You are finally ready to commit to a healthier lifestyle and chase after all of your personal fitness goals. But, maybe you are overwhelmed by the amount of different health and fitness facilities (known as gyms for us common folk) that exist in your area. This is no surprise, since gyms are popping up left and right these days due to more and more people gaining increased awareness of their own personal health, and taking control of their fitness!
So, let’s get started with some key things to consider about a gym before committing to a paid membership:
This, by far, is probably the least important factor to consider. However, we put it up front because it has to do with money! You will find that most gyms have a free trial period where you can join as a guest or trial membership and work out for free for a few days, some gyms going up to 30 days. It is always great to call and ask the gym up front if they have a free trial period, this way you can try several different facilities at no-cost before you make any commitments.
Start by really mulling over exactly what it is you are setting out to do. Are you trying to: Just improve your cardiovascular fitness? Build muscle mass? Lose weight? Whatever your goals are, they are worth researching a bit online or with a fitness guru to understand the types of equipment you should be looking for at the facility you will become a member at.
Many newer gyms are cardio-centric and have massive wings of treadmills, bikes, rowers and elliptical machines. Conversely, some facilities are known for their reputation as weight lifting gyms and have mostly weight training equipment with limited cardio machines.
You will find that larger facilities often cater to many different audiences and they will include additional amenities such as an indoor pool, racquetball courts, indoor elevated running track, indoor basketball courts, a sauna, private lockers you can rent, etc. What types of activities do you think you might enjoy at the gym?
Now, this one is rather important to consider! Gym hours vary widely from facility to facility. Some gyms are open 24/7, but some are only open during peak workout hours. Also, some have different hours on weekends compared to weekdays. Be sure to consider the gym’s location, and how it relates to your commute between home, school, workplace, etc. Many gym-goers choose to add their daily gym visit as a stop along their commute between home and work, rather than making a special trip out just for the gym.
Ask the staff up front what their cancellation policy is. Some gyms require a 6-month or 12-month commitment when you sign on as a member, and sometimes you will be penalized with a fee if you leave the gym prior to the full membership period. Many gyms allow you to pay as you go from month to month with no cancellation policy, and these facilities are surely the best option in terms of membership flexibility.
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