Over the course of my time in the fitness industry, for both myself and then also as a personal trainer, I have spent time in many different types of gyms and have seen all different packages, amenities, and types of people working out in these gyms. With that, finding the right gym for you will be something that is crucial so that you know you are spending your money on something that you will enjoy and will benefit you.
With this being said, I want to go over 4 different things to keep in mind when you are “window shopping” for a new gym or for your first gym.
While the gyms with the most amenities may be the ones that you look for the most, they may not always being the best fit in the long run based off of the goals that you may have.
Here are the TOP 4 things to keep in mind about the gym
- Amenities and Equipment
Lets start at the top with the first one, location. Location is one of the most important ones because you want to be sure that the gym not only has what you want but is also within driving or walking distance from you. Having the location be close to you will not only allow for you to see it on your way home and make it convenient for you to get there, but it will also allow for you to be more motivated to go.
Let me ask you this, where are the restaurants that you frequent the most? Are they close to you or farther away? Why is that? 9 out of 10 times you will be going to a place convenient to you that is on the way either to work or going home. With that being said, why not treat your gym the same way?
The second thing I want to look at is privacy of the gym itself.
In my time as a personal trainer, I have been in a commercial gym, college gym, and then also in a private personal training facility. All three have their benefits and drawbacks.
For me, I like to be in the zone and be able to get to all of the machines that I can get to without waiting, so I prefer a smaller gym or a private facility that I work out of. For me, I can get in, get things done, and then leave. Now, drawbacks to that is that I usually train pretty hard and can sometimes be a little noisy with my powerlifting style of training and that can get on the nerves of other people. This is where a bigger gym or a private powerlifting gym would be better for me
When I spent time in a commercial gym, the amenities and the abundance of equipment was nice, but drawbacks to that was that the equipment was not always available and you would have to wait, on top of people not cleaning up after themselves and leaving sweaty things for the next person. While a gym with a pool and a sauna may be something that you really think is nice, think about where you will spend the majority of your time.
Mostly, you will be working out in the gym portion, so if you do not mind big crowds, potentially sweaty equipment, and long wait times then that may be the place for you!
Overall, and I cannot stress this enough, just like a diet you will pick the gym that you enjoy and that you know that you will stick with.
Number 3 will be the amenities and the equipment. Most of the gyms like Planet Fitness have tanning, saunas, with some LA Fitness locations having a pool as well on top of some of the other things. While these may all sound great, a lot of the time these things may be taken up and it may be inconvenient for you to revolve your schedule around the times that they are free.
Along with all of this, keep in mind your goals and aspirations when it comes to health and fitness. Are you looking for a place to have a sauna and a tan with a weight room or are you looking for a place to focus solely on working out and improving your health, lose weight, feel and look stronger, and become more confident? While I do not want to discount these gyms as they are great for some people, we also want to keep in mind the very last thing that I will go over which ties into amenities and equipment which is the staff. For now, make sure to take inventory of the gyms that you are looking at and see what they offer and if they have what you are looking for based off your goals.
Finally and probably just as important as the location is the staff working there. Many times at the commercial gyms, I would never see anyone going around and helping their members with answering their questions and making sure to spot them and get to know them. There, it seems the service stops at the purchase of the membership. With private training facilities and with our future gym, we know that you are coming in to accomplish a goal and we are hoping to help you get there.
These types of gyms take time to get to know you and know your name when you come in, they answer your questions and help you with what they can. They cannot give you plans and train you based off of what membership that you purchase or if you work with a trainer or not, but they are there to help spot you, answer questions, and support you with you goals and aspirations.
Finding the right gym for you will not only help you to get there and enjoy being there, but it will help you to accomplish those goals that you have been looking to work on for weeks, months, or even years. There are big differences between gyms when it comes to the 4 things mentioned here, but the main thing to take away from this is what is important to you.
Do you want a friendly staff that will always help you when you need it? Do you really need a sauna or tanning bed to accomplish your weight loss goals? Do you need it to be private or do you not mind public spaces? These are the things to keep in mind when you are researching and the questions you not only need to be asking yourself but also confirming with the gym. If they are unwilling to meet your needs and help you reach your goals and instead just say they will with no set plan, then they may not be the right fit for you.
Gyms and trainers along with fitness staff are tools in your fitness toolbox. They are the ones that can help you get to where you want to be because they are professionals at what they do. If they are not willing to be a great tool to you, then it may be time to go out and replace some of the tools in your toolbox.