Joining a gym is a great way to get access to some really incredible exercise equipment. For some people it’s a real motivator too. But they’re expensive in a lot of cases, and a lot of people hardly ever go to the gym they pay so much to be a member at.
How do you pick the right gym? There are several factors to consider.
1. Are you comfortable there?
If you’re just getting started, will it make you too self conscious to go to a gym where it seems like everyone has been working out heavily for years and years? The right atmosphere makes it much easier to go to a particular gym.
Some gyms are set up just for women, such as Curves. Some have rules against grunting as you work out. There are many factors to consider.
2. The right cost.
Many people have to think budget when they pick a gym. If you need low cost, I understand the YMCA has great prices. But if you want a different gym and cost doesn’t matter so much, pick one based on other criteria.
3. Your level of commitment.
If you aren’t committed to going to the gym, don’t bother joining one. Many people keep paying and paying for no benefit because they never go.
You may be able to increase your level of commitment by finding a buddy to workout with. Join the same gym or even different gyms if you’re just going to compare stats, and really push yourself to make it work.
If you have to drive too far, will you really go? This is related to your commitment level, but the a long drive can mess with even the most committed.
5. The contract.
Read the contract carefully. If things don’t work out, some gyms have contracts that are utterly miserable to get out of.
Some gyms also have different levels of access, depending on your contract. You may be able to visit other locations, which is very useful on vacation. You may have access to childcare. Make sure the contract offers the features that you will value most.
There’s no one right answer for which gym you will be comfortable at. As you consider gyms, think about what it is you want from them. Take a tour and see if they have a trial period before you have to sign a contract. There’s nothing like experience to tell you if the gym is the one you want.