Although physical fitness and exercise are on many Americans’ minds, joining a gym or fitness center is not always an attractive solution. Many people go out and purchase entire home gyms so that they can work out in peace. Others limit their exercise to long walks or jogs and the occassional fitness video. But if you’re one of those people who needs the diversity, motivation and convenience of a gym or fitness center, here are a few tips on how to choose the one that’s right for you.
Location. Your gym or fitness center should be convenient to where you live or work. If you plan on hitting the gym after you leave your job, choosing one that is close to the office will be preferrable. That way, you won’t be tempted just to drive right past and head home after you’ve spent an hour in traffic. If, however, you will be going to the gym or fitness center from home, choose one that’s as close to home as possible. Not only will this save on time and gas money, but you’ll be more motivated to go if there isn’t a long drive.
Hours of Operation. Some people like to work out at their gym or fitness center during regular hours (9-5), but others like to exercise at three o’clock in the morning. Make sure that the gym or fitness center you choose is open during the hours you are most likely to visit or you’ll find that you never use your membership. Many gyms are open twenty-four hours a day, which might be the way you want to go.
Clientele. This might not seem important, but to many amateur fitness enthusiasts, it is. There are plenty of gyms that are geared just toward women, men, families or body builders. If you are trying to lose weight or if you aren’t experienced, you might feel intimidated trying to work out in front of people who are experts or instructors. Choose a gym or fitness center where you feel comfortable with the people.
Equipment. These days, most gyms and fitness centers are decked out with every piece of equipment imaginable, but you still need to take a tour and find out if their equipment suits your needs. For example, if you enjoy swimming to work out, you don’t want to choose a gym or fitness center that doesn’t have a pool.
Amenities. I am one of those people who drives to the gym, works out and heads home, but others prefer more amenities. Find out if the gym or fitness center you are considering comes equipped with hair dryers, showers, personal lockers, changing rooms and other amenities that will make you feel right at home.
Classes. Some people like to take classes at their gym or fitness center, while others prefer to just use the equipment available. If you are interested in Yoga, Pilates, aerobics, kick boxing or any other instructor-led class, find out whether or not the gym or fitness center offers it.
Child Care. Taking your three children to the gym or fitness center might not be high on your list of fun outings, but many mothers and fathers simply can’t find a sitter during the times when hitting the gym is convenient. Many large gyms and fitness centers offer free child care services to members, so find out if that option is available to you.
Staff. There is nothing worse than attending a gym or fitness center where the staff is unhelpful or downright rude. Spend time talking with various members of the staff and decide whether or not you feel comfortable with them. If the staff doesn’t care enough to make you feel comfortable, find somewhere else.
Instructions. If you are an amateur fitness enthusiast, you might not know how to use the equipment available. Find out if there are instructions for use posted near the equipment so that you use it correctly. If not, you might want to look elsewhere.