If you have never been to a gym before, or if you are looking to switch gyms, you may be wondering what exactly you should be looking for. Don’t sign that agreement unless this facility checks off every box on your wish list… and beyond! Ask questions, walk around, and take these seven factors into account when finding the perfect gym for you.
If you want to scope out some new gyms, check out our reviews for 24 Hour Fitness, Gold's Gym, Planet Fitness, and orangetheory. If you're sold, don't forget to check out our coupons and promotions; you might even find a free trial membership!
The last thing that you want to do is sweat over the price you have to pay to workout. Just because the membership is cheap, doesn’t mean it’s a poor quality gym, but same goes for when the price is steep, it doesn’t mean it’s a great facility. If you simply want to run on a treadmill, you don’t want to be charged for the tanning, swimming and other amenities too.
Ask the following questions:
What are the costs to join?
Are there different membership levels?
What is included in each membership level?
Are there monthly dues or a one-time fee?
Are there annual fees?
Consider factors such as the location of the gym, what equipment the gym has that you will actually use, what classes the gym offers that you will participate in, and other amenities, such as childcare.
Price should be Many gyms actually justify rate increases because of adding new equipment or services that nobody wanted or even uses. On average, a basic gym rate is $30-$40 per month. Lower membership rates sometimes limit the number of days you can attend, and higher rates offer more amenities.
To get membership start-ups waived and lower membership monthly rates, keep up with the promotions that the gyms offer. Most gyms lower their sign-up prices during the summer season, as well as certain holidays, such as New Years. Many gyms offer referral discounts and one-week trial offers as well.
Does this gym provide cleaning rags to clean the equipment before and after you use it?
Are the members and staff cleaning the floors and equipment?
Tour the gym before handing over your money and observe to see how clean it really is. Germs are everywhere and the last thing you want to do is get sick when you’re trying to get healthy.
Weight lifting, cardio, yoga classes, etc. Check it all out! What does the gym offer? How are the stretching areas? Do they have the right machines for you? For the weight lifters out there, do they have platforms and squat racks? These are all things that you need to consider before you join! Look at how big those areas are... you want to be sure that you don’t have to wait in line for that one machine you love!
Ask what extra facilities are offered: pool, tennis, racquetball, sauna? Certain gyms also offer child care while you workout, so no more excuses!
Eekk...this is a huge thing to look for! How many active members does the gym have? When is the peak time that everybody goes to workout? If the gym you are joining has more than a couple thousand members, you may find yourself waiting in line for a piece of equipment, or waking up bright and early to make sure you avoid the after-work crowds.
Some gyms are known for trapping you in a long-term agreement, where you are obligated to pay for a year or more. If you love this gym, and you are committed, great! But if this gym is new to you, be careful. If you think you will enjoy the gym, but aren’t 100% positive, most facilities offer a free trial before you join.
One of the biggest excuses for not making it to the gym is “I don’t have the time.” If that’s the case, then joining a gym halfway across town is not going to be a smart move. Make sure the gym is conveniently located for you and your lifestyle. Is it close to home? Close to work that you could go on your lunch break or on your way home?
Make sure the facility is open during the time frame that works with your scheduled. This is a huge factor for the early risers or shift workers. Certain gyms are open 24-hours, such as Gold’s Gym and Snap Fitness. Inquire about weekend and holiday hours as well. Some gyms will be open 24-hours Monday through Friday, but then they close early on weekends.