You have finally done it, you have prepped yourself mentally, bought all the gear and waited until just the 'right' Monday to start .. your finally ready to join the gym !
But how to make sure that you choose the right one for you is a whole other story, and an expensive one at that.
We’ve put together a three step guide to finding the perfect gym, so you can get on with the important part - working up a sweat while praying you don't fall off the treadmill.
1. The Questions to Ask Yourself
What’s the most convenient location for me?
Decide on your location priority first. Ask yourself whether you want a gym close to work or close to home, and at the weekends.
What is your motivation for joining ?
- Indoor cardio - Access to treadmills, steppers, bikes is all important – a good selection and no queues. If you want access to a pool, that will narrow down your selection a lot.
- Resistance training – Does the gym have a good range of dumbbells, barbells, platforms and machines.
- Classes – Check whether there is a schedule with the classes you enjoy, at the times you’re free. Be sure to ask how long in advance you have to put your name down to secure a slot and whether there is an additional charge for classes.
- Personal training – You need a great PT, someone who can put you on the right track, with good technique and a program that helps you meet your goals in a realistic, sustainable way. A PT should work to make you self-sufficient in the gym or get you prepped to join up to classes if that’s what you want to achieve.
- None of the above - Your motivation to join a gym might be to meet a personal goal - to tone up, get fitter for health, supplement a running program or lose a few pounds. Do you know where you want to go, but not how to get there? If so, then you need to start with location and then speak to the trainers in a few different gyms to get a feel for what they can offer you. Trust your instincts – do the people in the gym understand what you want to achieve, do you feel excited about letting them guide you, are they going to push you the right amount, without trying to ‘break’ you? A few one-on-one personal training sessions will be essential to get you started so ask whether these come at an extra cost.
- Other facilities – Ask yourself whether top quality changing rooms and showers are important to you. Some people don’t mind, for others a cold shower in a pre-fab will put them right off attending from October through April! If parking is a must-have, be sure to check availability.
2. Put them to the test
When you have narrowed down the location and whether you want access to a pool, it’s time to avail of free passes, free classes and free personal training sessions to find out which of the gyms in that location is the one for you! Be sure to go at the time you would usually fit in a session, especially if you need to find out whether there are queues for equipment/classes or children in the pool at specific times.
3. Negotiate on Fees
Nailed the decision? Now it’s time to negotiate – especially on sign-up fees and added extras! Many gyms will reduce sign-up fees dramatically when a bit of pressure is applied and throw a few personal training sessions in for free to seal the deal.