Choosing a gym that fits your individual or family’s needs can be challenging. With many different options, weeding through the benefits and fees can take a long time and sometimes cause you to miss out on deals. As a fitness fanatic and budget shopper, here are my tips on how to ultimately choose the fitness center that fits all of your criteria.
Step one in choosing a gym is to figure out what benefits you need. If you have children, think about whether you need child care or would like them to be able to take classes. Many community gyms like the YMCA have kid’s classes that coincide with ones for adults. Perhaps you’re a swimmer and need a full sized pool or lap pool so you can practice. I like to make a bulleted list and jot down everything I would ideally have in a gym. If you like tanning, sauna, spas or massages, there are some fitness clubs that can give you those special features at a premium cost.
Make a Budget
The next step is creating a budget for your membership. Most gyms have a start up fee and you pay your first month up front. This can be very costly especially at athletic clubs with amenities. Check with your employer or school to see if they have a partnership with a gym for a reduced rate. Through several employers, I’ve not only had my joiners fee waived but also saved money on membership. Check out the gyms online and make a comparison chart based on what you want and how much you can afford. Once you’ve narrowed it down to one or two choices, you’re ready for the next step.
Plan a Visit
Next you want to plan a visit to the gym or fitness club that you want to try out. Many of them have free or inexpensive guest passes you can print and work out for a session. Go during an off peak time, like mid day or later in the evening, so you can try out all the equipment without being slammed by gym regulars. I recommend using every amenity you can or think you may use to make sure its a good fit. Ask people working at the gym for any tips or information you don’t already know. It can also be beneficial to attend one of their fitness classes to see if that’s right for you.
Plan to spend several hours at the gym, not necessarily just working out, but getting a feel for it and learning more. If you have more than one gym on your list, visit them on separate days so you can actually work out on the equipment. If you have kids that will be going to the gym with you, pick days where they can come and try it out, too.
After you’ve made your visits, you should probably have a good idea what gym you’re going to join. The next steps are to sign up for membership and get rolling with working out or classes. Gyms are a lot of fun, full of energy, and can be a real motivator to get you moving. By following my tips and planning guide, you’re sure to find the one that is just right for your needs.