If you’re one of the lucky people to have tons of gyms near you, congratulations! Now, the tough thing you’ve got to do is pick which one is the right gym for you and it’s definitely not a decision anyone should take lightly. Picking a gym is a huge decision because you’ll likely be spending a lot of time and money there.
If you’re like us, then the gym is a huge part of your life, so if you pick one that doesn’t suit your needs, then you could just be throwing money down the drain. So, what should you look for in a gym and how do you decide or find out which one will be the best gym for you? Check out some of our suggestions for the top things to look for in a gym near you!
Find your Non-Negotiables
When looking for the gym that will make you the happiest and suit your needs the best, the first thing you should do is sit down and make a list of your negotiables and non-negotiables. What we mean by this is that you should list down what items you feel the gym you go to must have and the things that would be nice to have.
For example, do you want your gym to have an area for circuit training? Does it need to have a power rack? Do you want it to have Olympic Barbells or a pullup and dip station? Having these lists ready is the first step to narrowing down which gyms near you will stay in the running and which gyms need to be cut from your list of options.
If we’re going to pay for a gym membership, we want our gym to offer us something that we can’t get by working out at home and you should too. Off the top of our heads? It’s always awesome when the gym comes with some kind of childcare so you can squeeze in a good workout without having to worry about the kiddos.
If you’re a woman that isn’t quite comfortable with working out around men, some gyms even offer women-only areas. Or maybe it’s more about the post-workout pampering and shower amenities? While some gyms keep it to the bare necessities (showers and towels), other gyms offer disposable razors, spa-quality shampoo and conditioner, blow dryers, and more.
A Solid Line-Up of Group Classes
A great gym will offer a great line up of classes to their members for free. This is a fantastic way to add some variety to your fitness regimen and break the monotony of pumping iron and hitting the cardio machines. Classes are also perfect for people who are just starting out at the gym.
Look for a gym with a variety of classes like yoga, dance fitness classes, kickboxing or some of the more popular group workouts like spinning classes, body combat classes or pilates. Make sure to ask about which classes are free and which classes require an extra fee and factor this into your considerations when the question of monthly membership costs come up.
Training and/or Coaching Staff
While not everyone needs a personal trainer and while you may not need one at this point in time, it’s always great to have the option to get one in the event that you change your mind. Look for a gym with coaching or training staff that specialize in different fitness needs, that are professional, and that look and sound like they know what they’re doing.
A good way to gauge the coaching staff’s professionalism is by observing them with other clients. Are they focusing on the person they’re training? Or are they chatting with other trainers or glued to their phone while they’re with their clients?
A Positive Environment
A gym can have state of the art equipment, top amenities and a milieu of classes, but if the atmosphere and the environment cultivated in the gym isn’t one of motivation, community and mutual and respect, then you can pretty much expect to wind up hating the place in the long run. Check out the community of regulars while you’re visiting the gyms you’re considering. Do the people seem friendly?
Does there seem to be a culture of judgement? Will you feel comfortable working out in that gym? Does the place make you feel motivated and excited to work out? These are all things you should ask yourself when you’re visiting a gym. If you want to get a really good feel of a gym’s environment, ask if the gym has a trial period. Most gyms will offer you free use of their facilities for 3 to 5 days so you can decide if it’s the right gym for you or not. Besides, who wants to work out in an environment that will just bring you down?
Hours That Fit Your Schedule
One of the first things we ask when trying out new gyms is what their operating hours are. Some gyms open early, some gyms open late, some gyms close early, some of them don’t close at all. If you’re the kind of person that works a grave yard shift, then chances are high that you’re going to have to look for a gym that’s open 24/7.
Apart from considering your personal schedule, consider your willpower as well. For example, are you the kind of person who likes to work out before you head to the office? Or are you a night owl that prefers to work out after office hours? Knowing when you’re most likely to work out will help you narrow down the search further. Try not to fall into the trap of thinking that you can will yourself to change your schedule just so you can sign up for that “dream gym”. More often than not, your personal schedule and body clock will always reign supreme. Be practical and choose the gym that has operating hours to match your schedule.