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Considerations To Take When Joining A Gym

Travel

Travel time can be extremely important in regards to finding the right gym for you. You may want to consider where would you be mostly travelling from when going to the gym and how long will it take you to get there. You may be leaving straight after work to train and then going home afterwards. Essentially, you might want to find somewhere that is in between work and home which may help reduce travel time. Not to mention, if you happened to join a gym which is quite far to travel to, this may be used as an excuse on days when feeling unmotivated to train and may cause you to skip workouts.

Facilities

Facilities within the gym may or may not be important to you considering on what you need or would like. Let’s start with the restrooms and change rooms. How well maintained are the restrooms? Do they look like they have actually been cleaned lately? To some people the general hygiene within the restrooms may be important and also how regularly they are maintained, eg always having toilet paper and clean hand towels available etc. 

In regards to the change room, what is available within it? Some change rooms may offer services like lockers, hair dryers, irons, showers, changing booths etc. How often do you think you will need to use the change rooms? You may train in the mornings and then leave straight for work afterwards so having a shower or doing your hair may be important to you.  

Moving along from the restrooms, what facilities does the gym provide, and what do you need/want? Obviously some gyms may offer additional facilities compared to others, but keep in mind, these may increase the price of your membership. Some of the facilities gyms can offer could be, child minding, in store supplement shops, massage, physio, beauty services etc. Obviously you will have to decide how important the facilities are for you and would you ever use them.

But most importantly how is the gym facility it’s self as a whole? Is it roomy or cramped? Does it look appealing and is it well maintained? You may not care if the walls are painted a pretty colour or how elegant the gym may look but just want to get in, train and get out. Naturally, you may want a gym that can make you feel comfortable to train in as sometimes your surroundings can affect the way you feel.         

Crowd/Busyness

Sometimes the particular crowd a gym can attract may affect the quality of your workouts. For example, if you were surrounded by a bunch of people training hard, this may cause you to train more intensely. Some gyms can be dominated by a certain group of people like beginners, advanced trainers, hardcore bodybuilders, females, males, young, old the list goes on. The people who mostly populate the gym may not work for you, or could make you feel uncomfortable. Try to put yourself in this position, if you were the only female training in a gym full of males, or vica versa, would this make you feel uncomfortable?

Aside from the type of people, what about how crowded the gym gets? Sometimes there is nothing more annoying than trying to do a workout but the one particular machine you want is being hogged by someone who is taking an eternity to finish. Obviously there would be peak times which are generally later in the afternoon or at night time when everyone has finished work. You may have to physically go to the gym during the times you will most likely be training at to assess if it gets too busy or not. 

Equipment

One of the most important things to look at when choosing a gym is what equipment is available and how well are they maintained. Considering your goals, you may need particular equipment which other gyms may not have. Also keep in mind, for those pieces of equipment which are commonly used like the bench press or squat rack, do they have multiples of these to reduce waiting times? Variety of different equipment might be important to you too, you may only need some dumbbells and a barbell to get through your workouts or you might need a range of different machines taking into account your goals and training routines.

How well equipment is maintained and serviced can be very important also. It could get quite annoying if a particular piece of equipment you regularly use has been out of order for a month. Not to mention equipment that doesn’t work well can get frustrating also, for example if the pulleys on the machines are rough, or if the dumbbells become loose after using them.   

Classes

Many gyms, particularly the larger ones may offer daily classes which are commonly included in your membership fee so you do not have to pay a fee to attend. But keep in mind, unless you enjoy attending classes regularly,  gyms which offer classes may be more expensive and also might be more busier compared to gyms which do not offer them. Otherwise, if you do or think you may enjoy taking part in gym classes, these can be a great tool to use for motivation, increasing training intensity, meeting new people and working out with friends. 

Opening hours

In regards to opening hours, you may have to decide what times would you commonly train at and is the gym open at these times. There is nothing more frustrating than getting to the gym after you just ate your pre workout meal, prepared your post workout shake, organized your gym gear, travelled to the gym, then the person working at the reception tells you the gym is closing in ten minutes! To avoid closing time or people who work different hours like night shift etc, there are many 24 hour gyms opening up so you can never make the excuse that the gym is closed.

Price/Contracts

Sometimes the one thing that can make or break joining a gym is the price. Typically, gyms which offer a wide range of facilities, hire a lot of staff and are located in easily accessible areas close to transport etc can be pricier than smaller gyms. Some gyms offer discounts if you and a friend join together or if you have been referred by someone who is already a member.

Many gyms like to lock you into a 12 month maximum contract, so once you join you basically may have no choice but to pay them each month until your contract is up. By law gyms are only able to lock you into a contract that which does not exceed 12 months. Unfortunately contracts can be a bit of a burden as you may need to change gyms due to moving houses, jobs etc. On the plus side, gym contracts could motivate you to use the gym regularly as you may feel you are wasting your money otherwise.

When negotiating on prices/contracts, don’t be afraid to ask for a better deal. Many gyms would be willing to offer a better price over their current to get your business. If you have been or currently joined to a gym which is cheaper than the one you are looking at signing up to, mention to the sales person how much you have previously payed and they will most likely try to match the price or come close to it.   

So as you can see, there can be many different variables to consider when looking at joining a gym. Your individual needs will most likely differ from others so finding a gym that best suits YOU is important. Reading reviews or asking friends could help with determining which gym may be best to join, but physically going to the gyms and checking them out may be the best way to decide.
 

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