Saturday, March 29, 2008

How to Choose a Gym

While it's not necessary to have a gym membership in order to stay in shape, some people prefer to have one and are willing to spend the money. Here are the top things to look for when choosing the right gym for you.

Location If your gym is more than 10 minutes away, studies show you likely won’t go. Make the location the number one thing you look for and the membership will probably be worth it.

Hours This is almost as important as location. You know when the most likely time is that you’ll go and you need to make sure your gym is open at that time.

Cost Don’t get a membership at a gym you can’t afford. In addition to the monthly fee, there may also be other costs associated with the membership, such as a sign-up fee. You may even have to pay for parking at some gyms. Be sure to do your research before you sign any contracts.

Equipment and classes Most people have an idea of what they like to do at the gym, whether it’s the elliptical trainer or step aerobics classes. Look into what each gym offers and make sure they have what you want. It’s also important to note the wait times for the equipment. If you have to spend most of your time waiting to use something, you’re less likely to continue going.

Atmosphere At the very least, be sure to take a tour of the gym before signing up. You can also ask the sales person about the demographics, which might be important if you’re looking for a crowd that’s around your age or gender. Don’t feel pressured to sign up without trying it out. Many gyms give weekly passes so you can get a feel for what the gym is really like.

Before you choose a gym, make sure that you are committed to working out. Explore the reasons why you want to join a gym and you’ll be more likely to stick with it. Want some more motivation? Print off this fitness contract and fill it out. Hang it on your refrigerator or bulletin board and you’ll be reminded daily about your commitment to go.

Tip: Some health insurance companies reimburse for part of your gym memberships. Be sure to look into all possible discounts.