I have spent a little bit of time at a couple of gyms since I started running in 2011. Here are a couple of things that were important to me before I threw down my card and joined my latest gym.
|The Gym Is Fun
Location – How easy is it for you to get there? Is it convenient to your home or work? Or is it going to be a non-stop list of excuses of why you can’t drive (or walk, or bike) there.
The first gym I joined was at my college campus where I worked and went to school. SUPER Convenient as I worked out after my graveyard shift, took a shower, ate, and then went to class. All I had to do is walk back and forth across the street. My current gym is 3.2 miles away and if I go in the morning / early afternoon, traffic is good and the drive isn’t so bad. Also, my apartment has a pretty good gym so if I just want to stay home and not sweat all over my carpet, that is an option for me too. Also, are there other gyms you can visit with your membership? I can visit any location that is not my home location 10 times a month with my membership. If you travel, this is really handy.
Price – if cost is important to you, this is a biggie. Besides the monthly cost if you pay month to month, there are other fees to watch out for. Check the fine print on your contract before you sign up for hidden charges, like early cancellation fees, transfering home gyms or a sign up fee. Maybe you can pay 6 months or a year or so upfront in advance and are able to save a portion of the cost. I don’t know of any currently, but I there was one gym that had some hidden charges and lots of members complained. They are out of business now.
Clean – How clean is your gym? I worked part time cleaning a local gym and it was more then what I could do while the gym was open. The shower floors needed scrubbed bad and who knew what sort of cooties were in the tiled steam room. There were dust bunnies everywhere and I could not keep up vacuuming them. The college gym I was in was one of the cleanest as I knew they cleaned well during open hours and really sanitized during closed hours. My current gym is pretty clean and the showers are not gross with hair and slime when I used them. The rural rec center I visited the last few years, I would have to take an allergy pill before I went in as it was really dusty and I could feel it in my sinuses after I left. Plus do people wipe down their machines and benches after they use them? Is towels and spray available for guest?
Machines – The gym I am at now has a good amount of machines so you don’t HAVE to use the machine next to someone. They are all quiet and in good shape. The college gym I was at had Woodway treadmills and I am SPOILED for life after being able to run on them. Does the gym you are considering have plenty of equipment for everyone? Or do you always have to wait? Are the weights and machines maintained and of good quality? Do the treadmills belt slip since they need lubed and adjusted or the elliptical have a catch when you spin around?
|Basically a Half Marathon on the Woodway Treadmill
Classes – if you are a group class lover, do they have the fitness classes you want to do at the hours you want to do them? I am not a group class person, but I did go to one for a couple of months and loved it. There were classes pretty much every hour to every hour and a half so it was easy to fit a class into my schedule. I know some gyms have classes for yoga in the morning and evening so if you want one in the afternoon you are S.O.L.
|Empty Gym Classroom All For Me!
Hours – I like 24 hour gyms. I used to work graveyard and swing shift, so going after work was either at 6am or 2am. Depending on my shift. Now, I like afternoons, and the 24 hours isn’t that big of a deal but just in case, it is there for me. Some boutique studios have very limited hours to when classes are scheduled but not much time before or after.
Trainer – do you need to work with a specific trainer? Can your trainer go to your gym if he does not work there and is not a member? Or do you have to go to his club?
These are the main things I look for when joining a new club. What is important to you in a gym, studio or club? Is there anything you would add to the list?