So, as I was finishing up my fourth month of working out at home, it just so happened to be my birthday! I decided that joining the gym would be the perfect birthday gift for myself. It had been a long time since I was in a gym and things have changed a lot since then. I had to decide what I needed in a gym in order to make the right choice of which one to join. These are the things I took into consideration while making my decision.
We all want to join the gym with the nicest equipment that has all kinds of other offerings. Maybe it has a ton of classes. Maybe they’re doing cross fit. Maybe it has a pool and tennis courts. Guess what? That gym is really expensive to join. We have one around here. I actually get a discount through work to join that one and it’s still over $50 per month.
So, you need to decide how much of your budget can realistically go to a gym membership. If the answer is very little, then one of the $10 per month places is probably where you need to go. They have pretty good equipment and the ones around me have added classes as well if that’s your thing. The down side is that because they are so cheap to join, they are also crowded all the time. So, there are pros and cons like with everything in life.
Do you need your gym to be open at weird hours? There are lots of gyms now that are open 24 hours a day. So, if you work an unusual shift that has you up in the middle of the night or if you’re just a night owl and would prefer to workout at that time, you can.
Some of these gyms aren’t staffed for all 24 hours, though. They are usually staffed during day hours and give out key cards that will let you in the door at night. They have lots of cameras everywhere since there is no staff onsite.
If you work out in the middle of the night, the gym is likely to be pretty quiet, which might be nice for you. But, since it will be unstaffed, there is no body to call for help if you need it either. Again, pros and cons.
What Do They Offer?
Gyms offer all kinds of things these days. There is the usual equipment, the classes, courts, pools and other activities. Some even have daycare. What is it that you’re looking for? If you want weight equipment and classes, then you probably don’t need to pay the extra money to join a place that has a pool. If you want the pool, then join the place with the pool if you can afford it.
I was looking for a gym with a full squat rack. I checked to make sure the gym I joined had one before I joined. I know some of the gyms by me don’t have them. My gym also gives classes, has a pool, and has racquet ball courts. I personally didn’t need the classes, but most gyms have them these days and I figured it has the added bonus of drawing the other gym members in so that they are not up in the rest of the gym using the equipment that I want. I thought it might be fun to play racquet ball once in awhile. I may not use the pool, but you never know. My gym is at the local community college and tends to be a bit less crowded than the other gyms. I like it this way.
Also, make sure the gym you’re looking at has good equipment. You don’t want to be working out with equipment that is breaking down all the time and you don’t want to join a place that looks like it doesn’t put any of the money back into the gym for upgrades. It’s worth it to go to a few different gyms and get a tour of them before you decide which one to go with.
Is the gym close to your home or office? Is it in a location that you’re likely to make the effort to leave and go to? Make sure it is. There’s no point to giving the gym your money every month if you’re never going to go because it’s too far away.
I live in a small town without a gym. I had to join one in the next town over and it takes me about 15 minutes to get there. That’s about as far as I’m willing to travel to go to the gym. Remember, you need to add your travel time to and from the gym to the time you have for your workout so you’re not late for anything.
So, don’t join a gym that you can’t afford. Make sure it has what you want, that it’s open when you need it to be open and that it’s close enough to home to be convenient. If you follow these recommendations when choosing your gym, you should be happy with what you pick. Good luck!