these are often waived during certain promotions. Take a look at the payment schedule. Do you pay each month, or do you have to commit yourself to an entire year as a member? Can you cancel without penalty? And ultimately, does a gym fit into your budget?
Be picky! Shop around, talk to friends, and take the tours until you find a place that meets all (or most) of your expectations at a reasonable price. After all, finding the right gym can be the key to a healthy lifestyle!
Info via: Sparkpeople.com by Liz Noelcke, Staff Writer