You’ve resolved to get fit and healthy in 2018—and your local gym is capitalizing on it. To kick off the new year, many gyms will give you free access to their equipment and group classes for a limited time.
If you’ve thought about joining a gym, it’s time to make your move, but keep in mind that choosing the right gym means considering more than just the cost of membership.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before signing on the dotted line.
- Did the gym staff offer you a tour during your first visit?
When you walk through the door, a staff member should greet you.
Ideally, someone will take you on a tour of the gym, describe the equipment, explain policies and procedures, and provide a schedule for classes. It’s the gym’s opportunity to leave you with a favorable first impression so that you come back.
While you’re there, take the opportunity to ask questions. Get as much information as you can so that you can make an informed decision when it comes time to choose a gym.
- Do they have a robust group fitness schedule?
You’re looking for a variety of classes: circuit training, boot camp, yoga, and the like. You want early morning classes or evening classes to accommodate your demanding, ever-changing schedule. You want trained, experienced instructors who know how to motivate a group of people. You want ample space in which to move.
Ask if you can take a class or two on a trial basis. If not, ask to observe a class.
- Is it clean, with an open floor plan?
You also want clean floors, mats, weights, exercise balls, and any other equipment.
Gyms are high-traffic areas, especially during peak hours. A clean workout area is essential when that many people are packed together in close quarters. Everyone needs space to move between pieces of equipment, too, and there should be plenty of equipment so that people don’t have to wait to use it.
- What’s the culture like?
Some gyms cater to women, others to the older crowd. Some gyms are sticklers for rules and dress codes, while others are not. Given the time you’ll be spending in this environment, be sure you’ll like the culture they’ve built.
- What are the amenities?
Not all gyms are created equal. Offerings and services vary from gym to gym, so it’s important to ask about all the amenities. Amenities might include lockers, showers, personal training, sauna/steam room, tanning, massage, cycle room, store/juice bar, child care, free WIFI, cardio equipment, and free weights.
Know exactly what amenities are included in your gym membership.
- How far is the gym from your home or place of employment?
You’ll be spending a lot of time at the gym. So, ask yourself if you’re willing to make the drive. Factor in time of day and traffic congestion.
- Do you have access to the gym’s other branches/locations?
The more branches you have access to, the better (this helps if you travel a lot, for example). If you have access to the gym where you initially signed up, but not the one closest to your house, that’s a problem.
Limited access isn’t something you want to find out after you’ve purchased a membership.
- Do you qualify for a gym membership discount?
To encourage healthy living, your housing community or employer might offer a discount at selected gyms. Your preferred gym might offer its own discount—to active duty military, for example. It’s worth asking if you’re eligible for a discount.
Answering these eight questions will help you decide if a gym membership is right for you and start you off on the right foot. While it’s true your health is a top priority, so is your money. Be sure you’re getting the best value for your dollar.
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