Gyms are not one-sized-fits all. Just take a look around – we have specialized gyms (Cross Fit, Pilates, Yoga, etc) then we have big box gyms (24 Hour Fitness, Golds Gym, etc) or local boutique gyms offering smoothie bars and spa services. Others exist too but you get the idea. So, how does one choose?
Get out your trusty pen and piece of paper again – we have some lists to make! The first list I want you to make is a list of what you want in a gym. The very first thing I want you to do is write your monthly budget for a gym at the top of the page in huge letters. Maybe choose a bright color marker or highlight it. This will be hugely important later. Now start a list of what you want/need in a gym. What are your must haves vs nice to have? For example, if you are a swimmer a pool is a must have. Maybe you like indoor cycling so cycling classes are a must have. Do you like taking a variety of classes? Put free classes on the list. What about child care options?
Another thing to consider here is their schedule. What time do you plan to work out? What is your plan B if you can’t get to the gym at that time? You need a gym that will be open when you need it to be. Also what about location? Do you want it close to your work or your house? Do you want a personal trainer? Do you want options to work out on your own outside of class times? All of this needs to be considered and prioritized (mark the must haves vs the nice to haves). Go work on your list and come back once you are done.
Done? Great! Now you need to do some research on local gyms. Ask around, do an internet search and also write down the ones you drive past daily. Write them all down. Cross out any that really don’t meet any of your needs. Next find out how much they cost and cross out any that don’t meet your budget from the first page. The list should be much more manageable now. Go through the remainder of the gyms and see which ones most closely meets your list.
Once you have it down to just a few gyms go check them out! Many gyms offer a free 3 day or week long pass. Or they will charge just a few dollars. Take advantage of these and go work out at the gym when you normally would. Take note – how crowded is it? Can you get the machines and classes you want? Is the pool open when you want to swim? Once you’ve worked out at each for a few days you’ll know which one is the best fit for you. Congratulations – you have found your new gym!