Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How to Choose a Gym

There are so many gyms out there…so many choices. Finding the right gym could make the difference between reaching that Adonis physique of your dreams or not. What follows are some guidelines to ensure you find the best gym that fits your needs.
  • Location – The gym’s location, especially how far it is from you, is a huge factor in deciding on a gym. You should travel to prospective gyms during the hours you would workout to evaluate both the traffic as well as the situation at the gym. Is there ample parking? Are there enough machines/weights for that particular time? 
  • Price – Cost is obviously a big factor. Is it within your budget? If other gyms are cheaper, is the more expensive gym worth the extra cost and why?
  • State Bond – When signing up for a  membership 3 months or longer, gyms are required to place state bond numbers in the upper right hand of the contract. If you sign a contract with a gym that doesn’t have a state bond, you are left hanging if the gym goes out of business.
  • Cleanliness – Cleanliness can be very telling of the effort the staff puts into maintaining the gym. Make sure the gym floor is free of any debris and slip/trip hazards. Check the shower and locker areas to see if they are up to par. Anti-bacterial soap, towels and spray bottles should be available in the cardio areas as well.
  • Equipment – Some gyms have more machines than free weights and others the opposite. Whichever you prefer is up to your goals and preferences. Many gyms allow you a trial workout or at the very least a tour. During this time, you should check:
    • Does the gym have the pieces of equipment you use in your programs
    • Is the equipment high quality and in good condition? Ask other members how quickly broken equipment is repaired.
    • Do other members remove the weight from the machines once they are done?
    • Are there enough pieces of equipment to allow you to workout without waiting for others (particularly popular equipment such as the bench press)?
  • Music – Different gyms have different music policies. Some play rock or uptempo music to stimulate. Others are quieter. You decide which you prefer. It is hardly a deal breaker though since you can wear headphones.
  • Vibe – Nothing will kill your motivation faster than a gym full of unwelcoming, unhelpful depressed looking staff and members. A positive and encouraging environment will do wonders for your lifting goals and overall experience. Some gyms tend to be louder than others with respect to the amount of noise members make as well, which may or may not bother you.
  • Lighting – Is there good lighting in the gym? What about the parking lot at night?
  • Hours – Are the hours compatible with your lifestyle/desired workout times?
  • Support – You don’t want to be ignored after you sign a contract. Be sure you have staff you can ask for help. See what options there are for personal training if that interests you.
  • Freezing Membership – Does the gym allow you to freeze your membership if you suffer a long term injury or leave the area for a long period of time?
I hope these guidelines help you find an awesome gym to lift at. It makes a world of difference being at a gym you love to go to.

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