By: Matt Weik
This can become a loaded question. The gym you should join truly comes down to what you are comfortable with. My needs and wants might be different than your needs and wants. If I want to work out at a hardcore gym where loud music and heavy weights are being tossed around, that might not be for you. Likewise, I'm not a fan of gyms that are super high tech with retina scanners and all that jazz – it’s just not me. So, what’s the right gym for you?
Location… Location… Location. Where the heck is the gym? The location should be extremely important to you and one of the top considerations on your list. If you need to drive 30 minutes to the gym and another 30 minutes back, is it really worth it? If you are on the fence on whether you have time to make it to the gym or not, if you have a long drive, the chances are you’re going to skip your workout. And let’s face it, if you skip one day, the second day becomes easier to skip, and the third day is even easier to skip, and before you know it you’re part of the population that pays for a gym membership but never goes.
When you are on the hunt for the right gym, you need to look at the convenience of travel. My recommendation is to find a gym you like that is either close to your home or close to where you work. If it’s close to your home, you have easy access just about any time you want. If there’s nothing around and there’s one near your work, you have a place to go before work, during lunch, or after work.
Only you know what your daily schedule looks like and how you would be able to schedule in your workouts, but the key is to make sure they get scheduled.
Are you looking for a gym that is primarily resistance training? Maybe you are into powerlifting? Are you trying to lose weight so cardio equipment is important to you? Maybe you want the best of both worlds where there are enough variations of cardio equipment and free weights? Only you know what you want and need to achieve your goals.
Is the look and feel of the gym important to you? Do you need 60” televisions all over the place to do cardio or are you ok doing cardio while listening to music on your iPhone? Do you need the gym to feel a certain way or have a certain type of clientele? I’m not here to judge, but some people want an “upscale” gym membership and use it as a status symbol since not everyone can afford the monthly membership. Others are fine with their $10 per month membership.
Do you go on business trips frequently or travel for pleasure and are looking for a place to work out while out of town? Does the gym have multiple locations where you can purchase a membership that would give you access to all of the locations?
When you finish a grueling workout, do they have a smoothie or juice bar where you can get a post-workout shake? Or, should you consider yourself lucky enough that they even have showers for the small cost you are paying? There are enormous swings from one side of the spectrum to the other.
What do you need and what can you not go without in a gym? Once you have the necessities written down, start looking for the right gym that has all of your amenities.
Want to be sticker shocked? Go to some large cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York City, Boston, and Miami. See how much some of the gym memberships are at these locations. $100… $200… over $300 per month! Way too rich for my blood, but it might be a good fit for you.
My train of thought is that the 45-pound plate at the $300+ gym weighs the same as the 45-pound plate at the $10 gym. But you might like the feel of an upscale facility more than one that is a fraction of the cost. It might have more included amenities than other gyms. If you want a gym that has a sauna, steam room, pool, cardio theatre, massage, etc. you need to be prepared to pay a little extra each month to have those available. And you should also be aware that some of those amenities you still need to come out of pocket for and aren’t included in your monthly gym membership (driving the cost up even higher).
In the end, you need to find a location that you’re willing to drive to, can fit it in your schedule, and has all of the needs and wants on your list. Gyms are very personal choices. What I like you might not like and vice versa. In the end, the fact of the matter is that you’re looking to get or stay in shape and that’s all that matters. You’re investing in your health. Happy hunting and hopefully this article gave you some things to think about during your search.
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