What To Consider When Choosing The Perfect Gym Membership

What To Consider When Choosing The Perfect Gym Membership | KeatingBartlett.com

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.


I didn’t realize how cheap my gym is until I moved out to California and started looking at other gyms in the area. I pay $20 a month for my membership but some gyms cost double or even triple that amount which is crazy to me. But on the other hand, they probably include classes and additional amenities that my current gym doesn’t have. So I guess it’s worth it if those are features you’re looking for. But if you have a budget in mind, then stick to it! So much of your work out could be done at home if needed so if you simply cannot afford the $50/month membership then opt for something cheaper and more budget-friendly. You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get in shape!


My gym has massage chairs as well as tanning beds which I think is super awesome. BUT I actually haven’t used either one. I really just go to the gym for my work out so amenities aren’t that big of a deal in my mind. But I alway love special perks of being a member. Every gym has some sort of perk that draws in the new member whether it’s discounts at some of your favorite stores, classes, special amenities, gym apparel, member-only events, access to all club locations, etc. They all have a perk or two. So while you don’t need to spend a ton of money to have every single amenity possible, do find a membership with a fun perk!

One amenity that I will stress you keep in mind is childcare! If you have little ones then this is a must. Even if you typically have a babysitter. If something comes up and your kids have to tag along, then you’re going to need that extra childcare. So make sure you ask about their pricing and hours and even take a tour of their childcare space and meet the teachers as well. Some gyms even have fun fitness classes for kids too! So make this a priority when choosing the right gym.


I think this is my only complaint about my gym. There aren’t any classes. I have access to personal trainers and many amenities which I love, but they don’t offer classes which is kind of a bummer sometimes. But at the same time, I don’t go to classes often enough for me to be too upset by this. Any classes I need or want can be found out in town. So it works for me. But 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!


We move a lot. In the 3 1/2 years that we’ve been married, I’ve lived in four different states. So the big thing for me when choosing a gym was choosing one that has locations all across the country. I hate change so I really didn’t want to have to choose a new gym every single time I moved. That’s WAY too much work. So instead, I chose a gym that can be found anywhere that way all I have to do is set a new home gym and I’m good to go. Another great benefit of having so many locations is that I can easily work out while on vacation or while traveling as well. So that makes it even better!

If you’re not as picky as I am when it comes to locations or if you just don’t move around as often as I do, then I’m sure you’ll have many more options available to you than I do. So look into the various locations available along with their commute times to determine which one might work out best for you.


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.

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?


  • Erin Wentz

    Great reflections and information on choosing a gym membership! I have tried a variety of gym atmospheres and I don’t always consider all the factors before getting roped in.

    • Thanks Erin! The atmosphere is so huge for me. If I’m not feeling motivated when I walk in the door then it’s highly unlikely I’ll stay lol

  • I love working out at the gym. I mostly take classes like Zumba, Barre, and Dance so attending a gym with classes is a must for me haha.

    • I would love to have a gym with Zumba! Yoga would be nice too. But we have next to no gym options in our home state lol But I think with my current gym membership being so low priced, it’s not too big of an issue to pay extra for those two classes when I do take them. So it works out!

  • shannon

    Great considerations I have been to many gyms in and cleanliness is important to me both for your health and for inspiration.

    • Thanks Shannon! Cleanliness is a big one for me. It’s one of the first things I look for when I enter a gym. I want to see cleaning supplies and/or members and staff wiping down equipment. It lets me know that the gym is well taken care of.

  • Very important things to consider. I think it’s also important to consider your fitness goals. I am training for a strongwoman competition and need specialized equiptment. Training at a body building gym is expensive!

    • Great addition to my list! Your individual fitness goals are so important. I’m not training for anything major, but I do love that one on one training sessions is included in my membership. I’ll be using it a lot once our baby is born and I’m getting my body back to normal.

  • its important to pick a gym where u will feel comfortable in your surroundings. or else you will never go

    • Exactly! There’s nothing worse than feeling uncomfortable in a place where you’re supposed to feel motivated and inspired.

  • Ashley Stephenson

    These are all great tips! I go to Planet Fitness and love it!!

    • Thanks Ashley! I’m a huge fan of it. I do wish they had classes, but I love my membership too much to switch right now haha

  • Those are all such great points, I picked my gym because it was the closest to me and it had a womens only section but it is rather pricey.

    • Thanks Courtney! Closeness is super important to me as well, but unfortunately my current location is about 20-30 minutes away depending on traffic. AND it’s the opposite direction of everything I go to. Which very much sucks, but thankfully it’s temporary haha I’ve never seen a gym with a women only section before! I didn’t even know those existed! lol

  • I think hours and atmosphere are most important. If I can’t get there in business hours… I won’t make it. If it smells or the people are not my type… not going. Such a good post!

    • I love the idea of 24 hour gyms simply because I never have to rush to get there before closing. It makes my life so much easier when I’m working weird hours. And the people are soooooo important to me. I hate to sound judgmental but I absolutely have to be surrounded by people I have things in common with. Otherwise, I’m left feeling very out of place which really affects my motivation.

  • Those are all great things to think about when choosing a gym. My gym membership includes 1 gym buddy free to go with me and free classes. They have a spa and tanning area for more $$ but I don’t use those.

    • Sounds like a great membership! Mine also includes the ability to bring a friend, but we don’t have classes. Which is sometimes a bummer but then again, I don’t take classes THAT often. Maybe a couple times a month. And my membership really isn’t much price-wise so it’s not too big of a deal to pay extra for classes when I do take them.

  • Classes and the type of equipment were a huge selling point for me when I was choosing a gym. Great tips!

    • Thanks Dara! The type of equipment is a bit important to me too. The location I’m currently at still has machines for every muscle group I work out, but it actually drives me crazy that they don’t have the EXACT same machines as my location back home. I just grew used to them, I guess lol

  • I agree, thinking about classes is so important! Sometimes you can save a ton of money if you find a gym that incorporates classes you like. That way you don’t have to pay separately for pilates, yoga, or something like that!

    • I completely agree! I don’t take classes too often so it wasn’t a huge deal to me when I chose my gym. But it would be nice to have that option sometimes!

  • Convenience is super important! My current gym location is actually a little out of the way so I lack that convenience right now. But the location I went to back home was on my way to and from work. So as long as I had my gym bag in the car, there was never an excuse NOT to go.

  • Thanks Elizabeth! We really only have one with multiple locations back home. The others are smaller and privately owned and for some reason they just weren’t doing it for me lol so I had a rather easy decision process.