We all know that we need to make going to the gym and getting physical activity in at least three times a week a priority. After all, most experts recommend getting 3 – 5 days of exercise in weekly (in conjunction with a healthy diet) for a healthy body and mind.
As the months or years go by, however, not all of us have the luxury or the time to go to big name gyms or popular fitness centers that are far away from our homes. With work and personal obligations taking up so much of our time these days, it’s much more economical and practical to sign up for a fitness center near you.
If you’re no stranger to the gym, then you may already have your own personal criteria for what a fitness center near you should have. For the newbies or the not-so-sure-about-the-gym folk out there, you can use this checklist when canvasing the fitness centers in your area and deciding on which one is the best for you.
Shop Around A Bit
Don’t jump the gun when it comes time for you to switch gyms or pick your first one. Remember, gyms are always going to have deals and offers, especially if you’re looking for a gym in January (hello New Year promos!). Check the fitness centers near you and see if any of them have any promos on-going.
You’re also going to want to visit them and do a walk through so that you can examine the amenities first hand and even check out the vibe of the center. After all, who wants to go to a gym where there’s no sense of camaraderie or community, right? You can also take this opportunity to see whether the fitness coaches or gym staff are hands on with members or exhibit an I-could-care-less attitude.
Another thing that you should spend some time on is checking online reviews. Anonymity on the internet is a powerful thing so you can expect that people who take the time to leave a review about a fitness center are going to be brutally honest about their experience.
Examine and Evaluate the Weights Equipment
One of the first things that you should check out at your potential fitness center is their weight training equipment. This is especially important if one of your chief goals in joining a fitness center is to put some gains on. Check to see if the fitness center is equipped with dumbbells and plates weighing over 150 pounds.
If they’ve got them, then chances are that you’re at the right place to start building some serious muscle strength. Other things to look out for in this particular set of criteria are squat racks. The more squat racks the fitness center has, the less time you’re going to spend waiting to work on your legs. Who wants to waste time waiting on the rack to free up when you’ve got a groove going for leg day anyway, right?
Although we think it’s more crucial to check on dumbbells and barbells, you can also check out the weight machines to see if they’ve got your favorites in the center. You may also want to check what state the weights are in such as whether they’re well-kept or if they’re starting to fall apart and develop rust.
Think About How Convenient It Is
Why would you leave a gym far away just to transfer to another gym that’s practically the same distance away from your place? The goal here is to find a fitness center that is closer to your place of residence or perhaps to your place of work. We’re banking on the fact that you’re more likely to commit to your gym routine and make the most of your fitness center membership if it’s more convenient to go to. It’s actually preferable to find a gym that is on the way to work or on the way home so that you’ll never have an excuse to not stop by and squeeze a work out in.
Check Out the Extra Amenities
Some people are content with bare-bones box-type fitness centers. Others? Not so much. Whether you regularly incorporate other forms of exercise in or simply like to have extra amenities available to you, it’s always worth taking stock of what additional features a particular fitness center has for you to make use of. For example, does the fitness center have a pool?
Do they have massage therapists available on site to help you work out some muscle pains? Or does the fitness center have an onsite nutritionist that you can visit to help you sort your diet out? Personal coaching staff is another huge plus to look for. Here’s another thing that people often forget to look for: cutting-edge equipment. This might seem like a “luxury” but it speaks volume about the fitness center. Usually, a gym that has high-tech training tools shows that they truly have a passion for fitness.
You want to be part of a fitness center that takes physical fitness seriously. This doesn’t necessarily mean that all equipment has to be new, it’s just good to see innovative training equipment like suspension trainers, ergonomic rowers and the like available. Listing down the amenities that the fitness center has can help you weigh the pros and cons between different establishments.
Get into the Nitty Gritty of the Dues
As much as hate to admit it, some fitness centers can really rip you off when it comes to hidden fees or terms in the dues that are buried under the mind numbing legal terms of fine print. First things first, look for a fitness center near you that offers flexible membership options. For example, if you’re not entirely sold on the gym but it’s the most convenient for you, it would be to your benefit to try a short-term gym membership. It’s also crucial for you to check out the specifics of your gym’s cancellation policy. No one wants to have to pay exorbitant fees just to leave a gym.