When you’re going to consider joining a gym there are a few very important considerations to take on-board. A gym can become a huge part of your daily routine so if it doesn’t meet your needs then it will become a task. The easier it is to work with the more likely you will be to work with it. So ensure it meets your standards, be picky and shop around it’s not like there isn’t another gym chain or boutique just around the corner!
1. Location – If you have to drive half an hour to get here do you think you will do it on the weekend? If you work in the city will it be more convenient for you to have a membership near work so you can train before or after and not move your car, or maybe at lunch? What about just near home so you can duck home after and use your own toilet facilities? Or are you lucky enough to have one in your building or your employer provides one, like mine? Location plays a big part and this needs to suit you. Sure you might want to train with your friend but the location might be the best for them and way inconvenient for you and what about if they lose motivation? Not to mention he cost of parking if inner city. These days many are chain gyms with locations in many suburbs. Consider this and reciprocal rights with other locations if you do travel a lot.
2. Opening hours – Are you a late night worker but happy to train at 9pm? The perhaps a 7am-7pm gym is more for the standard workers, mums and students. You need more of a 24hr gym so a key access operated facility to meet such needs. Not to mention the same if you like the 5am workouts. The benefit? These times are often very quiet and uncrowded, the place is all yours!
3. Facilities – Do you want weights, classes, swimming facilities etc. If you love a boot camp, then some trainers runt there. Maybe you also prefer a ladies only area which many staffed gyms provide and if you want the spin classes then often you also require a staffed gym. 24hr gyms often don’t run classes and determining your workout style is important to ensure you join a gym that has what you want. If you don’t do classes maybe there isn’t the need to be around them as they make the gym busy before and after, not to mention often your membership will be a little higher.
4. Child friendly – Have children? It does sort of go without saying that child minding is required. And many gyms provide this at included or slight additional cost which beats finding a sitter, leaving them at day are of flat our missing your session because you weren’t organised or dad can’t get home in time to take over the shift.
5. Staffed – Often a staffed gym will be cleaner as they are also employed to keep the place clean unlike those with set staffed hours and open 24/7. Staffed gyms will also meant that you build that nice relationship with the people at the front desk and it’s fun to pop in and chat before your workout! Not to mention a person to go to if you have any issues with your membership, people or suggestions!
6. Pt access – Even the unstaffed gyms typically have PT’s working out of them so you can be sure you will find one. But if you already have one in mind it may be worth considering the gym that they are joined to. 1. It must meet their needs and 2. You will need to pay a casual visit fee if you done.
7. Giant or boutique – Don’t mind a bunch of meet heads sweating it out at the gym at peak hours and blending into the crowd and a new member every day or would you prefer a more ‘home-style’ gym where everyone knows everyone? Working out if you in it for the earphone in and get the job done or also want the inclusion of a friendly and family atmosphere is very important and if you don’t feel comfortable and want to form a ‘bond’ with those around you then you won’t be inclined to go. One of the best gyms I ever went to was Gold’s in Orlando Florida, with something like 50 Pt’s working out of it and over 100 pieces of cardio equipment there was always something different to do.
8. Joining fees – these days many will provide a no joining fee or cancellation fee. These are important. While you may think you love it, in six months’ time you may have moved on, but how you’re stuck there and you signed your contract for two year? Yep, I did that! Negotiate as well, if the other gym is offering it, mention that and see what they can swing for you.
Some of the worst gyms I have found (yet doesn’t stop me going)
Are 24hr facilities. Why?
1. They aren’t always staffed – So you get people with poor standards enter, leaving around weights, grunting and just ‘owning’ the place
2. Dirty – the toilets aren’t cleaned often enough, or anything for that matter. As people can come and go at all hours, and they really do, rubbish is left around, water all over surfaces and toilet paper runs out.
3. They smell. Being un-staffed means doors are zapper operated for entry so thus can be left closed up got periods of time and cause stuffiness
4. Even PT’s are lazy – No boss hanging around in big chain 24hr gyms so I have seen PT’s stand around with hands in pockets, phones out and don’t often taken any more pride in the area then the rude members
But in saying that, the small gyms can lack ‘the bang’ factor, potentially the vibes that come from many people being around with like minded people and the encouragement.
It is worth talking to your friends, not just those in your immediate friend groups find out why each friend likes the gym they go and if you find someone with similar goals that loves a gym they already attend its worth considering. Its money after all and a facility you are happy in will mean you want to go!