In a world where the importance of fitness is stated in social media posts, magazine articles, and everyday conversations, we’ve all made plans to be fit. And whether your personal motivation is to fit into your skinny jeans or just feel healthy, a gym membership might be on your mind.
With a plethora of gyms opening up in every neighborhood, each with their own set of discounts and classes, picking one can get overwhelming. We’ve put together a few things you should consider before signing up to a gym, just to make things easier for you.
It doesn’t matter how nice or popular a gym is if it isn’t convenient to get to. The location of the gym you choose to go to will determine how flexible you can be with your training timings and how often you will workout. Because, let’s be real, you certainly won’t be motivated to get healthier if you have to travel so much that you get tired even before the workout starts.
Ideally you should pick a gym that’s close to your place of work. This will let you train either before or after work, depending on your schedule each week. It will also let you sneak in a workout on your lunch break, hence optimizing your workout.1
Often, people join a gym and end up paying monthly dues for a service they’re never going to use. Most gyms come equipped with the latest equipment and add-ons like a health food cafe, spa, and more amenities that you might never use. And, though the prospect of having these options is very tempting, it isn’t reason enough to get a membership at the place.
Since gyms require a contractual membership, you’d need to stick to one gym for a fixed number of months or years. Breaking the contract would mean having to pay early termination fees. So, take the time to tour the various gyms in your locality, talk things out with your guide, and figure out which one has all the amenities you would need at the best price.2
3. Choice Of A Personal Trainer
It’s easy to get distracted and demotivated at a gym. If you’re a beginner, then being surrounded by fitness freaks pushing themselves hard while you struggle with your routine can make you want to run out the door.
Good trainers can help you come up with a workout routine, maintain good posture, and maximize your workout sessions. They will also know just how to go about each workout routine and how to gradually increase intensity based on your body type and goals.
So, take the time to find out how good the coaches at each gym are, focusing on their experience and qualifications. It is important to find a trainer you are comfortable with. Eventually, once you’ve got the hang of things, you can fly solo.
Even if you don’t wish to sign up with a personal trainer, there should be at least one instructor on the gym floor always to assist members with the equipment and help with any other queries that they might have.3
4. Group Classes
Most gyms offer a selection of group classes that are part of the package or can be opted for at a small additional charge. Group classes are like any other fitness class in which an instructor leads all the participants through a series of exercise routines.
These classes are usually held in a large room and could include stationary cycling, aerobic exercises, strength training, flexibility training, or a combination of all of these. The schedule for each of these is also usually fixed.
If you’re unsure of which class to go for, ask around and take a consensus of the most popular ones. See which suit your fitness level and sign up for them. Group exercises will be a refreshing change from your usual workouts, help you meet new people, and get you to achieve your goals all at the same time. They are also known to be beneficial for the physiological and cognitive functioning of the participants. So, if you’ve had an especially stressful and challenging week, go find a group class that you can attend.4
5. Equipment And Cleanliness
The choice of equipment available at the gym plays a major role in the effectiveness of your fitness training. Unavailability of the most basic equipment can limit your options, especially when it comes to weight training.
It’s also important to ensure that whatever equipment the gym has is well maintained. Lack of maintenance can cause injuries. Additionally, you shouldn’t use an equipment unless you know how to operate it. Always ask if the gym has a maintenance staff and how often the place is cleaned.
Due to lack of experience, some gyms skip the basics. For instance, beginners are prone to injury, and the availability of first aid is critical, so make sure there are adequate provisions for the same.5
Last but not the least, don’t forget about membership offers. Always go for an option where you’ll end up saving money, and making the most of your time at the gym. Once you’ve crossed out all of the above things on your checklist, you can consider yourself ready to conquer all your fitness goals.
|↑1||Mejia, Michael. “Men’s Health Better Body Blueprint: The Start-Right, Stick-to-It Strength Training Plan.” Rodale, 2006.|
|↑2||Komarooff, A. L., H. B. Simon, J. Bean, and W. Frontera. “Strength and Power Training: A Guide for Adults of All Ages.” (2010).|
|↑3||McClaran, Steven R. “The effectiveness of personal training on changing attitudes towards physical activity.” Journal of sports science & medicine 2, no. 1 (2003): 10.|
|↑4||Williams, Philippa, and Stephen R. Lord. “Effects of group exercise on cognitive functioning and mood in older women.” Australian and New Zealand journal of public health 21, no. 1 (1997): 45-52.|
|↑5||Desgrey, Arthur H. “Can the Gym Be Made Safer?.” The Journal of Health and Physical Education 13, no. 5 (1942): 301-317.|