How to Choose a Gym

There are so many gyms in operation today that it makes it difficult when choosing one to join.  There are four main factors that you should consider when selecting a gym: price, location, functionality, and ambiance.  Most importantly, however, you have to find a gym that makes you feel comfortable and fits your needs.

Price is usually at the forefront of factors that people consider in the process of joining a gym.  You have to figure out what is in your budget and what it is worth to you; everyone will have a different opinion of what “Price is Right.”  In addition to the monthly price, you must also consider any additional sign-up and processing fees as these costs are often hidden and not considered by the consumer.  Furthermore, do not forget to consider the stipulations of the contract (if there is one).

You always hear marketers say, “Location, location, location.”  Well, you shouldn’t overlook this aspect when selecting a gym.  Make sure it is in a location that works for you.  If you don’t like to drive far from home, choose one that is close to home.  If you will be going to the gym after you get off work, you may want to consider one that is close to work.  No matter what you decide, make sure that you are willing to make the drive; a gym membership won’t do you any good if you never go!

One of the most significant considerations is the gym’s functionality – the gym has to suit your needs.  There are various features of a gym’s functionality that you should consider:

–        Equipment: Does the gym offer the type of equipment that you use?  For instance, if you do a lot of cardio, does the gym have multiple cardio options?  Or, if you mainly lift weights, does the gym have the appropriate weight lifting machines and equipment?

–        Classes: Do you enjoy taking fitness classes, or do you want to start?  If so, make sure that the gym offers classes that you would be interested in taking (and offered at a time that you would be able to attend).  Also check if the classes are included in the price of your membership, or if they come at an additional cost.

–        Personal Training: If you enjoy personal training sessions, make sure the gym has adequate personal training options.  Inquire about specific staff members, rates, and packages available.

–        Other Features: What are the gyms hours?  Do you train super early or extremely late?  If so, you may need to consider a facility that is open 24 hours.  Furthermore, you should check out the gym’s cleanliness… don’t think I need to explain this one.

–        Other Services: What else is important to you?  Do you need a daycare service?  Do you want a tanning membership as well?  Do you need to shower and get ready for work in the morning?  Do you want a place that sells a variety of supplements and other products?  Do you like to have a protein shake/smoothie after you finish your workout?

You need to make sure that you feel comfortable in your gym.  Every gym will have a unique “feel” and environment; try to see if you can get a trial at the gym you are considering so you can experience the ambiance first hand.  You should ask yourself, “What are the members like?  Are they friendly?  Are they helpful?  What about the gym staff?  Are they courteous?  Are they informative?”

Obviously, there are many factors to take into account when searching for a gym, but most importantly, you need to ensure that it meets your needs and that you feel comfortable while you are there.  From a personal standpoint, I have been a member of West County Health & Fitness Center located in Ballwin, Missouri for the past ten years.  It is a family owned and operated facility with members from all walks of life and an atmosphere second to none.  In my opinion, it is the most complete gym in the St. Louis area and has weight lifting equipment that you can’t find elsewhere.  It is by far my favorite place to train and truly is my “second home.”  You too should feel this same way about the gym you find!  Regardless of where you live, the above list will help you find a gym in your city that you love as much as I do.