Deciding to get fitter is one thing but what do you do next? There are lots of ways to improve your fitness but for many people their first thought is joining a gym.
Before settling on a membership, it’s good to ask yourself some questions about the gyms you’re considering. Your choice ideally needs to be somewhere you actively look forward to being, somewhere that becomes the place that you go to feel better.
To help you with choosing the right gym, here are some questions to ask yourself so you can find the right fit, first time.
Does it feel like your kind of place?
Most gyms will let you come in to look around so you can get an idea of what the place is like. It needs to feel like somewhere you actively want to go, so if it’s too bright, too noisy or too whatever-else-puts-you-off, you’re never going to be excited about going there. Try to find one with an atmosphere that feels like somewhere you could (eventually) feel at home.
Is it on your regular commute or very close to home?
Having the willpower to go to the gym is one thing. Having the willpower to walk for 30 minutes in freezing Winter rain to get there is another. That’s also another 30 minutes you will be having to free up just to get there in the first place which may majorly eat into the time you have to work out.
Choosing a gym that’s easy to get to will give you less excuses to get out of it, and when you’re starting out forming a consistent gym-habit is often the biggest hurdle. Make it easier for yourself by picking a gym that’s on the way to or from work, very close to home or otherwise located near to somewhere you go three or four times a week.
Is it open when you need it to be?
Likewise, if your gym visits need to be early before work in order for them to fit into your life, make sure you join a gym which does early mornings. 24-hour gyms are a great solution to this, but you may prefer at first to stick to staffed hours where there will be people around to ask for help if you need it.
Does it fit your budget?
I’ve been in a lot of gyms and have literally never seen one that doesn’t have the basic equipment required to reach the peak of physical fitness. Though it’s lovely when a gym has great equipment with lots of variety, if it’s harder for you to afford then you’re always better off going with a more basic place that fits your budget more easily.
Again, we’re making sure there are as few opportunities for you to give up on your fitness resolutions as possible. If you need to do some belt-tightening before you have formed a solid gym-habit, your membership will be the first thing to go. Make it an affordable expense and you’ll be more likely to stay in the long run.
Do you need the extras?
Are you tempted by a gym which has a lot of extras? Though they may have a comprehensive timetable of classes or a spa suite, there’s not just the extra cost to think of. How likely you are to use them and how often? In the case of a spa, you may be tempted to go in there instead of the gym. Though it’s nice to have access to those things, the majority of gym goers get by fine without them. If eschewing extras in favour of a gym that’s easier to travel to means you keep your gym habit for longer, it’s a wise trade-off.
On the other hand, if attending classes is a major motivator for you, look for somewhere with a wide range for you to try out. Check that there are times that suit you and ask about how busy the classes are. Pre-booking means an extra level of organisation and commitment on your part, so make sure you’re up for it.
Now you’re ready
Once you’ve picked a place, you’re good to go! Hopefully this will be the start of a long and happy relationship with your chosen gym.
To help get you off to a smooth start, I’ll be posting again on how to be prepared for your first gym visit and how to get the most out of your membership from the start.
Are there questions you feel it’s important to ask yourself before choosing a new gym? I’d love to expand this guide so drop me a message or add them to the comments.