Picking a gym or a health club is an important decision, since it can be the reason to make or break your fitness goals. Many of us have experienced it where we’ve signed up for a gym/health club or a class and never really been able to take advantage of it. So, here is a guide on how to pick and choose the right gym
Location: Very much like real estate, location is key! The location of the gym should be close to your routine locations. What I mean is, if you plan to go to the gym from home, then the closer it is to your home, the lower the chances of you skipping the gym. Whenever we choose a gym that is even a 10 min drive from our house, finding excuses to skip the gym only becomes easier. I personally prefer a gym close to home even if its not as fancy. As long as I make it to the gym regularly, it’s far better than barely going to the fancy gym.
Timings: Timing is the second most important factor. Think about the time of the day, that you work out, or when you would be able to work out, and ensure that the gym provides you adequate cushioning. So, if you hit the gym after work at 8 p.m., then the gym should be open till at least 10 p.m. That way, if you’re late to the gym, you don’t get kicked out at closing time, even though you’re only half way through your workout. Also, check their weekend timings. Some people like working out on the weekends, so they prefer gyms that are open on Sunday also.
Equipment: There are many things to consider in equipment. First, check the condition of the equipment. You don’t need the really fancy equipment, but what is important that the gym equipment (dumbbells, barbells, weights, machines, benches) should be in good shape. Rusted, dirty, old or ill-maintained equipment can cause injuries. Smelly equipment will not exactly motivate you to go to the gym.
Also, consider what kind of equipment you like to use or would like to use. Say you like to use the treadmill and the elliptical. Try them once to ensure that you would enjoy using them. If you use weights, check that they carry the kind of weights you like. If you need 1-3 kg (2-7 lb) dumbbells or barbells, check that they have enough of those, or you’ll be fighting other gym members for them. For us, three pieces of equipment are most important- a wide range of dumbbells, a good treadmill and wide range free weights.
Trainers: If you’re planning to use a trainer, try to meet the person who you’ll be dealing with before you sign up. Personal trainers should be amiable, nice people and should really understand body physiology. In India, many gym trainers are not certified and lack knowledge of body physiology, so they can unknowingly cause harm to your body, instead of helping you get fit. You can ask to check their certification. If that’s not possible, then ask them to do a trial session with you. Talk to them before you finalize. Another important factor with trainers is you should check their availability. If they’re trying to manage 5 people in the gym simultaneously, then you won’t get adequate attention, and a structured fitness program.
Gym Traffic: A really under-considered but critical factor. Ask the gym when their peak hours are and go to the gym at that time before signing up. Many gyms get so over crowded that its impossible to get any equipment to use. Let alone any space to perform your workout. And don’t forget, people sweat in the gym. When they sweat, they can smell. And if its too crowded, then you will be smelling them. Again, not on the list of gym motivators
Gym Membership fees: Last but not the least, is the cost of the gym. Most gyms have a number of plans, ranging from yearly memberships to pay per use options. Consider how often you’ll make it to the gym before really signing up for a big commitment. As an example, a local gym costs rupees 2400 per month. Now, if I make it to the gym 2-3 times a week, that’s approximately 10 times a month. At 2400 rupees a month for 10 visits, it costs me 240 rupees a visit. Each time I skip the gym my costs per visit goes up. They also offer an option of 3600 for 25 visits. That’s 144 bucks per visit. That’s a much better deal for someone who goes to the gym 2-3 times a week. So, really think about the plan before you sign up. Most gyms will try to lure you into signing up for a 6 month-1 year plan since it sounds cheaper per month, and they know that many people don’t come back to the gym after their first few visits. If you know you’re not regular at all, try to see if the gym has a pay per visit facility. Sounds expensive right now, but it will work out better in the long run. And if you decide to become very regular, you could always sign up for the monthly or yearly plan.
These are the main factors to consider. If there is something more that you would like to contribute to our readers, feel free to add it to our comments.Author Information — this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo