The three factors that rank above all else when selecting a gym the three C’s: convenience, comfort, and cost. Finding a balance that achieves your requirements in these three categories is critical for achieving one’s fitness goals. One may be willing to sacrifice more from one of these categories to make up for the loss in another.
The general thinking is; it’s already hard enough to get up and go to the gym let alone get up and drive for 30 minutes to get there. Ideally, the gym you choose should be within 5-10 miles of your home or business. Generally, keeping the selection close to home is ideal because when the weekend rolls around, you don’t have to make the drive out near your place of work to get a workout in.
The exception to this rule is if you are looking for a specialty gym that focuses on a very specific type of exercise. These are often non-chain facilities and sometimes difficult to find but can offer a great amount of personal attention to your fitness needs.
Be sure to check a gyms operational hours as well. Some facilities are open 24 hours a day while others have strict hours and some are even by appointment only.
The thought of going to a gym may give you mental images of sweaty men who look like Arnold Schwarzenegger lifting and grunting all over the place. More often than not, this is not the case with most gyms (thought it may be true for a very small fraction of gyms out there and it may be what you’re looking for!). Regardless of who is at the gym, you should feel comfortable with the clientele that inhabits the gym you are looking to frequent.
This comfort also extends to the other aspects of the gym including classes offered, workout equipment, locker room cleanliness, gym layout, friendliness of staff, etc. If you check out a gym and aren’t getting a good vibe, it’s probably best to go with your gut instinct and find another gym or at least look around a bit more.
All gyms will vary in price as well as services offered. The important thing is to use what you are paying for. If you are looking at a gym that offers a pool, sauna, rock climbing wall, tennis courts, etc., be aware that those items are figured into the cost of the membership. If you don’t plan on using those services, you may want to look else ware and pay for things you will use, not pay for someone else to use them.
There are gyms located near large cities that often have additional costs in the membership to pay for parking. This is somewhat uncommon but still worth mentioning.
Regional and national chain gyms often allow patrons to use any of the locations but some restrictions apply. Some gyms have membership levels and you will be unable to enter a gym that has a higher membership level than what you pay for each month.
The most important aspect of cost is that you feel you are getting your money’s worth. If you only go to the gym once a week and you’re paying $100 a month, you’re paying $25 each time you go to the gym and it may not be worth the monthly cost. This is something each individual must address and decide for themselves.