Add These To Your Checklist Before You Sign Up
Thinking of getting your fitness started and taking out a gym membership? As you do so, there are plenty of things to consider.
Choosing a gym is an important decision because if you make the wrong choice and aren’t comfortable there, it will really decrease the likelihood that you go on a regular basis.
This in turn means you may not reach your health and fitness goals as intended.
Let’s run through all the key factors that you’ll want to remember when making that choice so that you know what to look for.
Remember that regardless of what gym you want to try, always go for a trial session if it’s offered.
This will give you a really good feel at what you’ll be experiencing if you do sign up.
Sign Up Period
First, always check what the sign up period is. Note that you will typically pay a lower price per month for signing up for a longer term (2-5 years for instance), but in doing so, you’ll really hook yourself in.
If anything changes in your life – you move, want try out a completely different fitness endeavor, or fall off the bandwagon as it happens to so many people, you’ll now be paying for something you don’t need.
Make sure that whatever time period you sign up for, you are ready to make that type of commitment.
Also find out – in writing, what the cancellation policy is. Some gyms will make it nearly impossible to cancel, which can be quite the headache if the time comes.
You may very well want to consider the monthly option at first, even though you may pay more and then after a few months and you know this is going to be a long term commitment, sign up for the year or two long membership.
Next, also consider what personal training options are available. Are trainers always on the floor? Can you access any trainer you want? And, what are their rates like?
If you are someone who feels like you may want some assistance, this will be good information to know.
Just like with the membership, you will typically get a lower price per session the more sessions you sign up.
Inquire about any package deals that are offered so you know this ahead of time.
The next factor to consider is child care. If you have a child at home, it can be hard to find a sitter each time you want to go to the gym.
If the gym however has child care, it solves this problem entirely. Some gyms will charge an added fee for this, while others may not – or it’ll simply be a monthly fee you pay.
Find out about this if it’s of interest to you.
Change Room Appearance
Always take a walk through the change room before signing up for a gym.
While it may not make or break your decision, if you are going to be showering at the gym or spending time getting ready after your workout session is oven, you want to be sure it’s kept up.
Some gym locker rooms can be pretty gross at times, so you want to avoid this if at all possible.
Group Fitness Classes
The next step is to inquire about any group fitness classes. Even if you don’t currently plan on using them, see what’s available.
You never know when you might decide you want to step away from your usual workouts and try something new.
Most gyms will offer group classes of some sort, however the price for each class will range.
In some cases it’s included with your membership fee and in others, you’ll pay per session.
Also check what types of group classes are offered- yoga, kickboxing, aerobics, and so forth along with the typical times they’re being offered.
This will help you get a better feel if they’re something that you’re interested in.
If you’re a female, you may also want to check out the women’s only section if it’s available.
Having this may help you feel more comfortable at the gym and will be appealing to get your strength training in.
Many gyms are now starting to implement this, so you’ll want to see how large the section is and what equipment is there for you to use.
See if you can in fact get a complete workout in using that equipment or if it’ll be just for a few exercises in each session.
Proximity To Home/Work
Another thing to think about is how close the gym is to your home or place of work.
If you need to drive 20-30 minutes to the gym each time you want to go, this may put you off going entirely.
Especially if the weather is miserable and you’re pressed for time, that workout may not get done.
In an ideal scenario, the gym will be on the way to work so you can either hit it in the morning before you begin your day or immediately after before returning home.
If you go home first, chances are you won’t be going back out to the gym.
If you’re someone who likes to finish your workout with a protein smoothie, you’ll want to see if a smoothie bar or restaurant is available for this.
While again, this shouldn’t make or break your decision about a gym as it really isn’t that important overall, it’s definitely something to consider.
Especially if it’s important to you, it’s a nice perk that may justify paying a little more for your monthly membership.
Number Of Members
If you can, also inquire about how many members the gym has and in addition to that, visit the gym during the hours you plan to go.
If you can hit the gym at non-peak hours (which are typically 6-8 am, 12-5 pm), you will face far less of a crowd.
If you do need to go during the peak hours as that’s the only time your schedule permits, you’ll want to see just how busy it gets.
If you plan on doing cardio training, see if they operate on a waiting list basis or if you can sign up for a certain time slot.
Both will increase the chances that you do get your cardio training in.
Knowing the member count can help with this decision, but do remember that just because someone is a member doesn’t mean they are actively going regularly.
The gym may have a large number of members, but a low total turnout on a daily basis.
Finally, the last thing to look at is the operating hours. Are they open 24 hours a day? Are they closed on all holidays? Can you gain access even if staff isn’t working (through a card swipe system)?
You want to be sure there aren’t any restrictions to access that you may not feel comfortable with.
If there are, you may find yourself routinely disappointed in your membership.
So there you have the main factors to consider when thinking about joining a gym. It may seem like a lot to look at, but in the end, it will pay off.
You want your gym to feel like a home away from home so that each and every day, you look forward to going.