So you’ve finally made the choice to start working out again! Now what? Now it’s time to find a great gym membership to help you reach your fitness goals. Finding the right gym membership can be challenging and sometimes overwhelming if you have a lot of options in your area. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, looking to tone your body, or even just wanting to get back in shape, there are so many factors to consider when choosing a gym that fits your needs.
It’s important to take your budget into consideration when choosing a great gym membership. A gym like Planet Fitness will cost you anywhere from $10 to $20 a month whereas a gym like LA Fitness might cost you double that. The price is going to great vary depending on location and gym amenities but you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get in shape!
Amenities & Special Perks
Every gym is going to offer something different. They could offer things like massage chairs, tanning beds, fitness classes, pools, childcare, gym apparel, personal one-on-one training, discounts to your favorite stores and so much more. If you have little ones then something like childcare may be something you want to consider. Not having adequate childcare can really prevent parents from keeping up with their gym routines and goals so if it comes down to it and your babysitter last minute cancels on you, then you’re going to want that childcare at the gym. So take the time to determine which amenities are must-have’s and which ones are desirable but not necessary. This will help in choosing a gym that really fits your needs.
If you’re super into classes like yoga, pilates, zumba, etc. then you might want to consider a gym that offers those types of classes for you. It might mean a more expensive membership price, but if you’re consistently attending the classes, then it’s 100% worth it! In the long run, it’s going to be much cheaper than doing your various fitness classes at other gyms in the area.
For some people, this may not be a big deal at all. They can easily attend the same gym location every single time. But if you work in another town or city then you may want a gym with multiple locations. That way you are close to a gym location whether you’re at work or at home. Another thing you want to consider is how often you move (like if you’re military) or whether or not you love working out on vacation. Having a gym that has locations all across the country can be beneficial for you in this sense as well. So keep all these factors in mind when choosing your gym.
Hours of Operation
Think about the time of day in which you plan to go to the gym. Is the gym you’re considering open during those times? This can be more or less challenging depending on your personal work schedule and other miscellaneous obligations. Sometimes the hours can vary depending on the location, but you don’t want to have to drive out of the way in order to get in your work out. If you work strange hours then possibly consider a gym that’s open 24 hours! That way you never have to worry about whether or not you’ll have time to hit the gym.
For me, this is SO super important. I just couldn’t go to a gym where I don’t feel welcome. I was so upset when we moved from Maine to California because the staff at my last gym pretty much became family. I saw them 5 or 6 days out of the week so I became close with them. They knew me by name, they knew what time to expect me each day, and sometimes they’d even have my energy drink waiting for me on the counter, already paid for (my card was in the system to make it super easy to grab it and go!). It was great! So switching locations was a bit upsetting and honestly, a little nerve-wracking.
Related: How To Find Your Fitness Motivation
But thankfully I love the staff at my new location just as much. They love getting updates on the baby and they’re always cheering me on and applauding me for continuing my workouts throughout my entire pregnancy. It’s a great confidence booster every time I walk into the gym. And I have yet to meet a single staff member that isn’t super friendly, welcoming and helpful. So don’t settle for anything less than a fantastic team! They make the experience that much more enjoyable.
I have a couple of points to make here. First off, not only do I care about the staff at my gym, I care about the members as well. I don’t need to be around people who are hardcore gym rats, but like I mentioned before, I do want to be surrounded by people who are encouraging, friendly, and welcoming. I don’t want to be surrounded by members who make me feel uncomfortable or insecure. Especially being pregnant while working out. I want to be motivated to work harder and achieve my fitness goals.
Next, I look at the age of the members along with their level of commitment. This might not be a big deal to any of you. Maybe it’s another thing I’m a little picky on. But I hate when I arrive at a gym, motivated to get in a good workout only to be surrounded by teens (and even adults) who are spending their entire gym session on their phones. Again, this might not bother some of you. But it drives me insane. I just don’t care to hear your entire phone conversation. And yes, I really have been around people who are taking phone calls and/or FaceTiming during their work out.
Not only do I not want to hear their conversations, I also don’t want to be standing around waiting for a machine that they’re literally just sitting on, while they text or complete their call. For some reason, there are people who like to treat the machines like chairs rather than a piece of work out equipment. And this bothers me. A lot. I’m not a super hardcore gym rat or anything, but I do take my workouts seriously and love the time I spend at the gym. So I want to be surrounded by others who feel the same way.
Lastly, I also want to know how many members that particular location has. I want a gym that has a large, loyal following of individuals who love that gym, but I also don’t want a gym that’s going to be super packed whenever I’m there. No one wants to have to stand around waiting for their turn on the machines. So I’ll also ask about peak days and times as well.
I love variety and I like gyms that have multiples of my favorite machines as well. I personally hate having to wait for a machine that I want so it really just makes my life easier when they have a couple of everything. It allows me to walk into the gym and get my work out done rather than spending half the time waiting on the machines that I want to be using. Other than that, I’m not too picky about the equipment as long as it’s newer. I can’t stand outdated equipment (I know it all does the same thing, but there’s just something about older machines that bother me…anyone else?).
The one thing people complain about with my current gym is the lack of free weights. I’m more of a machine kind of girl, so this never bothered me when choosing my gym. But if this is something you must have then be sure to look for them when you tour the gym and take it into consideration when comparing your top choices.
This is another big one for me. I absolutely have to feel welcome and motivated when I walk into the gym. Everything from the staff to the members to the equipment to even the lighting. Even the locker rooms have to be cozy and inviting. There’s nothing I hate more than a gym with horrible lighting and outdated equipment. I like new and maybe even a little “fancy”. Maybe I’m being a little picky here. But if I don’t feel motivated when I walk in the door, then I’m just not going to have as great of a work out. Simple as that.
Lastly, look at how clean the gym is! This includes the equipment as well as the locker rooms. Are there towels and cleaning supplies available for you to wipe down equipment? Does the equipment look like it’s cleaned or wiped down often? Do you see employees walking around, picking up miscellaneous towels and cleaning the machines? Are the bathrooms clean and fully stocked? The locker room is a big one if you plan to shower there so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for these things when you take a tour.
What do you look at when choosing a new gym membership?