I had to give up my gym membership at the end of December, much as I LOVED my gym, it was close to my old office and now was no longer going to be convenient. I’m currently looking for a new gym, which had me thinking about what I look for in a gym, and how to choose the best one for you!
For me the most important factor when choosing a gym is the convenience. Is it close to home or close to work? If I have to go out of my way to get there then I’m far more likely to make excuses and not go. I had to walk past my old gym twice a day on the way from the tube to the office, this reminded me to visit if I hadn’t for a few days, and was close enough to go during my lunch break. Getting there quickly is crucial to ensure you can make it to classes on time.
Have a look at the equipment, do they have everything that you would want to use? I would always recommend asking for a guest pass and visiting your gym of choice at a time that you are most likely to use it if you became a member. I hate a really, really busy gym where you leave feeling more stressed than when you arrived. Clean, modern, state of the art facilities are key for me, whilst you might be happy with a treadmill and a set of hand weights- ensure that your gym suits your needs.
Do you like taking classes at the gym? I know I do, so I ensure that the classes that I like to take are firstly on offer, and secondly on the timetable at times that coincide with when I’ll be able to go to the gym. For example, are the classes early enough for you to get to them before work and still be at your desk on time? Are the sessions after work early/late enough for you to make it there? If you love Body Pump, do they have that or something similar on the timetable?
In the UK it seems that many gyms don’t open until 7am and shut at 9pm. If this doesn’t fit with the hours that you were hoping to workout then it’s obviously not the right gym for you! I like exercising in the morning, so a gym that opens by 6.30am is perfect for me however I don’t usually use them in the evenings.
I am too lazy to bring my own towel to the gym and hate having to pay extra for a towel. My perfect gym has unlimited towels, hairdryers, straighteners and shampoo/conditioner in the showers. OH and good showers that don’t involve huge queues are really important to me. You can often get cheaper gym memberships to establishments where these extras aren’t included, which can be brilliant for those on a budget and that don’t mind having to be a little more organised bringing their own toiletries etc. Or if you can join a gym very close to home meaning you can shower and get ready at home then that’s ideal!
I can’t afford a PT, however it can be handy when gyms have them on hand to answer questions about performing a move correctly or how to use a machine. A lot of gyms also include PT sessions as an incentive to join- this is definitely worth looking out for!
Gym costs can be incredibly reasonable or prohibitively high. I know my old gym was on the higher end of the spectrum, however I worked out the cost per visit I was willing to pay and made sure I went enough. I personally see my health and fitness as an investment so I’m happy to spend more than others might, knowing I get my moneys worth there. I also always check to see if they do a discount if you work/live nearby, or if they are doing any special offers. I hate having to pay joining fees or admin fees when I don’t have to. Remember some gyms also offer discounts if you join with your partner (Tom is trying to get me to join his gym this year to reduce his costs, and so that we can go together!).