How to Choose the perfect Gym or Fitness Center
The secret of successful weight loss is exercise.
For some of us, joining a fitness center can provide the
knowledge, equipment, motivation, variation and atmosphere we need to make regular exercise a part of our life.
But fitness centers aren’t suitable for everyone and not all are equal. This article explores the pros and cons of fitness centers and provides some considerations for assessing them.
The benefits of joining to a fitness center
For some people, joining the fitness center can be the catalyst for exercising and the reason for his long-term improvement in life.
Some of the many benefits of joining a fitness center are that they provide:
Access to good quality exercise equipment
Access to qualified support staff who can help you plan and achieve your goals
Access to a large variety of equipment and exercise types
Opportunities to make new friends
Opportunities for us to learn more about exercise, nutrition, healthy living and ourselves
A motivational atmosphere
A comfortable and safe exercise environment
Opportunities to formalize our exercise routine so that it becomes a habit
The drawbacks of joining a fitness center
Here are some potential drawbacks of joining a fitness center:
you to exercise “in public” which some of us are embarrassed to do
They require us to exercise regularly to get good value from our membership
They can be intimidating to some, particularly those new to exercise
They are often very busy at popular times limiting access to some pieces of equipment
They can be expensive
They have a culture of their own which some people don’t feel comfortable in
Despite the variety of equipment and exercise types available,
some people still find fitness center exercise boring
Paying good money for a membership in itself won’t likely be enough to keep us motivated
They’re not all the same, some are better than others
For most of us many of these negatives can be overcome relatively easily.
The keys to overcoming them is to give fitness centers a ‘fair go’ in terms of our commitment to them and getting into a routine as quickly as possible.
For example, if we are a little shy or embarrassed about our unfamiliarity with exercise, our size and our lack of the latest gym fashion or whatever, most of these can be overcome by sticking to our exercise routine for a few months.
By this time, we’ll have made some new friends, at least to say hello to, will be more comfortable with the equipment and how to use it and will have started to notice a difference in our fitness level, weight or both and will get kudos from ourselves and those around us for it.
Things to consider making an informed choice
The things to consider in order to make an informed choice about joining a fitness center and which fitness center to join fall into two categories, personal considerations and fitness center considerations.
With regards to personal considerations we might consider asking ourselves:
What are our fitness or weight loss goals?
How motivated are we to exercise regularly and stick to it?
Can we afford to join a fitness center?
What are our other exercise options?
Will embarrassment be a barrier to us sticking to exercising in a fitness center?
What times of the day do we want to be able to exercise?
How often do we want to exercise and is this realistic?
Will I get bored exercising in a fitness center?
Fitness Center considerations
With regards to these, it is likely that some of the personal considerations we’ve thought about will be relevant here and help us choose the right fitness center for us.
Here are the most common considerations that will help you decide which fitness center to join, once you’ve decided that fitness centers in general are for you:
Is the location of the fitness center convenient?
Do their opening hours suit you?
What is the makeup of most of the clientele (e.g. all women, mixed, fitness and weight loss interested or body builders, younger or older, etc)?
Are there showers, hairdryers, free parking, lockers, etc?
What sort of classes do they offer, e.g. Yoga, Pilates, boxercise, etc?
Are there different types of memberships available and if so, what do each cover?
Are there child care facilities available?
Is there a pool for swimming and water aerobics classes?
What are the rules (e.g. toweling down equipment after use)?
Is there a water fountain available?
Do class timetables suit your needs?
Are there time limits for equipment at busy times?
How often will I get a fitness assessment?
Are there personal trainers available if I want one?
Is the staff friendly and helpful?
How many members are there and how long has the center been in business?
Can I freeze or transfer your membership?
Are discounts available for members who want to train in off-peak times?
What insurance cover does the center have in case you are involved in an accident?
Does the center offer a variety of payment options?
What types of personal consulting services are available (e.g. are there nutrition consultants)?
Is the facility equipped to handle health and other emergencies?
Can I have a one-week complimentary pass?
Can I workout as a casual member for a while paying for each visit?
Are there signs or poster near the equipment that explain how to use it?
Is the facility kept at a comfortable temperature, and does it have good air circulation, either through the use of fans or some other kind of air circulating system?
Does the facility belong to a professional association?
Does the facility have a resident dietitian who can prepare diets for you?
Am I comfortable here?
Despite the importance of joining a fitness center,
but fitness centers are not suitable for everyone,
and not all fitness centers are equal.
This article explored some of the main pros and cons of joining a fitness center
and provided some considerations to evaluate if you choose to join a center.