Two young women exercising on a Pilates machine.
By CRAIG W. ARMSTRONG
Like they say, it’s all fun and games until your pants don’t fit. Are you losing the battle of the bulge and decided it’s time to fight back? Typically the place that people pick as their battleground is the gym. Choosing a place to wage war against those extra pounds is an important decision. There are some basic things to consider when choosing a gym.
There are countless excuses for not going to the gym. One of the best is that it is too far away. This can be squashed by picking a gym located near your home and/or work. Everyone has a hectic life and having your gym close will only be a benefit. So, choose a gym that is close and mark that excuse off of your list.
Excuses are exercise killers, so along with location, consider the gym’s hours. Not everyone has time to workout in the morning and some people don’t have time at night. Make sure that your gym is open during the hours that fit with your schedule. Aside from having time to workout, the time you workout can also be important. Some people like to workout in the morning, some prefer the evening or later. This is a personal choice between you and your body. Whatever you two decide, make sure your gym can accommodate it.
Next, consider what the gym offers and what will keep you motivated. Do you prefer free weights, machines? Do you like attending classes? Make sure that your gym offers whatever it is that you enjoy. If you are into classes, make sure they work with your hours. If you enjoy using machines, make sure the staff is knowledgeable about them, in case you have questions. Speaking of staff, find out if trainers are available and how much their time costs. Find out if you can get an introduction to the machines at no cost.
Make sure the place is clean. Aside from health issues, cleanliness says a lot about how seriously they take their business.
Membership costs are always a concern. How much is it and what does your membership include? Is there an initiation fee? Are you locked into a year? How much notice is needed to cancel? Are upgrades to your membership available? What is their policy on guests? Is there a reward for referrals?
See if there is a trial visit or visits available. This is important because this is how you learn about other members. The gym should be a place where you get fit, not compete. Some gyms are all about appearances. These are the places filled with meat-heads and pretty girls who would rather text than workout. These places are fine, if that is what you are looking for, but if that is not your style, find a gym with average people. Find a gym with people who are there to get fit, not win a beauty contest. Aside from making you feel self-conscious, these people are less likely to share your struggle. Regular people, like you, can form friendships and even act as support or encouragement.
Joining a gym can feel like a huge commitment, but it doesn’t have to. Find somewhere you are comfortable. Find somewhere that will help you eliminate excuses and find somewhere you fit in. Don’t over think it. Go to the gym, get some exercise and pat yourself on the back for doing it.