Is it time for a new gym?
Discover what to look for to get the best results and the best deal as you shop around for a new gym. Find out what’s important, what’s not, and how to find the gym that’s right for you.
Selecting a gym is an important factor in the results you get, and it doesn’t matter if you are looking to burn fat or build muscle the right gym will make all the difference.
To make that decision easier be sure to review this list of things to consider. You will find to be really be eye-opening.
1. Location, Location, Location
If the gym isn’t convenient to get to, it makes it that much harder to motivate yourself to go…unless you’re already so highly motivated that something like that won’t stop you.
If the location is not good then that evil factor “time” will rear its ugly head. Lack of time is the #1 reason people don’t train or stop working out. To stay on track, find a gym that’s easy to get to, you’ll be glad you did.
That being said, if you find a decent gym to train at some of the time (e.g. weekdays, near work) and have a great gym you can to on the weekend, even if it’s further, it’ll be worth extra effort (of course, that’s where having the money to pay for 2 gym memberships comes into play).
In certain situations, this factor trumps every other factor.
In smaller towns, you may have only 1 gym in the whole town. Now the decision is between training there or from home and setting up your own garage gym.
Depending on your goals you can still get great workouts from home. Many of the best muscle building exercises don’t require much equipment so working out from home or in a small gym should be fine. If you are looking for a workout to burn fat you can get a great workout without weights, you can do it anywhere.
Visit the gym at the exact time you plan on doing your workouts. This way you can see how busy it is and to get an idea of the people who train there at that time. Don’t make the mistake of going when you have some free time, like a Saturday morning, because that is the least busy time and you won’t get a feel for what it will be like when you go.
Getting an idea of who is training in the gym at the same time may sound snobby but think about it this way, these are the people who you’re going to have to deal with while your workout.
4. Take a Tour
Make sure they have the equipment you want. Any half-decent gym is going to have a free-weight area. The quality and focus of that free-weight area will tell you a LOT about who the gym caters to.
5. Get a List of The Rules
Not the obvious ones, you know, dropping weights, swearing, etc. I’m talking about the workout rules that are going to affect how you train.
Some gyms actually don’t allow
- use of chalk
- olympic lifts
- no gym bags
Believe or not there are gyms that don’t allow too much noise. An allarm will go off if you rack the weight to forcefully.
6. Try It Out
Many gyms offer 2 week trial passes, at the bare minmum you can get a free day pass. If this isn’t something they offer than it is a good idea to think about a different gym. Go at your preferred time and get a guest pass so you can try the equipment out. Some gyms look like they have a lot of equipment, but it could be all stuff you aren’t going to use anyway. You may find that the equipment isn’t all that good. They may nice selection of free weights but when you look at the dumbbells and barbells are bent or in rough shape.
Taking the equipment for a test run can save you a LOT of trouble.
7. The Power Racks
If the gym doesn’t have at least one power rack you may want to look else where. If a gym has more than one good rack, that says a lot about the quality of the free weight area of the facility.
8. Cleanliness and Atmosphere
Both of these factors operate on a sliding scale and how much they weigh in with your decision will vary according to all the other factors.
For example, if the place is very clean but the gym equipment isn’t the greatest, a spotless place to train may be more important to you. On the flip side, the atmosphere may not be good and it might not be an enjoyable place to train at.
And then you might find a gym that’s not particularly clean at all (like a basic warehouse gym) but is frequented by people totally dedicated to training and who constantly encourage and welcome new people in. The atmosphere might totally make up for any lack of polish.
It all comes down to what’s most important to you.
9. If You’re Going to Work With a Trainer…
Check qualifications and references. There are excellent gyms but their trainers don’t have any idea what they’re doing. I’ve seen clients being taught dangerous exercises, trainer talks on a cell phone, etc…
A trainer should be more than a rep counter or a cheerleader. A good trainer will guide you and teach you. In fact, a very good trainer’s goal should be to work themselves right out of a job, teaching you so well that you don’t even need them anymore!
And even if you don’t plan on using a trainer, having a bad one hanging around giving you “pointers” can be incredibly annoying. It’s great if they know what they’re doing, but it often seems that the ones with the least competence are the ones most vocal about offering advice and criticizing your “bad” form!
10. Membership Dues
Some gyms will try to trick you. Some sell multi year memberships and what you think is a monthly membership fee is actually payment plan like leasing a car or buying a house. You need to know exactly what you’re getting into before you sign anything. Make absolutely sure you know if you’re on a straight-up monthly plan that you can cancel anytime or if you’re on a balloon-payment plan that you’re simply making payments on until you pay the whole balance off.
Be prepared to walk out of the sales office if they don’t take the time to explain everything to you, including your options if you move out of the area.
The last time I checked on this, it was the LAW that they have to let you out of the contract if you move more than 25 miles away from that gym or the nearest franchise of that gym. This is normally stated in the terms of your contract but be VERY sure you know your options about cancelling. Some gyms will be nice enough about it but some will dig in their heels.
Sales people are there to SELL and generally won’t hesitate to put pressure on you. If you want to avoid this, the smaller more “mom and pop” gyms will generally be a better bet.
If you are in the market for a new gym membership be sure to review these 10 tips, find out what is important to you and don’t rush into it. Take your time and find the gym that is right for you.
This has been a guest post by…
Nick Nilsson has a degree in Physical Education and Psychology and has been innovating new training techniques for more than 18 years. Nick is the author of a number of bodybuilding books including “Muscle Explosion! 28 Days To Maximum Mass”, “Metabolic Surge – Rapid Fat Loss,” “The Best Exercises You’ve Never Heard Of,” “Gluteus to the Maximus – Build a Bigger Butt NOW!” and “The Best Abdominal Exercises You’ve Never Heard Of”, all designed to maximize the results you get for the hard work you put into your training.
Be sure to grab your FREE copy of Nick’s 30-day Dirty Little Secret Program for Building Muscle and Burning Fat FAST