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Know what to look for in a fitness facility and what to ask before joiningFinding the right gym can be the key to a healthy lifestyle
The choices are wide-ranging – from expensive all-purpose gyms to specialized clubs geared toward specific activities. Before you sign on the dotted line and eagerly lace up your trainers, let your fitness goals guide your search.
Your best bet might be a gym that allows you to experiment with various classes and types of equipment. Most offer 1-5 free visits and some even provide a personal trainer to help you design a workout just for you and to take the fear out of the equipment. Take advantage of these and really tryout the entire facility. Also, be sure you’re signed up with Groupon and Living Social and watch your email for sweet deals. They’re a great way to let you test-drive all the new types of training to find what best fits you.
It’s Time to Take Control of Your Gym-timidation!
8 Things to Consider When Choosing a Gym
1. Location, Location, Location – a gym located somewhere between your home and office (or school) is best. On days when you’re crunched for time, having a gym close by will make things easier on your hectic schedule. After all, a good workout is supposed to lower your stress level, not increase it.
2. Hours – make sure the hours fit your schedule, or you’ll be paying for something you can’t access.
3. Members –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? On your tour, does the gym seem overly crowded?
4. Staff – the staff members play a key role in setting the tone of a gym. Their support and encouragement will help you make the most of your workouts.
5. Cleanliness – 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, showers and toilets, especially if you’ll be using these often.
6. Equipment – take a good look around. Are there a wide variety of machines (and enough of them)? Do you have to sign up to use them and is there a time limit? If you run on a treadmill for an hour, then a 30-minute time limit won’t really suit you. Don’t be intimidated by “new” machines, and look for instructions so you can easily give them a try.
7. Classes – 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 or reserve a spot in advance.
8. Fees – 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?
There are so many workout options today you’re sure to find one to suit your needs. All it really takes is knowing what you’re looking for and asking the right questions.